Motorcycle riding is fun. If you are a new bike rider it can be even more so. The thrill is new and can be exhilarating.
To add on to your riding experience, here are 7 useful tips for a new motorcycle rider:
#1: Assume No One Sees You
The first rule of motorcycle riding – assume no one on the road can see you and the worst is happening. The second rule of motorcycle riding – read the first rule again and ride as defensive as possible.
No matter how cautious you are, you will always come across brash road users many times in your riding journey. They are in cars, they are in trucks, and heck, they might be other motorcycle riders too.
All it needs is one such stupid brash rider to take a go at you. And before you know it, you are involved in a freak accident.
So, make sure you ride defensively AND look out for other road users, especially in your early years.
#2: Wear That Helmet You Idiot
Safety gears are important. Freaking important. Even among those, the helmet is the top safety gear that you should be wearing anytime and every time you go for a ride.
Yet, I have seen so many of my fellow riders not wearing a helmet. The reasons are always there. It’s just a short distance. The road is clear and empty. I forgot to bring my helmet down. Yada Yada Yada.
All those excuses go for a toss when you face the worse. Even the emptiest and clearest roads can have landmines. A rock. A monkey. A passing cat. A crashed car. There is nothing you can do to avoid it other than regretting your excuse for not wearing a helmet.
#3: When In Doubt, Slow Down
Whenever you are facing even the slightest uncertainty, slow your motorcycle down. Slow it down. Once again, slow it down.
This is applicable to experienced bike riders as well. When you are not sure and are not in total control, it is always and always the best to slow your motorcycle down.
It can be any situation where you are not in control and not at your best. It may be foggy roads. It may be some strange object or a rock that you see suddenly. Heck, it may even be as simple as you want to sneeze.
Slow it down!
#4: Don’t Be a 600 Guy
We all know that one beginner motorcycle rider who bought a 600 cc (any high cc motorcycle to be precise) motorcycle as his first bike.
Everyone advised this rider not to buy such a heavy cc bike this early. To start with a small and light-weighted motorcycle, learn it, enjoy the riding, and then you can go for the bigger motorcycle.
But no. These riders want the big engines and heavyweight motorcycles as their first love. The smaller bikes are so out of fashion.
Do not ever do this especially if you are starting out. It’s far better to have something lightweight so that you can control and maneuver the bike easily rather than a big cc bike which might look cool, and have more speed but is difficult to gain control.
The key here is comfort and control. You need to feel that with your motorcycle. No matter which bike you are riding, if you don’t feel the comfort or the control over the bike, it’s better to not ride it.
So, bottom line, do not buy a high cc motorcycle if you are starting out in your riding journey. Prefer something lightweight and which you can easily master.
#5: Practice Clutch Play
One of the first things to learn while riding a motorcycle is to practice pulling in and releasing the clutch lever.
Practicing clutch lever play helps in multiple ways. First, they are essential whenever you are changing the gears.
Second, you should pull in the clutch whenever you want to slow down suddenly. Pulling in the clutch lever is basically the neutral gear since it disengages from the gear drive.
And lastly, releasing the clutch lever is a tricky bugger. Whenever you are changing the gear, especially when shifting from neutral to the first, releasing the clutch smoothly is very important. Release it suddenly, the gears engage brashly and might stop the motorcycle. Kid you not, this can get really frustrating.
So, practice clutch lever play as much as possible. Until you are releasing the clutch smoothly while changing the gears.
#6: Go Easy On That Throttle Grip
Too many beginner motorcycle riders grip the throttle as if their life is dependent on it. While there is some truth to it, you need to take it to notch that grip down a bit.
Often what happens is the new riders have their throttle grip too tight. Like they are holding a screwdriver and the throttling up and down feels more like a screwdriver tightening and loosening a nail.
Holding the throttle in such a tight fashion makes you seem tense. Also, such a strong grip is plain unnecessary. So, loosen up a bit and loosen that grip a bit more. Loosening the grip also rubs off on your energy and confidence while riding.
#7: Second Gear Is Your Friend
Whenever you are riding, the fallback gear in response to any uncertain thing happening outside should be the second gear. Second gear provides a factor of safety and comfort even while you are still riding in the face of something unpredictable or unpleasant.
As for why second gear is the safest, first, they are slow and steady. You don’t have to worry about getting into a speed accident. The first gear is even slower but they don’t provide the same degree of steadiness as the second gear does.
Second, It also helps whenever you need to be moving and can’t afford to stop your motorcycle. Oftentimes, you will get into situations where stopping the motorcycle is not the best alternative. Case in point, moving traffic. You need to be moving.
In such cases, riding in second gear not only keeps you moving but also helps you regain control of your motorcycle speed. No to mention, the steadiness helps you regain your confidence.