Shane Watts' DirtWise DVDs
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If you're an off-road trail rider, finding videos to you help improve your riding skills can be tough. There are many more instructional videos for motocross riders than for trail riders. While cross-training with motocross drills can be helpful, trail riders require a different set of skills than MX riders (you won’t find many doubles or triples out on the trails). Off-road riders need to learn how to choose the best line, cross water without going for a swim (or worse, submerging the bike), get their bike through tight trees and slippery tree roots, and loft their front end over fallen logs. There's no substitute for seat time, but watching a pro like Shane Watts in action can help bring your riding to the next level. Wattsy’s DirtWise DVDs will help you learn to ride faster and safer while explaining the 'why' behind the 'what'.
DirtWise with Shane Watts DVD:
The first DVD in the series is DirtWise with Shane Watts. It looks like it was filmed in his native Australia and released around 2006, and the DVD is an excellent first effort. It does have numerous ads and rider interviews but that’s why they created the fast-forward button on the remote, although the rider interviews should be watched at least once. Shane covers the basic off-road riding skills including: the importance of the standing position, wheel placement, slow riding, braking technique, clutch control, and cornering. He moves on to dealing with acceleration and braking bumps, ruts, logs, steep uphills or downhills, and proper line selection. This first DirtWise DVD doesn't seem to be as widely available as the subsequent DVDs and isn't listed on Wattsy's website, so check Amazon or Ebay. Although this is considered a basic rider video, it's not for a total beginner - you'll need to at least be able to use a clutch and shift through all the gears comfortably. If you're not quite at that level, take a look at our MSF Dirt Bike School DVD post instead.
DirtWise Advanced Instruction DVD volume one:
The first DVD in the advanced series is Advanced Instructional Volume 1 (Mud, Sand and Rough Ground). In this DVD, it looks like Shane has moved to the US and is still ripping around on his two stroke KTM. The ads are almost gone, but he's introduced Wally Wanker, which was almost more annoying than the ads. Thankfully, Wally only shows up occassionally to do some goon riding and to show how not to ride a dirt bike. Shane is also much more comfortable in front of the camera than in the first DVD. This disc still focuses on the fundamentals, i.e., body position, wheel placement, throttle and clutch control, balance, and confidence, but Shane manages to present the drills so a beginner, novice, or even intermediate rider can benefit. He also shows some advanced techniques like grinding and drifting. There is a section on bike prep, including correct tire pressure, chain tension, sealing the airbox (hooray for duct tape!) how to wrap a grip, and installing a foot peg spring without losing the spring (or your eye).
DirtWise Advanced Instruction DVD volume two:
The second DVD is Advanced Instructional Volume 2 (Cornering, Braking, and Tight Trees). Taking the fundamentals from the first two DVDs, Shane ups the off-road ante by applying the skills to tougher and more technical trails. He builds on the basics with advanced techniques on braking, changing lines, brake slides, stoppies, roosting through tight trees (awesome for east coast riders!) and counter- steering techniques. He adds more bike setup and maintenance tips like adjusting the freeplay in the levers, and proper rear brake and shifter lever placement. There are a few ads, but now he's incorporating tutorials with the ads, meaning there is an ad for brake pads, but Wattsy also shows how to bleed the air out of a brake system, and replenish brake fluid properly.
DirtWise Advanced Instruction DVDs volumes three and four:
The final two videos in the series are Advanced Instructional Volume 3 (Wheelies, Logs, Rocks and Water Crossing) and Advanced Instructional Volume 4 Volume 4 (Hills, Ravines, Switchbacks and Off-Cambers). Both focus on dealing with really difficult terrain and bring together all the skills learned throughout the DirtWise DVD series. The DVDs are also available on Shane's website (along with Fundamentals and Volumes 1 and 2). Wattsy’s website currently has each DVD listed at $24.95 with a package deal of all four DVDs at $94.95 (not sure of shipping and handling charges tho). Well worth the money! You can also find out more info about any upcoming DirtWise schools while you're at the website (also definitely worth the money!).
Shane Watts DirtWise videos:
Even the Off-Road Grand Master himself crashes now and again, but he's big enough to take it all in stride. Here's a Wattsy DirtWise blooper vid, and two DirtWise trailers: