Motorcycles are a great way to travel. You can get a bike and go on a road trip or a ride to the mountains. Many people enjoy the freedom and adrenaline rush that comes with riding a motorcycle. That’s why it’s a good idea to learn how to ride. There are many factors to be considered while learning how to ride a motorcycle properly; it is not as simple as watching YouTube tutorials and Voila! you have mastered the art of riding a motorcycle. Motorcycle riding is a life skill that needs to be learned carefully with all precautions taken and all techniques mastered with self-practice. This article will walk you through the steps needed!
Let’s first gather all the essentials that you would need.
The Essentials of Motorcycle Riding
Congratulations! You have just cleared the toughest step of learning how to ride a motorcycle. Yes, you heard that correctly – the toughest part of learning a motorcycle is getting the willpower and confidence to learn riding! Believe it or not, for a new rider getting the courage to learn motorcycle driving can be both terrifying and challenging.
Choosing the Right Bike For Your Needs
The bike is one of the most popular modes of transportation globally. It is a wise decision to invest in a bike. Every journey has a starting point and, in this journey, the first milestone that the rider has to overcome is choosing the right companion that will be both comfortable and easy to work with. If you are just starting out, there are many questions to be answered before purchasing – what type of motorcycle should you get? what size? what features do you need? what are the benefits? what is the daily usage? what is the price range? There are many different types of motorcycles, some are meant for racing, roads, travel, and more. There are other things to consider too. As mentioned, the bike is crucial to a person’s life. It is a tool that is used everyday. So, it is important to know that it is produced by a reputed manufacturer and is built to last. Now, coming to the basic stuff that you should ponder before purchasing:
- Cost Effective – One of the biggest factors that affect a buyer’s decision is how much weight does the motorcycle puts on his/her pocket. Naturally, you should be aiming for a bike that has excellent build quality, can handle wear and tear, is compact and lightweight, rough and tough.
- Convenience – Amounting to the large variety of bikes currently present in the market, choosing the most comfortable motorcycle can become a hectic task. If you want to make sure you get the most out of your experience, you need to make sure you invest in a motorcycle that fits your body and riding style – you’ll want to know the size of your bike, what type of bike you want, and what you’ll be riding it for. With the right motorcycle, you’ll be able to enjoy your ride all the more. The best way to determine this is to go out and test ride as many motorcycles as you can, within your decided budget.
- After sales and service – Post-buying maintenance is one of the most important but often overlooked factors when it comes to the overall ownership experience. All vehicles requires maintenance. You should factor in the after sales and service aspects such as – does the dealer service my locality? Is the service center convenient to reach? Are the technicians qualified? Are spare parts easily available? And so on.
More Considerations For Beginner Bike Riders
- Finding a beginner friendly bike – There are many types of riding styles and individual preferences. That is why it can be difficult to choose the right riding style for you and your needs. The most important thing you need to consider is whether you are a beginner. If you are a beginner, you will want to go for a lightweight bike. These bikes are easier to maneuver and are less likely to cause you to fall. If you are an experienced rider, you will want to go for a heavier bike. You will be able to control the bike better and don’t have to worry about fall.
- Finding a safe place to practice – After purchasing your first motorcycle, it is best to practice in an area that you have control over or that is under your supervision. Other variables cannot put you in danger in this location. Specifically, a place without any other cars, people, animals, or risky roads. If you reside in a city, a huge and vacant or rarely used parking lot is frequently the best option. Try going to a parking lot early in the morning if you can’t find one that’s empty. The main purpose of finding an empty space is so that you can buildup your confidence and drive without any fear of the road..
Different kinds of motorcycles available in the market
The first roadblock that newbie riders encounter is getting confused between all the different types of bikes and which one will fit their everyday needs. There are many types of motorcycles, including dirt bikes, motocross bikes, sports bikes, touring bikes and scooters. Each bike has its own set of features and design elements that make it suitable for different types of terrain and driving styles.
Nowadays, there are a variety of specialized motorcycles to choose from that specialize in a particular aspect.
- Standard (most common) – You can never go wrong with the old-trusty standard motorcycle. Their posture is characterized by a straight back and the shoulders should be stacked above the hips. The shoulders are pushed back in order to get relaxed. This prevents the passenger from leaning on the handlebar and thus always has full control over it. The gears are designed such that it is easier for riders to go up inclines or accelerate quickly from a stop. Street bikes can be used for both commuting and recreational activities like long-distance touring or cruising on highways and are characterized by easy handling, comfort, are light in weight and are beginner friendly.
- Cruiser – This posture requires you to stretch your legs forward on the wedge of the foot. The handlebar is higher than usual due to the “monkey style” shape of most cruiser bikes. Top-notch performance and achieving maximum maneuverability are the two variables at which a typical sports bike excels at. The whole design of a sports bike is pretty much made with the idea of achieving maximum speeds and high performances. While the performance of a sports bike is totally unmatched, but it comes at the price of other important aspects. Sports bikes are pretty delicate in nature and long distances usually aren’t suitable for a sports bike. Comfort is also pretty much comprised.
- Sports – Straighten your back, lean your torso forward and move your shoulders back. This posture prevents back pain in the long run, and is intended for sports-oriented riding. Top-notch performance (acceleration as well as top speed) and achieving maximum maneuverability are the two variables at which a typical sports bike excels at. The design of a sports motorcycle ensures that the motorcycle is very stable at high speeds yet flickable during cornering. While the performance of a sports bike is totally unmatched, but it comes at the price of other important aspects such as comfort and ride quality.
- Sports Tourer – Sports tourer is indeed the most versatile type of motorcycle available to the riders. The expensive price tags that tourer bikes carry are justified by the benefits and performance they offer. One of the most lucrative benefits that tourer bikes have is that they offer long-distance capacity and comfort with the high performance, which is nearly on par with that of a sports bike. These bikes are equipped with a large fuel tank, creature comforts such as heated grips, large windshield visor and the like.
- Dirt Bike – Off-roading is a pretty famous leisure activity for adventure enthusiasts, meaning that a vehicle is not driven on a conventional road but rather a natural terrain. The bikes used to drive on such roads are known as dirt bikes. These are pretty situational bikes and are not suitable for daily commutes. These are known for their ability to handle tough terrain, extremely quick acceleration, long suspension travel and light weight design.
Roadmap to Learn Motorcycle Riding on Your Own
- Know Your Bike
A thorough inspection of your bike’s condition is the first priority before you start riding. You should know where all the controls and dials are and how they operate. Familiarize yourself with all the safety instructions and safety equipment of your bike. Make sure you have the right riding gear for the conditions. If you are taking a class, ask if there is any additional reading the instructor recommends.
- Start Off in First Gear
Practice riding in low gear, e.g. first gear. This will make it easier to control the bike at lower speeds. You should be able to keep your feet on the ground while you’re learning. When you’ve mastered first gear, try second gear. Go up in gears when you’re ready. Start off in a parking lot or a wide, open road devoid of traffic.
- Revving and Acceleration
When you are accelerating, you need to give the engine time to build momentum. Don’t just jam down on the throttle – that is a surefire way to get into an accident. Ensure you handle the throttle smoothly and gradually.
- Shifting Gears
Gear shifting and speed changes go hand-in-hand. If you are accelerating, you need to up shift, while if you are decelerating, you need to downshift. Learn to actuate the clutch lever properly as per the vehicle speed.
When you are riding, you want to be looking where you want to go. You don’t want to be looking where you are now. If you are cornering, look through the turn and where you want to go.
Riding Rules to Follow
Riding on the road is may be daunting initially and there are many things to take care of. Road safety is a major concern for all riders. In order to be safe and avoid accidents, we must follow a few simple rules while riding:
- Wear your helmet: Your head is the most vital element, protect it! It’s not just about your safety, it’s also about being respectful towards other riders that share the road with you.
- Follow traffic signals: You never know when others are feeling “adventurous”; why risk your own life when you can stay safe simply by following the traffic signal?
- Ride in your own lane: One of the time tested best practices is that you need to stick to your lane and avoid riding in a zig-zag fashion. When you need to change lanes, do so with sufficient warning.
- Never mix alcohol with riding: Save those beers for your bachelor pad! If you are drunk, it is best to park your bike at a safe spot and call a taxi.
- Anticipate, anticipate, anticipate: If you master driving, it is anticipation which you must master. Being aware and being able to predict other’s actions is paramount to your own safety.
- The Law of Good Karma: Yield to pedestrians, cyclists, ambulances, firefighters, delivery services vehicles and/or other emergency vehicles when it is necessary. It is your duty as a good citizen, and believe us – it is good karma, it shall be returned to you when you most need it!
- Eye contact: No, we are not talking about the “love at first sight” eye contact, but the one which you must make before overtaking vehicles. This is the much needed reassurance and confirmation you need (and this, you must get)
Riding Temptations To Avoid
- Overtaking fellow riders/vehicles – One of the major habits that newer riders usually adopt is always trying to overtake their fellow riders on the road. According to various studies, Newer riders often feel an inferiority complex on the road due to lack of experience and patience. This involuntarily causes them to try to overtake their fellow riders. A conscious effort is required by the rider to remind themselves that the road is not a racetrack.
- Start practicing on busy roads – It can be motivating for new riders to start practicing on the roads all by themselves, but the dangers involved during riding all by yourselves are too hard to ignore. Thus, as a best practice a new rider should start practicing on empty roads only.
- Over-speeding – Controlling the speed of the motorcycle is not easy for new riders. Therefore, installing speed limiters is often advised for new riders.
Summing It Up
To conclude, it is pretty evident that taking professional help is better than learning it all by yourself. The process of riding a motorcycle is pretty methodical; necessary precautions and protective gears are required to experience a safe and smooth riding experience. Learning motorcycle riding is not something that can be learnt overnight, little steps should be taken in order to experience the best learning experience. Just remember to take it slow and be patient!