3 Jul 2019

Why You Need A Motocross Bike As A Second Bike

Us bikers are never happy with just one bike. We covet our bikes in a way that car owners rarely do.

Some of us ride regularly for work and for fun, others for weekend scratching, and some even ride motorcycles for a living. Bikes are becoming ever more specialised. Yes you can buy a bike that will cover a lot of bases but it’ll be compromised in one way or another.

I love my Triumph Tiger 800 XCX. For me it’s the perfect do-it-all bike. It carries luggage, is comfortable, has cruise control and heated grips and looks fantastic. I use it for work and for pleasure.

But it would be no good on the track. It has enough power but its weight is too high, its suspension too squashy and its brakes would start to overheat after a couple of laps.

For track use you want something a little lighter, lower and with better brakes. More power would be helpful but its more important that the bike has a good balance. On my one and only motorcycle track day I used my Triumph Street Triple 765 RS.

The Street Triple is a beautiful looking machine. It sounds good too. For that day on that track I felt amazing. Man and machine in perfect harmony. Whilst out on track I couldn’t have been happier. I could have run on and on for hours more.

My only concern was how much it would cost if I crashed it. The 765 RS is a ten grand bike and you aren’t insured on track.

I eventually sold the Street Triple because it was too focussed, too hardcore for the road. I didn’t find it comfortable in terms of the ride and riding position. In certain circumstances it was absolutely amazing but for more than fast road riding or track time it was too narrow in scope for me.

After the track day I went on a completely different kind of motorcycle experience day. I attended an off-road school. It was the Yamaha off-road school in Mid-Wales.

These bikes aren’t sleek and low and powerful. They are tall and narrow and run comparatively small engines with just a single cylinder, a handful of horsepower and knobbly tyres.

And they’re an absolute hoot to ride.

You still have to wear specialist clothing such as boots, helmets, gloves and suits, all of which you can buy from 24mx. The gear all has a purpose. Motocross boots are rigid and prevent you damaging your foot in one of your frequent spills. The clothing also needs to protect you from the elements because motocross riding is messy and muddy and wet.

The fun in motocross comes from the type of roads, trails and tracks you ride on. I’d never ridden off road before but by mid-morning was riding my 250cc beast around a forestry track that was so churned up it looked impossible to walk over, never mind ride a bike through.

You stand on the pegs and mostly ride at low speed, using extremely fine throttle, brake and clutch control. The bike’s front wheel is narrow and tall and spoked for strength. You can aim it at impossibly steep inclines and the smaller, fatter rear wheel will drive it forwards.

Unlike on a track bike if you do crash a motocross bike it will probably be at low speed and the likely damage will be minimal. In fact it would be amazing if you didn’t crash on your first few tries at it. You’ll pick yourself up, analyse what you did and try not to do it again.

Motocross is so much fun that were I to buy another bike I’d seriously consider one over a track focussed bike. You can buy motocross bikes for the road so that as long as your nearest green lane or off road track is not too far (they’re not very comfortable on a long journey) you could ride there.

By Matt Hubbard