Enduro as Adventure riding school
I offer series of articles for Adv riders to assess. There are topics on difference between Enduro and Adventure bikes off road training approaches, advantages of learning on dirt bikes, main off road concepts of riding like balancing and traction, described through different situations and more.
With a purpose of sharing, I spent some time gathering all our off road knowledge and experience in riding and coaching, trying to structure everything in a logical and understandable order. We excluded techniques worthwhile only in marketing and squeezed the essence of all off road motorcycle riding.
One of the messages I’m trying to send, prompted by huge number of video courses on internet, is that it’s impossible to learn certain techniques without understanding the core. No sense in learning glamorous sliding u-turn if body position is disaster, or jumping over the log without understanding how weight is distributed and why the clutch work is so important. There are tricks for impressing riding mates, detached from real riding context, and there are fundamentals, understanding of which game-changing.
I hope to compile and share videos of exercises accompanying this little theory…
You can jump from one subject to another, but I really recommend to read entire article in order:
ANTICIPATING BIKE'S MOVEMENTS
INSTINCTIVE BODY MOVEMENTS
ACTING AGAINST INSTINCTS
PROPER WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION ALONG THE BIKE
FEELING FOR REAR WHEEL
CLUTCH CONTROL / POWER DELIVERY
CHOOSING PROPER SPEED AND KEEPING MOMENTUM
ENDURO AND ADVENTURE RIDING IN GENERAL
Different opinions and stereotypes follow Enduro. Some say that it’s too tough, demanding and frightening. Some are joking about “that funny 100 kg weight” and “farting” one-cylinder sound, convincing me what proper position on the bike really is.
Two dominant motivations bring people to riding school. First is passion for Enduro, peculiar to Hard Enduro riders, the other one is pursuit for knowledge specific to Adventure and road riders.
Hard riders know what they want and that’s precisely Enduro with all its horror and comedy. Second group actually looks not exactly for Enduro as much as for off road skills – basic and intermediate. Their goal is to gain at least minimum confidence for the occasions when life brings them to places with bad or no roads at all.
We think that up to some point, we can consider Enduro and off road riding as a same thing. After that certain point, Enduro and off road riding split up – Enduro becomes sport unto itself. Some may say sport with very strange techniques like riding vertical cliffs or sliding down the super steep hills next to the bike. However, that’s exactly the impression people get about Enduro from media.
These are Hard and Extreme Enduro, which stand apart from skills necessary for Adventure purposes. And that’s the reason why people get to Enduro Riding School accidentally. Most likely, previously they have already tried few different courses strictly focused on Adventure bikes.
Surely, those courses are very useful and every Adventure rider should attend them. If we’re talking about more ambitious trips covering few countries or even continents, those trainings and courses are obligatory. At least, you’ll get real picture of how skilled you are and what should be improved.
There are a lot of good stuff on YT and those coaching vids are getting better and better. Well sorted out in logical order from easiest to advanced stuff, excellently recorded and edited. Some of them did a great job by emphasizing what’s important during the particular exercise by different graphics and animations. For example ADVMotoSkillz . I really like them. They go through all the important techniques. Or Jimmy Lewis off road School who is in my opinion, one of the most skilled and experienced coaches and riders among YT associates. Of course nothing without Chris Birch, nice person, great rider and professional and his Say No To Slow.
No doubt it’s always better to work with the coach “on the ground”, but at least those vids help you to start revising your riding habits and techniques.
From the bike purchase to the moment of realization that training is necessary, sometimes few years pass. In-between, great and expensive Adventure bikes are used mainly for road riding. Usually, rider understands his lack of skills as soon as he hits some gravel road or even something more challenging. And that’s good – sooner he realizes it, the sooner he starts improving his riding. Yes, it’s all about fun and challenge but let’s be honest and admit that it’s also about safety. Even if you looked like scared to death bambi on that forest dirt road squeezing the handlebar to turn blue, regretting the moment you went off road, it’s ok as long as you’re not injured and got home in one piece.
Let’s get it straight – those Adv bikes are just great travelling devices surpassing their touring brothers by almost all parameters even if used only on roads. So, if it’s intentionally purchased and used only on tarmac roads, I absolutely understand that. Still, they have a great off road capabilities which is just a shame not to use.
I was lucky to ride a motocross during all my Adventure biking time, so my riding skills were growing and getting better without my certain awareness of that. It might sound indelicate but the difference in riding techniques, between few of us motocross mates and the others – our friends or occasional co-travelers, was getting more and more obvious over the time. When we started with Sector Enduro, strictly as a Hard Enduro tours company, many Adventure riders were coming to ride with us. Some of them have stayed in Enduro and bought their own dirt bikes. But lot of them were and still are Adv riders who hugely expanded their riding geography thanks to our school. Quite often, their initial skill level wasn’t enough for even very lite Enduro tracks and we had to teach them off-road basics. Exercises were different from time to time, we’re trying to shorten the time on training ground in order to hit the mountains and show them all that beauty as soon as possible. No doubts, few days on dirt bike in the mountains improve riding, even if the tracks are easy, but soon we realized that we had to create methodology. Fortunately, we had a lot of Adventure and off road/Enduro experience, bikes and amazing place to ride.
MAIN FEATURES OF ENDURO BIKES
Some may ask – why to teach on Enduro bikes? Is it because of business optimization, to use one type of bikes for two purposes? Is it because those bikes weigh less and therefore easier to ride? Maybe because using is cheaper? Not quite true.
- We use only newest KTM, Husqvarna and GasGas bikes with prices comparable to mid class Adv or 5-6 years old BMW GS bikes
- Tyres wear off faster, oil and filter are changed more often because of 100% off road usage, plastics get scratched or broken and so forth.
- Sharp response to all commands – brake, throttle and clutch, very sensitive to even minor body movements which make them more demanding for riding but better for learning
Then why we decided to use Enduro bikes?
They weigh as much as 115 kg with fuel and all other liquids. This is important for practicing slow riding, for example maneuvering around the trees, working on balance through rocky rivers as well as while practicing the clutch work. All those techniques may cause dropping the bike, so the rider feels more confidence if he is able to prevent it from falling down. Which in turn makes him more focused on riding instead of constantly being afraid of possible damaging either bike or himself.
Bikes for Extreme and Lite Enduro are completely the same. It’s enough to look at the Hard Enduro sections just once to understand how tough they are. Everything on these bikes is made to survive even the hardest multiple flips, falls and blows on the rocks. Probably they’d survive Nuclear Armageddon. Lay-out solutions and specific alloys make them so hardy and reliable but expensive as well. It all becomes clear and pays off far in the wild when, after dropping it on rocks from 10 meters height, you just pick it up, start and continue riding. No way to get out of the situation like that with Adventure bike.
It’s entirely made the way that damages are negligible and quite cheap. Most common are scratched or broken parts like fenders or other plastics, levers, headlights or torn seat cover. Sometimes falling can cause twisted or punctured radiators or even bended handlebar but this happen rarely. if you are practicing with coach, none of these will happen.
REAL OFF ROAD
It means off road – not only gravel or fire roads, forest trails or similar things. Those bikes allow you to reach the places, which are literally almost inaccessible even for nature lovers and sometimes climbers. This means that huge and wild geography becomes accessible and you can see and experience the places you wouldn’t even imagine on big bikes.
Usually, when you say: “I’m going for a ride”, it means new places, observing surroundings, maybe some curvy road to chase your friends or Ego. Enduro requires a lot of energy. You can ride some basic trails at the beginning without any serious physical efforts, but as soon as you make one-step higher, you’ll have to be in quite good condition and ready to struggle. It’s a way beyond most of sports and easily replaces them as a way of releasing the everyday job’s pressures.
READY TO RACE
Despite their lightweight and strictly off road purpose, they have explosive acceleration and extremely responsive commands. This is new and frightening experience for a newbies in a first few hours. Riders start to benefit from those racing features very soon once they get used to commands. Due to those facts, it’s impossible to mask wrong body position or lack in balance control which is case with big Adventure bikes.
Those are the main reasons in favor of Enduro bikes. Easier for riders to enter the off road world, reliable so you can ride far from base, spend whole day on bike without riding same place twice while damages are for the most part negligible. And most important – all mistakes become quickly uncovered and obvious for student which speeds up the process of training