If you’re learning how to ride a motorcycle, you’re bound to make a few mistakes along the way. Like everything in life, practice makes perfect. New riders tend to struggle with basic riding maneuvers that can lead to accidents on the road. Spend some time practicing in an empty lot or rural street to work out the kinks before you hit the road for real. Experts say it’s better to practice regularly in small doses, usually 15-30 minute installments, instead of training for four hours straight once a week.
Learning about common motorcycle mistakes can help you avoid them. If you know what to look for, you can adjust your riding habits before you make a mistake. Use this guide to make the most of your next practice session.
Stalling is when your motorcycle suddenly loses power on the road. This means there isn’t enough power going to the rear wheel to propel the bike forward.
Most riders stall because they aren’t using the clutch properly. You need to keep the clutch engaged when slowing down or taking turns. If you cut off the clutch entirely or hit the brake too hard, the bike could come to a sudden halt.
When starting out, keep the bike in neutral with the motor running. Ease onto the front brake to steady the bike with your right foot on the ground. Pull in the clutch and use your right foot to move into first gear.
Now switch feet by placing your left foot on the ground and your right foot on the rear brake pedal. As the engine revs, slowly release the clutch. Your bike will start to move forward slightly. Bring up your left foot and release the clutch entirely as your bike gains speed. Not Wearing the Proper Gear
Getting ready to go for a ride on your motorcycle isn’t as easy as hopping in the driver’s seat of your car. You need to wear the proper riding gear every time you venture out on the road, including riding boots, pants, long-sleeve shirt or jacket, gloves and preferably a full-face helmet. You can also use a half-face helmet or skull cap, but you need to wear goggles to protect your eyes.
Take a few moments to inspect your gear before hitting the road, especially if you are using hand-me-downs. The helmet should fit comfortably over your head. It shouldn’t fall off when you bend over. Use the attached strap to adjust the size and fit. Your riding gloves and boots need to fit properly too, or you could easily lose control of the bike. You need to keep your hands and feet engaged at all times when riding. Find gloves and boots in your size to improve handling.
Not Using Motorcycle Communication
Communicating while riding a motorcycle is nearly impossible unless you come to a complete stop. If you have a question or need help in an emergency, you need to make sure you can reach someone in real-time. That’s why it’s so important to use helmet communication when you’re just starting out. The receiver clips onto your full-face helmet and the speakers produce clear audio, so you can talk to the person training you as you handle your motorcycle. The device connects wirelessly to your smartphone or radio, so you don’t have to worry about wires blocking your view of the road. Just use your voice to send a message or call for help if you fall off your bike.
If you are riding in a group, everyone should wear a motorcycle Bluetooth headset. You and your fellow riders can communicate freely as you navigate your route. The headset has a range of around 100 feet. Stay in formation to keep the conversation going. You will feel much more confident knowing help is just a few feet away.
Steering tends to be one of the hardest parts of learning how to ride. Some people just can’t grasp the idea of counter steering, which is when you turn in the opposite direction of where you want to go. In the moment, turning away from your destination can seem intimidating, but it’s just a natural part of riding a motorcycle.
Riders that don’t learn to counter steer are more likely to collide with another car or obstacle in the road.
If you’re having trouble, it might be helpful to think of it like this: Instead of turning away from the destination, focus on pushing the handlebars based on where you want to go. If you want to turn right, push the right handlebar away from you. If you want to go left, push on the left handlebar.
Not Staying Hydrated
Riding a motorcycle can be physically taxing, especially if you’re not used to it. All that gear can leave you drowning in your own sweat. It’s best to drink water regularly instead of chugging a gallon right before you hit the road, or your body may not have enough water during the first part of your trip.
Dehydration can compromise your ability to control the motorcycle. You may feel lightheaded, fatigued, or have a delayed sense of reaction. Keep a water bottle within reach to stay healthy. You can also wear a hydration pack under your jacket. It comes with a straw, so you don’t have to take your hands off the bike to take a sip.
Keep these common mistakes in mind to overcome what can otherwise be a steep learning curve. Keep a pair of Bluetooth motorcycle helmet speakers on hand to stay in touch with the people that have your back.