I'm a lifelong motorcycle addict who just bought a 2010 F800GS. I also have a YZ250f. I've ridden street bikes since 1986, took up motocross at age 53, after convincing my awesome wife that MX is a safe alternative to rugby... (from which she insisted I retire after the last surgery). My addiction started in 1969 when a friend of my parents who was a former outlaw biker and his wife babysat me. At their house, I regularly watched 'Then Came Bronson' with them, and I knew then I'd someday be a motorcyclist.
Anyway, I've owned a variety of bikes, but this is my first BMW. Bike history > Nighthawk 650, V65 Sabre, Ninja 900, another V65, Concours 1000, CB1000, Aprilia Caponord, Triumph Rocket III, XR400r, YZ250, and now the GS.
I live in Ocala (N central FL) not far from Ocala National Forest, an hour or so from Croom, and sometimes ride Spyder MX in Wildwood or Hardrock in Ocala.
Welcome! Thank you for the back story.
Your late entry into motocross intrigues me. Recently, I've been thinking about learning this style of riding. Being roughly of the same age as you at the time, and also being reasonably fit (well, maybe not after 12 months of being house bound - thanks COVID) I'm wondering if you could share that learning experience?
Enjoy the forum. You'll find many engaged and informed members. From your first post, I think you'll fit right in.
Concrete remains undefeated.
S Fl street riding had become a little boring (every road is dead flat and dead straight on a grid), and I always wanted to try a dirt bike. Thought about a dual sport, but realized the best way to learn was either an MX or Enduro. I bought a 'beater' XR400 and some gear, and basically taught myself, riding on weekdays when the track was empty. The learning curve was steep, and sometimes painful...nothing serious, but was frequently hobbling after a track day.
Almost nothing I knew from 30 yrs of street bikes carried over, other than what the controls did! I then bought a leftover new YZ250, which I found MUCH easier to ride than the XR. MX is a blast, but is incredibly demanding physically. I wish I could have had just an area in the woods to learn basic dirt riding, but S FL is very limited, it was either Miami MX 20 min away, or Okeechobee 80 miles north. Okeechobee is a sand track - WAY harder to learn than dirt, but much less painful to crash on.
For a middle aged rider, here's my advice based just on my own experience:
Invest in good protective gear - wear a neck brace and upper body protection, and consider investing in knee braces
Consider taking a few lessons if you're near a track that has decent instruction, it will save you pain and frustration
Whiskey throttle is a thing...a 250 4st is easier to manage than a 2st, and modern 450 will hurt you
Find some guys your age to ride with, informal mentoring helps a lot
Spend some time watching the better riders, note how relaxed they are and what techniques they use.
In the gym spend less time lifting heavy and more time on cardio, and also work on your flexibility and core - particularly in the beginning, you'll be 'fighting yourself' and picking the bike up often (you WILL drop it a lot) is exhausting. Getting extra weight off really helps as well. I was coming off Rugby, so although big for MX (5-10/210lbs), I was in very good shape. Im currently about 205, and am working to getting down to 190 or so. Even if you're fit, the extra bulk does you no good on the track!
Most serious MX injuries occur on jumps - look for a track with table tops, and 'roll' or drive around the big ones. Better yet, spend a lot of time on the novice or beginner track until you get comfortable. Being on the 'big track' with advanced riders flying past you at 40mph and big jumps with 10 foot dropoffs is dangerous and not fun. Even though we can be more fit than a 20 yr old, we don't bounce like he does.
Just my .02
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Welcome Mark. Thanks for the useful advice. I am sure that we all hope you will visit and enjoy the F800 forum frequently.
Richard - Current bikes: 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM 390 Duke, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior.
Welcome, Mark, from the coast of Kansas. You have quite an extensive story of motorcycling of all types in your background. How about two-wheel touring? Ever tried any longer (week or more) tours? You are positioned perfectly for a run down to Key West, or perhaps a trip around the perimeter of the Gulf. Both are interesting to do.
Again, glad to have you and good luck.
On the coast of Kansas
g`day Mark, bet you wish you`d kept the XR400R, i had one and loved it, other than never starting first kick from a cold start, if it had ABS it would have been brilliant, welcome aboard mate from Ozstralya (((-;