The off-road craze that began when Yamaha sold the first DT-1 Enduro in 1968 shows no signs of abating, but who would have guessed back then that dirt-worthy motorcycles would hit 1,200cc and top 500 pounds 40 years on?
It’s the adventure-sized bikes, 650s and above, that prompted Ned Suesse and friends to create a video about piloting mammoth motos through the outback. From basic body position to selecting the best line through a rough corner, the Dual Sport Riding Techniques DVD covers the gamut of backcountry riding. And since it was shot on location throughout the Colorado Plateau, the scenery alone is enough to jumpstart a dual-sporter’s heart, as you can see from the video’s trailer at www.dualsportriding.com.
The script and photography are excellent, part of a professional effort that features clear narration, slow-motion sequences and subtitles to emphasize key points. In its eight main segments, Dual Sport Riding Techniques delivers a concise and effective way to improve your riding. So, just how do you get a quarter-ton motorcycle safely down a muddy road, or up a steep, rutted hill without having to pick it up several times? That would be the segments called “Sandy and Muddy,” and “Climbing.” These lessons will teach you to steer with your feet through the soft stuff, use your body to maintain traction on an incline, and capitalize on your bike’s torque–not its momentum–to ease you up the slope. Under the Extras heading are tips on controls and suspension setup, plus a short course in a curse-free tire changing technique that is a big improvement on the way I’ve been doing this chore.
The real key to riding better is practice, something that co-writer/producer and narrator Suesse points out several times. And to make that easier, the disk includes printable files of drills that you can take to your practice zone. I graduated from the Crash and Burn school of dual-sporting back when my 125 Yamaha AT-1 was pretty hot stuff, and though I eventually learned to stay on the bike well enough to race a little desert and motocross, I didn’t always learn the best techniques. With the help of the video, I’m finding that it’s not too late to do it right. Newer dual-sporters can build confidence with Suesse’s drills, while more experienced riders will also find ways to polish their motorcycle safety and skills. I screened the video for my riding buddies, all experienced dual-sport riders, and everyone praised it as helpful and fun to watch, though we all puckered a bit watching a 950 Adventure slopping through snow-slushy mud.
The proof is in the riding, so when faced with a freshly bulldozed path up a hill cluttered with rocks, roots and ridges on a recent ride, I torqued up the hill in (nearly) full control of the situation by using the clutch to keep the rear tire from spinning, my feet to balance and steer, and my body position to maximize traction. Dabbing a couple of times when the front wheel hit a rock was as exciting as it got. With a little more practice, I might feel worthy of the slogan on DSR’s T-shirt, “Getting hopelessly lost, but with excellent form!”
At $29.95, Dual Sport Riding Techniques costs less than it does to replace a turn signal after a tipover, and much less than a broken mirror…or ankle. And if it gives you the confidence you need to go exploring, or helps you ride your way out when the sky opens up and the road turns to muck, it’s pretty much priceless. If there’s anything missing, it’s more information on dealing with emergencies and breakdowns, but with enough feedback the camera crew just might return to the wilds for Volume 2.
A final tip if you buy this DVD: Keep the remote handy, because you’ll want to replay both the action and the scenery.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Motopeak, LLC, P.O. Box 2082, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80901; dualsportriding.com[This Dual Sport Riding Techniques DVD Review was originally published in the March 2008 issue of Rider magazine]