Cutting in your own Single Track

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11/30/2020 12:17 PM

With access to some fresh woods I was given the chance to cut in some fresh single track. I've definitely done trail work before, but never planned out a trail system.

What are your tips ands tricks?

Here's the fruit of my labor:

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12/6/2020 8:21 PM
Edited Date/Time: 12/6/2020 8:23 PM

I recently had the opportunity to cut in some single track on a friends 50 acres. 1st I took my gps and rode the perimeter.
Then I divided the land in quadrants going north to south. I tried to keep my tracks in that quadrant so I could use all of the property. Worked out better than I thought because I was forced to use a limited space (the quadrant).
I can run either direction. I started making it too tight because I was on foot. Then I started bringing the bike. The fallen trees made it even more fun.

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1/2/2021 12:53 PM

I've got a few acres of public bush near my house that nobody touches, I've been building trail in there the last few years. I too made it too tight at first, but seem to have figured out how tight is too tight.
It is a lot of work, because I have a lot of dead stuff and every year in the spring it takes me days just to cleat the trail back open and then I'll spend a couple weeks making more trail as the snow is still melting in the spring.

I am trying to find a good app for my phone that will trace the trails as I walk them and then overlay it on google earth so I can plan out the next extensions.

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1/9/2021 12:30 PM

I did some last year on a friends property. We both love super tight hard enduro stuff. That being said, we ended up loosening it up a ton after we rode it the first few times. When we were cutting it in, we thought that it was tight but good. Once we rode it, we realized that it didn't really have any flow.

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1/10/2021 11:19 PM

The best trail cutting tool I found was a machete. Honestly, they are awesome. One quick swipe and it clears brush, branches, small logs. when we used to cut in new trail, we’d rig up a holder for a chainsaw on one of our bikes. And each of us would have some sort of “sheath” for our machetes to mount up. Probably sketchy as far as safety wise, but it worked well. We’d also walk the trail and use the machetes to clear a path.

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1/14/2021 4:43 PM

One thing to be mindful of when cutting in single track...you are going significantly slower when you cut it in that when you will be riding it.

So, people have a tenancy to make turns to close together, or to tight...which works great when you're going a gear or two slower than your normal riding pace...but when you start riding it at a normal pace, it doesn't flow well, and corners end up getting blown out.

I find it best to kind of "weave" through trees brush, heading in the same general direction (rather than a ton of sharp major direction changes).

That's not to say that you shouldn't have tight, sharp turns...but if the entire trail is like that, it ends up not flowing well, turns get blown out, and its not as fun.

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1/17/2021 9:13 PM

I've ridden on a trail that was cut in by a buddy who rides a KTM 200, it's got some crazy tight turns around the outsides of big trees, so close you have to stay upright through the whole turn. This makes it challenging, but I wouldn't recommend more than a couple like this. It definitely kills the flow for me on my 450. I like to be able to lean and almost drag the bars though, grew up riding with no trees, just occasional catus, sage brush, and yaccu plants. The trees being in the way still bothers me sometimes.

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I work to provide for my family, I ride to keep my sanity.

1/18/2021 12:23 PM

Timo wrote:

I've ridden on a trail that was cut in by a buddy who rides a KTM 200, it's got some crazy tight turns around the outsides of big trees, so close you have to stay upright through the whole turn. This makes it challenging, but I wouldn't recommend more than a couple like this. It definitely kills the flow for me on my 450. I like to be able to lean and almost drag the bars though, grew up riding with no trees, just occasional catus, sage brush, and yaccu plants. The trees being in the way still bothers me sometimes.

I kept it a bit tighter than open for this first go. I like to snake through the trees and to keep the speed low for the kids to get started. There are two more groves where I plan to have a few more straight aways and more open turns.

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Purveyor of Awesome
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1/30/2021 7:52 AM

when I layout trails. I use google earth to look for contour lines, then I walk and walk and walk to get a feel for how the trail could flow both up and down
think about having a nice run into hills so the squids don't wreck your work in a day, having a super teck trail is great until some moron comes and gets stuck on a finger sized root and diggs a massive hole with their tire - obviously if you are on private land you don't have this problem
Get ready to start dreaming about trail cutting - spring and fall are the best times for scouting, the undergrowth is dead and you can a line much easier.

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2/12/2021 1:01 PM

Hardest thing about cutting in on foot ia making it too tight. Normally I try and have flowy corners and straight lines for a minimum of 100 yards. Then ride it on a MTB to get an understanding of it.

Alot of trial and error learning what works and what doesnt.

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There are two kinds of people against dirt bikes, those who never tried and those who weren't good at them.

2/13/2021 7:03 AM

I actually started using a small 4wd four wheeler. because I kept finding myself making the trails so tight when I cut them walking that they didn’t flow very well and they weren’t as fun.

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2015 Husqvarna FE501s
2020 KTM 250xc
2019 Yamaha YZ250F

2/13/2021 7:32 PM

Don’t cut small saplings, use a sledge near the base while pulling on it to remove the roots and such.

Falling on small bucked stumps is no good.

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2/19/2021 6:31 PM

fins227 wrote:

Don’t cut small saplings, use a sledge near the base while pulling on it to remove the roots and such.

Falling on small bucked stumps is no good.

Yep, big pet peeve of mine. Lots of guys too lazy to remove them or cut them flush low to the ground, so they leave 6" punji sticks waiting to impale you.

Moto is dangerous enough on its own without adding unnecessary man made death traps.

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