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What is dirt biking?

If you're new to biking and want to learn more about the different disciplines of mountain biking, you're in the right place. Today, we're offering you a look at dirt biking.

What is dirt biking?

The dirt VTT or dirt jumping is a spectacular discipline largely inspired by BMX. It consists of doing acrobatic tricks with a dirt bike specifically for dirt riding on bumps in dirt or sand or on artificial structures (ramps, modules) such as those in skate parks. Dirt can also be practiced in the city (this is called street dirt) in skate park modules.
In competition, the dirters (the name given to practitioners of the specialty) are evaluated by a jury who grade them based on the tricks performed and according to five criteria: the difficulty of the trick, the technique of the dirter, the height of the jump, the fluidity in the execution of the trick and the style.

Generally, dirt is practiced in the mountains, in ski resorts, in Bike parks, on BMX tracks, or even in bowls or skate parks in town. There are several tracks developed in France.

The main dirt tricks

Dirt consists of doing a succession of tricks. So there are many tricks, which can sometimes be combined together. Most of the tricks encountered in dirt riding are similar to those that can be found in BMX such as:

  • Bunny Up ;
  • Cross Up ;
  • X-Up ;
  • Bar spin ;
  • Bus ;
  • One-foot ;
  • No-foot ;
  • Candybar ;
  • Double Candybar ;
  • Nac-nac ;
  • One-hand ;
  • Condor ;
  • No-hand ;
  • Kick-Out (ou whip) ;
  • Can-can ;
  • No-foot Can-can ;
  • 180 ;
  • 360 ;
  • Tailwhip ;
  • Decade air ;
  • Cliffhanger ;
  • Superman ;
  • Superman Seat-Grab ;
  • Table top ;
  • Backflip ;
  • Front-flip ;
  • Nothing ;
  • No-hand suicide ;
  • Cashroll ;
  • Cork ;
  • Cork 720.

What equipment to practice dirt;

To practice dirt, it is necessary to use a adapted bike: it is usually a mix between a mountain bike and a BMX. A dirt bike is a semi-rigid mountain bike that is smaller than a conventional mountain bike (usually 26 inches) without a derailleur (so with a fixed sprocket) and with a low sloping so that the rider is not impeded by the seat when performing tricks.

Dirt bikes are not designed to travel long distances, so they are generally heavy to ensure greater solidity. Indeed, the bike needs to be reinforced in order to handle the various jumps, tricks and landings imposed on the bike. In addition, the handlebars are small and flat in order to allow the dirter to be able to handle it easily during tricks. As in BMX, the bike has only one brake with a sheath long enough to be able to turn the handlebars when performing certain tricks.
For a solid and comfortable frame, you will have to opt for an aluminum frame to practice dirt.
Depending on the wheel size you choose, your bike will be more or less maneuverable: these are usually 20, 24 or 26 inch wheels. A smaller wheel will be more maneuverable while a larger wheel will be more stable. A wheel in 24 thus offers a good compromise between the two.
You will be able to practice dirt with a rigid bike, but it is nevertheless advisable to choose a bike with a suspended fork in the front that will help you to absorb the receptions of jumps and will reduce the vibrations, especially in the wrists and forearms. It is advisable to use a 100mm or 80mm fork: the former will be more versatile, while the latter will allow you to perform more complex tricks.
In terms of price, you should expect to pay around €500 to €2000 for a dirt bike, depending on the model and materials used.

The risk of falling being important in the practice of dirt biking with jumps that can reach several meters in height, it is necessary to put on adequate protective equipment consisting of a helmet (full-face or bowl as in BMX), a mask to protect the eyes, a jacket or a specific protective vest that covers the entire upper body (shoulders, belly and back), knee pads, elbow pads as well as shin guards.

Now that you know all about dirt biking, how about doing the same with other mountain biking disciplines like downhill, marathon downhill, enduro mountain biking, all mountain biking, cross country, cross-country marathon, freeride, mountain biking, four cross, dual slalom, street mountain biking, mountain bike trial, or slopestyle?

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