Frequently Asked Questions
Generally, in order for a child to have a sufficient attention span and skill level, the age of 9-10 would be appropriate. We have had several students attend under this age who have completed both days with distinction, but they were quite experienced riders. We like to focus on providing "great value for money" for each student so this might not be attainable for a very young rider who is at the beginner stages of learning. The first day would be applicable to them, however the second day, when we start to apply our skills in more advanced situations, usually will be a little too much for them (or their equipment). Youth riders on 50cc thru 90cc machinery (except for 65cc and 85cc "high competition" bikes) will not get the desired "value for money" return that we are wanting them to. For these riders it is advisable for them to initially focus on watching and learning from the DirtWise DVDs (plus it's more cost effective!) and then have them attend a DirtWise school at a later date once they have developed to the preferred age and/or skill level.
Previously in some cases, we have had the lesser skilled youth riders (who are old enough) attend just the first day of the school. The cost for this is $250. Sometimes we will wait until the end of the first day to re-evaluate whether the student is of a high enough skill to complete the second day of the school at a satisfactory level. Again, one of the main aims of our school is to ensure that all students receive "value for money" for their investment; you as the parent are the best gauge in evaluating your child's physical, emotional and cognitive development to make sure we are able to meet this aim.
Our two-day DirtWise "In-Depth" school spends Day 1 focusing on the fundamental skills, body position, throttle/clutch, and balance and then moves on into accelerating, braking, and flat cornering towards the end of the day. Day 2 is more advanced, trail specific situations like corner ruts, grinding, wheelies, log crossings, uphill/downhills, gullies, line selection, etc. Curriculum may vary a little bit based on the terrain of the school location and what is regionally appropriate for attending riders (i.e. in the sandy conditions of Florida, we will have a difficult time finding a place to demonstrate and practice riding in rocky conditions).
The DirtWise Academy caters to almost all levels of skill, once the rider has basic control of the clutch. We set up a lot of our skills exercises with different drills to cater to the differing levels of skill that are present.
We cater to different skill levels with each school. We just set up each skill demonstration with varying degrees of difficulty to accommodate the variety skill levels in attendance. However, the DirtWise Academy is not applicable to a rider who is just beginning to ride (i.e. having trouble operating the clutch), but every skill level above that will find it very beneficial.
Check out this testimonial from a female rider who had only been on a bike a few times - a TOTAL beginner:
I heard about Shane Watts from my friend who taught me how to ride. He had given me one of Shane’s DVD's. I watched the DVD numerous times. There was no way I could do the stoppies and wheelies Shane was showing on his DVD. I had only ridden a dirt bike 5x, ever!!!!
I decided I needed to take a class to improve my skills. When I went on-line to see if there are any classes I could take in my area, I noticed Dirtwise Academy was having a 2-day class nearby. I registered immediately.
When I told my friend about the class, he mentioned it may be too advanced for me but told me to go ahead and take it, hoping it would be just the thing I needed to improve my skills.
Not only was the class what I needed but I would recommend it for riders of all skill levels. The main thing that I learned was the 4 fundamentals of riding. This set my foundation for the weekend. I went from sitting on the bike and holding on tight to standing and relaxing on my ride.
By the end of the course, I was able to do those stoppies and wheelies I had feared on the DVD (maybe not as great as Shane or the other riders but I did do "wheelies"). Losing my fear of riding and gaining confidence to ride better is a lesson I will never forget. Shane did not let me sit out and not participate just because I was a new rider. Participation was key, it helped not only me, but all the other students to advance their skills (no matter what their skill level)
As Shane would say “riding dirt bikes is easy peasy, mate! Come on you can do it!"
Thanks for the experience, Shane. See you next year!!!
Our school doesn't focus on racing, instead it focuses on improving technical skill level so as to become not only a safer rider but also a faster rider should that be one of your goals.
Depending on the location where the Academy is held, and the terrain available, we cover about half of the same content from the DirtWise DVDs. Thus there is a lot of “new” content that we cover with the school that isn’t in the DVD. Many of our previous students have commented that a great benefit of attending the DirtWise Academy, as opposed to just watching the DVD, is that you receive immediately feedback from the Instructors as to whether you are performing the skill correctly, and on the necessary adjustments that may be needed for you to conquer the situation.
We don't separate the class into different skill levels. The way we operate the class is that we basically have a set curriculum and every student moves along with it. We set up each skills exercise so as there is different obstacles to try and conquer depending on the relevant skill level of each student. For example with log crossings we will have a small log for the novice level students, a medium sized log for the intermediate rider, and a large log at 45 degrees to the trail for the advanced level rider. The same for uphills etc.
We will always be open to the idea if the request is made and we can make room in our busy schedule.
Please contact us if you are wanting to do this. We can't gaurantee that we will be able to quickly provide school for you, but there is a fairly good chance that we should be able to get something sorted out for you. It really depends on where, when, and how many students.....
No, unfortunately we are unable to supply the motorcycles, nor do we have any contacts who may be willing to rent you a bike. Sorry!
In the past we have had a wide range of bikes make it through the course just fine. Although a dual sport bike would be acceptable for the skills covered, a "smaller" bike would be of increased benefit for your learning; that is a bike that is lighter and more maneuverable.
I see that I need to provide helmet, boots, & goggles. Do you recommend any specific type of gear and/or other riding apparel?
As far as the riding gear goes, in the past we have had some students use a street bike style helmet and the face shield obviously acts as their eye protection. However, we caution you to consider the temperatures that will be experienced during your particular class as a full face road helmet may be really hot during the warmer seasons, but would be fine during the winter. Motocross style boots are the best protection you can get for offroad riding, however a real sturdy boot will work okay as well, especially if it has coverage up and over the shin bone. Gloves and goggles are also very important, and a chest protector is a great piece of safety equipment.
I see on your website that the schools focus a lot on clutch use. Is your school applicable to riders who use an auto clutch?
About 25% of the students who attend the school have an auto clutch in their bike. The school is applicable to riders with the auto clutch. We focus on the same skills for all students, and for some of the skills the auto clutch makes it easier to perform at a higher level, where as for some others it makes it a little more difficult. We work with you to utilize techniques that make the auto clutch perform better in those situations where it may not work as well as a manual clutch.
I'm interested in seeing about some one on one riding lessons. Is this something you are willing to do?
Unfortunately due to the massive time constraints encountered by doing DirtWise Riding schools in a different part of the nation each week, we are severely limited in our ability to effectively free up any spare time to conduct one on one training. Please contact us regarding this anyway, in the chance that we may have an opening to accommodate your wish.
If you only have the ability to attend one day of the Two Day In-Depth school, the price for the one day will be $250. However, in high demand locations, preference may be given to a student who is able to attend the school in its entirety. Please note, the best gains and value for your investment will be in attending both days of the school. The best suggestion for those who only want to attend one day is for them to attend a One Day Fundamentals School for just $150.
This is a new offering for the DirtWise Academy and one that will cater to every rider's skill level, budget and time limitation. DirtWise Instructors will focus on conquering acceleration, braking and cornering (flat and rutted) skills, which are the major components of any trail or track. In this class, we will condense the skills that are covered during the first day and a half of the DirtWise In-Depth Two Day School. This class is the perfect fit for the casual or even experienced rider who is looking to really master these fundamental skills before diving in to the full two days of the DirtWise In-Depth School, or as a refresher course for previous DirtWise students. Click here to take a look at the Instructor bios for the Certified DirtWise Academy Instructors who will be teaching this course.
Cost: $150*/Student Maximum Students: 12