Tips for Beginner Motorcycle Riders
Whether you finally decided to buy a motorcycle or you’re about to start learning to ride one in preparation of owning one, there are things you should know if you’re coming into motorcycle riding cold.
Those things are what a lot of experienced riders will tell you they wished someone had told them. Setting the basics of riding aside (accelerating, turning, shifting, and braking), here are five things to keep in mind as you enter the motorcycle riding world.
Choose your Mentors Wisely
When it comes to finding a mentor to show you how to be a better rider, forget the guy who brags about popping wheelies, making donuts and going faster than everyone else.
Listen to experienced riders with plenty of safe riding mileage to their name. They’ll help you get started the right way, learning the basic techniques to help you operate your motorcycle safely.
Know Your Limits
Anyone can go fast on a motorcycle. It’s a function of twisting the throttle and the motorcycle takes care of the rest. But can you control that power?
Know your capabilities as a rider. For example, if you’re on a winding road with someone more experienced, they’ll be able to corner faster than you. Don’t try to keep up with them. Ride at your own pace and stay in your space. Lots of people can go fast, but fewer can handle their bikes well. Focus on being in full command of the motorcycle.
Few parts of a motorcycle are more important than the tires. They’re the sole point of contact between the motorcycle and the road, which means they’re the link between your control inputs and the pavement or trail. Motorcycle tires wear much faster than car tires, and you should inspect them often.
When it comes to protective clothing, beginners might buy things a size bigger because they want to be comfortable. That’s a rookie mistake. You want gear to fit snug, because you’re out in the wind and loosely fitting gear won’t stay in place. As for your helmet, wear a full-faced model, which offers way more protection than an open-face or half-helmet.
One small piece of gear that gets largely overlooked is earplugs. Wear them at all times when you’re riding. Motorcycles and traffic are loud, a helmet doesn’t do enough to dampen noise, and hearing loss among riders is more common than you think.
Avoid Group Rides
Yes, it’s fun to travel in packs, but here’s the thing about group rides: the one person that is going the speed they want to go is the person up front.
Everyone else is either going faster or slower than they’d like, and that can lead to some calamitous crashes. As an inexperienced rider, you may be forced to go faster than you’re ready for, and it’s hard to lay back when your friends are pulling away from you. While group rides can be loads of fun, try to avoid them until you become a seasoned rider.