Calories burned dirt bike motorcycle riding?

Hi,

Nothing listed under the exercise, using key words such as "motorcycle", "dirt bike" etc., so I was thinking about adding, however the research I have found online is inconsistent.

For an hour of trail riding, single track, hills, small jumps, moderately technical, front wheel on the ground 75% of the time, etc. on the average give or take 50 calories, how much does a rider burn?

I am finding a wide range of 170 to 1000 calories burned per hour...I was thinking of adding this exercise at 300 per hour.

Thought I would get the community's input,

Thanks,
Lewis

Replies

  • EricaFaythe
    EricaFaythe Posts: 37 Member
    I wouldn't log it, but that's just me....
  • RunBrew
    RunBrew Posts: 220 Member
    I grew up racing MX and Hare Scrambles at a regional level, and did it all the way into adulthood when I quit after a particularly bad accident after tangling with another rider in mid-air on an MX course.
    I personally wouldn't log it at all if you only rode an hour or two. If you were out the whole day, I'd just adjust my calorie intake to 'moderately active' and go with that.

    If I *was* logging it, personally I'd say general trail riding might be equivalent to genreal yardwork, like maybe 200 cal/ hour, assuming you don't stop alot.

    Something like 'race practice' I might log as 300-350 per hour.

    There is an entry in the MFP database for Motor-cross, at 260/hr...that might be a good compromise.
  • crys_vb
    crys_vb Posts: 25 Member
    I went out for a one hour rip last night on my dirt bike and i burned 560 and i definitely logged it, dirt biking is hard work! I log my mountain biking too
  • jewellpoolsrvc
    jewellpoolsrvc Posts: 1 Member
    edited June 2016
    I regularly ride once to three times a week. I'm a A level racer and A level trail rider. I'm 46, 200lbs, 6foot. When riding, racing, or practicing I routinely wear a Polar heart rate monitor.

    You are burning alot of calories when riding a dirt bike. So many people think it's so easy, well it isn't. You are using every muscle in your legs, core, chest, back, shoulders and arms.

    My calorie burn on average for an hour of dirt biking will range routinely from 800-1200 calories an hour. Depends on how hard I'm pushing myself. My heart rate avg is 135-145 low, with an avg high rate of 160-175.

    I've compared my calorie to other dirt bikers using Fitbit or Garmin devices and the calorie burns are all similar depending on the level of exertion while riding.

    Youd have to be sitting on ur butt riding in circles for an hour to only burn 200 calories. Compare it to yard work? No way.

    Hope that helps. I recommend getting a heart rate monitor so you know your exertion level and accurate calorie burn.

    Hope this helps, and keep that throttle twisted!
  • As I write this I am waiting for my fitness tracker in the mail and in the meantime I have signed up and purchased the complimenting apps.I was not expecting to see "single track dirtbiking" in MyFitnessPal's exercise list but what I was surprised was to to read the assumptions made by those who obviously don't ride single track.Or perhaps they do and in/on that said single track they must not endure inclines,root sections,boulder sections,obstacles etc and sitting on the seat whilst riding opposed to standing on the pegs.Well here on the west coast of Vancouver island thats all you do endure and you can't sit down...

    I'm 43 6' 175 and the only thing that has kept me fit for the last 10years is single track dirtbiking (trust me it ain't genetics).
    It is a full body work out.If you don't believe me I'll send you my jersey after my next ride.

    Anyway I'll put my money where my mouth is and get back to you after a few rides with the fitness tracker.Id venture to say I'm burning 450 - 600 calories+ an hour depending the terrain.
  • Dazzle2399
    Dazzle2399 Posts: 2 Member
    edited June 2018
    Easily! A flippant response of I wouldn’t bother logging it is just ignorant. 120kms of single trail with a quick fuel stop and banana in the middle will burn 1000 calories every day of the week, a nasty hill climb or 2 with slippery rocks, trees and roots lasting 10min would equal sprinting the sled for the same amount of time just for a bit of HIIT amongst it.
  • Dazzle2399
    Dazzle2399 Posts: 2 Member
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  • robertw486
    robertw486 Posts: 2,386 Member
    Dazzle2399 wrote: »
    Easily! A flippant response of I wouldn’t bother logging it is just ignorant. 120kms of single trail with a quick fuel stop and banana in the middle will burn 1000 calories every day of the week, a nasty hill climb or 2 with slippery rocks, trees and roots lasting 10min would equal sprinting the sled for the same amount of time just for a bit of HIIT amongst it.

    Though I agree that at times the calorie burn would be fairly high, the problem is the variables. The terrain, bike weight, suspension on said bike, powerband, etc., would all factor in.

    If someone really wanted max energy expenditure, find an early 70's or so two stroke bike and some tough terrain. Just about anything in that era (pretty much before the original Honda Elsinore) was like riding a fairly heavy pogo stick that happened to have two wheels, and an engine that had a powerband more like an on/off switch. :#
  • dunc289
    dunc289 Posts: 54 Member
    3hrs of technical single track, including about 8 falls, which means deadlifting a 400 pound bike upright in 35 degree heat on steep sandy hills.
    Yeah.
    I think I'll bother to log it.
    It equals 1 pizza.
  • David_the_OG
    David_the_OG Posts: 1 Member
    Similar to jewellpoolsrvcjewellpoolsrvc, I race MX and XC, but on an ATV and at the national and regional levels. I rode yesterday for about an hour in an area I was unfamiliar with and burned 1300+ calories. Racing in GNCC for 2-2.5 hours, I've burned 2500-3500 calories. Riding, whether or on a track or off-road, burns a lot of calories, especially as you improve your skill and can push the pace harder and/or longer. I wear a Garmin VivoActive 3 all the time and even when I ride, so I can track my activity. Again, it equals A LOT OF CALORIES!
  • danruzicka1500
    danruzicka1500 Posts: 4 Member
    Dirt Bike Riding will make you gain weight on the scale. I played Football all through high school and College, I wrestled as well. After a hard session of riding my legs and core feel like I played a college football game. Anyone one include the “A level racer” (made that up for sure) knows it is grueling. Watch a YouTube go pro video, guys are panting as the speak. You like weight trains will create muscle tear which causes inflammation and creates water weight. Those that “wouldn’t log it” are clueless. I ride a 354lbs XR650L moving that bike in rough desert train up and down hills is a phenomenal work out. Most riders end up soaking wet. The internet is filled with the clueless on keyboards 😂😂😂
  • danruzicka1500
    danruzicka1500 Posts: 4 Member
    If you know how to ride and ride properly you are standing on the pegs 70% to 80% of the time. The reason it felt like a Pogo stick when you where 16 is that you didn’t know how to ride. Dead meat when you sit on the seat. It should feel like you are riding an untamed beast!!! Balancing, pressing in with your legs to hold on, flying through the air. Not uncommon for legs to be shaking when you get off the bike.
  • robertw486
    robertw486 Posts: 2,386 Member
    If you know how to ride and ride properly you are standing on the pegs 70% to 80% of the time. The reason it felt like a Pogo stick when you where 16 is that you didn’t know how to ride. Dead meat when you sit on the seat. It should feel like you are riding an untamed beast!!! Balancing, pressing in with your legs to hold on, flying through the air. Not uncommon for legs to be shaking when you get off the bike.

    I'm glad you feel you are the authority on the matter, and I'll assume that's directed at me since I was the only one that mentioned pogo sticks.

    Have you ever ridden a late 60's - early 70's motocross bike? MUCH more physical than todays bikes. Suspension of next to none, lack of any powerband control on the two strokes, poor braking and handling, and weight closer to the modern 4 stroke bikes or more. The old dirt riders were generally fairly beefy, as the average sized person wouldn't be that quick on most of them, at least not in any tough terrain. The street bikes were much the same, much more physical to ride than todays bikes.

    So I'll have to agree with the internet being full of those clueless on the keyboards, as you've just demonstrated the lack of understanding how much the bikes have changed.


    And yet in this thread, there were only a couple that said it wasn't physical work. I'd suspect those people probably ride at a slower pace, in less rough terrain, on smaller/lighter bikes, or several of those factors combined. Being I've been on bikes that took exertion from next to nothing over BMR to exhausting, I'll stick to my above response that the calorie burn is highly variable based on terrain and equipment.
  • HoneyBadger302
    HoneyBadger302 Posts: 1,970 Member
    edited September 2021
    I'm not a huge dirt biker, but ride and race street bikes - and there's a reason why top level motorcycle racers (dirt, street, flat rack, whatever) are extremely fit athletes.

    Street riding I generally don't up my calories, but also don't worry about what I'm eating that day - if I'm hungry, I eat. A long day on the bike (spirited but not stupid) will leave me sore just about everywhere.

    I read that general riding (just due to wind and other basic physical demands compared to driving a car) burns around 170 calories/hour. I know I ride far more physically than someone on a cruiser, but don't track it special either.

    Race weekends or a hard weekend of track days where I'm really working on pace - well, again, I simply don't worry about what I'm consuming. I can promise there are times I'm packing away the food too (plus drink mixes and such).

    Unless I was in a position to ride HARD regularly (like several times a week) I personally don't track those days - output OR input. Sometimes this will include the load/drive/unload/set up day(s) too. It has never hurt my weight loss when I've been tracking my eating otherwise.

    So, I actually go with the "I don't track it" but I also don't track what I eat those days :) Oh, and don't discount the mental focus on a bike - that's extra burn that I doubt ever gets measured by most devices, and takes a huge mental toll compared to, say, when I lift weights.
  • heybales
    heybales Posts: 18,842 Member
    Just an FYI on several of the comments giving an example calorie burn based on trackers and the high HR's.

    Tracker HRM's aren't measuring calorie burn, they are measuring HR - that's it.

    There is only 1 useful scenario (with even it's own caveats) for the calculations that go from HR to calorie burn - and that's only steady-state aerobic exercise, same HR with slow changes.

    Several mentioned their rides feeling like HIIT session so true, so intervals in nature for intensity and therefore HR going up and down - exactly the opposite use case.
    Also much is anaerobic at times, followed by a tad easier to recover before hitting the next hill - that's opposite use case too.
    That nature of usage is going to cause calculations to inflate the calorie burn.

    No doubt it's much better calorie burn than riding on the highway - but the HR-based calculations will be inflated.

    This METS database is based on studies actually done to measure calorie burn.
    Sadly this reference doesn't give the studies, and the main site is down right now, to see what they did and what exact type of riding was done.
    But under Sports section is Motor-cross, given a burn equal to walking a tad faster than 3.5 mph. (4.0 to 3.8 METS)

    http://prevention.sph.sc.edu/tools/docs/documents_compendium.pdf
  • danruzicka1500
    danruzicka1500 Posts: 4 Member
    No body here has riden a dirt bike. What do they say about wrestling or water polo? Motocross is consistently in the top 4 of the most physically demanding sports and has been for decades. I guess it doesn’t matter because the clueless don’t understand and those that actively ride know for certain. Amazes me though the clueless on the web purporting to be experts😂
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 31,998 Member
    No body here has riden a dirt bike. What do they say about wrestling or water polo? Motocross is consistently in the top 4 of the most physically demanding sports and has been for decades. I guess it doesn’t matter because the clueless don’t understand and those that actively ride know for certain. Amazes me though the clueless on the web purporting to be experts😂

    The Venn diagram of "Most Physically Demanding Sports" and "Highest Calorie Burn per Time Period Sports" would have partial but not total overlap. There are multiple dimensions to "physically demanding", and some very demanding things burn relatively fewer calories, because there are different types of demands.

    I have no doubt that top riders are *extraordinarily* fit people. Does that fitness come entirely from the sport, or is there cross-training typically involved in developing an elite rider? (That's a completely sincere question: It's not my sport. I know quite a lot about training for my sport, but not much about training regimens for most other sports.)

    It's curious to me that the article you link doesn't even mention some of the known to be highest calorie burning sports (calorie burn per time period) such as XC skiing, cycling. Perhaps that because, IMO, those would be in the "Highest Calorie Burn per Time Period Sports" set, but possibly not in the "Most Physically Demanding Sports" set, because of the nature of the demands. Those sports place very high demands on sustained energy level, less on other areas that would loom larger in something like your sport.

    As a generality, heart rate isn't a good metric, when it comes to calorie burn, even though it's used frequently. Many things increase heart rate. Only one of those things, oxygen demand, correlates reasonably well with calorie expenditure. Some of the newer, more nuanced, fitness trackers - ones that can measure heart rate - no longer use heart rate to estimate calories for certain activities, because there are better ways to estimate calories for those activities. For sure, how hard a thing feels, or how much focus it takes, are poor proxies for calorie burn.

    You're right, I don't ride a dirt bike. It seems very physically demanding. As you describe those demands, some of those seem like things that would increase HR in ways that don't correlate with calorie burn. That's not a diss to riding, not at all: It's just a different-words restatement of the idea that heart rate is a narrowly-applicable correlate of calorie burn, and calorie burn is only one small piece of "physically demanding".

    BTW: There's been research on whether mentally harder things burn meaningfully more calories. Sadly, mostly not.
  • robertw486
    robertw486 Posts: 2,386 Member
    No body here has riden a dirt bike. What do they say about wrestling or water polo? Motocross is consistently in the top 4 of the most physically demanding sports and has been for decades. I guess it doesn’t matter because the clueless don’t understand and those that actively ride know for certain. Amazes me though the clueless on the web purporting to be experts😂

    You're obviously wrong about other people riding, but don't let facts get in the way of your lacking argument. I was on dirt bikes in the 60's as a young kid, and through part of the 70's lived in Southern California where it was probably easier to count the people that didn't ride. Even the military bases had tracks of some sort, and loads of off road areas. Dirt bikes continued though the high school years and then I was back to California on my own. I've ridden just about every big track you could get to on the coast, as well as spent time down through areas of California, Arizona, and Mexico on enduro bikes.

    I started tossing my money at street bikes since they could be better for dual purpose, and did some amateur racing while at it.

    I'm sure your pro trophy wall is packed and worthy of comparing yourself to elite high level racers. Surely you've seen how even the lesser pro riders look like slugs compared to the guys at the top right? Much like any other sport, there are people of varied levels of both skill and fitness. And I've seen plenty of guys who thought the were fast, some which most others though were fast.... until a even lower end pro level rider shows up and smokes them.

    So yeah, comparison to the upper level in another aspect of the sport has little in common with going riding on a street legal enduro bike.


    heybales wrote: »
    Just an FYI on several of the comments giving an example calorie burn based on trackers and the high HR's.

    Tracker HRM's aren't measuring calorie burn, they are measuring HR - that's it.

    There is only 1 useful scenario (with even it's own caveats) for the calculations that go from HR to calorie burn - and that's only steady-state aerobic exercise, same HR with slow changes.

    Several mentioned their rides feeling like HIIT session so true, so intervals in nature for intensity and therefore HR going up and down - exactly the opposite use case.
    Also much is anaerobic at times, followed by a tad easier to recover before hitting the next hill - that's opposite use case too.
    That nature of usage is going to cause calculations to inflate the calorie burn.

    No doubt it's much better calorie burn than riding on the highway - but the HR-based calculations will be inflated.

    This METS database is based on studies actually done to measure calorie burn.
    Sadly this reference doesn't give the studies, and the main site is down right now, to see what they did and what exact type of riding was done.
    But under Sports section is Motor-cross, given a burn equal to walking a tad faster than 3.5 mph. (4.0 to 3.8 METS)

    http://prevention.sph.sc.edu/tools/docs/documents_compendium.pdf

    I might actually do some digging. I suspect any in depth studies would show just how unique some of the off road riding sports are. As for METS.... I think that seems really low. A casual ride on an MX bike maybe, but not a quick ride on a hard track or terrain, even for novice level amateur riders. I'd say at least up in the 7-9 MET range, if a person is pushing it or racing. At the upper levels, the sport went through a phase where riders had the trainers, info, facilities, and funding to get serious and they did.

    The upper level pro riders these days are extremely fit, and have quite a bit of endurance as well. I would guess the cardio output isn't huge, it's more a mix of aerobic and anaerobic for most off roading, as you mentioned. And like many sports these days, the upper level has huge support, and can afford the specialty training and track facilities to do the training. The average ride... nope.

    I'd say the HR is very high, probably 90% or more for the pro level guys in MX. But partially due to adrenaline, the inconsistent muscle loads minute to minute, and the mental game side of things. The only thing I can think of for comparison is take something like the CrossFit games, when they run a circuit type thing. But mix the exercises even more, and have them randomly run station to station with only maybe a rep or two of each thing. It's just a constantly changing load based on riding conditions and speed.

    But then again, motocross is not trail riding, nor desert riding, nor enduro riding or road racing. The physical demands will vary sport to sport within riding.



    And not to miss @AnnPT77 ..... I'd say the cross training with riding is a big driver. Much like many other sports, the upper level guys run, lift, bike, well just about anything. And often training even on the bike is at a slower pace with longer intervals. It is rather unique in that the physical part alone can't make you fast, and being an excellent rider alone can't ensure you can take the physical part. So to some extent both have to develop to get someone to the upper levels or have any chance at going professional.



    I will agree with @HoneyBadger302 (BTW yeah! women in street bike racing) that it takes a lot of mental focus. Even casual trail (or street) riding, you have to adapt to things quickly at times. The people with the greater skillsets and really fast, even more. And the track, trail, whatever changes constantly.

    And there were specific era's where some of the bikes, both on road and off, were just insane power monsters that were unpredictable and downright dangerous in the hands of all both the most skilled. And many of them took some hard hits as well. I've seen some offs in road racing that hurt just to watch.