Is it a coincidence that almost every successful roadracer trains by riding a motocross bike? No, it isn’t.
Riding motocross does two essential things for the roadracer. First of all, it reinforces his comfort with sliding the bike. Second, it helps condition him as an athlete.
If you’ve never ridden a motocross bike on a motocross track, you don’t fully understand the latter point. Riding motocross is incredibly tiring. If your conditioning isn’t excellent, a few laps on a moderately difficult track will have you pulling back into the pits for a nap.
Actually, riding laps on a motocross track isn’t that difficult if you aren’t trying to go fast. Push it, however, and you’ll get tired quickly, unless you have been training — and training hard! This point was driven home for me recently, when I got back on a motocross track after being away for several months. My riding technique was rusty, but that solved itself fairly quickly. My conditioning (or lack of conditioning — this would be more accurate), made riding more than a couple of a laps at a time extremely difficult. This is despite the fact that I can go to the gym and put in a relatively decent cardiovascular workout.
Why does motocross require so much conditioning? That’s probably a complex subject to tackle in this article — I’ll pass. I do know that more than one scientific study places motocross racers at or near the top of the list of well-conditioned athletes.
If you ride street bikes (cruisers, sportbikes or whatever), buy yourself a motocross bike — new or used. Take it to your local track, and ride. You’ll be shocked how difficult it is to ride for any length of time before you get tired, but it’s fun, great training for your street riding, and a great workout.