New riders often feel a bit lost when they approach their first motorcycle. Strange terminology, a new vehicle type, lots of scary new things to learn and navigate and all those people telling you to “BE CAREFUL” can be a bit intimidating.
So here is some general advice from our members that might be useful for new riders.
- If you aren’t sure, do what feels safe
- Don’t skimp on the safety gear
- It is much easier to wheel your bike around (when it’s turned off) if you put it in neutral
- If your bike is feeling sort of heavy or just not handling as nicely as it used to, check the tyre pressure. The feeling that your bike isn’t doing quite what you want it to do can be very bad for the confidence, can mess you up when you are trying to learn to do u-turns or slow maneuvering and it might not be anything to do with your level of skill – your tyres might be getting flat!
- Layer up when it gets cold. A scarf tucked inside your jacket will make an enormous difference and wet weather pants over your jeans (even when its not raining) or adding a pair of stockings underneath will help keep you toasty warm.
- Make sure if you let a partner or friend tinker with your bike that they know what they’re doing! Your life is on the line. We had a lady come to the track without her front brake pads because her boyfriend hadn’t put them back in after changing her brakes.
How to Improve
- Twist the wrist like in this video
- Trust the bike – it way more capable than us
- Try new things
- Reflect on what worked and what didn’t
- Talk to other riders
- Attend course and track day events
Being a Pillion
- Lean with the bike, do not stay upright in corners – you will upset the balance of the bike and make it harder for the rider
- Do not wriggle around, especially not at low speed and do not make sudden movements
- Do not lean on the rider
- Do not grip them too tightly, especially around the legs
- Hold around waist or hold onto sissy bar if available
- Hold rider around waist while under acceleration
- Brace against tank while braking
- Develop own communication methods e.g. tap pillion’s leg twice when going to accelerate twice etc
- Us an intercom
- When changing gears, your helmets may clash – anticipate gear changes
- Get pillion grips that connect to the fuel tank inlet
- Wear protective gear – in the unfortunate event you have a crash, you are just as likely to be injured as the rider
Shorter Stature Ladies
You do not need your feet flat on the floor on a motorbike – only very tall people can do this. The ball of your foot is more than sufficient. Options in this order:
- Shave seat or find a bike with a low seat height. Also be aware that while a bike can have a low seat height, if the seat is wide (e.g. 06+ R6), you will get less of your foot on the ground compared with a bike with a similar seat height but a narrower seat
- Extra height on shoes
- Lower the bike but this affects geometry and the bike will no longer want to turn in as easily and to counteract this you need to have your front suspension lowered as well.