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5 Tips to Becoming a Better Rider (Part 1)

5 Tips to Becoming a Better Rider (Part 1)

What is better rider means?

We may be mere mortals compared to the MotoGP riders, but that does not mean we should not look to improve our riding skills.

Contrary to popular belief, improving one’s skills does not necessarily have to do with racing. Having the proper skills allows us to ride correctly, safely and with confidence. It all adds up to total enjoyment.

There are 5 skills that are essential to every rider, regardless of your vocation. These 5 form the tenets of the California Superbike School, which was set up Keith Code. You can read up on them in the book, “A Twist of the Wrist Vol. II” (Vol. II is the updated version) or join the California Superbike School Malaysia when the Movement Control Order is fully lifted.

A note before we get started. This are the brief layout of the skills required. We will delve into them in more detail in future articles.

1. Steering

Incredibly, steering is what many of us riders has gotten wrong for the longest time. We keep thinking that shifting our body weight steers the bike, but that myth needs to die.

The correct way of steering is by countersteering.

As the name implies, it means to push on the right handlebar to steer right, and to push on the left handlebar to go left. The technique may sound silly or laughable at first, but such technique has been taught by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation in the USA since the late-70s and is used by every racer.

Countersteering works for any bike of any size. The difference is the amount of force required to push on the handlebar to induce the bike to steer. In other words, the force applied depends on the weight of the bike and its front end; in addition to the speed of the motorcycle is travelling. Consequently, kapchais require the least force, while more is needed for a heavyweight cruiser or a sportbike at elevated speeds.

So, why does the bike steer when you shift your bodyweight? That is because your arm is actually pushing on the handlebar, thereby countersteering the bike.

2. Throttle control

Throttle control is another skill we rarely look at despite being ultra-important. To many, the throttle is a device which gives more speed when opened and slows the bike down when it is turned off. But in truth, it is a useful tool to not only govern your speed, but also tyre grip.

Remember this rule, called the Throttle Control Rule No. 1:

“When the throttle is cracked open, it is rolled open continuously and smoothly throughout the remainder of the turn.”

It means once you open the throttle in a corner, you need to keep increasing the throttle. Chopping the throttle halfway through the turn would result in similarly choppy cornering, or worse, cause a tyre to lose traction or push wide. Remember that the bike pitches its weight back and forth depending on whether it is accelerating or decelerating.

Once you have gotten the hang of it, you can even control slides with the throttle. Say for example, if you hit a patch of sand in mid-corner. Chopping the throttle would transfer the bike’s weight to the front tyre, hence lifting weight off the rear. When that happens, the rear tyre will slide out even more and into an uncontrollable skid.

So, what do you do if you tyre slides? Do nothing – just hold the throttle in its present state.

End of Part 1

We will leave you with these two tips for the time being. The reason we do not include all the five skills at one go is because it is easier to absorb small bites at a time.

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