Motorman’s Tips, Tricks and Techniques
Turning from a Stop on a Hill:
Surprisingly, I’m often asked by even experienced riders how to turn when stopped on a hill. Obviously, there’s some confusion here. The rider’s who ask this question state they know not to use the front brake at low speeds since it will pull them to the ground, but, since they’re holding the bike up with both feet, they can’t use the rear brake either.
I understand the dilemma. There are actually several things you can do in this situation. One, you can feed a little throttle and let the clutch out just enough to hold the bike from rolling backwards (which is my personal method), but in order to do this, you must be very familiar with the friction zone. Two, you can hold the bike from rolling back using the front brake which will enable you to keep both feet on the ground, just remember to keep the front brake applied as you feed a little throttle and start to let the clutch out. As soon as you feel the bike push against the brake, release the brake, allow the bike to start moving forward then immediately turn your head and eyes in the direction of the turn. The 3rd and last method would be to keep your right foot on the brake, let the clutch out, feed throttle and as you feel the bike push against the brake, release the brake and again quickly turn your head and eyes in the direction you want to go. Of course, this method is only for those who are comfortable with balancing the bike on one foot.
The best thing to do is try all 3 of these methods under controlled conditions. In other words, find a parking lot with a slight incline and practice until it becomes 2nd nature. You should first try taking off on the incline smoothly going straight ahead and little by little, start turning the handlebars after you’ve released the brake.
The bottom line is, you must become familiar with using the friction zone. Practice duck walking the bike but instead of pushing the bike forward with your legs, let the clutch do the work. Also, practice the slow race. You need to only get down to a quick walking pace. Remember to put a little pressure on the rear brake and keep your head and eyes UP! Just 20 or 30 minutes in a parking lot should get you very good at coordinating that clutch and throttle.
Wishing you all a very Happy Holiday and until next month, keep the shiny side up.
Remember, all it takes is a little practice. Good Luck!