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DirtWise Off-road Riding tip - Grinding

Shane Watts grinding in mud.Grinding is the ability to slide in a straight line and is used many times out on the trail - some of those moments being to conquer deep straight ruts by running your front wheel out of them to limit your possibility of getting wedged in there and stuck, plus also when going up steep hills at an angle or across them. You use the 4 key points of sliding to control the bike:

  • Body Position
  • Throttle Position
  • Bike Lean Angle
  • Counter Steering

The perfect place to practice and master the this skill is on a long pole in a flat paddock. Start off by putting one wheel on either side of the log, sitting down, and then dragging your foot that's on the same side of the log as the front wheel (as you ride down it), so as to learn the correct lean angle of the bike, and how to counteract the force of the rear wheel wanting throw you in the opposite direction.

Shane Watts grinding in mud.Now do it with both feet up, and then progress to doing it standing up, which will then allow you to start going much faster, while being safer due to better bike control from increased upper body maneuverability. Be sure to always have the front tyre pointed generally in the direction you want to go (towards the end of the log!), and continually make small adjustments to its counter steer effect if necessary to control the bike's slide and direction.

Common causes of issues while learning this skill are:

  1. Getting high sided from not leaning your bike and/or upper body enough to the side the front wheel is on
  2. Getting spun around from not doing enough counter steering. You have to continually react with the 4 key points of sliding mentioned above to maintain the bike's stability, to keep control, and to keep roosting forward.


More info on the DirtWise Academy of Offroad Riding schools and Instructional DVDs can be found at Shane Watt's website

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