Photo by Nikolai Ulltang
Originally Posted On: The No BS Guide to Motorcycle Riding – Law Tigers
There’s nothing like the thrill of hopping on a motorcycle and tearing down the open road. Whether you’ve been in a family of riders for years or have just gotten your motorcycle license, there’s always an opportunity to learn more about motorcycle riding. Discover different bikes, refresh your knowledge on safety and riding skills or embark on new and exciting rides to get your blood pumping.
Our team thought through the most important parts of riding – from getting your license, to finding the perfect bike, to bike maintenance, safety, riding laws, and how to have a ton of fun on your bike – and put together this No BS Guide to Riding. If you’re just starting out, we can help you learn a thing or two to make riding that much more thrilling. If you’re a seasoned pro, don’t worry – there’s plenty here for you too (like our must-attend rallies and the best routes in the country).
Why take our word for it? We’re riders just like you. We’ve geared up in our leathers, greased our chains and put on the miles. And now we want to tell you a few things we’ve learned along the way. Dive in and we’ll see you on the road!
Types of Motorcycles
First things first – what kind of rider are you? Whether you’re buying your first, second, or even third motorcycle, you have to decide what type of experience you want to have when you hop on the bike.
Safety should be your #1 priority every time you get on the bike, no matter how long you’ve been riding. While this might sound a tad boring, the good news is that the stronger your early safety fundamentals are, the more they will be like second nature as you ride more and more. Here are the things you should keep in mind each time you pull the motorcycle out of the garage.
This stands for All The Gear, All The Time. Take it from us — we’re a motorcycle accident injury law firm — even though it may seem less cool to be fully wrapped up as you get on a bike, it’s the only way to truly be safe. This means you need a helmet, jacket, pants, gloves, boots, suits, and eye/ear protection for every ride.
INVEST IN YOUR EDUCATION
Most people are willing to spend money on a bike and gear, but will hop right on without investing in learning the fundamentals of riding. No matter how much you spend on your bike and equipment, the value and security of a ride are going to be based on your knowledge and skills.
This means you should be studying, practicing, and taking lessons. This will allow you to identify any weaknesses and practice them safely. We recommend continuing to do this throughout your riding career, especially as you embark on a new type of riding journey using skills you haven’t dusted off in a long time. We recommend looking into track schools, private lessons, and even consulting YouTube courses when trying to improve your skills.
Tips for Beginning Motorcycle Riding
No matter your riding style or bike type, there are a few basic skills for beginner riders. These include:
BODY POSITION AND LEANING
You will need to shift your body position often during most rides. Whether it is to change your arm height and angle for comfort, or to change the position of your hips, riding a motorcycle is an extremely active event.
Basic posture on a motorcycle dictates that you have your torso in line with your hips as often as possible. This includes when you lean, meaning you will have to get comfortable with this adjustment, as well as looking through the corner of your lean while counter-steering.
Additionally, keeping your arms at a comfortable distance is going to be important to recognize early on in your riding training. Either over-extending or under-extending can make for weird angles or overall body fatigue, so make sure to get comfortable on any bike before a long ride.
Learning to change gears to match your engine speed with that of the road is vital. When upshifting (considered the easier of the two shift movements), you can roll off the throttle until your engine finds the appropriate speed for a higher gear. As you do this, pull in the clutch lever and use your foot to click its lever into a higher gear.
Downshifting is slightly more difficult because the engine will be looking to move faster in the lower gear, but you will need to control the movement in the same way. The biggest difference is that you move your foot up instead of down on the lever, and then you need to release the clutch lever out at a much slower speed than upshifting.
BRAKING AND TURNING
For those with less experience in motorcycle riding, separating braking and turning is recommended. When you break before the turn, it allows the bike suspension to come back to a neutral position. Additionally, as you learn the ropes for controlling a motorcycle, you should use both the front and rear brakes in a straight line as you approach the turn.
This is a huge concept for beginners. Essentially, when you are going below 13 miles per hour, turn the handlebars in the direction you want to go. Once you are faster than 12 miles per hour, you are pushing the handlebar on the side of the bike that you want to lean and turn to, rather than turning the unit. Push left to go left, push right to go right. This is the mantra.
The Law Tigers Way
The Law Tigers are passionate about motorcycle riding – just like you. We take care of our own and support the community.
We are dedicated to going above and beyond to support riders by providing educational resources, attending events, supporting local motorcycle businesses, clubs and organizations, and providing excellent legal counsel to riders in their time of need.
Hopefully through this Motorcycle Riding 101 Guide you’ve learned something new or were reminded of some motorcycle basics you may have forgotten. The most important thing to remember is that with Law Tigers, you’ll never ride alone.