Top 10 Tips For New Motorcycle Riders
It seems that with every dime that the cost of a gallon of gasoline goes up, another few thousand people decide to ditch their fuel hogging four wheelers in exchange for the economy and freedom of motorcycling. Motorcycle sales are booming, and the industry looks to have its best year in almost two decades.
With all the new motorcycles flying off the dealer lots and the older models being rolled out of the corner garages around the country and dusted off, there are various points that all neophyte riders should understand about their shiny new modes of transportation:
1) You don't drive a motorcycle, you ride it. Although it seems obvious to anyone who has watched a rider on their iron steed, most motonoobs are not aware that in order to turn left you not only lean into the turn but very gently turn the handlebars to the right, and vice versa! This action is extremely light and almost imperceptible, but is a technique which should be mastered by anyone wishing to safely operate their motorcycle. Learn to ride from an expert and ride defensively! The alternative is three months in traction or worse.
2) Keep your bike in just one part of the lane. The center of most lanes is slick with oil and grease that has deposited over the years. The part of the lane where the most traction is usually available is on the sides where the car tires go.
3) You won't necessarily get better mileage. If you're parking your Chevy Aveo and jumping on a Suzuki Hayabusa, you'll likely be losing MPG, not gaining them. The truly economical motorcycles are usually the 125 to 250 cc models which not only make superlative commuters and around-town bikes, but can return up to 90 MPG. If you have a lot of highway cruising that you want to do, then a 500 cc class motorcycle will take two adults anywhere they want to go and still return 50 MPG or more.
4) Don't blip the throttle at stops. It doesn't impress anyone, doesn't keep your bike from stalling out, and just makes a lot of useless noise and uses up fuel.
5) Maintain your ride. Motorcycles are far more finicky about being kept in good mechanical condition than cars. You can likely drive a car for 20,000 miles and do nothing but change the oil on it, while a chain driven motorcycle may need tensioning every 500 miles. Make sure that you are aware of the mechanical requirements of your motorcycles and that either you or your mechanic are equipped to perform that regular maintenance.
6) Look like an Xmas tree. Plunk on extra lights front and back, wear fluorescent clothing and do everything possible to make sure that the drowsy driver behind the wheel of that 1974 Coupe De Ville can see you.
7) Watch out for the sudden left turners. It's the leading cause of death for motorcycle riders.
8) Where should your bike be during heavy rain, wind, hail or snow? In the garage.
9) Where should you be after a couple of drinks? In a taxi.
10) Do you have a head? Put the best helmet you can buy on it and leave it there. 'Nuf said.