Learning To Ride A Motorcycle For The First Time
- Updated: 2023-07-29
Motorcycles vary tremendously and besides their design, motorcycle engine sizes are also important when choosing your first motorcycle. If you want to go to work with your motorcycle or to use it for casual rides, you might want to look for models with smaller engine sizes because you won’t need a lot of power.
Also, before you purchase a motorcycle or you decide what type of model you want to start practicing on, you should know that the same motorcycle engine sizes can perform differently depending on the type of motorcycle. To get a clear idea, these are the most common types of motorcycles and their characteristics.
Standard motorcycles: these are a good option for beginners. Standard motorcycles perform well on highways and they are easy to manage. They come in different models and their design can be quite attractive.
Sport motorcycles: these are more appropriate for people who are already familiar with riding, and want to go to the next level. Sport models allow you to lean on the bike more than standard models and they are more aerodynamic. Sport motorcycle designs might cause slight difficulty to a shorter person who might only be able to touch the ground with the tip of their toes.
Cruisers: these types of motorcycles are usually characterized by low seat heights. They offer comfort and ease of use. If you are a beginner, you might want to consider a cruiser as you will feel that it provides you safety and stability. These bikes are also very diverse when it comes to their shape.
Touring motorcycles: these are some of the more intricate designs that are meant to be used for long rides. If you plan on using your motorcycle to travel during holidays, you might want to consider one of these. They might be pricier than other bikes but they come with enhanced comfort features. However, it is also worth considering that these models are often heavier, which might make them slightly harder to ride if you are a beginner.
Dual sport: with this type of motorcycle, you can ride anywhere. These durable motorcycles are praised for their performance and functionality and they can adapt to any conditions. Whether you want to ride them on the highway or on a dusty countryside road, dual sport motorcycles are reliable. One feature that makes them stand out is their seat height which is usually placed higher than on most motorcycles.
It is recommended to take a course before you start riding a motorcycle, even if in some cases, the course is not mandatory in order to get a license as you can also ride the motorcycle if you have a full driver’s license.
A course can help you learn essential riding techniques as well as some basic information on how the motorcycle works and what you can do to stay safe while riding.
Whether you choose to take a course or you prefer learning from a friend who already has a motorcycle, your first lesson should focus on how to use the basic control operations of the vehicle.
The hand clutch lever allows you to disengage the power when you shift gears with the shifter that’s usually located next to the left foot. You use the throttle located on the right handlebar if you want to accelerate. The lever located on the right handlebar works as a handbrake for the front wheel and the rear brake is the right-side pedal next to your foot.
Once you get on the motorcycle, take a few moments to get used to it and make sure it allows you to put your feet firmly on the ground. In other words, the motorcycle shouldn’t be too tall for your height.
Then, get familiarized with the clutch that enables you to change gears. Start pulling in the clutch to put the motorcycle into the first gear and check the other gears and how you can shift between them and see their number on the gauge.
When you’re ready to ride, turn the key as it has to be placed in the ignition position and check that your gauges and lights are on. Then, put the motorcycle in the neutral position by placing it on the first gear, shifting down, and then back again. Your gauge should let you know when you’re in the neutral position by displaying an ‘N’.
Afterward, press the Start button and let the engine warm for a little bit – approximately 30 seconds or more. Then, get a good grip of the clutch, walk the motorcycle forward with your feet on the ground while you slowly manage the clutch so that the bike can move.
Try to practice until you feel you can achieve balance and you are ready to take your feet off the ground. Then, it’s time to start riding. To do this, you have to shift into the first gear and let your clutch lever out.
At the same time, you have to pull the throttle back. Then, let the clutch lever out so that the motorcycle starts moving forward. As you start moving, accelerate a bit and put your feet on the pegs.
Try to ride in a straight line in the beginning. When you want to stop, pull the clutch lever in and then apply both the front and the back brakes at the same time. Then, put your left foot on the ground to stop the bike and after it stopped, put both your feet down and get off.
There are several items you simply can’t do without if you want to learn how to ride the motorcycle and we are going to list them below and shortly explain why you need each one of them.
The helmet is the most important piece of your motorcyclist equipment. Besides the fact that it is not safe to ride without a helmet, it is also illegal to do so in most states. According to the law, most states require you to use a helmet that has been certified by the US. Department of Transportation and is marked with the abbreviation DOT.
This means that the helmet meets specific safety requirements and is able to provide you the protection you need in case of accidents.
A motorcyclist jacket is not something you use just to look better while riding. These jackets were designed with one purpose in mind – enhancing motorcyclists’ safety. These jackets are like armor that can protect your body and internal organs in case you suffer an accident. They are thick and sturdy and most of them are made of leather.
Motorcyclist jackets are designed for particular weather conditions and some are better for the summer while others can keep you warm in the cold season. Also, they are meant to protect you from wind and rain, which you feel more intensely when you are riding.
Gloves can protect your hands when you are riding and prevent you from suffering injuries due to debris or insects. If these collide with your hands at high speeds, they can leave quite an ugly mark, not to mention the pain that will prevent you from feeling comfortable while riding.
Many motorcyclists choose to wear boots that are specifically designed for rides. These shoes not only protect your feet and your ankles but also help you benefit from enhanced safety as they are non-slip. Moreover, most of them have metal protection in their front part, to prevent injuries in case of accidents.
If you already have a driver’s license or you are used to riding a bike, learning how to ride a motorcycle shouldn’t be too difficult. Once you get used to maintaining your balance on the bike and to how its mechanism works, it is all about practicing until you feel confident.
If you’re just now beginning motorcycle riding, you are probably nervous since there are a lot of things and techniques that you need to remember. As someone that’s new to motorcycling, you will first need to concentrate on doing basic things, such as looking through the turn. The more you practice, the easier it will become since the behavior will turn into second nature.
To help you out, we have compiled a list of motorcycle riding basics and beginner motorcycle tips that can help you build good habits that can keep you safer on the road. The first tip is to keep the heels in onto the metal plates next to the pegs. Doing this will improve your stability and control. It may be an obvious tip, but many beginners don’t know how to ride a sports motorcycle correctly.
Next, you will need to make sure that your body is positioned comfortably on the bike. The position can vary from rider to rider since not everyone will feel comfortable in the same position. However, riders should follow one simple principle: keep the bottom tight and the top loose.
This means that the thighs will need to be squeezed together tight enough to grip the tank and press into the bike with the ankles. This riding position will help improve your lower body stability.
As far as the top half of your body is concerned, you will need to keep things a bit loose. Make sure that your elbows can still wiggle. If you’re clutching the handlebars too tightly, a dead grip can form, and this will have you unable to control the bike well when entering a turn.
If you’re used to driving a car, as a beginner motorcyclist, you should know that turning on a bike requires you to line the motorcycle so that you enter the turn on the outside, traverse it through the inside, and exit it on the outside. This will lessen the angle of the lean so that you can take the corner faster and look farther for possible dangers.
Similarly, braking in a turn is possible with a car, but it is a big ‘no’ when riding a motorcycle. If you happen to hit the brakes before the apex, you will fall off the bike.
Continuing on the subject of turns, this leads us to one of the most important motorcycle riding tips for beginners, which is to look through turns. If you’ve taken a motorcycle safety course, you’ve probably heard this a lot of times, but it doesn’t mean we won’t say it again.
It is highly important to develop a good habit of looking as far ahead as you can while turning. Developing this habitat is essential for beginners since it will give them a wider view of the road, and this will make each turn less scary. It will also allow the rider to take turns faster and safer.
Lastly, you need to be aware that the road isn’t the safest place for motorcycles since no matter how well you ride, there will be plenty of inattentive drivers that you will need to deal with. This is why when riding a bike, you should always prepare for the worst and have an escape plan for each situation.
This may sound a bit difficult at first, but the more your ride, the easier it will become. You’ll encounter all types of drivers, and each bad encounter will act as a learning experience.
Riding a motorcycle for the first time can feel intimidating since, unlike other hobbies, the tolerance for incompetence is very slim here since any mistake can lead to disastrous results. However, if you find the idea of riding a motorcycle daunting, you don’t need to start big, you can do it slowly.
Instead of starting with a list of motorcycles for first-time riders, you can consider getting a scooter. The scooter is lighter, easier to control, and it helps new riders focus on learning how to balance and how to ride a two-wheeled vehicle.
Once you become comfortable with the scooter in a wide variety of road situations, switching to a motorcycle and riding it will feel less intimidating.
Is it hard to drive a motorcycle? Yes, it certainly is, but there are ways to simplify the problem if riding a motorcycle is something that you are passionate about. Conquering your fears is never easy, but as long as you’re playing the long game and you’re not too hard on yourself, you should have no problem mastering the art of riding a bike.
Seeing as most motorcycles for beginning riders are used, due to them being more affordable, knowing a thing or two about bike maintenance is essential for new riders. For starters, before you embark on a long journey, you need to make sure that the tires are properly inflated.
Check the bike’s user’s manual to find what the ideal pressure should be. You can also look up your bike’s specifications online or look on the side of the tire to see the proper air pressure.
Another important aspect when maintaining the tires is to look at the tread. The wear bars on the tire will tell you when you need to replace them. It is not safe to ride with old tires since they can’t stick to the road well and are more likely to lose air or get damaged.
If you use old tires, but the wear bars look fine, you should still look for cracked rubber occasionally. Replace them when you notice signs of wear and tear.
When buying a used bike, you can’t know when the last oil change was done, so changing the oil is the first thing you should do.
Lastly, you will also need to check the lights and cables to make sure that the turn signals, headlights, brake levers, and brake lights are all in working condition. There are many other things to know about motorcycles, but as a beginner, it is easy to get overwhelmed. As you get better and better at riding, you will learn even more about bike maintenance on your own.