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I’m Bret Tkacs. I’m a professional rider
and trainer and riders come to me because they want to get better they
want to be the best and in this episode I’m going to cover some of the most
common mistakes that I have to address with riders every day, every class, every
week, every year, every decade… without debate the most common question I get from riders is how
much they should air down the tires and my answer is almost universally, don’t
air down the tires what riders don’t understand the mistake
they make is that these motorcycles are very heavy and that we’re carrying heavy
loads that also means we’re taking heavy impact we need the air in the tires to
protect the rim when we air down too much we risk bending the rim or gaining
a pinch flat I’m not saying tire pressures aren’t important they are
important and in extreme situations changing tire pressure can be to your
advantage one example is if you’re running street tires and you’re buried
in deep sand or deep rock you may want to let a lot of air pressure out to get
enough traction to get out of that situation but then you want to
immediately air back up another example would be riding through rough hard sharp
edge rocks if your tires are overinflated they won’t absorb the
impact and your front tire will deflect more than it needs to but you still need
to make sure you don’t air down so much that you risk denting your rim bending
the rim or getting a pinch flat so in hard packed trails or gravel roads just
leave the same pressures on that you run on the street many riders are terrified about using
the front brake off-road they’ve read on the forums have been told by their
friends they should only use the rear brake or they’ve been in an extreme
environment like wet clay or on wet grass and in those environments
definitely we have to be far more delicate about our use of the front
brake what the rear brake doesn’t do well off-road is stop the motorcycle
it’s good for creating stability in the bike for certain situations it’s very
good for changing direction where you can slide the back of the bike around to
go a new direction but what it doesn’t do is stop well if you want to stop
off-road you need to be using the front brake as your primary stopping power the
rear is used for stability the front is used for stopping and this is one of the
reasons why we only use one to two fingers off-road traction can change
very quickly and that allows us to have a much more delicate feel much better
feedback as we’re used in that front brake so we can sense those changes and
we can make them as make those changes as we go so off-road use both brakes and
make sure the front brake is doing the real stopping here’s a common mistake riders make they
think they’re in control their death gripping on the handlebars and they’re
telling the bike where to go it turns out these bikes are really big and
they’re gonna go where they want to go that’s what rake and trail and all those
other things that are built into the bike for its to make the bike go where
it needs to go so loosen up don’t hold on so tightly it turns out when we reach
around the grip all we’re trying to do is close those out or two fingers
against the thumb so the grip is loose to the inside if the front wheel catches
something and deflects you just want to make sure if it catches you off guard
that your hand moves with the controls that’s why we’re closing the loop the
fingers here that are controlling the clutch and the two fingers here against
the front brake those are the ones that are doing the job so loosen up a little
and don’t hold on so tight to many riders sit when they should be
standing any time the train gets really scary when we have mud when we have ruts
when we have sand when we have deep gravel our default should be to stand on
the motorcycle where we have maximum control sitting is reserved for pavement
for well groomed roads for gravel roads for long stretches where you’re trying
to conserve energy any time it gets scary stand up there are times when
sitting is a really good or even the best option for riding but there is a
proper way to sit don’t sit in the passenger seat
too many riders I see they just sit back they end up in the passenger seat and
this is normally the riders with more dirt focused bikes the KTM s the dr Z’s
the K L ours these guys are sitting on the back they have that nice flat bench
they end up all stretched out their legs are 90 degrees it causes the bike not to
track well it doesn’t allow them to have full control their arms you stretched
out they can’t control the motorcycle the riders on the big touring focus
bikes have less of a concern their bikes are usually very narrow like the bike
I’m on the GS it’s just sits right in the middle I can’t go very far the
proper way to sit is this far forward on the motorcycles you can get and on those
other bikes it means the steering is often very close to the body that’s how
they’re designed to function best so when you’re sitting sit forward you
probably don’t need those handlebar risers when I help riders and I
professionally fit riders to maximize control of the motorcycle and fit the
rider the most common thing I do is remove risers that they added to the
motorcycle unless you’re over 6 feet tall if you’re on an adventure styled
motorcycle that’s designed to go off-road they usually fit you really
really well the problem is when you put risers on a motorcycle it’s usually so
riders feel comfortable when they’re standing so they sit all the way
vertical the problem is it puts you too far back in the battle
as soon as you hit the throttle you hit a bump it throws you off balance you end
up tightening up on the handlebars and you don’t have maximum control once you
know how to ride well once you know how the posture is supposed to be you end up
farther forward over the motorcycle and those risers don’t help they get in the
way limited vision is one of the most common
critical mistakes riders make and I’m not talking about obstructive vision
like fog I’m talking about rider induced obstructed vision what I’m saying is
riders look directly in front of the motorcycle and they’re looking at the
rocks the steaks the things directly in front of the motorcycle they’re looking
at the things that are about to happen there it gonna hit it’s too late there’s
no time to plan riders have to learn how to look farther down the road so they
can see vehicles coming at them so they can see changes in terrain that’s what
needs to happen and it turns out vision is directly related to speed the faster
you go the farther you have to look the slower you go the closer you can look
but it also means Vision Drive speed when you’re looking directly in front of
your bike or directly in front of your your tire you have to ride slowly there
isn’t time to plan or react so get your eyes up and look down the road here’s a common mistake that almost
every adventure rider learns the hard way they bring too much stuff we pack
our bikes up and we have so much stuff we can’t move around on the bike I can
actually make things dangerous we have so much stuff that the bike gets so
heavy if it tips over we can’t stand it back up learn to pack light take half of
the stuff that you think you need and leave it behind
then take the half that’s left over and cut that in half that’s what you need to
have make sure that you have the important things your first-aid kit your
tool kit a way to air up the tires and fix a flat tire make sure you have a way
to stay dry and a way to stay warm that’s what you really need all that
other stuff it just adds weight learn to pack light and finally here’s a major mistake that
none of the riders that attend training with me ever make and that is spending a
bunch of money on their motorcycle and not investing in themselves too many
riders will freely spend money on their motorcycle buying gizmos and gadgets
that only make their wallet light and their motorcycle heavy but they won’t
invest in themselves getting training with a professional rider trainer will
help you become a better rider make less mistakes not damage your bike not get
hurt it’s worth the time it’s worth the money so don’t make that mistake

100 thoughts on “9 MISTAKES Adventure Motorcycle Riders Make Every Day – You Can Do Better

  1. Fun story: I live in the Yukon and had to deliver some parts to my buddy whos truck had broken down in a small community 180km north of my home town. I decided to take my brand new V-Strom 1000XT for its first real road trip and set off for what was to become quite the adventure. I arrived at his location around 9:30pm, helped repair his broken rig, and left an hour later. By 11:00pm it was pitch black, raining, and 7'C. Cold, wet, and dark. This was my first time riding in these conditions and I had little riding experience to begin with. The return trip home that would normally take less then 2 hours ended up taking almost 4 hours. The entire ride was terrifying but there was one section of highway that really stood out for me.

    This particular section of road was under construction and had become a shit mix of mud and loose gravel. The fact that I couldn't see the road in front of me made it impossible to pick a 'safe' line through, and all I could think of was 'let it do it's thing' as I entered the construction zone. The V-Strom literally took me from one side of the road to the other several times, the handle bars hammering back and forth with the sudden changes in direction. I believe the only reason I stayed upright was because of some of the things I learned while watching this channel. Stay calm, do not overreact, be smooth on the throttle, keep a loose grip on the handle bars, and let the bike go where it needs to go. I had no idea a bike could behave so violently and still maintain 'control'.

    I have no desire to be in that situation ever again but I am grateful for the experience as I learned a lot from it. It was exhausting but in the end I made it home safe and sound. If it wasn't for videos like these that likely would not have been the case. Thank you for putting this information out there so new riders like me have a better chance at surviving their own stupidity!

  2. Please subscribe his channel he deserves more than those 10m once because he put too much efforts to teach us and sharing his valuable knowledge tips and all love from India ❤️😃👍

  3. On dirt roads completely covered in loose gravel I find that my bike (r1200gs) handles much much better with a lower pressure, around 25 psi.
    But I pretty much always run such a low pressure and deal with situations which could bend the front rim by getting on the gas right in front of the obstacle that I can't avoid to make my front wheel light. It works wonders!

  4. Hi Bret
    Love the videos, I'm from the UK so we have a lot of grassy tracks, I fell off by sliding into a damp rut,.
    There were 2 ruts in a very narrow lane, The outer ones were so close to the trees and bushes that restricted any movement, so i tried to stick to the raised bit in the middle which was a bit slippy.
    Once my front wheel slid off the middle into the rut at the side,i lost it and came off.
    Could you maybe do a video of how to avoid this please?

  5. I was on a trip in southern Poland and were going into the Czech Republic through a 'mountain' road (some 90 degree bends) on VFR800 with my brother on Virago 1100. He was first, when he suddenly found himself on a couple of meters long pile of dirt. Only thing I've heard was 'oh sh….' and soon after I found myself on the same dirt pile. And thank God I did not grip tightly or break. The steer went left and right 2 or 3 times and surprisingly I was still going in a straight line. Little scared, but all fine 😀

  6. I agree with most points. However. You do not suggest standing up riding when going over ice and snow? I've tried both ways. I fall way less when sitting down and sliding my feet over the ice. With spiked tires it may be another matter. Also worth pointing out is the big difference in bike weight. A BMW650GS Dakar and a 1200GS Adventure are totally different beasts. And correct tire pressure will be different on both bikes.

  7. So true for to much stuff – after few trips these days my biggest luggage is few packs of stout and brandy for later on the camp fire 🔥 🍻🤷‍♂️

  8. I enjoy your videos and even though I have been riding since the 70's I can always learn something new. Different type of bike but i added risers to my concours 14 and removed in a week, just not right for bike. They became $100.00 paper weighs. I also have a Super Tenere and KLR 650 and a few other bikes.

  9. Hei nice video, the part with the vision on the road I call it proactive riding (see danger before it occured) ride safe.

  10. Paused it . Already liked the vid for the 1St tip.  Have been wondering about that. We will see later if you talk about suspension adjustments.

  11. Another stellar video!

    We share Bret's videos to help ADV Riders get prepared for our annual Adventure Bike Gathering in Vernon, British Columbia. What a great resource. Props!

  12. You know what's also a huge mistake that some ADV Riders make? Going into the Legislature, and making a testimony about how Lane splitting is bad, and dangerous despite the evidence that it's beneficial, helpful, environmentally more friendly, and safer. Therefor keeping lane splitting illegal.
    Big mistake some ADV Riders make, that's for sure.

  13. that is wrong about standing vs sitting. when im in really bad terrain or very mudy or washed out gnarly hill climb. i stay seated better control by a long shot! and if you hit a dip or rock it doesnt through you about and when your standing up a little movement can make you dump your bike. were as if you were sitting and hit a little bump it would move you but you wouldnt have the leverage you would if you were standing up

  14. i ride tiger 800xca i'm5.5feet when i ride handlebar is too far for me can you recommend me how to sit for comfort and control
    thank you

  15. I see too many Adventure Riders standing when they could be sitting (nice smooth gravel dirt road)…I just laugh as I pass the unknown rider on the dirt road sitting. It's like WTF!! Sit down it's not a scary trail its a freaking gravel road.

  16. You got subbed, i appreciate your and whole team's hardwork they have put on these videos. I just found your channel and every Video has some purpose and teachings to do.❤️

  17. Awesome video mate! I have been guilty of many of these in the past. I'm no expert now, but having training definitely helped me beyond what I thought it would. Just those little things that become habit make all the difference, creating muscle memory over time and making the rides much more enjoyable.

  18. My '17 Africa cost $12,200. Learning from you has been priceless. What I have found, much to my surprise, is that a lot of what you teach I was already doing because of common sense… and large bikes require a different rider input. Ergonomics on the bike was probably the most shocking lesson from you. I am 6'1" and 220lbs. Just rotating the bars and re-setting the lever position made it a completely different bike. Thank you Bret for the confidence and education you have given to me and countless others. I hope to make the trip from N.Y. some day to experience your classes…but for now your videos are making a huge difference. Thank you for that.

  19. Good video, but I disagree with the riser issue. I have a 650 vstrom and when standing I had to lean down and forward so much it stressed my hands and triceps. Adding risers made this much better even though I still have to lean with my thighs against the back of the gas tank. I just don't have to stoop down to the handgrips now. Maybe I have short arms or something like that.

  20. Grew up as a teenager riding dual sports (Yamaha XT250 & Suzuki DR650). Spent years on the street riding sport bikes, went back to dirt bikes and enduro racing, now I am on the ADV train. Yes, it has been and is an adjustment, but my years riding trails and street has prepared me greatly. I am adjusting well to my Africa Twin. It's big, yes, but offroad I owe my abilities to riding dual sports and dirtbikes. I can read the terrain, pick my lines, feel the throttle and traction. Riding super sports helped me read the road, understand the dynamics of corners, and read traffic. Starting on ADVs isnt bad, but it may be useful to spend some time on more suitable bikes in their respective environments, then learn and adjust to your new and expensive ADV. Just a thought.
    I like the tips, and you know your stuff. Great Video.

  21. Bret, Please show us the best way to do wheelies on a GS 1250 or 1200. Something I have not seen you cover in any of your many great videos.

  22. Re sitting position forward what about soft sand? Shouldn't one be way back and weight over back wheel rather than front?

  23. Do you have a video of the top adventure/dual sport bikes? So far I set my eyes on Royal Enfield Himalayan, Yamaha XT 660 Tenere/700 Tenere, I quite like both bikes. I also heard Honda Africa Twin is the best, but it costs quite a bit more, and I don't really want to spend a lot on the bike, just enough to carry me around anywhere on a world trip.

  24. My God you must meet the Greenest Riders in the World that don't know any of those basic riding styles and techniques

  25. Hey there Bret, really hepfull video. I have those Mitas E07. Do you like them? Why? Thank you and keep them coming! : )

  26. NIce job. I am now 63 and live by those rules, plus a few more. I carry very little. I did just pick up a new tire pump/power bank, but use it little as a pump. OEM spec road pressures, ( +/-) off road maybe less, depends on conditions. When in Montana…do not drive at night on a bike. Death by animals is the number one road issue.

  27. Excellent video Bret!!! I learned a lot with it.
    Please , let me know what kind and brand your baggage are.
    Thanks in advance from Argentina

  28. When you say don't buy useless gizmos and gadgets what exactly are you referring to? I think I can assume performance mods fall under this category, but do you recommend crash protection?

  29. mhh.. fair enough but if you ever been on a hard enduro track for a few hours you wont do any of theese mistakes twice because you land flat on your f.. and then his bike.. but thats another story

  30. I'm terrified of the honey badger that lives under my deck. I went to take the trash out last night and I could feel it watching me.

  31. Man , I brought my 1st adventure bike a GS 1200, I was struggling with it until I came across your channel, you’ve changed my life, thank you, I’m really enjoying my gs now

  32. Кратко:
    1. Не стоить сильно понижать давление в шинах на бездорожье. Сохраняйте его таким же как для уличного передвижения либо снизьте лишь чуть-чуть.
    2. Многие боятся использовать передний тормоз на бездорожье. Но нужно понимать, что задний тормоз лишь помогает стабилизировать байк. Если вы хотите остановиться, что необходимо пользоваться передним тормозом, но аккуратно.
    3. Думать, что байк можно контролировать, если вцепиться в руль со всей силы. На самом деле вы должны максимально расслабить руки и позволить мотоциклу самому находить оптимальную траекторию на бездорожье.
    4. Сидеть на мотоцикле можно только при затяжных перегонах. Если вы хотите контролировать мотоцикл – нужно встать на подножкам, так байк будет стабильнее и легче управляем.
    5. Садитесь как можно ближе к переднему колесу, если уж вам приходиться ехать сидя. Езда на "заднем" сиденье с вытянутыми руками ограничивают ваши возможности по контролю за байком.
    6. Не стоит высоко поднимать руль – это ухудшает контроль за байком. Руль как правило на такой высоте, чтобы вы могли контролировать байк и на разгонах и на торможении, а не только сидя в расслабленной позе на ровной дороге.
    7. Смотрите как можно дальше вперёд. Чем выше скорость, тем дальше взгляд. И наоборот, чем ближе к переднему колесу взгляд, тем ниже должна быть ваша скорость.
    8. Берите половину из тех вещей, который вы думали взять в путешествие. Важные вещи: базовый набор для ремонта мотоцикла и покрышек, аптечка первой помощи, вещи на тёплую погоду и на холодную. Это необходимый минимум, от остального можно отказаться.
    9. Большая ошибка купить дорогой мотоцикл и пожалеть денег на обучение. Учитесь ездить в хорошей мотошколе – это то что останется с вами навсегда.

  33. 6'6 here. No riser is really uncomfortable when standing and I agree that normal risers push me back too far. What do you think about risers which go up and front? On my 950SE they feel natural while standing although a little weird while sitting.

  34. Hello, thank you for your tips which have certainly helped me to avoid headaches.One question, what is the brand and website of the soft lugage you use ? Cannot find them i France, thank you in advance

  35. In British Columbia Canada the stupid idiots in Law Enforcement have deemed it illegal to stand up on your bike, even in off road.

  36. Looks like you're on the set of Lord of the Rings or something. I wish we had some terrain like this in Florida.

  37. Awesome video. Only with bar risers can't agree. This is personal thing and it's driver option. I had XRV750, now I have a CRF1000 and for both I need rise bar a bit, because of my short hands.

  38. Great points.

    To the last point about investing in self I would also add:
    – go to the gym! I've seen people unable to lift their bikes (even lighter ones)
    – invest in proper cloths for more offroad riding to keep you comfortable and safe (road-only boots offroad are a bad idea, similarlly helmet)

    No to mention that sometimes it's better to spend less money on the bike and more money on the trips. I've seen cases when people cough up their last dimes to buy GS1250 and than literally have no money to takie it for a 2 week trip.

  39. Okay As a taller rider I used a special set of risers that also allowed me to adjust the bars forward as well as up. I did some research and also looked realistically at me and the bike fit. I ride a 2016 DR650, and though I loved it when I got it I found that there were some weak spots for someone 6'1" tall and weighing around 220. Now I did not buy the bike and just run out and buy mods, or as we call them Farkles. I lived with the bike for a while and rode the heck out of it. I bought it in October, so had some winter down time to plan and get parts. I did a suspension upgrade that made the bike taller by taking out the 45% sag, and also did the dreaded Handlebar Risers. I bought a set that allowed me to raise them without bringing them closer. Best move I ever made, as it allowed me to stand comfortably, but also positioned my arms ore comfortably. I love all of Brets advice and he is spot on. I am no pro but I have over 20 years on the DR type bikes, and am really a minimalist and not into a ton of add on stuff. Take his advice to heart, but do not be afraid to custom your bike to you and your type of riding. I do highway and dirt with mine, and love it. Ride, Learn, Repeat.

  40. A big hog of a bike like that is great on logging roads but is out of place on the trails, especially with the bags hanging off the back.

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