Tips & tricks for successful riding

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Ride with your head up

Keep your head up and your eyes looking well down the road. Objects seem to come at you more slowly, and you will build confidence in your speed.

Keep your weight forward

This helps load the front end under acceleration, when it lightens due to weight transfer to the rear. The additional weight up front helps front tire traction in corners. Further, it promotes the right body position for shifting your weight, improves your aerodynamic profile, and helps you maintain a relaxed posture, especially in your hands, arms and shoulders.

Downshift and then brake

Get your downshifting done as early as possible. This gets you in the right gear early and minimizes the risk of upsetting the bike with a jerky downshift execution before entering a corner.

Look through corners

You will go where you look, so don’t fixate on the wrong target. Force yourself to look far into corners. Turn your head and try to find helpful reference points for focusing.

Get back on the gas early

The sooner you can get back on the gas in a corner the better. Coasting tires don’t adhere well (try coasting through a slalom in your car sometime). Add throttle slowly but deliberately. Apply more and more as the bike is righted at the exit.

Breathe and relax

Ever find yourself holding your breath in a corner or at speed? Everyone has at one time. Breathing is relaxing, and relaxing is important to allow the bike and rider to move over the pavement, change direction, and absorb surface irregularities. Your bike is much happier without you on it. Don’t fight the bike, and don’t strangle the handlebars. Allow it to move about. Breathe consciously and stay relaxed.

Be smooth in all you do

Smooth is fast. Smooth is forgiving. Harsh, sudden or violent riding or input is stressful to the bike and tires and challenges traction and stability. When you shift, brake, and turn, does it feel jerky or fluid? Learn to shift weight smoothly, release the clutch lever gradually, apply brakes slowly at first, and lean into corners gently.

Ride on the balls of your feet

This is the first step toward using your weight to enhance cornering speed, adjusting your body position, allowing your lower body to absorb vertical motion, and maintaining an overall balance on the bike. Move your feet to shift or brake as necessary, and then get them back into position early.

Be predictable and deliberate

This will improve your riding and may save your butt! Do not adjust your riding to make it easier for someone behind to pass. Do not change your line, your speed, or your braking technique. Do not put on directionals early to signal your intent or wave another driver ahead at a stop sign intersection. In short, do not expect another driver/rider to understand and anticipate your courtesy. Be predictable and everyone will find it safer and easier to share the road with you.

If you get into the dirt or off the road, stay off the brakes

Whether on street or track, if you ride into run-off or onto a field, do not grab the front brake to slow down. You will fall over! Try to ride it out. You may still crash, but your chances are dramatically improved.