- Motorcycles, Sports Bikes & Riding
Master Motorcycle Riding for Beginners
Your Confidence Riding a Bike is Important
If you're not comfortable or confident on your bike, you should consider working on that in order to have the safest ride. Confidence on a bike is built around riding slowly so that you can master the bike at low-speeds. You may not realize how many times you'll need to be able to ride slow, such as at U-turns, mini roundabouts, and when cars are coming at you. You're more control of your bike at slow speeds than at any other time because it requires more balance, so start slow.
Don't ride tense and with stiff arms; stay relaxed, which will allow the bike to move around you and your body better, especially if you keep your body upright. Don't let your eyes fixate on any particular spot, especially the part of the road within the two feet directly in front of you.
Be smooth with your controls. Feel out the clutch, which is just as important as the throttle. Delicate use of the rear brake can be a big help, as it'll have a steadying effect on the whole bike, which will pull it down.
Before you go on your ride, you want to make sure that you have your mind right. You don't want to have to get on your knees and pray before you get on your bike. Think about what you're doing, it'll help your mind get ready.
Make sure that you have enough gas. Also, make sure that you have your house keys, wallet, and anything else you think you may need, such as your cell phone.
Check the bike to make sure that all is well, and when you're ready to go, ride off. Just make sure that if you get tired, pull off the road and take a short break.
Your throttle is an extremely sensitive part of your bike, and when used well can be the best thing in the world. If you don't use it right, it can easily be the worst thing. You want to make sure that you have proper wrist control over your throttle because minor movements can make the difference between getting the perfect ride and have the worst slide. Having good throttle control isn't just about controlling slides, it's a part to everyday riding, and can increase tire wear and fuel consumption without making any significant change in your speed or journey line.
When coming out of a corner and instantly whacking open the throttle, is a bad idea.
When riding long distance, you'll get more mileage if you are nice to your throttle; if you use 30-40% throttle, you'll consume far less fuel and travel further for the tankful.
Temper your throttle use to the conditions you're riding in. A warm, dry day lets you be more aggressive on corners, bu in wet, cold weather or on gravel, you'll want to be more progressive with your right hand.
Aside from causing slides, opening the throttle hard in a corner can have a dramatic effect on your line. If you open it early, it'll cause the front forks to extend and you'll have less steering effect, which can cause you to ride wider. Try the "point and shoot" approach where you hold off the throttle a little longer, getting the steering done quicker, and then opening the throttle to drive straighter.
Off-chamber corners can be a little iffy, so you'll want to make sure that you keep focused and look ahead to the road and not down into analysing the corner too much. Don't carry your brake too much, especially if the corner is downhill; get your braking done in a straight line before you tip-in and ride through the corner.
You want to enter the curve just inside the while line on your side of the road, which'll give you room to sit up and adjust your line wider. Keep your weight on the outside footrest because you'll be surprised how much better you'll feel about your grip by pushing down on the tires.
Get a good tire gauge and check your tires regularly. You don't want the wrong pressure because it'll affect your handling ability, as well as wear down the tires faster. Plus if the tires are too soft or hard, it can be bad news.
Make sure that you have the right type of tires. Pointier, track-biased tires are not the most stable on the road becaus they have less tread. Check the description on the tires before you put hem on your bike and try to ride with the wrong tire.
Keeping track of hte pressure is very important, so if you see that the tire is scrubbing in certain areas and unevenly, you're tire pressure probably isn't right. They should wear evenly.
If you have to have a hard brake, you want to use more than just your arms to resist the braking force. The lower you are, you can hold your body weight for more effective braking. Use your upper torso by sitting up; it'll give you more control and better sight. You will be able to better brace yourself against the deceleration but it'll give you more control over the bars.
Use the brake lever progressively, meaning don't pull it all at once.
When braking on a corner, set yourself up in advance so that you're not arriving late for the brake. Change down gears and position yourself on the road. by the time you turn into the corner, you should be in the right gear, feathering the brakes, and positioning a foot inside the center white line.
Riding in the Rain and Wet Pavement
Rain is inevitable, eventually you will ride in the rain. Just because the sun is out and the weatherman says there's no rain in the forecast, doesn't mean that Mother Nature isn't going to call for rain. It is still possible. So, make sure that your tires are good, and check your tire pressure. Old, worn out tires and brand new ones aren't the best on slippery surfaces.
Make sure that you stay alert. Spray your visor with an anti-mist and rain-off solution.
Treat your throttle as you would your elderly grandmother. Take a less sudden approach to get her attention first. The same goes with your brakes; apply them progressively if you have to have a hard brake. You'll give your tires a better chance of catching the weight of the bike and providing a better grip.
Give yourself more time to stop, and approach the corners with a wider line so that you can see traffic.
Riding at night or any time that the sun isn't at full shine, can be troublesome. Just make sure aht you don't look directly at bright things because when looking at oncoming lights, shop windows, streetlights, or road signs can cause your eyes to function less well as soon as you're back into darkness.
Use the nearside curb or road egde to guide you. White lines are another useful reference to guide yourself by. The pool of light created by other vehicles' headlights can also help.
Keep your bike and helmet maintained. Clean and correctly adjust your lights to give you the best possible view. Even if you know the road, riding a motorcycle in the dark is still dangerous, but it's still good to know the turns and manholes to watch out for.
When braking in the dark, your lights will dip lower, especially in corners. Get your braking over with before each corner. Shut the throttle to a slow down versus braking to give you a better view. Accelerate through a corner can also help, depending on how much of a sag your suspension has.
Ride Safely at High Speeds
When you're riding at higher speeds, you'll want to make sure that you have better control and can read the road accurately and effectively. Make sure that your body is positioned properly. Sit on top if it and don't get preoccupied with hanging off, tucking in, or trying to keep your knee down.
When braking, brake smoothly not late. You want to brake earlier with less force or by trailing your brakes through a corner. Cover your controls, as well, especially when riding through corners at high speeds.
Don't guess what's around the next corner. You want to approach each corner ready to either brake or accelerate as the road is revealed.
There's no reason to keep your knee down. If you do, you're either leaning too far off the bike, making it unstable, or you're leaning too far over.