Posted on October 18, 2022 at 7:00 PM by The Biker Lawyers
9 Tips Every Beginner Needs to Start Their Motorcycle Journey
One of the most rewarding things in life is learning how to ride a motorcycle. However, it's also one of the most challenging. Learning how to ride takes time and patience, but when you finally get the hang of it, you'll enjoy every minute on two wheels! As they say, four wheels moves the body, two wheels moves the soul!
If you're ready to learn to ride, here are some tips for first-time motorcyclists:
TL:DR- Quick Summary of what you need to know. Click to jump ahead:
1) Find a motorcycle riding course
- A great starting point is signing up for a course. You can find a list of motorcycle riding schools in your area on your local Department of Transportation (DOT) website.
- To get the most out of your experience, look for a school that offers courses in your area and teaches what you want to learn (e.g., basic riding skills, advanced riding skills). Ask friends or family members who ride motorcycles where they took their first class and how they felt about it afterward.
- When finding a motorcycle course, check reviews online on sites like Yelp or Google Reviews. You can see which schools have high marks from previous students before signing up for one yourself!
2) Choose the right bike.
It's time to get a sense of the type of motorcycle you’d like to ride.
The first step to consider when you buy your first motorcycle is choosing a bike that's right for your body size and skill level:
- If you're tall, buy a bike with a high seat height. This will help prevent back pain and make it easier to reach the ground when stopping at traffic lights or in other situations where riders need to put their feet down.
- If you're short, look for bikes with low seat heights so they feel more comfortable on longer rides (or even just around town). It also makes them easier to handle when parking.
- For new riders who are still learning how to control their machines, it's best to avoid sport bikes, or sport touring motorcycles like Suzuki's GSX-R series. Your first bike should be something with less power so that when mistakes happen—and they will!—they won't be as dangerous as if they happened on one of these high-performance models.
3) Learn how to use your motorcycle's controls and components.
As you learn to ride a motorcycle, you'll need to learn how to use the controls and components.
- Understand the throttle control. This is one of the most important things for beginners to know about riding a motorcycle. It's like an accelerator pedal in a car—but instead of being on the floor, it's on your right handlebar.
- When you grab and pull it down with your hand, this causes more power from your engine to be delivered for acceleration. You can also twist off this lever slightly when slowing down or coming to a stop so that less power is transferred from the engine —this will help prevent skidding at high speeds.
- Understand how to use a clutch and brake levers properly.
- Understand horn usage.
- Learn how turn signals work.
- Use high beams when necessary.
- It may eventually be smart to learn how to change your motorcycle’s battery.
- Know how to apply both brakes correctly without skidding (see tip 5).
4) Learn how to use the clutch to shift gears while riding your motorcycle.
Learning how to shift gears on your bike is an essential part of becoming a better rider. There are two ways in which you can use your clutch:
- Use it to slow down. When you need to slow down, but not come to a complete stop, squeeze on your left lever (which is located on the left side of the handlebars). This will allow you to gradually reduce speed by disengaging power from the rear wheel and shifting some of it back into neutral.
- Use it for changing gears. As you ride through an intersection or pass someone, press down on this same lever and shift into gear as if you were starting from a dead stop without using any throttle whatsoever—just like driving a standard car! If there's too much resistance here (e.g., due to lack of momentum), try using less pressure or just let go altogether until things get moving again before trying again later.
5) How to use your brake on your motorcycle.
Braking is one of the most crucial aspects of motorcycle riding. If you’re going to be able to control your bike, it’s important that you master the technique of braking. There are several ways to brake on a motorcycle, and what works best for you will depend on the type of bike you have. In general though, here are some basic tips for using your front and rear brakes:
- Use your rear brake first and then add in some front brake pressure when slowing down more quickly or with less distance between where you want to stop and where there are obstacles in front of you (i.e., when turning).
- When stopping at high speeds using both brakes at once can cause skidding or loss of control (like an icy patch), so apply gently but firmly enough so that if something were to happen suddenly in front of us we could still stop without losing control due to locking up our wheels!
- Some riders prefer using only their rear brakes whilst others prefer using both - only applying both simultaneously should only be done if there's plenty of space around us as otherwise, this can result in lock-up which may result in loss-of-control (like an icy patch).
6) Know where to put your feet when you stop.
The last thing you should do when stopping your motorcycle is put your feet firmly on the pegs. It's important to keep them there until you come to a complete stop. If they're not where they need to be, you can cause yourself serious injury.
When you have stopped completely, place both feet firmly on the ground and try not to move them until after the engine is off.
While riding, Your knees should be bent at about a 90-degree angle with each foot touching one side of its respective peg (if it's an automatic transmission). If it's a manual transmission bike, your left foot should be placed slightly further back than normal so as not to interfere with shifting gears (see tip 8 for more details on this).
7) Knowing where to position your arms
Not so very long ago, we did a whole blog on the importance of proper hand and arm positioning while riding a motorcycle. If you don’t have time to read through it, here are the key takeaways to remember:
- Proper posture can mean the difference between a comfortable ride and feeling wrecked afterward.
- Don’t lock your wrists or bend them too excessively.
- Relaxed arms are better than stiff ones. Relaxed arms allow you to react more quickly.
- Maintain a medium grip on the handle grips.
8) Practice maneuvering with the throttle, clutch, and brakes.
Now that you know how to shift gears, you should practice maneuvering with the throttle, clutch, and brakes. Start by practicing maneuvering at low speeds in a parking lot. As you get more comfortable with your bike, progressively move onto streets with traffic and eventually highways if possible.
Pro tip: Always be sure to wear proper protective gear when riding motorcycles!
Once you have ridden your motorcycle at low speeds, it's time to practice on the open road. By this stage of training, you should be able to ride in a straight line and stop safely. To begin riding on the road:
- Practice riding in a quiet parking lot or empty street first. This will give you an opportunity to become more familiar with your bike and get used to what it feels like when riding in various conditions (such as wind). Try to find areas where there is little traffic so that there isn't any risk if something goes wrong while learning how to ride your motorcycle.
- Once comfortable riding around in tight spaces such as parking lots or empty streets, try practicing on larger roads that are not too busy with traffic. Take note of any problems during these sessions—for example, if changing gears felt awkward or difficult at first but then became easier over time—and work through them until they're no longer an issue before progressing further along the journey toward becoming an experienced motorcyclist!
9) Stay away from extra weight when you're just starting out riding.
One of the most important things you can do when you are first learning how to ride a motorcycle is to carry as little weight as possible. When you start out, it's best for your motorcycle to not have any extra weigh on it. This means no passengers and may even mean that your bike has no bags, but the lack of excess weight will make it easier for you to control the bike.
Learning to ride a motorcycle is hard
Learning to ride a motorcycle is hard, so don't be afraid to ask for help or go back to basics if you start feeling overwhelmed
It’s important to realize that learning to ride a motorcycle can be difficult. If you start feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to ask for help from an experienced rider or go back to basics if it helps. Don’t practice alone: you may end up falling and not know what happened.
Practice using your throttle and brakes. Take your time and try not to get discouraged if you fail at first; keep trying and getting help until it clicks!
With the right training and practice, you’ll be cruising in no time.
The best way to get started is by taking classes offered at local dealerships or community colleges. These classes will teach you everything from how to start your bike up, to how to ride in traffic safely.
If you're feeling overwhelmed at any point during this process, don't be afraid to take a break! Remember that riding a motorcycle can be dangerous if done improperly so take it slow and don't rush into anything until you feel comfortable doing so. Don't forget to just take it easy and enjoy the ride.
Ready to Ride?
As we mentioned, riding with a friend is a great way to learn and grow as a motorcyclist. Before you head to your first (or next) big motorcycle event, you may want to check this out: