RIDING TIPS: ATV/MX CHAMPION CHAD WIENEN
Standing for traction By the staff of Dirt Wheels, Photo by Stephen Tripp
We have noticed that in looking at many photos of multi-time ATV/MX champion Chad Wienen, he has an interesting style. He stands well forward on his Yamaha YFZ450R and often leans off to the side, as he is in this shot from the Daytona ATV/SX that kicked off the ATV/MX season. We were curious about this style and asked him to explain it for Dirt Wheels readers.
“I do a lot of work on my riding technique, searching for the best way to keep the power to the ground while under hard acceleration. I am 6-foot-3, and in some ways it is tough being tall. When you move around on the machine, it makes a big impact on how your machine reacts. If I were to spend more time seated on the machine, it would be tough to keep the front end planted on the ground and not wanting to push. So, I stand for a larger percentage of time than most of the other riders I race against. It takes a lot of energy for me to go from standing to seated and from seated to standing compared to a rider under 6 feet tall.
“I use my technique to generate the same forces on the machine while standing as I would while seated. In this photo I am leaning forward to compensate for the acceleration, and a little to the side to adjust for the angle of the track surface and the slight turn the machine is finishing up. This accomplishes the same effect on traction and handling that a shorter rider would by remaining seated to transfer weight to the rear wheels and leaning the upper body to keep the inside wheels planted. It takes a ton of practice and discipline to do this. It is easier to just sit on the seat and push the gas.
“My standing style works best when the track gets rough, as I can use my legs to absorb bumps and pump through the rough sections and roll-ers. I am able to grip the sides of the seat with my legs to hold onto the machine as well. Using your legs to transfer weight to the rear wheels works very well, and it would work just as well for shorter riders. Taller riders just have the added benefit of saving the energy burned, going from seated to standing.”