If you want to be safe when riding a motorcycle fast, you will need to have good control of the clutch, throttle, and brakes as well as balance. You may not be able to achieve this if you’re regularly riding at higher speeds.
When your motorcycle is in motion, many forces are acting upon it such as gravity and friction. Momentum is a force that exists in a moving object and is calculated by multiplying mass by velocity.
When riding your bike at higher speeds, it requires less input from you to maintain balance and control. However, as your speed decreases, you’ll need to decrease the momentum by applying your brakes and switching to a lower gear to decrease the velocity (or speed) in order to retain control of your bike. In other words, your motorcycle is going to require more input from you in order to stay balanced at slower speeds.
These types of skills are developed riding a motorcycle slowly and are the skills that you’ll need to be able to call upon when you’re forced to quickly change driving lanes, brake in an emergency, make a U-turn, swerve to avoid hitting an obstacle, or be able to control the motorcycle under any loss of traction.
When riding a motorcycle, at some point in time, it will be necessary for you to use slow riding skills. Such as in parking lots, when you pull into a gas station, in a traffic jam, making a U-turn, or turning left at an urban intersection. Making the time to learn and practice your slow riding skills will ensure that, when you need them, you’ll have them at your disposal. It’s all about safety.
Practice these techniques
Riding a motorcycle slowly involves learning and practicing the following skills:
- Countersteering – the concept of turning left to go right
- Counterbalance – shifting your weight to counterbalance the lean of the bike
- Friction zone on your clutch – the point at which the clutch lever begins to engage the clutch
- Body position – slight movements of your hips and legs, as well as keeping pressure on the pegs, can help you make little adjustments when counterbalancing
- Lean angle – the amount of lean your bike will do when making a turn
Practice slowing down
Before practicing these new techniques to improve your slow riding skills, practice basic clutch control and to get reacquainted with the friction zone by riding in a straight line, slowly letting out the clutch while smoothly rolling on the throttle. Do several sets of starts and stops to re-familiarize yourself with clutch/throttle control.
Slow speed riding doesn’t have to cause stress and anxiety. Practicing your slow riding motorcycle riding techniques can boost your confidence and safety out on the road which, in turn, helps when it comes to avoiding accidents.
Take a few minutes to check out some other motorcycle safety tips.