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With all the new motorcycles flying off the dealer lots and the older models being rolled out of the corner garages around the country and dusted off, there are various points that all neophyte riders should understand about their alternate modes of transportation:

1) You don't drive a motorcycle, you ride it. Although it seems obvious to anyone who has watched a rider on their iron steed, most motonoobs are not aware that in order to turn left you not only lean into the turn but very gently turn the handlebars to the right, and vice versa! This action is extremely light and almost imperceptible, but is a technique which should be mastered by anyone wishing to safely operate their motorcycle. Learn to ride from an expert and ride defensively! The alternative is three months in traction or worse.


2) Keep your bike in just one part of the lane. The center of most lanes is slick with oil and grease that has deposited over the years. The part of the lane where the most traction is usually available is on the sides where the car tires go.

3) You won't necessarily get better mileage. If you're parking your Chevy Aveo and jumping on a Suzuki Hayabusa, you'll likely be losing MPG, not gaining them. The truly economical motorcycles are usually the 125 to 250 cc models which not only make superlative commuters and around-town bikes, but can return up to 90 MPG. If you have a lot of highway cruising that you want to do, then a 500 cc class motorcycle will take two adults anywhere they want to go and still return 50 MPG or more.

4) Don't blip the throttle at stops. It doesn't impress anyone, doesn't keep your bike from stalling out, and just makes a lot of useless noise and uses up fuel.

5) Maintain your ride. Motorcycles are far more finicky about being kept in good mechanical condition than cars. You can likely drive a car for 20,000 miles and do nothing but change the oil on it, while a chain driven motorcycle may need tensioning every 500 miles. Make sure that you are aware of the mechanical requirements of your motorcycles and that either you or your mechanic are equipped to perform that regular maintenance.

6) Look like a Xmas tree. Plunk on extra lights front and back, wear fluorescent clothing and do everything possible to make sure that the drowsy driver behind the wheel of that 1974 Coupe De Ville can see you.

7) Watch out for the sudden left turners. It's the leading cause of death for motorcycle riders.

8) Where should your bike be during heavy rain, wind, hail or snow? In the garage.

9) Where should you be after a couple of drinks? In a taxi.

10) Do you have a head? Put the best helmet you can buy on it and leave it there. 'Nuf said.
 

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Thanks for the tips! Noted! I'm still trying to get the hang of counter-steering to turn more tightly. Any helpful suggestions for doing it more smoothly, other than just keep on practicing?
 

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Good idea to bump this one. There's been a whole lot of activity in the introductions section lately.
 

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Thanks for the tips! Noted! I'm still trying to get the hang of counter-steering to turn more tightly. Any helpful suggestions for doing it more smoothly, other than just keep on practicing?
Did you take MSF yet? I think I saw in your intro post that you were scheduled to take it soon? They will cover this in the classroom portion and will coach you on it during the riding portion.

The first thing to understand is that it is the lean that is the important part, counter steering just happens to be a very good method for making a bike lean where and when you want it to.

As far as getting better at it, start with empty parking lots at low speed the way you will in the MSF class. As you get more confident, find an empty, wide piece of straight road and try it at higher speeds. When trying it at speed, just give a gentle press on one side of the bars. Not a lot, just a nice easy press until you feel the bike start to lean so that you get comfortable with how much effort it takes to move how far.
 

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this should make that top 10 list:

ALWAYS KNOW YOUR ESCAPE ROUTES


while you're riding, always be scanning the road for possible obstacles or objects that could interfere with your current path forcing you to make a quick quick decision to suddenly speed up, slow down, or dart to the left or right. so always know where you can put your bike if you have to suddenly move it this way or that. do you leave yourself plenty of room to move your bike in any of those directions or places in your lane?

some martial arts and military installations teach their people to always look for and know multiple exits and multiple objects or techniques to kill anyone in any room they're ever in. i think the same concept carries over. no matter if you're alone on the road or if you're surrounded by traffic, it's part of making you constantly more aware of yourself and your surroundings making you more prepared for any situation you happen to be in.
 

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I'll agree to the wind in Kansas. Counter steering. Once you learn it, you'll use it all the time without even thinking about it. Second nature. And one additonal caution. WATCH OUT FOR THE TAR SNAKES!:eek: (those pesky streaks of tar poured on the cracks in the road). Put your tire on one of those in a turn it's like trying to ride on one of those gel insoles for your shoes. Not pretty.
 

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I have never been conscious of counter steering.I have been riding for 60 of my 64 years and corner just fine so I guess I must be counter steering.I have to wonder doesn't it just happen naturally?


Sent from my iPad using MO Free
 

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One of the most valuable tips from my MSF class, "Never be in a hurry when on a motorcycle".
 

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Stay in gear at stop lights/signs
Could you elaborate on that? Why is that important? I know it's a newb question, but, well, I'm a newb.
'There are no stupid questions. There are, however, inquisitive idiots' John Ringo
 

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Could you elaborate on that? Why is that important? I know it's a newb question, but, well, I'm a newb.
'There are no stupid questions. There are, however, inquisitive idiots' John Ringo
Because you want to be able to move in case someone is pulling up on you too fast and is going to rear end you. There are a couple posts somewhere on this forum where members have had that happen to them. It seems to be because people don't always notice motorcycles. Also, lots of people are stupid and don't pay attention.

Anyway, you want to be able to move in a hurry. Keep an eye on your mirrors and leave some space between yourself and the vehicle ahead of you so you have somewhere to go in an emergency.

A lot of times, if there are two or more cages already safely stopped behind me at a light, I'll drop it into neutral if I'm going to be sitting for a while.
 

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Anyway, you want to be able to move in a hurry. Keep an eye on your mirrors and leave some space between yourself and the vehicle ahead of you so you have somewhere to go in an emergency.
Not just space. Always plan your escapes. As you come up to a stop think "if somebody comes crashing in from behind, where do I want to try running to?" On multi-lane roads this is often going to be "which side has the wider gap between the lanes?" Choose which direction is the safest exit path, stop with the bike lined up so that it is pointed down that path, keep the bike in gear with both feet on the ground and keep an eye in your mirrors. If a car comes crashing in from behind, just twist the throttle and pop the clutch. Get the bike moving and then worry about picking up your feet.

A lot of times, if there are two or more cages already safely stopped behind me at a light, I'll drop it into neutral if I'm going to be sitting for a while.
We've got some lights around here that are so long that I'll kill the engine once I've got a couple larger vehicles stopped behind me. No reason to spend 4-5 minutes at a light burning gas and baking myself and the engine.
 

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Some great tips in here. Always looking around, planning an escape route can also be a fun game for yourself to keep you alert. Both for your safety and that of your passenger.

Same thing at traffic lights, keep a watch behind you. Yes, mistakes are made in a hurry, if in a hurry, slow down and tell yourself your late, better then not making it at all.

Oh and yes, without question, "your escape route" that goes for that car along side of you who may not know you are there when he/she moves into your lane.

You can also scan cars passing intersections, looking for who is talking or texting on their cell phone while they are stopped at a light or should be stopped! Same goes for parking lots, saw a guy get himself and his Harly run over by a young girl texting in the parking lot while she was driving her pick up truck(its legal to talk and text while driving in SC by the way)

I think most of all, dont drink and ride.

If driving in the evenings or mornings, slow down on the side roads, watch for deer. I have in my mind I will aim for its a*s and hope it moves forward rather then ditch the bike. I hope I never have to decide.

and .. thanks to all, I love reading these tips and many of them can make a game out of it on long runs to keep you alert.

It certainly does not hurt to add some extra light to the front and rear. It doesnt have to be expensive.
 

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As a newb one of the things I've been doing when coming to a stop sign or traffic light is pulsing my brakes two or three times so my rear brake light flashes several times before going solid. The thought is that it will help the cager behind me see me a little better. Actually I do this in my car as well.
 
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