We are often asked which is the right bike to train on? Especially by riders who are looking to better their skills on a larger adventure bike. And we always reply the same way. You will learn more on a smaller, lighter bike every time. And we have a few solid reasons for saying this combined with a lot of very happy clients who took our advice and improved as a rider.
Schools that preach “Big Bike Adventure Riding Techniques” are blowing smoke in places they shouldn’t. There is no such magical technique special to larger bikes other than “know your size, be careful.” Like anything that is heavier, more powerful, limited in suspension performance, it commands respect. But the operating techniques do not change one bit from a lighter more agile bike. No special riding position, no unique tactics, no bike specific secrets. It is all the same. The easier to ride, smaller bike allows a rider to practice and learn with confidence and why wouldn’t you want to do that?
The biggest thing to consider is that big heavy bikes mask the rider being out of balance–especially when moving. They do not reveal or respond to the subtle movements and inputs as quickly nor do they let you know you are constantly out of balance. Until you are so far gone that bad things happen and happen quick. Usually uncorrectable.
On a smaller and lighter bike your weight has more of an effect on the bike and since it reacts more quickly, it will reveal your lack of balance more quickly. It does not mask the inputs you are making to the bike even when going a little faster since there is less momentum built up.
In off-road training being balanced on the bike is the most important thing. So why would you want to mask the most crucial element you should be working on? The smaller bike not only shows you more quickly and sooner that you are out of or lacking balance, a rider has a fighting chance to correct it as well. And it does not take long for your body to adapt to being more in tune with the balance on the motorcycle and the balance of the motorcycle. Then you apply that to any bike you ride no matter the weight and power.
To bring the point one step further, look around at the riders who operate the big adventure bikes with skill and confidence. Riders who will tackle obstacles way beyond the capabilities of the big bike usually with grace. Most have a solid foundation of riding smaller dirt bikes and they carry that over to riding the big bikes.
We teach big bike adventure riding techniques better than anyone because we teach all off-road bike riding techniques (same thing). They are safety based and give you the foundation to be able to improve at your own pace with practice. No matter how long you have been riding or what skill level you are currently at, we can help you improve with no-nonsence rider coaching not smoke, mirrors or marketing hype.