Motorman’s Tips, Tricks, and Techniques – December 2016
Over the years, I’ve written about this subject a time or two. However, since I still get the same questions on the subject, I’ll give it another try.
The questions go like this, “I just bought a new Ultra Classic and this bike is so top heavy, I keep dropping it; I can’t even seem to come to a smooth stop without almost falling over!”. I never had this problem with my Dyna/Sportster/Bonneville, etc., fill in the blank. What am I doing wrong? Out on the road, I’m fine, but a low speeds the bike just wants to fall over.
In a nut shell, the problem is not the bike. The problem is you’re riding on instinct and when it comes to riding well or skillfully, your instincts are completely wrong. So, why didn’t you have this problem on your smaller, lighter, motorcycle you may ask? Well actually, you did. It just wasn’t as noticeable because you could muscle the smaller bike around. Now that you have a bike that weights 200 to 350 lbs. more than your last bike, you can’t muscle it around. If it starts to fall over, you simply can’t stop it due to the extra weight.
So, the answer is not to spend more time in the gym but to get some skills. With skills, your strength or lack of same has no bearing. As proof, you can check out any of my Ride Like a Pro videos or my Ride Like a Pro YouTube channel where you’ll see tiny women handling their big, heavy, bikes like a child’s toy.
The skills you’ll need are the proper use of your head and eyes, the proper use of the clutch/throttle, i.e., friction zone, and finally, the proper use of the rear brake. Master those three skills and you’ll think your bike went on a strict diet and dropped 300 lbs.
As for why you keep dropping your bike, you could be using your front brake at low speeds with the handlebars turned. Doing that will pull you to the ground so fast you won’t know how it happened. Instead, at low speeds, drag the rear brake a bit as it will help steady the bike. At the same time, use the friction zone when maneuvering at low speeds.
If you’re wondering why your unsteady when coming to a stop, I’d bet you’re looking down and possibly using the rear brake only to make your final stop. The correct way to come to a smooth stop is to use both brakes. Just before the wheels stop turning you should begin putting both feet down and finish the stop
with the front brake making sure your handlebars are pointed straight ahead and your head and eyes are UP. Since you’re barely moving, at this point just a slight bit of pressure will be needed to complete the stop. Don’t snatch the front brake or grab it, just a little squeeze is all that’s needed.
Since you’ve spent 26 or 30 grand on your new Ultra, wouldn’t it be smart to spend 150.00 dollars to learn how to actually ride it? Yes, it would. In addition, I highly recommend to anyone wanting to improve their skills to get a copy of my NEW Ride Like a Pro video. Watch it, then spend an hour or two practicing the techniques shown in the video. Do that and you won’t believe how much weight your bike will lose in such a short amount of time. Then, sign up for one of my classes and trust me, you’ll be the star of the class because you have already practiced the techniques that the others riders have no idea about. It’s all right there for you on my website, www.ridelikeapro.com.
Till next month, Happy New Year and get out there and practice!
Copyright 2016 Jerry “Motorman” Palladino www.ridelikeapro.com