Heavy motorcycles can be a bit intimidating to some. On the road, you want agility and maneuverability and heavy motorcycles don’t necessarily fit the mold. When you’re rolling at highway speeds, you might not detect much of a difference between a heavy motorcycle and a lightweight bike. But at slow speeds, in parking lots, and navigating in and out of tight spots, a heavy motorcycle can feel like a beast. Learning to ride a heavy motorcycle and maneuver around well takes practice and a bit of skill. Fortunately, there are a number of tips to make the ride a little smoother.
1. Give ‘er a tilt. Prior to taking off, tilt the bike in the direction of the foot that is down and you will find that it starts to turn on its own, even before you steer. It’s more difficult to tilt a heavy bike, but this slight tilt gets you in the right direction even before you steer.
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2. Point your feet. If you are going to go left, put your left foot down. If you are going to go right, put your right foot down. Whichever foot is down, point it in the direction of your turn. This will help position your body properly and give the bike a slight tilt to propel you in the right direction. You’ll notice you naturally move that way without steering. Cool!
3. Keep your steering smooth. Remember when you first learned to drive a car, and you jerked the steering wheel back and forth in an effort to stay in your lane? Riding a heavy motorcycle can give you a similar sensation if you aren’t used to it. Relax, go with the flow, and keep your hands steady. When you need to steer, keep it smooth and slow, without jerks in your steering.
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4. Look ahead. Help maintain your balance and relax your steering by looking straight ahead. Instead of looking down and focusing on the bike, try instead to focus on the road ahead of you. Remember that with the added weight of the motorcycle comes additional braking distance. Looking ahead is more important than ever before.
5. Brake carefully. Avoid using the front brake as it may cause the front wheel to tuck and with the weight of the bike a fall may be unavoidable. Use your rear brake to slow the bike as it helps steady it, then use the front break gently as you near a complete stop.
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6. Practice, practice, and practice some more. The best way to get a feel for a heavy bike is to ride a heavy bike. It sounds simple, but it’s true. The more you ride a heavy motorcycle, the more comfortable it will become. Before long it will be like second nature. Find a parking lot, put out a few cones, and work on maneuvering. Practice stopping suddenly or swerving to avoid someone. The more practice you get with these realistic scenarios, the better you will be prepared to handle them.
7. Hit the gym. Want to feel sturdy handling your bike? Bulk up your muscles! This isn’t a quick fix, but a few months of weight training can make a huge difference in your ability to handle a heavy motorcycle.
8. Invest in a high quality boot. No one feels secure maneuvering a bulky motorcycle wearing flimsy tennis shoes. Want to ride a big bike? Get some big boots! Thick boots offer better protection and a better foothold.
Those tips and some practice days on the road should help you feel more secure riding a heavy motorcycle. Remember that it’s just a bike and don’t let it intimidate you. And remember, once you get it up to speed it’s pretty much just like any other bike. Ride carefully, use the appropriate safety gear, and watch out for idiots on the road.
Whether you ride a heavy or a lightweight motorcycle, crashes do occur. No matter how safe a motorcyclist you are, just one distracted driver can equal a lifetime of pain. But you don’t have to suffer in silence. If you have been involved in a motorcycle crash, you need someone on your side. Call 1-800-MOTORCYCLE and speak with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer today. We’ll listen to your story and let you know the next steps you should take to help get you the compensation you deserve.