If you’re thinking about getting a motorcycle, you’re not alone. Riding a motorcycle is a great way to save money on gas and have some fun while doing it. But if you’ve never ridden before, it can be a little daunting. Here are some top tips if you’re new to riding a motorcycle.
There are lots of mechanical skills you’re developing, like throttle control, and not stalling the bike at stoplights. 10 common mistakes that beginners make that will instantly and loudly proclaim to everyone that you’re a beginner and you have no clue what you’re doing now.
1. Now let’s get started with the first and most obvious mistake, beginners make and that’s buying too much motorcycle.
Look, I get it, you’re running all the dollar per horsepower analyses at home, you’ve probably got a spreadsheet with a bunch of motorcycles on it, probably a graph or two and you’ve decided that for the same price as a brand new NINJA 400. You could buy a Kijiji Leader bike and grow into it. Don’t worry, Mom and dad, it’s a pre-2009 R one. Yeah, it’s making 100 and 80 horsepower. But the thing is you have to wind it out of 12,500 PM. So I’m just gonna shift it at four ok?
Yeah, okay, sure. Maybe you have superhuman self-control. The only problem is that you’re still dealing with the leader bike and they’re making way more power than a beginner bike. Let me spell this out for you real slow. You should not and cannot start riding on a leader bike. You’re not going to learn, you’re not going to have fun and everyone around you is going to know that you bit off more than you can chew. Getting a bigger bike is not gonna magically convince people that you know how to ride. So don’t even try it.
The other side of that coin is buying two little motorcycle. It may sound stupid to our A one audience out there cursed to existence upon 125 cc mules. But here in Canada, it is possible to buy a bike that is incapable of being safe on the highway for all you squids hoping that this is where I recommend starting on a 600cc or 650cc because 300cc doesn’t have passing power. I am sorry to disappoint you, but that’s also wrong. Anything north of 250 CCs is gonna be just fine. The problem with bikes with engines that small is twofold first and most obvious bikes with tiny engines and no power can’t get out of their own way on highways where the speed limit is 100 or higher, you’re going to struggle to keep up with the flow of traffic and you might even be putting yourself in harm’s way. Even if you’re cruising in the right lane.
The second thing is that they’re not going to teach you proper throttle control because there is no throttle to control. You basically need to be wide open everywhere and all the time to go anywhere. If you learn those habits on a little bike, then take them to a big bike, you’re gonna have a bad time. They might be cheap, but we don’t really recommend starting on them.
2. Do your own basic motorcycle maintenance.
The next mistake that’ll put a big old newbie sticker right in the middle of your forehead is getting all the work done on your bike at a shop if you’re at a bike night, You tell folks that all your work is done at the dealer, people will think you’re either rolling in disposable cash or you’re too scared to try wrenching on your bike. Now, I’m not saying that the first thing you should start out with is digging your bike’s engine out and doing the valves, but you shouldn’t have to take your bike in for every little thing. There’s a handful of tasks that you should know how to do and you’ll be able to transfer those skills from bike to bike.
Here’s a little mini list of things. You should learn how to do your own. First clean the loop and adjust your motorcycle chain. This one’s obvious, but you shouldn’t be paying someone 100 $50 an hour to clean your chain.
Next is changing your oil. It is really not that hard. It is one bolt and one filler cap on most motorcycles, you’ll save a ton of money just by changing your own oil.
Thirdly is setting your own suspension. If your suspension has adjustability you should be able to set it up for your own weight. Well, if you search how, then add your motorcycles, question those chances are a bunch of explainers to help you out on it.
Top 3 Motorcycle self-maintenance.
- Clean your chain
- Change your oil
- Set your suspension
5. Not purchasing the correct motorcycle gear.
Chances are when you’re starting out, you’re on a tight budget. I mean you just bought your bike, your insurance live-to-ride stickers, and all of that. How could you possibly afford a $1000 helmet, a $500 jacket, and more? I’ve seen this a lot where in the interest of saving a few pennies will buy a cheaper D.O.T. Only helmet or wear a fashion leather jacket or work gloves and boots as protective gear.
The problem with all of that is there are safety standards and motorcycle gear for the reason you want abrasion resistance, impact resistance by oh boy resistance, and probably some sun resistance, you might be thinking that you need to spend a whole bunch of money because more money equals more safety. But in reality, beyond a certain point, there isn’t much correlation between price and protection. If you want a quick breakdown of safety gear, that’s perfect for beginners.
4. Riding around their new bike with stock OEM rubber.
It’s true that so manufacturers are getting better about quitting quality tires like S 22 pilot road fives on their bikes but you’re just as likely to find a crappy donut on your ride. Especially beginner bikes. The tires are your most important contact point and since they connect your bike to the ground, getting good tires is worth the investment.
5.Practice when you’re done with the MSF Basic RiderCourse.
You might be thinking that you’re all done learning well, you’re wrong. All you know from the MSF is how to ride in a parking lot and frankly, you’re probably not even that good at it anyways. I’m not being mean, I’m just being realistic.
A lot of news will try to maneuver around the parking lot and use the front brake and then immediately tuck the front and dump the bike, you need to practice using the rear brake to add stability, and how to counter with the bike.
All that good stuff. Normally I am not into the parking lot, warrior moto kana stuff because the people you are only going to impress with that or other nerds, but you should at least know how to chuck a U. Turn in the parking lot without putting a foot down. You don’t want to roll up the bike night, go park your bike, and then accidentally drop it out upfront. I would spend a weekend on it and then move on.
You should also practice looking through corners when you’re out on the road. It’ll help you ride more confidently.
Lastly, practice smooth throttle control. Everything should be smooth and controlled, really focus on that as you’re getting started and you’ll be natural in no time.
6. Practice parking your motorcycle!
Do not park your motorcycle nose first. I’m sure that’s a surefire way to let everyone know you’re a newbie when you’re on a bike, it’s easy to just pull right into a parking spot like you would in a car, leaving your front wheel facing towards the curb or wheel stop or whatever. The only problem with that is that your bike doesn’t have a reverse gear and you’re more likely to have an issue if you’re slowly backing out into moving traffic than if you pull out under power Also, you can’t see behind you as well on a bike. When you’re backing out instead, back the bike into a parking spot, so you can leave more easily.
If you really want to flex, you can pull it normally, then do a kickstand turning the spot, turning in the front wheels facing outwards. Just maybe practice that way once or twice before you try it in front of somebody next up.
7. Newbies just don’t try enough motorcycles.
It can be tough to get experience on different styles of bikes, but you owe it to yourself to try as many as you can, chances are you bought your first bike because it conforms to the mental image you have in your mind of what a motorcycle should be. That’s a fancy sentence. What I mean is you might start on a Harley because your mom or dad or uncle or whoever in your family rode Harleys or maybe you start on a sports bike. Either way, the bike you bought is only one narrow aspect of what motorcycles can do. You have touring bikes, dual sports, supermoto’s turbo boost, and more. Each one occupies a specific niche and uses a case and all have a reason to exist. If you want to be a well-rounded motorcyclist, you should ride each one of each style just to get a feel.
8. Stalling the Motocycle.
Yeah, we’ve all been there, your revenue bike right next to some dude in a mustang and you’re about to school them and how much better bikes are than cars, the light turns green, you dump the clutch, and the bike stalls out because you forgot to shift back into first when it came to a stop. Some bikes like big Harleys with a ton of torque can easily start and higher gears, but on most bikes, you’re gonna stall out. If you try to pull away in third gear, you need to get into the habit of shifting down into first at every stop, even if it’s just a stop sign and you’re going to California tap it.
Other reasons you might accidentally stall the bike or put the bike in gear with the kickstand down, not enough gas when you’re pulling away, or forgetting to pull in the clutch when you come to a stop this one is probably most likely to get you laughed at. So get good at not stalling your motorcycle and you won’t broadcast to the world that you’re a Newbie. Honestly, guys still happen to me every once in a while just happens to the best of us.
9. Leaving your turn signals on.
Plenty of riders do this, but a Newbie is way more likely to forget to clear the blinker. This is obviously a bad thing because people behind you aren’t gonna know what you’re doing. Are you turning right? Are you 90 years old? Are we trapped in the matrix? All those questions and more will rattle around the confused mind of a normie and the car behind you little do they know that you’re just Newbie and you forgot? Some bikes have self-canceling indicators, but the vast majority of bikes don’t so get in the habit of clearing those blinkers after every turn, who knows? It might help keep you safe. At the very least people won’t call you a Newbie.
10. Lastly, Newbies are most likely to overcook it into a corner.
They either misjudged how sharp the corner is. They don’t trust their tires or they didn’t brake hard enough regardless. Coming into hot leads to a whole bunch of bad things with the worst being that you run wide into the other lane and the worst being. Well, the coffin meme kind of sums it up pretty well.
This is usually the result of new riding beyond their limits and trying to keep up with another rider on a group ride.
Remember guys, there is no point in trying to go fast on the street. That’s literally why we invented racetracks. Ride your own ride. Another cause is target fixation. If you don’t know what that is, basically, it’s when you look at something on the side of the road and accidentally ride right into it, keep your eyes on the road, looked at the turn, and take it easy.
Following these steps will help you avoid looking like a newbie on a motorcycle. First, get the proper gear. Second, learn how to start and stop the motorcycle. Third, practice basic maneuvers. Fourth, get comfortable with the clutch and throttle. Finally, enjoy the ride!