While it's true that some dirt bikers also ride mountain bikes, and vice versa, there are a lot of dirt bikers that don’t. People have different passions, and that's great. I am not trying to convince motocross guys to switch to mtb freeride or downhill. I am not trying to convince dirt bike enduro or desert riders to switch to mtb cross country or all mountain. But what I am suggesting is that spending some time on a mountain bike can be of HUGE value to your dirt biking progression. So if you’re interested in improving your dirt bike riding skills in a fun way, here are four things that mountain biking can do for your dirt biking:

Mountain bike rider sitting on a berm with his bike and mountains in the background.

1. Get you in better riding shape. Mountain biking works a lot of the same muscles that riding a dirt bike uses. From your quads, glutes, and calf muscles, to your arms, hands and core, mountain biking will help to exercise and build up those muscles. It will also dramatically increase your cardiovascular endurance. So while the downhill is where most of the fun lies with mountain biking, go out and earn it. Think of the uphill on a mountain bike as training for your next moto. It will give you the endurance you are looking for on your dirt bike.

2. Mtb riding will improve your balance. And I mean really improve it. A mountain bike will teach you a lot about how to position your body correctly to avoid crashes and ride faster. Because a mountain bike has no throttle and it is much more lightweight and nimble, your body positioning is SO IMPORTANT. While it is also very important on a dirt bike, a dirt bike gives you ways to make up for bad technique or body positioning such as being able to throttle out or the ability to dab your foot. Both things that are impossible or more difficult to do on a mountain bike.
A guy riding a ktm dirt bike in the red sand in southern Utah.
3. Mtbiking will teach you to keep you to ride looking ahead and help you learn to pick lines. It's no secret that a mountain bike is lighter, has skinnier tires, and less beefy suspension. That's one reason why it can be such a thrill. You feel every bump and rock on a mountain bike. But that also means you have to take extra care to pick the correct lines. Obstacles that dirtbikes would roll over without you even noticing, a mountain bike could get hung up on. So it teaches you to be alert and stay looking ahead, planning each line and move. A valuable skill that will transfer over to dirt biking.

4. Mountain biking is easier to do on a time crunch. One of the nicest things about mountain biking is that the prep to ride is quick. For a lot of people, mountain bike trails are closer, making it more accessible during the work week or on a time crunch. It also requires less gear than dirt biking. Throw on some shoes, helmet, and gloves, and you're all set to shred. Not to mention loading the bike is super quick and easy. In the space of just 1-2 hours, I can get a good mountain bike ride in. Whereas dirt biking typically takes a half to full day.

Bird of Paradise Gripit glove holding onto the handlebars of a dirt bike.

4. Riding mountain bikes is a blast. I grew up dirt biking for years before I really got into mountain biking. And quite honestly, on a day off work, I would much rather be riding my dirt bike. But I’ve developed a whole new passion for two wheels through mountain bikes. It's a rush and there is no better feeling of accomplishment than completing a rigorous climb. And then as a reward, you get a fast and flowy downhill.

So if your true passion lies with dirt bikes, I'm right there with you. But open your mind to another sport with two wheels. Recognize the positives of riding mountain bikes and if anything, use it as a fun way train and improve your dirt biking. 

A guy wearing Gripit Gloves riding a mountain bike with a mountain sunset in the background.

Parker Dolbin