Mud Riding Tips From Top Enduro Riders

Six National Enduro racers give up their best tips for riding in the mud.

With the recent run of mud events across the country, we thought it would be a good time to talk to some of the top riders in the Kenda AMA National Enduro Series to get their best tips for riding in the mud. We spoke with Tely Energy Racing KTM's Steward Baylor, XC Gear/Enduro Engineering/Husqvarna's Cory Buttrick, Gnarly Routes Racing KTM's Russell Bobbitt, Beta USA teammates Cody Barnes and Mike Witkowski, and GasGas North America's Thorn Devlin to find out what they recommend doing when riding in sloppy conditions.

Steward Baylor

Steward Baylor races in mud.
Steward Baylor recommends shifting up a gear and opening up your corners in slick mud.Shan Moore

It depends on the mud. In the Southern mud, like at the Cherokee Enduro in Georgia, and when it’s icy, slick, or rocky conditions, running a taller gear and opening up your corners is a big key to going faster. You actually want to think about going slower when you’re approaching a corner so that you can be more accurate in the turn. You make your time up in the corners by just keeping a steady throttle through the turn, which will keep your back end under you.

Cory Buttrick

Cory Buttrick races through water.
Cory Buttrick advises to leave your goggles on as long as you can in muddy conditions.Shan Moore

The biggest tip I can give is to leave your goggles on as long as you can. When the conditions are miserable and you are out of tear-offs or roll-offs, you are tempted to pull the goggles down. Sometimes, I will make the call if I feel I can go faster when my goggles off, but from experience I know I’m better off trying to keep them on. Sometimes I will tape a lens on my visor to help defect the mud, and that works pretty good. I normally use tear-offs; unless it’s really nasty, then I’ll use roll-offs.

Russell Bobbitt

Russell Bobbitt races in mud.
Looking ahead to find the best line is Russell Bobbitt’s mud riding tip.Shan Moore

My tip is to look ahead of you. You can’t be so focused on what is right in front of your wheel that you can’t look for good line options ahead of you. Just let the bike flow underneath you and kind of ride with it, and then look ahead for the big stuff.

Cody Barnes

Cody Barnes' hand guards with tape across the bottom.
Keeping your grips and levers clean is a priority in muddy conditions. Cody Barnes puts a piece of tape across the bottom of his hand guards to prevent mud from slinging up and getting on his controls.Shan Moore

We put tape across the bottom of the hand guards to keep mud from slinging up and getting on the grips and levers. I use roll-offs when it’s raining hard, along with a little piece of tape to secure the roll-off canister to the goggles so it’s not as likely to get knocked off if you hit a branch.

Mike Witkowski

Mike Witkowski races in mud.
In deep, muddy ruts, Mike Witkowski recommends to crisscross them so you are hitting them at a slight angle.Shan Moore

One thing I do when the mud ruts get really deep is I will crisscross them so you are hitting them at a slight angle. That way your wheels aren’t as likely to drop into a rut that might suck you in.

Thorn Devlin

Thorn Devlin races in the mud.
Thorn Devlin suggests taking a wider line to maintain your momentum in sloppy conditions.Shan Moore

Momentum is your friend in the mud, so you need to keep moving forward as much as you can and try to keep your speed up. Taking a wider line will help you maintain your momentum too. I also pinch my gas tank with my knees, which just gives me a bit more control over the bike.