Motorcycles, or motorbikes, are inherently more dangerous than their four-wheeled counterparts, but many bike fans have come to love the open air and freedom they feel when riding a motorcycle. While you can't eliminate all of the danger when riding, you must make it a primary goal to reduce as much risk as possible. If you are a beginning biker, then you should seek help from experienced riders before you even start the motor.
These basic tips will help you learn how to ride a motorcycle. Naturally, it is always best to take a motorcycle course with a trained instructor in addition to reading as much as you can on your own. A formal course will also teach you motorcycle riding tips for motorcycling in different kinds of weather.
- Know the rules: Check your state's laws regarding instructions for motorcycle licenses and regulations before riding. The regulations are designed to protect you. It's best to take an introductory motorcycle safety course before you begin riding.
- Get the gear: Wear clothing that is designed for riding these types of vehicles. Always wear a helmet and clothes that will help protect you in case of an accident. This usually means wearing thick leather. Some companies also produce motorcycle clothing from synthetic materials with insertable plastic armor. Generally, you want to cover as much skin as possible. Always wear gloves. Boots are also a must-have in case of some type of mishap.
- Know your bike: Before you drive off, take some time to become intimately familiar with the systems on the bike. Know the location of the gas, clutch, front brakes, back brakes, starter, light switches, and the reserve gas switch. You should know the location and operation of each of these without having to stop or look. Make sure you can stand up straight to support the bike when it is stopped.
- Learn to use the clutch: Motorcycles are almost always equipped with manual transmissions requiring the coordinated use of a manual clutch. The clutch is usually on the left handgrip. You to learn to release the clutch slowly while you apply gas using the right handlebar. This take practice, but smooth starts are safe starts. Once you are underway, you can change gears by squeezing the clutch and changing gears with your left foot. Once you are in the correct gear, release the clutch and add gas.
- Understand the transmission: Different motorcycles have different transmissions, but the setup is generally the same. They are operated by the left foot. The lowest position is first. One click up is traditionally neutral. Above this is second, third, fourth, fifth, and on some street bikes, sixth gear.
- Braking: Good riders who have had motorcycle training are experts at quick and efficient braking should an emergency arise. You must learn to use appropriate pressure on both the front and back brakes when slowing down. Like cars, most of the braking action is provided by the front brakes. When it's time to slow down, apply both the front and back brakes at the same time. It takes some practice, but you should learn to use the brakes to slow down quickly. Be careful that you do not allow either tire to lock up and skid, as these could lead to a loss of control.
- Turning: There are different techniques for turning, depending on how fast you are driving and the type of curve or corner. Slow turns and fast turns require slightly different methods when riding. You'll need to be proficient at both before driving on a highway. Turning around curves while driving down the road is very simple when you ride a motorcycle. Just lean in the direction you want to go, and the bike will follow. The more you lean into the turn, the higher the rate of turn. When making a slow moving turn such as when you are pulling into a driveway, you'll want to sit straight up and turn the handlebars in the direction you want to go.