Riding a motorcycle is an experience that provides an incomparable sense of freedom and speed. However, when you get on a motorcycle, you are also exposing yourself to great risks.
Knowing the best motorcycle riding techniques is the difference between enjoying the trip or suffering the aftermath of an accident. For that reason, we are going to provide you with a wealth of content about the best tricks and techniques to optimize your skills on the motorcycle.
Motorcycle Riding Techniques: Basic Principles
Controlling the field of vision when riding a motorcycle
When riding a motorcycle it is essential to develop peripheral vision. Human beings have a 180º field of vision; However, during driving activity, as well as in moments of anxiety, our attention is focused on a very specific point. This phenomenon is known as the “tunnel effect”.
The vulnerability of motorcyclists makes it essential for them to be able to have global control of what is happening around them, because, in the event of an accident, the chances of suffering serious injuries are very high.
180º field of view
Get used to paying attention to your entire field of vision, avoiding the “tunnel effect”. That takes practice, but it will allow you to anticipate your movements and maneuvers for what happens on the road.
Turn your head
In addition to the use of the mirrors, a slight turn of the neck will allow you to confirm the situation of the road to the left and right, eliminating any blind spots, especially during the maneuvers of joining and changing lanes.
Focus your gaze where you want to go
The principle of “where we look is where we go” has more place in motorcycles than in any other vehicle.
When an accident occurs or you perceive an obstacle on the road, you must focus your gaze on the road whose trajectory allows you to avoid danger in the simplest possible way.
There can always be unforeseen events on the road: A pedestrian crossing the road where it should not, a car that makes a sharp and unexpected turn, or a pothole that can only be perceived at a short distance. Instead of fixing your gaze on them, you should immediately seek an alternative path. Otherwise, the chances of colliding will be greatly increased.
Adapt your eyes during night driving
The lighting provided by a motorcycle at night is considerably less than that of a car. On night outings, it is convenient that you start the march calmly, to allow your eyes to adapt to low visibility conditions.
On the other hand, keep in mind that when riding at high speed with a high-displacement motorcycle when cornering, the angle of inclination of the gaze is quite low. This can lead to glare generated by the headlights of other vehicles and the consequent loss of control of the motorcycle.
Controlling the direction of a motorcycle
The curve passage
The cornering on a motorcycle consists of 3 fundamental phases: Braking, turning and acceleration.
Before entering the curve it is essential to anticipate its characteristics in order to optimize the line without the need for adjustments during the process. This involves analyzing the degree of curvature, cant and level of visibility during the outing.
Preferably, braking must be done progressively and, especially, at the end of the straight, always placing the motorcycle on the outside of the curve; that is, along the hard shoulder or in the center of the road, depending on whether it is a left or right curve. In this way, it is guaranteed that the exit at the end of the curve takes place on the inside of the lane and with a much more rectilinear trajectory.
Braking should always be done before starting the turn and leaning the motorcycle. Once the curvature passage begins and the trajectory remains stable, the acceleration process can begin, always in a sustained manner and avoiding sudden gassing.
On the other hand, in the case of tight curves, it will be necessary to maintain a constant speed, until the turn is finished.
The motorcycle riding technique known as “counter handlebar” consists of turning the handlebar in the opposite direction to the direction of the curve. Although it may seem contradictory, this technique helps to corner on a motorcycle.
It should be noted that a motorcycle does not turn because the front wheel and the steering are oriented in the direction of the curve, but rather because of the lean angle of the motorcycle. This is due to the shape of the tire.
The biggest problem with the traditional cornering technique is that it requires you to voluntarily lean your body weight to the side of the curve you want to take, and then reposition it and straighten the bike. This maneuver can be quite physically exhausting.
On the contrary, by “counter-handlebar” the steering is placing the wheel in a position that will allow the motorcycle to lean naturally towards the side of the curve. In this way, the motorcycle will fall smoothly without the need for you to transfer the weight of your body, which means a great saving of physical effort.
Correct use of brakes on a motorcycle
Using both brakes
For the correct riding of a motorcycle it is essential to learn to use both brakes. As a general rule, the front end carries the most work during braking. However, the previous use of the rear brake will allow you to balance the bike by limiting the amount of weight that is transferred to the front axle.
Always two fingers on the brake lever
The appearance of unforeseen events on the road requires maximum reaction capacity during braking. Developing the habit of riding with two fingers on the brake lever will allow you to reduce your reaction time. This factor can make a big difference in stopping distance when driving at high speeds.
Management of unforeseen events and panic on a motorcycle
The principles that we are going to explain below can be applied to the driving of any vehicle. However, they are much more important when you are on a motorcycle, since the consequences of an accident can be very serious.
In those situations in which you are driving to the limit of your attention span, or even above it, you are not only increasing your chances of having a mishap on the road, but you are also limiting your ability to react to said mishaps.
When your attention span is subjected to a high level of demand while driving, any unforeseen event becomes an “insurmountable” obstacle. This feeling is what is commonly known as panic.
It is often believed that the cause of driving panic is the appearance of an unforeseen phenomenon. However, the root of the problem lies in the fact of not being able to perceive and analyze the new situation in sufficient time, due to the fact that the attention was totally focused on the rest of the driving.
If you want to avoid this type of situation, you must make sure you always drive below your limits; something that can be quite a challenge when you are experiencing the sensation of riding a motorcycle.
These motorcycle riding techniques are just the basis of a good experience on two wheels.