Dirt Bike Guide: How To Prepare For Desert & Sand Riding

How-To Guides & Tutorials  |  23 January 2023

Dirt Bike Guide: How To Prepare For Desert & Sand Riding main image

Desert riding is one of the most challenging environments known to any dirt bike rider, conditions are tough on the rider and their machinery, and when you add the elements of extreme heat, remote locations, wild animals and unknown terrain, you have all of the ingredients for a buffet of unpredictability.

Desert riding takes place all over the world with a number of famous international races taking place annually - the Dakar Rally being the pinnacle of desert racing globally, which has been won by Australian legend and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Toby Price on two occasions.

In Australia, the renowned Finke Desert Race hosted in Alice Springs, Northern Territory, attracts thousands of desert racing die-hards from around the nation for what is the toughest event in the country, while the Hattah Desert Race in Victoria is a must for any off-road rider.

Any experienced desert rider will tell you that no matter how prepared you are, nothing goes as planned when you're charging through the desert, and anything can and usually will happen.

So while you can't stop everything from happening, you can help prevent bad scenarios from occurring. We've pulled together some helpful and handy products to help you survive the desert on your dirt bike!

Must have bike parts
Steg pegz
Mousse Tubes
Handlebar Mounts

Steg Pegz: The number one dirt bike accessory (and probably number three behind drinking water and fuel for your bike) is Steg Pegz. Although they look simple and kind of like a door stopper bolted to the side of your bike, there is not one desert rider who doesn’t swear by a set of these. They aid in control and reduce fatigue by allowing the rider to grip the bike more with their legs and less with their arms. You will go further and faster with a set of these!

Air Filters
Oil Filters
Radiator Guards
Fuel Tanks

Mousse Tubes: A close second to Steg Pegs is a set of Mousse Tubes in your tyres, rather than the traditional inflatable tube we all know and puncture. A mousse tube is a condensed ring of foam which is inserted to the tyre in place of the inflatable tube.

The Mousse is firm enough to feel like 14psi but does not contain air so it cannot be punctured. Mousse tubes do have a lifespan though and do need to be replaced after a while. But it beats getting a flat 10k’s into a 100 kilometre ride!


Essential Accessories

Oils and Lubricants
Fuel Cans
Tie Downs
Bike Ramps
Bike Stands

Desert Tyres: Now that you are on the right track with a set of mousse tubes, choosing the correct tyre is the next step. For typical desert riding you will want a well wearing tyre with chunky knobs which are close together. Although there is an element of sand riding there are also a lot of rocks and other harsh surfaces which destroy tyres quickly, so you need something which is going to last the distance.

Engine Protection: Protecting your engine in the outback is a must, to keep the sand out we recommend picking up the PC Racing Filterskins as they’re designed to catch up to 90% of dirt, they’re easy to install and available in several sizes.

Your engines also working harder on a desert ride in the sand, so make sure you take extra engine coolant and keep an eye on the temperature gauge! We recommend the Liquid Intelligence Anti-Boil Coolant as it’s specifically formulated for ultimate engine protection under extreme conditions. It’s 40% more thermally efficient than traditional water/glycol based coolants which means enhanced cooling when operating at constant high throttle or high ambient temperatures.

Blister Prevention: No one likes blisters, but you're bound to get them in the desert. That's when the PC Racing Underware Kevlar Glove come in to play! They’re designed to prevent blisters and are reusable.

Hydration: Keeping yourself hydrated on long rides in the desert is crucial! A hydration pack, such as the USWE Outlander 9 Elite 3L bag, is a must-have, as it allows you to carry an adequate amount of water and even basic tools.