How To: Crossing Water


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How To:

Water Crossing with a Dirt Bike

Crossing water is one of the regular features of riding off-road motorcycle. For some riders it’s an exciting obstacle and a chance to pit their skills against the unknown, but for others it is not. The rider never really knows what is waiting for them under the water and no matter what the level of skill the rider has, sometimes a fall is just out of your control.

Tips on water crossing:

  • Beware of fast flowing water over slippery causeways. It might be shallow water but once the bike is swept away you can wind up pinned under the bike in deeper water.
  • Experienced riders will usually stand to get better balance, but less experienced riders may be safer sitting on a river crossing. Practice riding dry rocky creek beds, soft sand and mud. As you gain confidence, it is better to stand on the foot pegs more for deep water crossings.
  • Some riders keep their legs in the air to keep their boots dry, although in deep crossings this can be an advantage as there is less drag through the water, but usually it is sacrificing some control over the bike.

We take an in depth look at how to cross water on a dirt bike or adventure bike, and what to do to fix a drowned motorbike. Here are a couple of videos to show water crossing techniques for deep water and fast moving water crossings. We take a look at how to get your dirt bike running again when you’ve drowned it.

Video Credits: Dirtbike Magazine

Video Credits: DirtWiseRidingSchool

If you want to spot the experienced rider in a group, watch the various approaches to water crossings. There’ll be the rider who wheelies in, the member of the Light Brigade who tries the late charge, the submariner who inevitably finds the deepest spot, and the cautious soul who stops, looks, and maybe even walks the crossing before proceeding. The last one is your man. He’s cautious all right, amongst a group renowned for taking risks, but he’s cautious for a reason. He knows that it takes 15-30 minutes to de-water a bike, and that’s if you know what you’re doing. He also knows that oil and water do not mix, especially in sumps where it is vital for lubrication and in the creek where it pollutes, and that falling over in a river inevitably leads to getting wet. You want to spot the experienced rider? He’s the first one to walk his bike through a creek crossing. You’ll never see him spin the rear because he knows this is the quickest way to go over and it muddies or pollutes the water and damages fragile bed or bank of the creek.

Motorcycle Council of NSW, Creek Crossing

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