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Welcome To The Get Fast MX Tips & Advice Page.
If you are an Amateur racer, we are going to change your life today.
|I have seen it happen so many times. An average expert level racer you have raced with for years shows up at the race track, and beats everyone. The next weekend he does it again. I guess the "Fast Fairy" must have given him some magic! |
I have seen this happen too. A guy who has been riding bikes for less than a year, shows up and just blows everyone away in the novice class. He gets promoted to intermediate, and beats all those guys too. How can this happen? The Fast Fairy!
We are not going to go over all the basic fundamentals. If you need help with the basics, buy the Gary Semics DVD.
If you have a dozen races under your belt, you should have the basics down pretty good. All you want to know is how to go fast, and we are going to tell you. Really FAST! Ready for some Fast Fairy dust?
|"Other go fast motocross advice I have read is always about practice, practice, practice. The MX Empire tips will bump you up a class."|
Chad Larsson - 250 Expert
"I learned how to ride all over again using your advice. I won my first race sunday. Thanks so much!"
Jackson Lee - 450 Kawasaki
|Going fast is all about CONTROL! Control is the key. Going fast under CONTROL reduces risk of crashing. Save the brass balls only for passing!
| Your Machine: Prepare Your Bike To Go Fast!|
Your tires are the most critical piece of equipment. This is where your racing machine makes contact with the track. The front tire is the most important of the two, as this is 70% of your control. The brand or type of knobby on the rear is not as important, as your traction can be metered buy the throttle. The front is very important, as it is free-wheeling. Pretty much all front MX tires work good on loamy soil. You want a front tire that will stay planted under power on flat sweeping corners. My favorite front tires are the Pirelli XCMH (MT18 enduro), Metezler Unicross, Michelin MH3, Dunlop MX71 (80/100), and Bridgestone M603 (90/100). These five work great on hard to itermediate terrain, but are good enough for the soft stuff too. Friends, this is very important. The better your front tire sticks, the longer you can stay on the gas! There are some popular over-hyped front tires on the market that look real good, but suck on flat corners.
With the rear, size does matter. Use the biggest tire your engine can pull. Select your rear tires for the hardest terrain condition on the track. If the track has a mix of hard-pack and loam, use a hard terrain rear tire. If the track is a mix of mud and loamy soil, use a intermediate terrain rear tire. I have a rear Pirelli MX-Extra-X on my bike now, as it will handle both hard and intermediate terrain great. About every company make a rear tire just as good as the Pirelli I am using. I keep a Michelin MS3 in the truck for a surprise downpour. For sand tracks, use a rear tire as close to a sand paddle as you can get. The Michelin MS3 and Maxxis M7308 are good tires for sand and mud. The ultimate mud race setup is the IRC M5B rear and M1A front. If you know it will be a mud-bog weekend, the IRC tires can give you a big advantage!
2. Suspension: Applies For Most 1992 through 2015 Bikes.
A. An expert level rider will have the most control with sligtly stiff front forks and slightly soft rear shock. From the factory, suspension on new bikes are not set-up for going fast. Suspension is tuned to handle a wide range of rider weights from 130 to 220 pounds. Most bikes come too stiff in the rear (to handle the big guys), and too supple soft in the front (to please old folks).
For outdoor tracks you want the rear suspension sag between 4 and 4.5 inches when you are sitting on the bike with your feet on the pegs. Bounce a few times, then let the shock settle. Have a friend measure from the axle, then straight up to the fender. Turning the spring preload adjuster should do the trick. If not, you may need different springs. Adjust the clickers for slightly lighter compression and rebound. You may want less than the normal dampening. To much dampening will cause less traction control and the rear end kicks out under power on bumpy terrain. Use trial and error with the dampening until you can go wide open through a stretch of shallow whoops under control. If you weigh over 200 pounds, the factory rear settings may already be close to perfect. The front suspension is not as critical as long as it is on the firm side. If your front suspension feels as plush on bumpy straights as Grandma's Buick, then it is too soft. Stiffer front suspension makes the back end of the bike work much better. If the front forks feel a little harsh at speed on small whoops, this is perfect. You may need to experiment with springs, oil level, and dampening adjusters to get it just right. Another thought on the rear suspension. If you don't bottom out on the worst jumps, you are not getting to use all that suspension travel!
B. Lowering Link: If you race on fast bumpy outdoor tracks, or do some desert, check out a longer lower link for the rear shock. It will lower your back end 1 to 1.5 inches, thus kicking out your fork rake a little. It can also eliminate any headshake problems you have. This really helps with high speed stability. You will also be using more of your shock stroke improving the quality of ride. After you install the link, you will need to increase your rear spring preload and dampening settings a little. This is an affordable bolt-on aftermarket modification. Kouba, Devol, and Slingshot Racing are some of the popular brands. The hot deals are on eBay! With this lower link modification, the ideal rear sag should be 3.7 to 4.2 inches.
3. Your Clutch:
As a top level expert, your are going to abuse the crap out of your clutch. I mean really abuse it! Get some good fiber clutch plates like Barnett, Wiseco, or EBC. Your clutch is such a good tool for going fast, plus the fiber clutch plates replacement cost is less than a tire. Shop around. Keep an extra set of the metal drive plates, fiber clutch plates, clutch basket, motor oil, and springs in your truck. You may find an good used clutch basket on eBay cheap. If you use your clutch the way you should, you will be replacing the fiber plates every 5 or 6 races. You can replace the steel drive plates at the end of the season. Inspect your basket, as you may want to replace it at the end of the season too. If your bike is a four stroke, change your oil after a weekend of racing. With a two cycle bike, you can change the oil every time you replace the fiber clutch plates. You may want to try stiffer clutch springs too. Stiffer springs is like getting extra instant horsepower, but causes more wheelspin. If you race on sandy tracks, stiffer clutch springs are better. If you feel like spending money, get you a full Hinson clutch setup with basket. I hear the forged Wiseco clutch basket is the best, however I never had an OEM basket fail.
4. Sprockets and Chain
Experiment with gearing for the type of tracks you race, and your riding style. Just dropping one tooth on the countershaft, can turn 3rd gear corners, into 4th gear corners! This means you will be grabbing 5th on the straightaway! Most bikes are geared too high for motocross. It is better to make 1st gear useless so you can use the top gear on the fastest straights on the track. This is how they tune gearing for Indy and NASCAR. For the "Ride a Gear Higher" go fast tip below, a gearing change could be big! Starting a gear higher out of the gate and fanning your clutch could be a big holeshot advantage too. If your bike is already fitted with a 13T or smaller countershaft sprocket, it may be better to go up 4 teeth on the rear instead. Going up 4 teeth in the rear will require a longer chain though. My stock rear sprocket is 48T. I run a 52T, but keep an 50T, and 54T rear sprocket handy if I feel the need for a change. Just going from the stock 48T up to 50T feels like it ads a few horsepower. As for chain, avoid the O-ring and X-ring types as they suck the horsepower out of a bike. I have good luck with the JT Sprockets HDS Gold chain. The JT is priced cheap and last a long time. To get a better chain, you have to spend twice as much money. I replace the chain and sprockets every 12 races anyway, so why spend more?
5. Get You a Cheap Used Practice Bike
The first reason to get a beater practice bike is it saves wear and tear on your primary racing machine. You will ride your primary race bike really hard. You don't want to be rebuilding your engine every three races! The second reason is, an old bike has average suspension and less power. It is also pipey and difficult to keep the engine singing. During practice, an old beater like this will teach you how to pick good lines and ride with the throttle pegged. I picked up an used 96 Suzuki RM 125 for $650 that ran perfect. I got so good on the practice beater, I thought about racing it. The old two stroke was cheap to maintain too. After riding the RM 125 for 6 laps, I can get on my new YZ and go like a bat out of hell. My buddy does just the opposite. He will ride fast laps with a Powroll Honda XR680 desert bike. Afterwards, he says his CRF-450 feels like a toy. Some of the cheapest reliable beater bikes you can still get parts for are the 1992 and newer Yamaha YZ, Suzuki RM, Kawasaki KX, and Honda CR. It does not really matter if it is a 125 or 250. The 250 will give you longer service life, and the 125 will teach you more. As far as suspension, there is not a whole lot of difference between 1992 and brand new bikes. Sure the new machines will give a better ride, but no real advantage to going fast. Look at this kid racing an old 1985 CR250 against new machines! These old bikes were good enough for Jeff Stanton, Damon Bradshaw, Guy Cooper, and Jeff Ward! Two strokes are very inexpensive to keep running. Quality wise, I bet they are just as good as what you are racing now. On Craigslist or eBay you can buy one for under an $1000 if you deal! Set up your beater so the handlebars and controls feel the same as your race bike. Put on a good front tire, and tune the suspension so it is stiff in the front, and a little soft in the back. Even though your beater is a completly different machine, you want it to feel a lot like your race bike. Compare the cost. $1000 beater practice bike VS $2500 thumper rebuild.
1. Ride a Gear Higher and Abuse the Clutch: (is this the Fast Fairy?)
| Practice Time and Riding Techniques|
A. This is the #1 tip on the whole page for going faster. Thirty years ago, a Yamaha factory pro I wrenched for told me this trick when I asked "why are you so dang fast?". I was shocked when it really worked for me.
Practice going everywhere around the track a gear higher than normal. Use your clutch to keep your engine singing. Abuse the heck out of your clutch, and shift less often. Use the middle or high line (outside line) going through corners. Start by not going below 3rd gear in the corners. Keep fanning your clutch so your engine will not bog down. It will feel weird at first riding this way. After about 10 laps, you will get the hang of it. After a few days practice, you will be cutting 30 seconds, or even a minute off your lap times. There will be a few times when you feel like you are running out of race track. You may even hit a few tires or straw bales, but that is OK. You will not feel you are riding over your head or going much faster. The stop-watch will say you are much faster. If fact, you will get faster every time you race. I know this sounds too easy. Work hard on this, and next weekend you could be smoking everyone! Listen to how this young expert works the clutch on his 125 TM. Pay attention to the lines he is taking while abusing the crap out of his clutch. Hammond is beating 450s on his little 125! - Turn up your sound and view video.
B. Ride a Gear Higher Added benefit: You will crash less often using the "Ride a Gear Higher" method. Here are the reasons why. You are using the high line through the corners. With the berm, the high line is like a Hot-Wheels track guiding you. Taking the high line, the corner is not as tight. Tight corners can cause lowside or highside crashes if you come in too hot. Come in too hot on the high line of a corner and you only go for a ride in the weeds, instead of falling down. By abusing the clutch to get the engine singing, you know when the power if going to be there. The old way of anticipating when the mid range engine hit is going to come, is not as predictable (I owned an early CR 500). When carrying more speed through the corner, the rotating wheels work as a gyroscope. This reduces sudden direction change surprises. Now you know why experts crash less often.
C. Exceptions to the outside line: Use some common sense here. If the outside line through a corner is nasty, use the inside line. On a series of small turns the inside line could be quicker. On a bananna shaped turn, cutting to the inside could straighten it out.
2. Keep Upright When On The Gas:
This tip applies to powerful bikes like the 450s. During hard acceleration or braking, keep your bike upright. This will give you the most traction and control. Lean through a corner as short time as possible. Get upright, fan the clutch, and get on your way. Same with braking going into a corner. The racer in this video shows how it is done. The one exception to this rule is flat sweeping corners. The second exception is if your are racing a small bike (125) where you can keep the throttle pegged all the time.
3. Get The Holeshot....To The 2nd Turn: Winning the first lap.
This trick was used by Jim Pomeroy at the Spanish Grand Prix. Jim passed 9 riders through the first turn and ended up winning the moto! He repeated this tactic and won the second moto too! Just face the truth. Your odds of getting the holeshot to the first turn are one in twenty. However odds are high, a slower rider will get the holeshot and cause everyone to bunch up on the inside of the first turn. Most first turn crashes will be on the inside groove of the corner. Your goal is to be the first one to the second turn. Line up so you will be the first one to the outside line of the first turn. As everyone else is bunched up, you are in position to get to the second turn first. It really boost your confidence when you pass 6 riders in one corner! Most tracks where the first turn goes to the right, the second turn goes to the left. The first 4 turns of the moto are so critical. If there is a time to race like a crazy madman, it is the first lap. Every rider you try to pass later on in the race is a crash risk. It is best to get around as many riders as possible the first lap when they are all tense and have the jitters. Most racers feel the need to get through the first lap alive, then start racing. This is when to smoke them! During practice holeshots, work on taking the outside line through the corner flat-track style. Do it over and over again until you have it down perfect. Pratice for left turns and right turns.
4. Corner To Corner Drag Race: where to run wide open
In your mind, break down the track from corner to corner. Figure out what lines you will use to get from one corner to the next. During pratice, drag race as fast as you can from one corner to the next. There are obstacles like jumps and woops to make it difficult for you. Keep trying until you find the fastest way to get through these obsticals. Before a race, walk the track alone taking notes. During pre-race practice memorize every area on the track where you can run wide open.This where to run wide open tip is really big as you can gain a lot of ground here. Take the last practice lap at 90% full race speed and try not to run over anyone.
5. Know The Track! If you know the track well, you know where you can really fly and take a few chances. You will be surprised that most racers don't know the track that well before they race. The first moto is like a fast trail ride for them. This can be a huge advantage for you if you know the track! Show up real early or the day before. Draw a map of the track the first time you walk it. Walk it a second time, and highlight the go fast places on the track. Also mark the jumps and nasty whoops. Race around the map with you finger using mind-vision you are on your bike. After several laps you will embed this map into your memory. Knowing the track is the main reason many local experts beat the national pros when they visit.
6. Faster Through The Whoops:
What most amateurs don't know, is you can really get through a stretch of waist deep woop-dee-doos 30% faster than you think you can. On a practice track, try to ride through the whoops just 5 mph faster. Each time you go through them, increase your speed more. Keep pushing the speed until you know you are going to get bucked off. Now you know your limit. Your limit is a lot higher than you thought! Try the 3 different styles to attacking whoops at speed to see what works for you and your bike. You may get bucked around a lot, and feel out of control. With whoopies, you are not really out of control unless you are laying on the ground! Remember to try and maintain a steady speed through the whoops. It helps if you hit them a gear higher.
A. Pommel Pogo: Standing with your weight slightly back, arm muscles loose, leg muscles loose, and let your bike work under you. Slam in to the whoops and go for the ride. If you hit them fast enough, you will only skim the tops. You might end up with both feet on the same side of the bike, and this is OK.
B. Wheelie man: Standing with weight back and front end light to keep the forks unloaded. Your front tire only hits the tops of evey whoop. Get out of time and you could go down. You see this method used by most supercross racers on TV. This was the most popular style before bikes had long travel suspension.
C. Bronco style: Sitting near the front of the seat with your feet forward and off the pegs, arms straight, strong grip, shoulders back, letting your bike work under you. Slam in to the whoops and go for the ride. If your suspension is good, your butt will float a few inches above the seat from it smacking you. With enough speed, you will just skim the tops. You might do a few handstands, and this is fine if you can get composed. Can you stay on for 8 seconds? Back in the 1980s and 90s, everyone was using this style. You don't see it much anymore. It might be because seats are so thin now. One thing for sure, you can really dazzle the spectators!
I have seen all 3 different styles work. All different riders and different bikes. After a few practice sessions, the out-of-control feeling will go away and become "normal". You may not walk normal though. I always start with "Wheelie Man" and switch to "Pommel Pogo" about half way through them. This might not work for everyone. Video: In this whoops contest, rider #2 is fast using the Pommel Pogo style (he was the world MX champion!). The other rider that wins at the end is using a mix of Wheelie Man and Pommel Pogo.
D. Then there is Danny Magoo style: It is the fastest method if you can pull it off. Hit the first whoop at full speed so it is like a small jump, and clear as many whoopies as possible. When you walk the track in the morning, see where at on the first whoop has the best launch angle. If you can't get the elevation, you may just skim the tops of them, and this is fine. If you are lucky, you will time it so you will not nose-dive into the bottom of one of the whoops. There is a 50% chance you will land wrong. Do you feel lucky? A few crazy top level pros use this style on outdoor tracks. Make sure a friend is near that knows first-aid.
7. Weight on The Pegs:
During jumps get your feet light on the pegs when you get to the crest. It is just like when you bunny-hop your bicycle over your little sister laying on the sidewalk. You will go higher and farther. Under hard acceleration, keep your feet heavy on the pegs. This will give you more traction. With sweeping turns, keep your weight heavy on the outside foot-peg. You will be surprised how much more speed you carry through a sweeper. This comes natural to most people. This tip is for those that don't get it naturally.
8. Using The Brakes...or Not
Don't think about them too much. Since you will ride a gear higher taking the high line around the track, the brakes only serve one purpose; to keep from overshooting corners. Slow down only enough to make the turn, then get back on the gas. There are all kinds of advice and full articles in biker magazines telling you how important brakes are. I have even seen an story that says: you can go faster by using the brakes! It is all hogwash! They are filling you full of bullcrap that will make you slower! These articles were most likely written by enduro riders. Enduro guys like their brakes.
You know the mental side of motocross is a big part of going fast. Look at the fast guys that beat you every weekend. Their bike is not any better than yours. You have just as much racing experience as they do. Why are you slower? Could it all be in your head?
1. Talk To Yourself: This is big! The #2 go fast tip on this page!
A. Did you know you have a turbo-charger switch in your head? I use it when I need to go faster or pass someone. When you need a short burst of fast, just go whoohaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa real loud in your head like your turbo kicked in. You can't ride slow making that noise! It really works! I told a friend, and he started doing the turbo thing. He got fast real quick! He is addicted to the turbo. He even does it out loud while driving his van, and scares the crap out of me! You must try it.
B. Also let the other voice in your head keep giving you tips like; keep control, get on the gas, you are invincible, no more mister nice guy, time to get serious, you can fly now, die a hero, and gain ground quick. It is just like having a co-pilot! Now if you do something stupid, you can blame that other voice in your head. You may need to see a shrink when the season is over.
2. Ride 75 to 100 yards ahead:
Concentrating on the track directly in front of you will really slow you down. Ride with your vision 75 to 100 yards ahead, and time will seem to slow down, but you will go faster.
3. No more coasting or pacing yourself.
What are waiting around for? You are in a race fool! A real race! Get on the gas!
4.Want the Holeshot:
If you do not think you will get the holeshot, you won't. Play it out in your mind over and over. After 20 feet out of the gate, keep your front end light. Even if the guy next to you has a faster bike, you are going to stay on the gas longer and own the first turn. It is a game of chicken, as the first one to chop the throttle looses. Wan't it badly, and it could be yours. Also see the holeshot to the 2nd turn tip talked about above.
5. Add an easy six horespower! Most of the horespower is in your head! The 54HP 450 racers can only take advantage of all that power a few times each lap. If you run wide open just 10 seconds more per lap, it is just like having 60 horsepower! On many tracks, the 250s will run the same lap times as the 450s, yet the 450s have an 15 horepower advantage. This is proof a lot of horepower and speed is in your head! You need to hop-up your brain instead of your bike!
6. Pushups and Stairs
Do two sets of 60 kitchen counter pushups every other day. These will be easy. Place your hands on the edge of the kitchen counter with your feet on the floor. The counter is about the same height as your handlebars. Do the pushups at double speed. Give 30 minutes to rest, then do 60 fast pushups again. This is the best exercise to prevent arm pump! Climb stairs to strengthen your legs. If you don't have a stair-climber machine, go to a football stadium. Work out on the stairs until it really hurts. If you can't find any stairs, a long steep hill will do. These exercises work the same muscles as in motocross. Whoever is in the best physical shape could be the fastest on the last lap. Do not work out the day before you race.
1. Ride a gear higher and abuse the clutch.
|Top 10 Tips - Go Faster Summary|
2. Mental: Talk To Yourself, Turbo Switch.
3. Places I can run wide open on the track?
4. Get faster through the woop-Dee-Doos
5. Vision: ride 75 to 100 yards ahead.
6. Know the track. Huge advantage!
7. Get the holeshot to the 2nd turn. Want it!
8. Front tire choice is very important.
9. Suspension: Stiff in front, slightly soft in rear.
10. Have an old beater practice bike.
Printable Summary To Keep With You