The Differences Between Off-Road and On-Road Bikes

Off-road motorbiking (also referred to as dirt biking), is the act of riding off-road on a motorcycle. It can refer to both recreation and racing. The objective of off-roading with a motorcycle is to ride across rough terrain or obstacles, such as hills, dunes or rocks. Off-road motorcycles are built or modified for this specific purpose. When off-roading, the rider often encounters tough obstacles, such as boulders or trees. This article explores some of the differences between on-roading and off-roading bikes.

The tyres

The main difference between on-road and off-road motorcycle riding is the tyres used. Off-road motorcycles are equipped with special tyres that can withstand the rigours of riding off the pavement. They have thick, durable sidewalls to resist punctures from flying rocks and debris and a tread design that provides traction on loose surfaces. Some manufacturers provide tyres that can be fitted to road bikes for use in extreme conditions where the road is not visible through deep mud or water holes.

The size

Off-road motorcycles are typically larger and heavier than their on-road counterparts. They have to be able to take rugged terrain, so they have a longer wheelbase, more ground clearance and stronger frames. The long wheelbase and high ground clearance provide stability at high speeds on rough surfaces. Stronger frames allow the suspension to absorb larger bumps without significant damage or wear.

The suspension

In addition to large tires, off-road motorcycles often come equipped with suspension systems that include shocks for absorbing bumps and heavy-duty springs for supporting the weight of riders who ride off-road. On-road motorcycles do not need these features because they only encounter smooth roads.

The seat position

The seat position on off-road motorcycles is lower than on-road bikes. This is to accommodate the higher centre of gravity needed to get control of the motorcycle in rough terrain. Also, because most off-road riders wear body armour, it is not practical to position them so high up that their legs would hit the seat. Because off-road riders spend an awful lot of their time standing up, seats are often found further forward when compared to on-road bikes. The seat on an off-road bike may also be angled to allow for an easy transition between standing and sitting.

If you would like to find out more, you should make contact with a local company which supplies motorsports equipment and accessories. A member of the team will be happy to help you further.