Motorcycle Mastery

Signalling on a Motorcycle

It would seem that there would not be much to write about turn signals, would there? It turns out that there is so much to write that I’m going to split the subject into two posts! In this post, I’m going to talk about the use of your turn signals. More precisely, the intelligent use of your turn signals. In the following post, I’m going to cover the subjects of Signal Reinforcement and False Signals.

So, let’s get started!

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Visibility on a Motorcycle. X-Motion, Z-Motion, and Why Cars Pull Out in Front of Us

Anybody who has ridden a motorcycle for any appreciable amount of time knows the all-too-familiar feeling that we seem to be invisible on the road.

When the umpteenth person pulls across our path or pushes us out of our lane, it’s tempting (and quite natural) to get very annoyed at the distracted and inattentive driver.

In this post, I hope to provide an insight into the psychology of visibility, and offer some tips which can help.

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Braking on a Motorcycle - Part Two

Braking, Engine Braking and Throttle Sense

Welcome back! In the last post, I talked about the basics of braking on a motorcycle. This week, I’d like to continue, and go into detail about the three main types of braking, or slowing, that we do. So, let’s get straight into it!

In this section, I’d like to examine the processes we go through during the course of our regular riding when we need to adjust our speed downwards, or stop our machine.

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Better Hill Starts

The idea for this “quick-tip” post came from a question asked by one of my readers: “I’m always nervous about moving off when I’m on a hill. What is the best way to do this?”

That is a very good question, and one that I often see people struggling with. Most of the problems people have is that they rely on the front brake, and then try to twist the throttle and let out the clutch at the same time as they are holding the bike from rolling backwards with the front brake. I’d like to offer a better method.

As it turns out, there is a simple way to ensure that you make a smooth launch without the panic, and without rolling backwards. I’d like to outline it here in bullet-point format.

  • Let’s start with you sitting astride the bike, engine running, side stand (kick stand) up, and holding the bike from rolling backwards with the front brake.
  • Still holding the bike with the front brake, put your right foot on the ground, and use your left foot to put it into gear.
  • Now, switch your feet around. Put your left foot on the ground, and put your right foot on the rear brake. Apply the rear brake, and let go of the front brake. You have now freed up your right-hand. No more gymnastics!
  • Now, it is a simple matter of releasing the clutch, and opening the throttle until you feel the pull against the back brake. Release the back brake, and you’re off. And with no panic, and no rolling backwards.

Simple really!


Braking on a Motorcycle - Part One

Continuing on our series covering the basics, I’d like today to talk about braking. There is quite a lot to cover here, so I have broken this subject into two parts. This week, we begin with part one. Before we get started though, I’d like to make an important note about general stability on a motorcycle:

A motorcycle is at its most stable when travelling at a constant speed in a straight line.

Why is that important to remember? Well, it’s because anything that causes us to deviate from that ideal condition is going to rob us of some stability. It is something we obviously can’t avoid, but it is worth keeping in mind so that as we are riding, we are continuously trying to keep the machine as near to that ideal as possible.

With that in mind, let’s move on to the brakes:

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Steering and the Great Counter Steering Debate

Continuing on covering the basics before moving onto more advanced topics, I’d like today to talk about steering.

On first inspection, steering would seem to be the most simplest of things. After all, most of us have ridden a bicycle haven’t we? You just point the handlebars in the direction you want to go, right? Well, it turns out that the whole theory of what it takes us to turn on two wheels can be quite complicated.

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Following Distance

Welcome to the Motorcycle Mastery Blog! Thanks for joining me. I will be bringing you weekly articles on advanced riding, and techniques to increase your enjoyment and safety out there.

Be sure to subscribe so that you can be alerted as new posts are published.

I considered carefully what should be the first entry in this blog. I didn’t want to make things too difficult to start with, so I’m going to start with one of the most fundamental safety tips – following distance.

Good motorcycle roadcraft (you will hear me refer to this phrase often) dictates that you always ride so that you can stop in the distance you can see to be clear.

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