Before you arrange finance to buy a bike, the first thing is to learn to ride one. You’ll find motorbike training schools across the country, most of which come equipped with bikes you can borrow as they train you.
For those who are just starting out, we’ve put together some motorbike tips to help familiarise you with the road on two wheels.
Top Riding Tips*
We’ve researched tips and advice for learning to ride a motorbike, so here are the commonly agreed top riding tips:
Keep your heels close into the bike, pressed against the side of the footplate. This encourages you to ride loose on top – tight on bottom: Squeeze your thighs together to grip the tank, keeping the bottom half of your body strong and stable. Keep your upper body loose – check by wriggling your elbows like a chook to loosen that death grip most new riders take on – which can end in disaster.
Taking turns can be tricky at first. The rule of thumb is to enter the turn from the outside – the wider side of the curve – then travel towards the inside of the curve, then to the outside of the curve again. That lessens your lean angle so you’re less likely to slip and spin out.
If you want to stay on your bike through a turn – don’t brake. We don’t mean you should take corners at full speed, but that you should slow down before so you can lightly accelerate through the turn. You have to be prepared and aware when approaching a turn. If you’re leaning as you enter a turn and brake, there’s a high chance you’ll go over – especially if it’s been raining and you’re crossing painted lines. So brake before you enter a curve, lean forward and accelerate – slightly – through the turn.
The safety courses all stress that you must pay attention through all turns –Basically, new riders have a habit of looking at the line or guard rail that they’re worried about hitting. But on a motorbike, where you look is usually where you end up going. Instructors usually encourage new riders to exaggerate how far they look, keeping their eyes on the straight road they’re aiming for at the end of the turn. This helps for a smooth ride through the bend in the road.
Keep your visor down. It might feel great to have the wind blowing in your eyes, but it is not so great when a bug flies into them.
Don’t assume other cars know you’re behind or beside them. Drivers are often talking on the phone, screaming at the kids, fiddling with food or day-dreaming off with the pixies and have no idea you’re near them.
Have an escape plan. This means you have to stay focused, always checking your alternative path – the trick is to always think the driver in the car near you is out to get you, and have an escape plan.
What motorbike gear will you wear?
It’s great to feel the sun on your arms as you fly down the highway. It’s not so great to feel the gravel grate your chest as you scrape along the bitumen. There’s a reason bikers wear those heavy leather jackets – it’s not just to look cool.
Jeff Cobb from Motorcycle Safety News, a leading US motorcycle site, says rider clothing keeps you protected from windburn, sunburn, exhaust burns, and is a comfortable first line of defence. He says most riders have great jackets but wear jeans on the bottom.
In sunny Australia, riders can often be seen wearing shorts. He says the fact is, your legs are very vulnerable and should be protected.
“In a crash, cotton dungarees tear through in less than one second. Shorts, khakis or sweatpants offer negligible safety value. Fashion leather may shred as instantly as cloth. If you choose leather, make sure it’s suitable for motorcycle use,” he says.
You should choose high-tensile cowhide which has the most abrasion resistance and tear-through strength. For the heat of summer, manufacturers offer perforated leather or abrasion-resistant mesh. There are also several brands of textile jeans if you absolutely don’t want the fully kitted look.
Buy A Bike
*The advice given here should not be relied upon exclusively in learning to ride a motorbike, these are only general tips. The Finance EZI Team strongly recommends all riders attend professional motorbike rider training