Congratulations! You have successfully completed a BASIC motorcycle riding course! Please realize that this is a BASIC class that you just completed. You now know about 2% of what there is to know about riding a motorcycle. There is much, much more to learn!
- You know just enough to ride down the street and easily get yourself into trouble.
- Riding a motorcycle safely requires a commitment to life time learning.
What’s next? The following are what I recommend to develop your riding skills:
1) Read a few books: Rider knowledge is the most effective performance upgrade!
- Lee Parks “Total Control”
- Nick Ienatch “Sport Riding Techniques”
- Keith Code “Twist of the Wrist” and “Twist of the Wrist II”
2) Buy and wear good riding gear:
- Helmet, ear plugs, jacket, gloves, pants and boots.
- Commit to All The Gear All The Time
3) Use correct riding posture/body position on YOUR bike
- Head up with eyes at the horizon level scanning
- Shoulders relaxed
- Elbows bent
- Handshake grip on the handgrips
- Wrist flat or below your knuckles on your right hand
- Knees gripping the tank
- Balls of your feet on the footpegs
Pro tip: Push down on the footpegs like you are squishing a bug. This activates muscles in your back and abdomen to support your body weight instead of your hands/arms supporting your body weight. Keeping weight off the handlebars greatly improves your ability to precisely control your motorcycle.
Remember: Handlebars are control inputs and NOT handholds!
4) Adjust all the motorcycle controls of YOUR bike to fit YOU.
With you sitting on your motorcycle in the correct riding posture:
- Handlebars can be adjusted (rotated forward and back, raised, lowered) or replaced with a different bend to fit the rider.
- Clutch and brake levers can be adjusted so when you extend your fingers out the lever falls in the first joint of your fingers, before you squeeze the lever.
- Clutch and brake levers can be rotated around the handlebar so that when you squeeze the lever, your wrist has a minimal bend.
- Shift lever and rear brake pedal can be adjusted so you can use them comfortably and without thinking about them.
5) Practice your basic riding strategies including:
- Always scanning 5-20 seconds ahead of where you are
- SIPDE: Scan, Identify, Predict, Decide, Execute
Note: you can practice these strategies driving a CAR!
6) Practice all the basic riding drills:
- Quick stops at various speeds
- Consistent braking technique smoothly applying both brakes, whether a routine stop or a quick stop.
- Practice quick stops every time you ride!
- Always turn your head BEFORE you turn the bike and look through the turn through the exit and beyond.
- Practice swerves
7) It is OK to go slower!
- Slower and smoother provides much better control and safer riding than being jerky or less smooth.
8) Take more riding skills classes!
- Dirt riding and dirt classes, intermediate and advanced riding clinics, track days, track day schools, there are many options and you should try several.
If you are NOT having fun riding your motorcycle, you are doing it WRONG!