Ping talks about how to buy a used bike, how to corner like a pro, and if running tracks in the opposite direction is a good idea.


@PING is brought to you by Troy Lee Designs, Eks Brand, and VP Racing Fuels.


Could you maybe spread some of your wisdom on what to look for when buying a used bike in different regions of the USA? I would think bikes are used differently here in PA compared to most bikes in Southern California. Thanks


Roached out?


Obviously, the hour meter is a good start, if there is one. This doesn’t always represent true hours though, as they are often added later. A visual inspection will tell you more than anything else; Is the bike clean or did they do a half-assed wash job on it? Is the sprocket worn down to little nubs? Is there rust on anything? You can usually get a pretty close guess on the hours once you see it in person. As you mentioned, there are parts of the country that would be worse than others to pick up a used bike. The east coast has more mud, more humidity and more sand than the west coast, and none of those are a good environment for a dirt bike. The northern states can be good, because in some of them you can only ride for five or six months out of the year. It’s tough to destroy your bike when it's parked half the year. The only thing you have to be careful of on the west coast is that it wasn’t a Glamis bike. I’ve seen 250 two-strokes that look brand new, even have the dimples on the tires, but they’ve had half of the Imperial desert go through the motor. Sometimes the local bro-brahs don’t know you have to put oil on an air filter. I’d say, go with your gut. If you’ve been around bikes enough you can spot issues by having a good look. 



I really liked your videos/articles on turning. I'm 58, been riding since I was 12... I have a lot of bad habits when turning. The worst of them, though, is that when I read articles like yours I tend to think in "steps." So, I think, "okay... braking," and I brake. Then I think, "okay... sit down and give it gas in one fluid motion." So, I sit down. And then give it gas. And, oops... there goes the "one fluid motion." All the time I'm trying to keep my butt in position and lean forward so I look like Ryan Villopoto coming out of a corner. It's not smooth, it's not fast, it feels like crap.

Second problem is that it seems like there's a certain speed for a turn. It's like skiing moguls or skimming whoops... you gotta be a certain speed to do this. I can't make a rutted corner going slow, ya know? You put these things together and it's really frustrating for this Old Dog to get a better cornering style. Do you have any tips or tricks for getting things to FLOW? Have YOU ever had to really work at something to get it down? How'd you get 'er done? Or did you? So many Q's. 

High Plains Squid

Never too old to practice fundamentals.


I totally get where you’re coming from and I’m sure you’re not the only one having this problem. I’ve been riding since I was three, so some of the basics come naturally to me, as I’m sure they do more professionals. But when it comes to sports like surfing, golf, tennis, and others, I can totally relate. What I try to do, and I would suggest for you, is to pick one or two things and focus on those at the track. It’s easy to get so much information you look like a first-timer having a seizure on the bike as you work things out. For starters, try to remember that the track is one, flowing circuit, and try to attack it as such. Instead of charging into the turn, grabbing a handful of brakes, dropping down on the seat, throwing your leg out, and then grabbing a handful of throttle… the end goal is to link it all together. That means you’ll need to slow down at first and take your time. Start by focusing on the entry: braking, line selection, and sitting down to put your foot out. Don’t even worry about how it looks coming out, just get that part sorted out. And I would suggest using the same few turns to work on it. If you’re riding the whole track it’s more difficult to apply what you’re trying to learn. Once you have that down, start focusing on body positioning and smooth throttle application, keeping in mind that the more speed you carry into the corner the further you have to lean the bike over. Finally, accelerating out of the turn and keeping your head forward, ala Ryan Villopoto. Hopefully breaking the turn into segments will help you master the technique. Best of luck and don’t forget that you’re out there to have fun.


Hey Ping,

So being 10mins away from Budds, my home track and having had broken more bones there than any other rider that took a lap around there (per John Beasly), my question is: I hear soooo many riders love that place! And I’ve always not been a fan. Probably the broken bones part, I don’t know! Anyway, back in the day they use to flip the track one way and the next year it would be the other way. Did you or other riders like it better one way then the next? I know they quit doing it for years now and I know it’s a lot of work to switch it around. Was wondering why other tracks didn’t do this. I think it would change the atmosphere maybe and create some exciting new racing at the same track.


Budds Creek


I do remember them changing directions each year, and I thought that was cool! I actually preferred the track running clockwise; it just seemed to have a better flow that direction. That was back when the start was at the complete opposite end of the facility that it is now. Budds Creek has elevation change, great dirt and an owner who genuinely cares about his track and the venue… what’s not to love! I guess after dozens of trips to the hospital it would leave a bad taste in your mouth, but that’s hardly the tracks fault. 

I can only guess why more tracks haven’t tried this. Glen Helen used to change directions back in the day, as did Sacramento, but I can’t think of any others. Some of the problem is the positioning of the start; Red Bud couldn’t run backwards because it crosses the track in the direction they’d have to turn about 30 feet out of the gate. Some obstacles don’t lend themselves to multi-directional setups either. Can you imagine coming down horsepower hill at Washougal, flat out in 5th gear, and then dropping down the last jump into the turn? You’d kill people. I think the biggest factor is what you mentioned: It’s a lot of work. Track owners already have staggering costs to cover to get into the black ink, and spending time and money switching directions doesn’t really contribute to their bottom line. 


Do you have burning questions that need answering? E-mail Ping at ping@vitalmx.com. Want more? Click the @PING tag below to quickly find all the previous columns.

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