Hardest part of learning to ride
June 21, 2008 at 11:47 pm #1564AnonymousGuest
Just out of curiosity what did other people find to be the hardest part of learning to ride a motorcycle. People I have talked with that want to get their first bike tend to think that it’s just like driving a car, but that’s simply not the case, there is so much more that goes along with it. It almost felt like having to learn how to drive again for me. For me, the hardest part was probably having to watch out for stuff coming up in the road such as potholes, gravel, puddles, tree branches, leaves, ect.. In a car none of this stuff is really a big deal, but on a bike all of them could prove to be disastrous in the wrong places. Just for an example I know a guy that had his bike go down around a corner because he it had just rained and his rear tired slipped out from under him when he drove over a wet piece of newspaper that was in the street.June 22, 2008 at 12:08 am #7617
There’s lots of things that are hard to wrap your brain around when starting to ride a bike. Actually, for me, finding road hazards is probably the easiest thing to look for. For me the hardest things were technique things. Slow tight right turns, right side uturns for figure 8s are the things that are difficult for me. I’ve gotten better at tight right hand turns, but figure 8s are still hard for me. A perception/technique thing that I haven’t quite figured out correctly and was exposed when doing pagemill road for the first time was choosing a line for corners. Pagemill road has really tight twisties/corners and I had a hard time picking the right line to take the corner in most of the time. I guess estimating where the apex is on such canyon roads would be something else that I could use work on… except those are hard to mimic in a parking lot.
If there’s anything more important than my ego
around, I want it caught and shot now…June 22, 2008 at 12:52 am #7620RydRyParticipant
I agree, those tight turns and also combining turns with brake, gear use!
oh…yes and the CARS!!!!!June 22, 2008 at 12:57 am #7621six-shooterParticipant
Hardest thing to learn for me was starting from a stop on an uphill incline… practiced it over and over in a new neighborhood until I got it down pat.June 22, 2008 at 1:25 am #7622BenParticipant
Well, the hardest things for me to learn are also the things that have saved me from crashing. They are as follows:
1. Look where you want to go – The motorcycles goes where you are looking, so if you are taking a turn too fast and you see that guard rail (or oncoming car) coming at you at light speed you have to remember NOT to look at it. It usually takes all my brain power, but I have to force myself to not look at the thing I might crash into, and instead look through the turn to where I want to be.
2. Trust the Lean – This is especially true for beginner motorcyclists. The motorcycle can safely lean a lot farther than you think it can, so if you are once again taking a turn too hot and you think that you might lowside if you lean any farther, chances are you won’t. Just trust the lean and look where you want to go.
3. Don’t brake in a turn – This isn’t a completely hard and fast rule, but in general if you brake while leaned over the motorcycle will have a tendency to abort the lean and stand up straight. Sometimes you can sort of drag your rear brake a little bit, but in reality you should brake before the turn, and then accelerate through the turn.
There have been probably a dozen times in my riding career where those three things have saved my ass. In fact about 3 weeks ago I was going to work and I took a 3 lane offramp a lot faster than I normally would, and in a lane I hadn’t ridden before. Little did I know that lane had a huge dip right at the apex of the curve. My thought process went something like this:
Ok, I’m going to take this turn really fast.
Crap this might be too fast
*Thud as the motorcycle hits the dip mid lean*
Oh god i’m going to crash.
Thank god i’m wearing my gear. Hopefully I won’t hit that guardrail. (No joke, I actually thought that!)
Don’t brake in the turn.
Do NOT look at the guardrail that i’m about to run into.
Slowly ease off the gas.
I made it!!! woo woo!
All of that took place in the space of about 1, maybe 2 seconds. If I hadn’t followed those rules I mentioned then chances are I would have froze up, ran straight into the guardrail and totaled my bike. I think the hardest things to learn are stuff you have to remember when you are under pressure.
~Best Beginner Motorcycles AdminJune 22, 2008 at 7:14 am #7632
Yeh, guardrails are bad news. You really don’t want to target fixate on them and run into them… Stories abound about those things taking off limbs…
If there’s anything more important than my ego
around, I want it caught and shot now…June 23, 2008 at 6:56 am #7668uncle_bernieParticipant
One thing I found hard to do was practice swerving around “obstacles” at 70 mph. I put obstacles in quotes because so far, at highway speed I haven’t had to swerve around “surprise” obstacles yet. During the MSF course we practiced these maneuvers at 18-20 mph. I realized though, that at some point I had to see what that felt like at 70 mph and be prepared. This was, for me, especially shaky when doing the quick counter-steer to the right because I tended to roll on the throttle as I did it. There’s a lot of trust that has to happen in your early stages of riding that the bike, even at 70, wants to be and will get back to upright after that quick lean…but it wasn’t easy for me at first to believe that and I had to learn how to push quickly on the right grip without simultaneously opening up the throttle.
~He who laughs last didn’t get the joke…June 23, 2008 at 10:01 am #7680smadaakramParticipant
I’ve had a real deal with judging proper entry speed for turns. more than a few times I’ve gone into a turn at what i think is a good reasonable speed only to scare my self just a bit and realize that I’m going a little faster than I’m comfortable with ( the bike hangs in there just fine mind you), so far I’ve not had any bad effects, just allot of learning and a quickened pulse. I’ve started slowing more than i think necessary for curves that I’m unfamiliar with, ad it seems to work just fine, a few times I’ve slowed more than the curve required but I’d rather go too slow as too fast!
//@R!<June 23, 2008 at 6:22 pm #7701JirikiParticipant
honestly, the hardest thing for me is to come to a stop and gently place my foot down… i have zero balance and have to really concentrate when doing this.. I think this is mainly because I come in fast for stops and have all my weight on the front tire… ah well
the other thing that took some getting used to was how to decipher incredibly blurry mirrors at highway speeds. Basically, I make a mental map of the cars around me as I pass them or by shoulder checking and I update this map based on the blurry blobs… seems to work so far.
one more item to add to Ben’s list:
4. Always have an escape route. This is incredibly important because we seriously are invisible out there. I constantly make up scenarios where the cars around me will crash/swerve and come up with how I would try to get around ’em. The added benefit is that you get an imaginary ang lee movie every time you rideJune 23, 2008 at 7:15 pm #7704Jadefoxx215Participant
the hardest thing for me to learn which I’m still perfecting is learning proper gear shifting. For example when downshifting I learned the hard way that its not a good idea to downshift from 5th directly to 1st if i’m not coming to a complete stop, that I can downshift to the next gear provided I’m going slow enough and just roll onto the throttle. I realized I was doing something wrong when one day I go to downshift and my bike super -revs and my bike tire starts to skid..yeah I about crapped myself then and needless to say I haven’t done that again. Also I’ve learned to trust my bike, not when I’m leaning but when I’m making a slow right hand turn. I have a tendency to hold on to the clutch and let off the throttle a bit until I clear my turn..but everything is a work in progress.June 24, 2008 at 2:52 am #7727
I found that using the rear brake helps out to level out your balance when coming to a stop. What I do, which some people actually recommend is to set up the stop with the rear brake first before engaging the front brakes. The rear brake by itself will transfer weight to the back of the bike. Using just the front brake puts all the weight to the front of the bike. Used together at the right time, you can keep the bike level when coming to a stop which helps keep you in balance and in place on the bike making it easier to stop smoother.
If there’s anything more important than my ego
around, I want it caught and shot now…June 24, 2008 at 5:49 pm #7753canstaettParticipant
My commute has a section with some nice curves that are sharp enough to be thrilling (or terrifying) but not so sharp that you have a good chance of flying off the road if you take them too fast. I’m with Ben- although my internal dialogue is usually
oh crap too fast
leanleanleanleanthe bike won’t fall over
leanleanyou cab do thislean
don’t hit the brakes leanleanleanlean
I guy I work with said he goes out with his son and they ride these same curves at 70+. Granted his son is 22 and perfectly capable of making rotten decisions, but really? Of course with no helmet laws this is all done in a tshirt and jeans. I’m finally to the point where I’m not doing them at 35. I took one at 55 yesterday and was freaking out. Then I made it through and learned that I’m really not the daredevil type for the hundreth time. I’m all about some straights though. Good stuff there.June 24, 2008 at 9:13 pm #7771acidpopeParticipant
Got on my new bike for the first time today. (Got the bike home and the forcast was rain for like seven days, finally had a small break in it.) I have to say the toughest thing is not looking at your bike when you’re riding. Shouldn’t be too tough to fix though.June 25, 2008 at 1:10 am #7789bam37Participant
when i first started to learn, on a 100cc racing dirt bike. My grandfather was helping me. I was like 10 or 11. I was on the bike and i liked hearing the engine rev, so i did so, and as the engine started to idle i heard my grandfather say let out the clutch, but i let it out too fast…and Whoops! My first wheelie!!! it lasted all of 2 seconds and then the bike landed and i fell off the bike and the bike took off!! And so my love for motorcycles began…lol…it was fun. That was my hardest part was learning about the clutch. It took me about 3 or 4 hours for me to get itJune 25, 2008 at 3:46 am #7799AzN LogiKParticipant
Figure 8s and small uturns… i suck at them…
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