I’m a product of rider education. Before I logged my first mile on the street, I spent two weekends on the range, attending an MSF-certified beginning rider’s course in Connecticut. Later, I became a CMSP instructor for the State of California and taught a similar program. Throughout all my years of riding, I’ve attended six different riding schools, some of them multiple times. Additionally, I’ve been fortunate enough to work and ride with some of the most talented motorcyclists around. So, given the folks I ride with, I feel like I am a perpetual student. That’s a good thing. Motorcycling is a sport that offers tremendous rewards to those who pay attention. And you should, because the costs of inattention can be very high.
Have you ever seen a rider who pulls away from a curb, crosses one (or two!) lanes of traffic before easing his way back into the right-hand lane that he originally pulled out into. You know what he was when pulling across traffic and then back into the right lane? A target. Although this is a skill that is so basic that it is taught in motorcycle safety courses, we’ve seen enough near misses that we believe many riders do not know how to make a sharp turn from a stop. Hopefully, this article will do a small bit to help remedy this problem.
We MOrons love gymkhana videos. Heck, we even love gymkhana from the saddle ( here and here), but we have to bow down to the riders in this video. Not only are they throwing down some impressive gymkhana skills, but also doing it in the rain! So, to you, anonymous Japanese motorcycle police riders, we salute you!
Riding a motorcycle at its limits requires multiple inputs being made smoothly and simultaneously, and this expertise is on wonderous display in the video below. It shows police officer Quinn Redeker, Jr. ripping up a parking-lot course that was part of a motorcycle skills competition among police motor cops.
Entering turn one, the new Dorsoduro 900’s wide handlebar would allow me to easily point the big supermoto toward the apex and then quickly afterward, get it pointed toward the next. Out of the corner of my eye I saw coach Can Akkaya wheelie-ing through the shortcut on the track to make his way in front of me. Can would tap the rear fender of his KTM 450 supermoto shod with race slicks, indicating I should follow his lines closely around the track. As we made our way around the tight little Stockton 99 Kart and Motorcycle track, coach Akkaya would point to each apex and then up to the outside of the track and then back to the next apex while, in between, motioning to keep my eyes up and moving from corner to corner.
Riders entering the ranks of motorcyclists often face a bewildering cascade of unique terms – and that’s before we consider the alphabet soup of motorcycle names. Perhaps no motorcycling descriptor confuses neophytes more than “friction zone.” However, new riders will never be able to smoothly pull away from a stop without a proper understanding of what the friction zone represents and how to use it correctly.
Just the other day, I was pondering a botched downshift, really looking at it, taking it apart, gracing it with much more importance than any single half-second of a mundane, around-town, two-wheeled, errand-run should be treated. This is the way my mind works, and I’ve long since given up wondering why the heck stuff like this happens (mostly because that’s another rabbit hole to tumble down) and have just learned to accept it, sit back, and enjoy the ride.
We here at MO enjoy the sensations and challenges of riding motorcycles briskly along twisty and undulating roads, and our collective decades of experience have taught us many lessons in how to do it – for the most part – safely. We’ve flogged hundreds of motorcycles and returned them virtually unscathed, so we’re sharing a few tips on our favorite techniques that just might save you a little or a lot of unnecessary grief.
As solitary as the act of motorcycling is, we, collectively, seem to have a compulsion to hang out with other motorcyclists even when we just bump in to them on the road. Wherever I am, whether on a bike or not, I will generally end up talking with – or at the very least acknowledging – other riders I encounter. If I’m on a bike and I have the time, I’ve even ended up spending hours riding with complete strangers.