Mexico might not be first on your list of places to ride dirt bikes but the country south of us does host some off-road races while others make the venture across the border to ride in the vast open spaces.
Participating in a sanctioned event like the Baja 1000 or Baja 500 through Score International or joining an off-road adventures company with a guide is probably the safest means of riding. Baja California is a popular place for dirt bike riding and it's where a lot of the off-road racing events are held. But despite the proximity of the country, Mexico, of course, runs by different rules and laws from what we're used to in the United States and you still need to get across the border which isn't as easy as it used to be.
Before You Go
Planning is key to have a safe, successful and enjoyable time riding dirt bikes in Mexico. You'll need a passport and this article from American Motorcyclist.com strongly suggests registering your bikes. The more information you have the better. It's not as if you can't get through the border without proper registration you'll probably just have a longer wait along with special "attention" from those in charge.
Insurance is not required for off-road use but it's a good idea for theft or damage. It's quite affordable and can be purchased at BajaBound.com
Prepping Your Dirt Bike for Mexico
Mexico is desert and riding along those dusty trails encountering jagged rocks, sharp sticks and even cactus is a given. Don't bother riding with tubes - get a Bib Mousse. In fact, it's a must. You never have to worry about a flat which means less equipment to bring with you and a lot less hassle. Make sure it's installed before you go. A Bib Mousse isn't the easiest thing to install but read Tire Mousse: A Guide to Foam Tubes and Flat Free Tires for more information.
Next, get an oversized gas tank. Exploring is part of the fun and you don't want to run out of gas 40 miles from camp. An oversized gas tank allows you to cover more ground and keeps you from constantly thinking about how much is left if you've strayed far from home base.
Bring extra pre-lubed air filters. If you've ever done an over-night in the states it's a similar type of thinking: Bring what you need so after a long day of riding you don't have to fuss with cleaning and caking your hands with grease. Mexico gets hot so be sure you're running fresh coolant, too.
One more thing - change the oil before you go.
Lastly, consider investing in some saddlebags and handlebar bags. Let your dirt bike do the work and save your back from the weight and strain of hauling the essentials. Whatever you need for a day trip should fit in both bags
Riding in Mexico, especially Baja, puts you in remote areas with little else around. In the case of an accident, injury, bike failure and overall peace of mind bring the following equipment and survival gear:
- Lighter (flint as backup)
- Zip ties
- Duct tape
- Quick steel
- Tow strap
- Head lamp
- Key tools for your bike including spare nuts and bolts
- Extra fuel
Planning for a worst case scenario sounds like overkill but the SPOT Tracker Gen 3 might be a good investment. The tracker, which fits in the palm of your hand, uses satellite technology to connect you with family back home via text and if needed sends out an SOS. Rescuers can pinpoint your exact location using GPS coordinates. Having this isn't a bad idea riding in remote areas stateside either. Just make sure to take it with you!
Once riding, you won't even remember you're in another country and you'll be free to open the throttle. The difference is, in a pinch, you can easily get in the car and head to the nearest town when you're in the United States. Not so much in Mexico.