General DirtWise Questions

Are the dirtbikes provided for the class?

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!


What types/sizes of bikes are best suited for the class?

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.  Remember, if you don’t want to pick it up off the ground a dozen or more times in a day, it is probably too much bike for the class to be valuable for you.  Also, if the bike doesn’t have a working clutch (i.e. 50cc) it isn’t suitable for the class either.


Do you separate the class by skill level?

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.


Do you cover the same skills as in your DirtWise Videos?

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 immediate 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.


What does your curriculum consist of?

The curriculum for each class varies a little based on the type of class, the location, terrain, and opportunities that each venue affords us.

For instance, 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).

For specific information for each of our DirtWise programs, check out our Programs Page.


Do you teach private classes?

We will always be open to the idea if the request is made and we can make room in our busy schedule.  Please use our contact us form to inquire.


If I organize a group of riders, will you come instruct?

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…..


I would like to have a school at my club’s property. How do I know if our venue is suitable?

The requirements that we like to have for the venues that we conduct our schools at are:

1.We prefer private property, instead of an open to the public riding area so as to decrease the chances of accidents and confusion.

2. We like to have a decent sized open area (somewhat flat ground, but it may be sloped).  This would be for our first day’s program of fundamental exercises, along with the braking and cornering exercises.  200 yards long and wide will be sufficient.  Bigger is better, however though we have successfully conducted schools in slightly smaller areas than this.

3. We would need a minimum of 2 miles of offroad trails, preferably single track that we would use for the remainder of our program.  The bigger the variations in the trail conditions present the better it will be.  For example, a gully section along with some hills that range from gradual to steep inclines (not necessarily long in length though), some fallen logs of varied sizes (they don’t need to be on the trail, actually preferably in an open area), and as many other different conditions as possible would be good. Also an open area (30-40 yard radius) of softer, sandy-type soil for our corner rut exercises would help out heaps. One of our other skills exercises (Grinding – sliding in a straight line) is performed best with the use of some long, medium size diameter electricity poles or similar sized tree trunks – do you have these available at your property?

4. We like to try to keep all of the above as close to our car parking area as possible, usually a 2-3 minute ride.  It’s very time consuming to be trying to ride several miles to a location with a large group of riders that may have vastly differing skill levels.

5. There is a maximum limit of 18 students per class, and the school is conducted rain or shine.

What if I only want to attend one day of the Two Day “In-Depth” class?

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.  Also, we don’t allow students to just attend day 2 of a class unless they are making up for a previously missed class after attending day 1 in its entirety.

I’m interested in a one-on-one lesson? Can you help me out with this?

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.


School Eligibility

What is the Minimum Age for a DirtWise Student?

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.


I have only been riding for a short time. Is this school okay for me?

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.


What skill level is required for your DirtWise Schools?

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!!!



Is your school just for people who want to race?

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.


I see that clutch use is a major component of your school curriculum. Is it okay for a rider to have an auto clutch to participate in the school?

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.

Registering for a School

How do I register for a class?

There is a two step process for getting registered.

1. Submit your registration form by following the appropriate link on our registration page.

2. Submit the appropriate deposit.

Once both of these steps are completed, we will send you a confirmation email to let you know if your spot in the class is confirmed.

Because our schools are in high demand, often registrations are submitted faster than we can process them, so even though we still show availability at the time you submit your registration, there is a chance the school will be sold out by the time your registration is processed. At that point, we will add you to the waiting list for the school, but no money will be due until a spot for your is confirmed.


How can I be one of the first to find out when a class is coming to a track near me?

Simple! Use our simple Contact Us form and let us know the state or location your interested in.

Also, add us (dirtwise@shanewatts.com) to your address book so we aren’t blocked as Junk.  You’d hate to miss the email because your email provider didn’t find value in our email!


Getting Ready to Attend a DirtWise School? Get the info here!

Do you recommend any specific type of gear for the school?

We require for our schools every participant to have the proper safety gear:

  • helmet
  • boots
  • goggles
  • gloves

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.  Don’t forget your drink system so that you can stay hydrated during the class!


What type of tires do you suggest for the class – a trials type tire or a knobby tire?

Both tires have their pro’s and con’s as you no doubt know, so it is a toss up. For some of the skills we’ll cover the knobby will work better but for others the trials tire will. Probably the easiest way to make a decision about it is to use the one that is already mounted up on your bike – that way you won’t have to do any extra bike work in preparation for the school.


I’ve had a last minute schedule change and can’t make it to the class. What is the cancellation policy?

First off, please email or call us and let us know that you won’t be able to make it.  The more notice we have, the more chance another rider will be able to take your much coveted spot in the class.

For our In-Depth Classes,  cancellations made within 5 days of the class, the full amount of the class tuition is non-refundable, but can be used in any future DirtWise School.

For Cancellations made outside of 5 days, the deposit is non-refundable and will be retained for use at a future DirtWise School.

For classes that payment is due in full at the time of registration, the full payment is non-refundable after registration, but the full amount can be transferred to any future class.

*Please note: some cancellation policies may be amended for specific classes and extremely high demand areas.  These changes will be noted on the registration forms for classes where our usual policy does not apply.


What should I pack to be prepared for the class?

Your bike, of course!

We’d like to say come ready to race…but not exactly; toting all the gear necessary for a weekend of riding would be a good idea. This includes tools, fuel, spare parts, lots of water, etc.  We even have some people lucky enough to be able to bring a spare bike, just in case! Nothing ruins a DirtWise weekend more than a bike failure.  Okay, maybe a body failure is worse.


Do you provide food and drinks for the class?

As much as we’d love to demonstrate our culinary skills as well as our bike skills, we like to do what we are best at – riding and teaching how to ride dirtbikes.

We suggest bringing lots of food for lunch, plenty of water, and a cooler of ice to soak your aching muscles after a long day of training! You’ll be working hard, so don’t forget to hydrate and rest in the days before the school.