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how to ride a HARLEY DAVIDSON motorcycle

Updated on July 3, 2013

Purchasing a Harley Davidson motorcycle is more than a choice of automotive transportation, it's a lifestyle change! With every mile under your wheels you experience the unparraled sense of freedom and enjoyment the Harley- Davidson brand has come to embody.

This article is aimed at giving the new Rider the neccasary skills to get up and get going!

1. Starting the bike

All late model H-D bikes are equipped with fuel injection, as well as an electric starter. After you've inserted the key, press the button on the right side handlebars from OFF to RUN. A yellow fuel light will appear inside your speedometer. When it goes off, press the button next to it, marked START. Your bike should crank on.

2. In the clutch

WHAT! It didn't start? or it went right off? Here we go with the one piece of equipment new riders have the most trouble with, the clutch.

All H-D bikes have manual transmissions. That means that, when changing gears, or starting the bike, the clutch must be deppresed. The clutch is the LEFT HAND BRAKE LEVER. Hold it in when you start the bike. Continue to hold it in.

3. Rolling out.

On the left hand side, there is a lever by your foot that is used to change gears. A green N should be showing inside your speedometer. While holding in on the clutch (the left hand brake) push down with your left foot. That puts the bike in first gear. 

Now, while still holding in the clutch, crank the throttle a little. The throttle is the grip on the right side handlebars. Slowly release the clutch. Your moving!

4. Stopping.

Whoops, too far, time to stop! But a bike isn't like a car. No brake pedal to stomp. Your going to have to get the hang of this. First, pull in the clutch, and let off the throttle. This should get the bike slowing down. There are two brakes on a H-D motorcycle. The front brake is the right hand brake lever, just like on a bicycle. The rear brake is the lever by your right foot. The rule is , 70% pressure from the rear brake, 30% from the front. This should bring you to a stop.

5. Grind the gears

Now its time to put it all together. After you roll out and accelerate, its time to learn about shifting. You've already put the bike into first gear to get it moving. Accelerate up to 20 mph. pull in on the clutch a little, and with your left foot, come under the lever and push it up. You should feel the gears catch, and be able to hear the bikes RPM's going down. Shifting on a bike is an art form. You have to listen and feel for the gears to change them at the right time. It takes practice. A good way to do this is to ride around a quiet neighborhood, with minimal traffic, and practice going from 1st gear to 2nd, and back.

IMPORTANT!

Here's something I learned the hard way. The clutch on a Harley is considered a "wear and tear" item. Meaning, when it goes out, its not covered under the warranty. The way to prevent it from going out? As you deaccelerate, always remember to downshift. Try to get all the way down to first gear by the time you stop. This is an easy mistake for an unexperienced rider to make, because if you just hold in the clutch and slow down and brake, you CAN stop and go the bike in fifth gear, or whatever. Remember, your costing yourself an 800 buck repair.

Good luck, and keep the rubber side down!

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    • profile image

      dogiemount 

      5 years ago

      twaddle

    • michyoung profile image

      michyoung 

      6 years ago from North Carolina, USA

      Harleys motorcycle are the best so driving them should be taken seriously. I guess this is a great hub to teach me about that. Thank you for writing this! Great job! Keep it up!

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