Having the skills and experience to control your motorcycle will make you a much safer rider. Control means being able to make it go where you want, at the right speed, keep it balanced and stop effectively.
Here are some tips on how to keep good control of your motorcycle, have the correct body position and use the controls correctly. You’ll need lots of practice and training from a skilled and experienced motorcyclist. It’s a good idea to take training and refresher courses at an approved motorcycle training school.
To control the motorcycle properly, your body must be in the correct position and the controls adjusted so you can operate them easily.
To be comfortable when you ride, sit back in the seat far enough so that your elbows are slightly bent when your hands are on the handlebars. This will allow you to turn the handlebars without having to stretch.
Hold the handgrips lightly – you only want enough pressure to feel what the front wheel is doing.
Have your elbows slightly bent, but not away from your body. As well as being more comfortable, this position gives you more strength for steering.
It also allows you to hold your body back in the seat when you brake hard, and to absorb any shocks coming from the front wheel.
Keep your knees against the petrol tank. This will help you balance as the motorcycle turns.
When the motorcycle is moving, keep your feet firmly on the footrests. A firm footing will help you keep your balance.
Don’t drag your foot along the ground. If your foot catches on something, you could lose your balance.
Your back should be straight, your head and eyes up.
A good riding position should:
Learning how to turn correctly can be difficult. The best way to learn how to make good, safe turns is to get some training from a qualified riding instructor.
You won’t be able to hold the turn if you enter it too quickly. This means you might cross into another lane of traffic or go off the road, or brake too hard and skid out of control.
Approach turns carefully until you learn to judge how fast you can actually take a turn. Make sure you slow down before the turn and increase your speed smoothly coming out of it.
Your motorcycle has 2 brakes – the front brake for stopping and a rear brake for stability. You need both of them to stop safely.
The front brake is more powerful. It provides about 75-90 percent of your stopping power.
It’s a good idea to learn emergency braking skills from a motorcycle instructor or riding school. It may save your life.
There’s more to changing gears than simply getting the motorcycle to accelerate smoothly.
Crashes can happen if the gears are used incorrectly when changing down or turning.
It’s important to change down through all the gears as you slow down or stop. This way, you have enough power to accelerate quickly if you need to.
Make sure you are going slow enough when you change into a lower gear. If you are going too fast, the motorcycle will lurch and the rear wheel may lock up. This is more likely to happen when you are:
Under these conditions, you may need to use the brakes in order to slow down enough to change down safely.
It’s best to change gears before entering a turn, because a sudden change in power to the rear wheel can cause it to lock or spin, causing a skid.
It’s more difficult to get a motorcycle moving uphill than on flat ground. There’s always a danger of rolling backwards into something behind you.
When starting on a hill: