So, you’ve bought your first motorcycle. You can’t wait to gear up and hit the road for adventure. But before you pop that clutch, experts say it’s important to have a firm grasp of the basics. “Riding is both easy and difficult,” says Corey Eastman from Bonnier Motorcycle Group. “For a new rider, [it’s important to] look at the basics.”
With that in mind, here are six essential pointers for newbies to remember.
Get Familiar With Your Bike
There are eight main types of motorcycles out there, from supercharged sport bikes to stately touring machines. Do your homework and get the one that’s right for you. Also, get familiar with the motorcycle maintenance routines required for your particular model. A well-kept bike is essential for road safety. Make sure your bike is covered by the right motorcycle insurance.
Find Your Center
When they’re going fast, motorcycles balance themselves. But at slow speeds, bikes have a nasty —and embarrassing—tendency to tip over. The key to keeping them upright? Develop your muscle memory with good, old-fashioned practice.
Master The Clutch
Most bikes come with standard transmissions, and working the clutch can be tricky. As with balance, you’ll only get better with practice; but if you find it challenging, consider a dual-clutch transmission bike, says Eastman. “These are basically automatic transmissions that allow you to shift gears via hand-mounted buttons.”
Refine Your Body Position
Don’t just plop yourself onto your bike; always be mindful of how and where you’re sitting. Plant yourself toward the front of the seat, relax your arms, hold your knees against the gas tank, and make sure you have a good grip on the handlebars.
Just like in the car, distracted driving (or in this case, riding) is a dangerous practice, made even more dangerous due to the manual nature of motorcycles. So stow the cell phone and keep your eyes squarely on the road and both hands on the handlebars.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Take introductory riding lessons, but don’t stop there. Riding schools, local clubs and national associations offer more advanced classes in everything from racing to navigation. “Take all that you can,” says Eastman. “They are fun, allow you to try several different types of motorcycles and really build good skills quickly.”
Visit our Motorcycle Safety section to learn more about riding safely, motorcycle theft prevention and the importance of helmets.
Are you ready for group riding? Do you know the proper etiquette? Check out our 10 Tips For Group Motorcycle Riding.
Max Jones says,
I’ve always wanted to get motorcycles, and I think that being able to have some tips would be helpful. I’m glad you talked about being able to master the clutch for motorcycles, and how practice is a big part of being able to do that. I’m going to have to practice when I get my motorcycles and hopefully be riding like a pro in no time!
Excellent tips for beginners and experienced riders alike. Too much that can go wrong, we gotta be focused 100%
Rockford Johnson says,
Great post! I have recently bought a motorcycle so reading this has really helped me a lot. I like how you explained that”There are eight main types of motorcycles out there, from supercharged sports bikes to stately touring machines. Do your homework and get the one that’s right for you.”. It took a while to find the right bike, but after doing a lot of homework, I have found the right one. The next thing I need to do is find a good repair shop where I can take my bike because I know there will be a few accidents during the process of getting used to my bike.
Jason Strong says,
I’m a first time motorcycle rider and I love it so far. I still have a lot to learn though and am always looking up tips and other things to help me figure this out. This article has some great points that I think can help me out and take my knowledge that much further.
Zach Thalman says,
It is important to know your bike because a lot of people forget about how different each bike is. The more you ride the better feel you will get for the motorcycle. I also think it will be better to know how to do the repairs.
Victor Loftis says,
Great helpful post!
Raylin Sutter says,
One thing that I learned first thing when I started to ride motorcycles was to know a little bit about motorcycle service repairs. Where to go and how to do some of the basic things myself. It’s important to know just in case something ever happens. I went riding out into the desert once and I almost ended up stranded but luckily I had brought some tools with me and was able to fix it up enough before going to a shop. I encourage any new riders to learn a little bit about working with tools on their motorcycle.