The A-to-Z of Off Road Motorcycling


A-Z of Off-Road Motorcycling

For the uninitiated, the off-road world can sometimes be a confusing and bewildering place.

Dirt bikers use a strange, almost alien language to communicate with each other, a dialect that outsiders might not necessarily understand. But never fear, we are here to help! As experts in dirt bike insurance, we thought we would call on our good friends at 999Lazer of Youtube fame to help us out.

If you are just getting started in the wild world of dirt bikes this article will be your best friend. It’ll help you talk the talk as you walk the walk and get you up to speed with all the dirty words and curious lingo from every corner of the off-road universe.

This is the dirt bike dictionary...

A is for…

A1 - Not the steak sauce. In dirt bike terms A1 means Anaheim 1. This is traditionally the first race of the American Supercross season and the first pro race of the dirt biking year. The Supercross series usually makes multiple visits to the Angel Stadium in Anaheim California throughout the season, hence the ‘A1’ moniker.

Outside of the MXoN this is absolutely the most hyped race in the moto world. From late September through to January, A1 is the word on everyone’s lips. It represents the unknown and new opportunities. Until the gates drop for Anaheim, anything is possible. This is a race that should be on every dirt bike lovers bucket list as it is without doubt, the best way to watch supercross live!

American Supercross A1 Anaheim

Airtime - Think Michael Jordan, but motorbikes. Airtime is the amount of time spent in the air after hitting a jump.

Dirt Bike Air Time

Arenacross - Arenacross is a scaled down version of Supercross held in, you guessed it - arenas!

Due to the smaller floor space Arenacross tracks are typically tight and technical and lap times are often sub 30 seconds. Because of their smaller, tighter tracks Arenacross races tend to provide some of the closest, most hard-fought racing in the game. Things can often get a little ‘dramatic’ let’s say…

These events are an awesome introduction to off road motorcycle sport with crowds getting very close to the action. Often there’s extra entertainment from Freestyle Motocross riders in the program. The UK’s premium series is run throughout January and February by the Arenacross UK team (AXUK) in arenas around the country.

Arenacross Dirt Bikes AXUK

Arm Pump - The nemesis of riders - fast and slow - around the world. Arm Pump a clinical condition in which an individual develops intermittent pain in the forearms after a period of exercise or exertion. The pain is thought to arise due to swelling of the forearm muscles, which affects blood flow and causes the oxygen levels to drop.

Arm Pump sucks. In motocross it typically occurs if you are gripping the bars too tight, leaving you with the feeling that you can’t hold on any longer. This problem can affect riders of any ability or fitness, and has been the blame for many bad race results. I’ll say it again, Arm Pump sucks.

AMA - There are many AMA’s in the world. The American Music Awards, the American Medical Association, etc. But what we are talking about here is The American Motorcyclist Association. The organisation that sanctions the American Supercross and Motocross Championships. In the dirt bike world, the AMA is often used as shorthand to refer to US dirt bike races. ie. ‘Mate, did you watch the AMA this weekend?’

B is for…

Backmarker – A backmarker - also referred to as a lapper - is a slower rider who is being put a lap down by race leaders. In professional races marshals are given a special flag (usually a blue one) to wave at backmarkers to let them know that the leaders are inbound, indicating that they should get out of the way. In lower levels of racing however, we do not necessarily see this. So ‘different’ methods have to be utilised to let lappers know to kindly move over…

Bail – Cricket isn’t the only sport that has bails. However, ours are a little more spectacular. Although, that’s not too difficult…sorry cricket fans.

A bail in dirt bike terms is when you hit the eject button during a crash in order to get as far away from your motorcycle as possible. It’s a last resort manoeuvre, but sometimes it’s necessary.

Dirt Bike Bail

Beach Racing - Beach Racing is one of the most spectacular forms of off-road motorcycle racing. And is a variant of enduro. As the name suggests these events are held on beaches at seaside locations and tend to take place in the Autumn. The courses are generally one to three miles in length and include many man made obstacles such as large dunes and high speed straights where competitors can reach speeds of over 100 MPH!!!

Beach races tend to attract large numbers of competitors. Both amateur and professional riders compete at the same time, which makes for an awesome spectacle. Conditions are usually very tough, leading to many competitors getting stuck or breaking down.

The largest beach race in the UK is held at Weston-Super-Mare, which usually boasts 1,000 competitors and crowds in the region of 100,000 people.

Other big-time beach races include Red Bull Knockout in the Netherlands and Le Touquet in France.

Dirt Bike Beach Racing

Bench Racing – The art of talking crap about a rider or a race with your friends before, during and after the weekend.

Berm – We love berms. Mountain bikers know where we are coming from. But if you've only ever ridden on the road you’ll have no idea. A berm is basically a banked turn, allowing a rider to carry more speed around the corner. There are many types of berm; dust, sand, bowl etc. If you can master them all, you’ll be well on your way to conquering the competition.

Berm Dirt Bike Banked Turn

Block Pass - In the off-road world rubbin’ is racing. Sometimes when you can’t find any other way to make a move on the guy in front you just have to employ the block pass manoeuvre. This is when you deliberately cut off your opponent’s line in order to kill their momentum and make the pass stick. Block passes can be gentlemanly, friendly, and elegant overtaking moves…but a lot of the time there are just pretty damn dirty!

Blue Groove – Blue groove occurs on hardpack clay tracks. Hardpack meaning that the dirt is packed hard. Blue grove is a phenomenon in which the rubber from your tyres is being laid down on the circuit, creating a noticeable blue line on the track. Riding blue groove is more like riding tarmac than it is dirt, and it takes a different set of skills to master.

Bum Whip – When you want to whip or scrub but lack talent, this is what happens. Many a rider has boasted about their sick whips, only to look back at the footage to realise that the bike is dead straight, and the only movement was their backside. That’s a bum whip.

Bum Whip - Dirt Bike

C is for…

Case – In motocross terms a case is when you come up short on a jump. Sometimes it’s not a big deal, if you come up short and case the landing of a tabletop there’s often no need to worry. But if you come up short and case the landing of a double, or even worse a triple, you better grit your teeth, hold on tight and pray to god that you can still have kids afterwards!

Cross Up – A cross up is similar to a bum whip. A real motocross whip is initiated well before take-off. The rider commits to carving up the face of the jump to throw the back end out sideways or upwards. A cross up however is initiated well after take-off, and is simply a slight turn of the bars. Novice or intermediate riders might feel like they’ve just pulled off a sick whip. But usually the reality is far from that…

Camel Back – A camel back is a fancy backpack filled with water that many Enduro riders take with them on their ride. It’s a hydration system with a tube that feeds into the helmet, allowing riders to take a swig of water whilst on the move. It’s uncommon but sometimes during scorching hot race days motocross racers such as Mike Alessi choose to sport a camel back. What you might lose in cool points you’ll definitely gain in hydration.

Carmichael, Ricky - Ricky Carmichael is the winningest rider in motocross history. Known categorically as the greatest of all time – there’s no argument – Carmichael arguably had one of the most successful careers in sports history. Woods, Jordan, Tyson, they have nothing on this guy. Retiring at the grand old age of 26 Carmichael won five AMA Supercross titles, 10 straight AMA Motocross championships – he never lost one! - and he completed two perfect seasons. Going unbeaten in the 2002 and 2004 AMA motocross championships. Carmichael changed the game in terms of intensity and physical preparation. He is now co-host and commentator on NBC for the Supercross broadcasts.

Ricky Carmichael AMA Motocross Championships

Chainsaw – When combined with air horns this is when you know you’re at a Motocross Grand Prix!

D is for…

Double – Simply two dirt obstacles with a gap in between that is jumped in one single leap. Even the smallest jump can become a head screw if there’s a gap. Many riders have frustratingly stated that they’d hit it if only it were a table top!

Dirt Bike Double on Dirt Bike Track

Dragons back – A dragons back is a technical obstacle typically exclusively found in Supercross. Basically, it’s a small whoop section with an upward gradient with a gap jump at the end.

Day member – A day member is a non-regular attendee to your local club. They purchase a membership for a one-off race. That’s about it, nothing funny or witty to add here.

Daytona – This oceanside city in Florida is known all across the motorcycle world for the infamous bike week that is held there every year. For us dirt bikers though Daytona holds a special place in our hearts as the first ever ‘Supercross’ race was held here back in 1974. Although the race certainly wasn’t Supercross as we know it today, and the event was actually called the ‘Super Series of Stadium Motocross. Today the Daytona round of the AMA supercross series still carries on this convention. The Daytona circuit is wildly different to the rest of the tour and is pretty much a sandy motocross track located on the infield of Daytona Superspeedway. Usually coming at about the midway stage of the season, they say that the championship fight truly starts at Daytona.

E is for…

Eating dirt – Eating dirt is crashing (usually face first) into the dirt and getting a nice mouth full of mud for your troubles. Not fun…

Dirt Bike Crash Eating Dirt

Enduro – In the words of Ronnie Mac Enduro is the sport that Motorcycle racers do when they aren’t good enough for motocross…

However the official definition of this discipline is; a motorcycle sport that is a run on extended cross-country courses.

Enduro consists of many different obstacles and challenges. The main type of Enduro event, and the format to which the world championship is run, is a timecard event where competitors race a number of stages against the clock. I guess you could say that if MXGP is F1, Enduro would be WRC.

There are also several subsections within the Enduro niche, with hard/extreme enduro (enduro on steroids), sprint enduro (enduro but quicker) and Endurocross (enduro indoors) making it a fairly confusing game for outsiders to get to grips with.

There’s no denying though that Enduro and off-road riding is massively popular and easily accessible for many people around the world.

Energy Drinks –They might not be that great for you, but you can’t go too far in the dirt bike world without being bombarded by Energy Drink marketing. Whether it’s riders on the podium, headline sponsor spots or world class grid girl’s energy drinks are everywhere in MX. Much like cigarette companies did back in the day, the Energy drink giants help finance our sport in a massive way and they have done so for the best part of 20 years now…

Dirt Bike Energy Drink Of Choice, Monster

EVO – Evo means evolution. And in dirt bike terms – in the UK anyway - this is used to categorise the machines released during a period of massive progression for the sport. During this time the bikes developed and evolved massively year on year. Generally, bikes released between 1983 and 1989 are considered Evo. ‘Super Evo’ is also used to categorise bikes released between 1990 and 1999.

Honda HRC Dirt Bike Evo

Expert – This is the class you go in when you’re not quite good enough to go pro but you’re too morally sound to sandbag and get an easy win in the senior class.

Everts, Stefan – Stefan Everts is the most successful motocross Grand Prix racer of all time. The ten time world champion from Belgium is the only man that comes close to Carmichael in the GOAT conversation, especially in terms of race wins and championship titles.

He retired from racing in 2006 and has since worked at KTM (introducing the 350 four-stroke) and Suzuki. He now spends his time guiding his son Liam towards a career on the GP stage….

F is for…

Face – The take-off of a jump. Used in a sentence, ‘the face of that tabletop was rutted to hell!’

Face of Dirt Bike Jump

Flat Track (aka dirt track racing) – Flat Track is kind of like Speedway racing, but more sensible and with brakes. Flat track racing is held on clay or dirt surfaced oval circuits. It started in the USA and became widespread in the 1920’s. Unlike Speedway the motorcycles used are often modified versions of road going motorcycles, such as Indians and Harley Davidsons. Races normally consist of 12 riders with a duration of six to eight laps. As mentioned, unlike Speedway the bikes have rear brakes and gears.

FMX – Born in the 1990’s Freestyle Motocross came out of the need for dirt bike racers to stick it to the man and display their creativity. This soon developed in the death-defying discipline we know today. Events like the X Games and Red Bull X Fighters catapulted FMX into the mainstream, meaning that most people think every dirt bike rider can do a backflip…

FMX Freestyle Motocross

Four-stroke – This is what people ride when they aren’t man enough to handle the power of a two-stroke. Four-stroke dirt bikes came into prominence in the late 1990’s with the introduction of Yamaha’s YZ400 in 1998. By 2006 the entire professional arm of the motocross racing industry had made the switch to four-stroke tech. It was dark times for the die hard 2-smoke lovers...

Four Stroke Dirt Bike

G if for…

Gate Pick – In order to get a good start – and in turn finish near the front – gate pick is crucial. In motocross all riders start at the same time. And some positions on the start line are more favourable than others. Gate pick is often decided in one of two ways. At the professional level qualifying laps are logged, with the fastest man getting first gate pick. At the local club level gate pick is typically decided by picking a number (from 1 to 40) from a bucket. Your chosen number represents what number gate pick you will get. Oh, and it’s no returns. If you pick number 40 you’re stuck with it!

Motocross Gate Pick

Goon - A goon is a rider with little to no skill, who has no style and no technique, but still thinks he is the dog's danglies. Usually these guys are endlessly entertaining to watch, and some people have even been able to build careers being the best goons going… Either way, they probably would not be the kind of person you'd want to add to your motorbike insurance!

Dirt Bike Goon

Glen Helen – Glen Helen is arguably the most famous motocross circuit in the world. The track near San Bernardino in California is renowned for its giant hills and crazy elevation changes. The circuit has hosted AMA nationals and World Grand Prix’s since the 90’s.

Gnarly - A descriptive word used to explain something tough, technical, difficult or sketchy.

H is for…

High Side – Often a disastrous turn of events. High sides can occur when fast spinning tyres on a slippery surface suddenly grab a tonne of traction shifting the rider’s weight in the wrong direction and ejecting them from the seat. The next thing you know you’re eating a whole load of dirt. And we already know that sucks.

Holeshot – We often talk about holeshots in motocross. Grabbing the holeshot means that you were the first rider to make it to and around the first turn. The holeshot line is often represented by a white chalk line across the track. Prizes are sometimes given to the holeshot winner.

Holeshot Motocross

Hard Enduro- Enduro, but harder. Sometimes also known as ‘Extreme Enduro’ this is a discipline for racers that still don’t want to do motocross but are really good at Enduro. It has become one of the most challenging, brutal forms of motorcycling racing in existence. These races are designed to push riders out of their comfort zones, with extreme terrain, obstacles, and weather all coming into play.

Hill Climbing – This is a simple yet spectacular dirt bike discipline. Riders and their machines have to race up extremely steep hills, with the victor being the motorcycle which can climb the highest or make it to the top the fastest. These events are often raced using highly modified machines, with extra long swing arms.

Headshake – Scary times are in store when you encounter a headshake. This is when your front end starts shaking violently and your bars feel like they are going to be ripped from your hands. This can often be caused by short sharp braking bumps and a grip that’s not quite tight enough. Hang on for the ride and you’ll be okay!

Hawkstone – Hawkstone Park is one of the oldest, most historic tracks in the UK. Home of the Hawkstone international pre-season race and the place where one of the most famous images in motocross was taken.

I is for…

Infront – Previously known as ‘Youthstream’ Infont is the organisation behind the MXGP world championship. They are to MXGP what Dorna sports are to MotoGP. Many people have many different things to say about Infront, both good and bad. But in my opinion they have raised the level of professionalism within the sport, and during their tenure MXGP riders have become the best in the world…

Inner tube – These have pretty much been replaced by moose’s these days.

J is for…

Junior – This is the class you go in if you are sh*t at motocross. I’m joking, I’m joking, this is where you begin your motocross journey. Over time you’ll build up your skills and progress to the senior and then expert classes.

Jeremy McGrath – Carmichael may be the GOAT, but McGrath will always be the King. MC dominated the American motocross and supercross scene in the 90’s. He won a record setting seven Supercross championships – and one outdoor title – between 1993 and 2000. Racking up 72 Main Event wins on the way. A record that still stands to this day and is unlikely ever to be broken. MC was eventually dethroned by Carmichael, but during his time as champ McGrath took the sport to new Rockstar heights.

K is for…

Ken Roczen – German superstar Ken Roczen is a former MX2 world champion, 250 Supercross champion, 450 AMA Motocross champion and MXoN winner. He burst onto the scene as a 15-year-old wonderkid. He now rides for American Honda and is arguably the biggest, most popular rider in the sport today.Ken Roczen Supercross Champion

Kick Start – My dad tells me that this was a legendary TV show in days gone by, but it’s also something you prod to start a two-stroke

Kicker – We refer to jump faces that give nasty or awkward take-offs as kickers. These little bastards can really ruin your day if you’re not careful!

L if for…

LCQ – If you are racing Supercross the Last Chance Qualifier is not where you want to be. In order to advance to the Main Event you need to finish inside the top nine in your heat race. Failure to do so means you’re taking a trip to the LCQ, where the top four will take the final places in the Main. LCQ’s are a dangerous place to be, riders will do anything in order to advance to the points paying race…

Love Tap – You’ll see a few of these in most LCQ’s!

Larocco’s leap – The leap is the most infamous jump in motocross. The huge uphill triple is found at the awesome Red Bud in Michigan, and is named after former champ Mike Larocco. The jump was built over 20 years ago when Larocco – a local to the area - worked together with the Red Bud track owner to install at the race track a replica of ‘Kong’ – which was a massive triple at Mike’s personal compound. Larocco was the first man to hit the 130ft jump, and on a 125 no less. To this day the leap strikes fear into the hearts of pro racers big and small.

M if for…

Moto- A cool American abbreviation for motocross, but also used as a label for individual races. For example, Pro motocross events consist of two moto’s (races) per day.

Mini-Supercross - The mini version of Supercross is usually held in smaller stadiums. If you are familiar with the Stoneleigh show that takes place once a year, you'll know how small! It's usually pretty intense on track due to the number of bikes and the size of the track. There are smaller jumps (and sometimes concrete pillars) to contend with for the riders, but for the spectator, it's equally enthralling to watch.

Motocross – Motocross (never motorcross, but sometimes known as Moto-X or MX) is a sport held on off road circuits, which can be natural terrain, man-made or a mixture of both. Up to 40 riders race against each other and races tend to last around 20 minutes for amateurs and up to 40 minutes for professionals. It is without a doubt one of the most physically demanding sports on the planet. It is also one of the most accessible motorsports for amateurs, with the cost of bikes and entry to circuits being very reasonable compared to other motorsports.

Monster Girl– They bring the glamour to the game. The dirt bike scene still loves a grid girl, and these chicks are the best damn grid girls in the world!

Monkey Butt – Sweaty arse cracks and dirt = Monkey Butt

Mudder – A wet race.

Mudder Dirt Bike Race

MXoN – The Olympics of motocross, the Motocross of Nations is an annual team event held at the end of the MXGP season in which nations put forward a team of three riders to compete for the esteemed Chamberlain trophy. This is our world cup and the atmosphere at this race is unlike anything else. Another bucket list event for sure…

N if for…

Nac Nac – Jeremy McGrath’s signature trick and the move that kickstarted the FMX revolution. A simple, yet stylish trick that oozes cool and helped MC establish his superstar status.

Nac Nac Jeremy Mcgrath FMX Freestyle Motocross

Namur – The original cathedral of motocross. This Belgian circuit was just about as iconic as they came back in the day. This circuit was unique and unlike any other. Legendary Swedish rider Hakan Carlqvist immortalised himself as a hero of the people at this track by stopping for a swig of beer mid-moto on his way to victory. Sadly, we lost the track in 2007.

Noise – The biggest problem facing dirt bike sport today.

O is for…

OEM – OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. So basically, these are your genuine parts rather than your aftermarket stuff.

On the pipe- In dirt bike terms ‘On the pipe’ means keeping the throttle pinned and letting the bike sing.

Mini O’s – The Mini Olympics is one of the biggest amateur motocross events in the world. Held every year during thanksgiving week at Gatorback cycle park In Florida.

P is for…

Paddle – This isn’t something you do at the seaside, or an instrument you need in a canoe. In moto a paddle is a special scooped tyre used when you ride in the sand.

Pastrana, Travis – Travis Pastrana is an Action Sports icon, the first man to double backflip a dirt bike, a former AMA 125 MX and SX champion, the founder of the Nitro Circus and an all-round bad-ass.

Travis Pastrana Arenacross AX

Pinned – Keeping it pinned means having the throttle wide open.

Powerband - Contrary to popular belief they don’t come in different colours and they aren’t actually physical products. The powerband refers to where on the power curve the motor is performing most efficiently.

Premix – The secret to ever-lasting happiness.

Q is for…

Quad Bike – Something you ride when you’re scared of two wheels…

Quad Jump – A rare sight on a Supercross track, let alone a motocross track, a quad jump is fairly self-explanatory. It sees a rider leap four obstacles in one go: the take-off, two middle jumps and the landing. It is always spectacular to see and something we regularly get excited about when watching Supercross. James Stewart was the master of the quad. To this day riders size up possible quad leaps and say to themselves, ‘Yeah that’s Stewable…’

Quad Bike Jumping Stunt

R is for…

Railed – When you get a corner just right, you’ve railed it. So named because you take the corner like you were "on rails".

Dirt Bike Railed on Dirt Back Track

Rhythm Section – In Supercross this is a series of consecutive obstacles that have to be manoeuvred in the fastest way possible. Red Bull took the Rhythm section and gave it steroids with their Straight Rhythm event – which is one super long rhythm lane with no turns. Two riders’ race to the end. It’s kind of like drag racing, but way cooler.

Supercross Rhythm Section

RMZ- Kawasaki had the KX-F, Honda have their CRF, KTM has the SX-F, Yamaha have the YZ-F but for some reason Suzuki wanted to be different. They Have the RM-Z. Don’t ask me what the ‘Z’ stands for. Suzuki will be Suzuki…

Going off book for a moment. We got up close and personal with a one of a kind 149BHP Custom Suzuki RM-Z1000 recently and it was insane!

Kawasaki RMZ Dirt Bike

Roost – The dirt, rocks and stones thrown up by the rear wheel of a dirt bike. When following a big 450 being pelted by it’s roost does not feel good. It’s like being bombarded by constant paintball pellets. Not fun at all.

Dirt Bike Roost Kawasaki Dirt Bike

Roll offs – With all this roost vision can often become an issue. You’ve got two options to combat dirty goggles. Firstly, tear offs. These are thin sheets of plastic that covers the entire lens. Pull this off and you’ve got completely clear vision again. However, you’ve only got a limited amount of tear offs layered on top of your lens. The second option is the roll off system. This is a built-in system that clears a thin strip of dirt away from the goggle. The benefit of the roll-off system is that you’ve got way more pulls at your disposal.

S is for…

SAG - Suspension SAG is the amount of suspension travel used when you are sitting on your bike in a natural riding position. Make sure you set this up correctly before you spin any laps.

Sandbagging – Sandbagging is the act of deliberately making sure you are in a class that you can easily win. This might be done by simply entering yourself into a lower-level category, or even by sabotaging your own qualifying laps. Everyone knows a sandbagger…

Seat Bounce – In order to get more height or extend the length of a jump a rider might deliberately pre-load or compress his suspension before take-off. In some circumstances – often in slow speed situations – this is done by sitting down on the seat to load your suspension with your full weight whilst on the face off a jump. This is called seat bouncing.

Scrub – A move invented by James Stewart in which a rider tries to keep as low as possible over a jump in order to maintain speed and get wheels on the ground again as quickly as possible. Where a whip is all style a scrub is both efficient and super cool.

Scrub - Dirt Bike low jump - Suzuki Dirt Bike

Seniors – The class you go in when you are sandbagging and should really be in the experts…

Shredding – No paper involved here. This is what one does when they are riding damn fast on a motocross bike.

Sketchy – The opposite of smooth. Often used to describe scary moments or close calls on the track.

Speedway- Speedway is for nutters that don’t want to use brakes. It usually involves four to six riders competing over four anti-clockwise laps of an oval dirt or shale circuit. The motorcycles are specialist machines which use only one gear and have no brakes. Competitors use this surface to slide their machines sideways, power sliding or broadsiding into the bends. On the straight sections of the track the motorcycles reach speeds of up to 70 miles per hour. Did I mention they have no brakes?

Squaring off – Squaring off is when you brake hard early in the corner – often before the apex - in order to cut down and make a pass.

Stall Wall - A tall, steep single jump that is designed to slow down riders before the next obstacle. Often seen in Supercross before a set of whoops. A stall wall is not meant to be jumped, but in some cases it can be possible. See Blake Baggett at the Freestone National in 2012.

Stepdown/ Step up – A step down is a double or triple jump in which the landing is lower than the take off. A step up is a double or triple jump in which the landing is higher than the take off.

Stoked – British translation; really quite chuffed.

Supercross – Supercross is arguably the pinnacle of off-road motorsport. Held in large stadiums Supercross tracks are the most technically difficult and dangerous in the motocross world. With massive triple jumps, tricky whoops sections and mind-boggling rhythm lanes, Supercross is a spectacle unlike any other. The Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship see’s the biggest stars in the sport fighting for the most prestigious – and financially rewarding – title in the dirt bike world. SX is bad-ass.

Supermoto – This is a form of motorcycle racing held on racetracks that alternate between three kinds of track surfaces: the hard packed dirt of flat track, the irregular jumps and obstacles of motocross, and the paved tarmac of road racing. The motorcycles used are frequently custom-created combinations of off-road motorcycles and road-racing wheels/tires, known as 'supermotard' bikes. Riders also wear a combination of road racing and off-road equipment, normally road racing leathers and motocross helmets and boots.

Supermoto motorcycle

T is for…

Tabletop – The most common jump found at the motocross track is a tabletop. A tabletop can range from 10ft to more than 100ft long. The gap between the take-off and landing is filled with dirt to form flat tabletop. Meaning that not clearing the jump is safe and easy.

Tacky – When a hardpack track has just the right amount of moisture in it providing unlimited grip. That’s tacky.

Tank slapper – Very similar to headshake, but more violent and terrifying!

Trials - This is a non-speed event on specialised motorcycles. The sport is most popular in the United Kingdom and Spain, though there are participants around the globe. Modern trials riders are some of the most technical gifted dirt bike riders in the world, even if their lycra is a little dodgy if you ask me. Modern trials motorcycles are distinctive in that they have evolved to become extremely lightweight, lack seating (they are designed to be ridden standing up) and have short suspension travel.

Triple – Like a double, but just add one more obstacle.

Twin Shock – Back in the day, before the dawn of modern suspension, dirt bikes had twin shocks at the back.

Two-Stroke – Sorry, these are the answer to everlasting happiness…

U is for…

Unadilla – Unadilla in New York state is one of the most historic circuits in American motocross, having held Grand Prix’s and AMA National events in its time.

Uncle Ron – The world’s premier goon rider.

Uncle Ron Goon Rider

Under flip – A fairly rare and spectacular FMX trick.

V is for…

Valves – Something you find on a four stroke. Bloody expensive if they go wrong, I tell ya.

VMX -Vintage motocross is a booming scene right now. Old bikes are in. The nostalgia for 70’s and 80’s motocross is at a peak, meaning that the vintage bikes from the time are selling for big money. If you’ve got an old bike stashed away in your barn I’d cash in soon if I were you!

VMXdN – The Vets Motocross des Nations is a celebration of all things vintage motocross held at the historic Farleigh Castle circuit in Somerset each year. The event see’s stars from yesteryear reunited with their steeds from back in the day. It has a fun, festival vibe and is attended by a massive crowd. The main event for the weekend are the Evo and Twin shock team races, in which teams from various nations compete in an MXoN style competition.

W is for…

Whip- Also known as a Tail Whip, this is when a rider carves the face of a jump in order to flick the rear end out sideways– or even upwards – whilst in the air. This is a pure expression of style. Basketball has slam dunks, football has keepie ups, cars have drifting. We have whips.

Dirt Bike Whip Trick

WFO – Wide effing open. This means going fast or keeping it pinned.

Whiskey Throttle – The accidental twisting of the throttle which often occurs due to a lack of mental focus or due to serious arm pump/ fatigue.

Whoops – A series of small steep single jumps that are designed to be ‘skimmed’ across. Whoops are a staple of any Supercross circuit and are probably the most difficult obstacle for any rider to master.

X is for…

X games – The Olympics for extreme sports. This event helped propel FMX and other dirt bike disciplines into the mainstream.

Y is for…

Yard Sale - Another name for a big ol’ crash.

Youthstream – The former name of the organisation that runs the MXGP world championship.

YZ – Yamaha’s range of kick-ass two strokes

Z is for…

Zip tie – An essential part of motorcycle sport.

Zabel – Zabel produces monster 700cc two-stroke engines for Sidecar cross machines. Sidecar cross is for people who like dirt bikes that much they have to bring a friend with them to share in their excitement.

Now this was all we could think of, you should be fully equipped to hold your own when you next visit a dirt bike event. If you've got some terms you think should make it into our A to Z, let us know!

At BeMoto we offer cover for both road legal and off-road bikes. Speak to us on 01733 907000* to discuss your needs.

* Calls may be recorded for our joint protection

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