How to ride a more powerful motorcycle
Riding a powerful motorcycle carries the same basic principles as riding any motorcycle, but you will need to take extra care with 5 key areas of the motorcycle (listed below). The feeling of jumping on a powerful machine such as a 600cc, 750cc or 1000cc motorcycle is next to none. The pull these machines have is amazing, they have huge acceleration power with a high top speed (if you ever get there), and strong braking power. Because of this, extra care should be taken to ensure your safety while riding a powerful motorbike on the road or the track. The first and most important fact you should be thinking about before jumping on a powerful motorcycle is knowing your limits as a rider. Understanding and staying within your own limits is the most important part of jumping on a bigger, faster bike.
If your new to riding and want to start out on a more powerful motorbike, check out the article “can a beginner start on a 600cc motorcycle?” or “can a beginner start on a 1000cc motorcycle?”. Its definitely possible so give these articles a read to help you decide.
Build your way up
The most solid and tried way to become a better rider is to start with a small 125cc or 250cc motorcycle. These bikes are much easier to control when new to riding, and will be much more forgiving than a more powerful bike. These smaller motorcycles will help build on the more basic and foundational riding techniques, letting the rider eventually push closer to the bikes limits without being put in as much danger. A powerful motorcycle will easily hide flaws and weaknesses in riding skills, potentially giving false confidence in the riders actual abilities. This can lead to biting off more than the rider can chew, creating a dangerous situation like entering a corner too fast or braking too hard for the bike to handle. You will most likely learn and cement bad riding practices and behaviors if you learn to ride on a powerful motorcycle.
The 5 key areas of a powerful motorcycle
A powerful motorcycle will have a hard and fast acceleration, meaning if you go hard on the throttle, the bike will give a hard pulling sensation as it accelerates. If you’re not used to the feeling it can throw you off the bike, or feel like you’re hanging on for dear life. This is something your body will get used too over time. Full throttle on a powerful motorcycle, like most 1000cc motorcycles, can throw you off the bike or will at least power wheelie in first gear. This can create a really dangerous situation for unaware riders. Definitely pay more attention to speed when riding a powerful motorcycle, the bikes nearly always going faster than you think!
A motorcycle with more power will just keep pulling through each gear. Because the speed comes on so fast, it can catch you out on the road. Make sure your aware of this, a 1000cc motorcycle will rip your licence up in a hurry or put you in a dangerous situation quickly. You will reach a high speed fast so pay attention to this. Some high performance bikes such as a 1000cc will reach speeds up to 300kph, a speed that’s impossible to handle on the streets.
With a higher acceleration and top speed, bigger brakes are a must. With bigger brakes the stopping power is increased by a significant amount. If new to riding a powerful motorcycle, test the brakes in a safe area, make sure you know what it feels like to hard brake on that particular bike in case of an emergency. Learn if the bike has abs (anti-lock) braking or not, this makes a difference to how hard to brake in different situations.
Fatter tyres means more rubber on the road, giving more control and making the bike handle differently. This also helps with leaning the bike over giving you more grip. There is a large selection of tires out there on the market and they are all designed for different riding styles and situations. Understanding the type of tires on the bike your about to ride is necessary especially if you intend on pushing it hard.
The bigger the engine, the heavier the motorcycle. This can be an issue if you drop the bike or it gets knocked over, you need to push start because of a flat battery or your trying to load the bike into a trailer or van. More weight on a motorcycle will change the way the bike handles itself in all situations – something to be aware of.
The most important factor – Control
The key to riding a powerful motorcycle is sensitivity and smoothness with all controls. Throttle, brake and clutch control is important with any bike, but extremely important on a powerful motorcycle. You want to apply smooth pressure to these controls to avoid sudden jerks and the potential for the bike to become a bucking horse. Grabbing the brake hard, releasing the clutch too fast and ripping on the throttle is a sure way to throw a rider off the bike, especially if your body isn’t used to the power.
Invest in good motorcycle riding gear
Lots of riders don’t put much thought into what gear they will need when starting out. When riding any motorcycle, protection is extremely important. Along with protection comes comfort. Proper gear helps protect the rider from an accident, but also protects from the elements and the general wear and tear from riding. A helmet is required by law almost everywhere, but the main areas of protection are:
- Head – Helmet
- Hands – Gloves
- Upper body – Jacket
- Lower body – Pants
- Feet – Riding boots or shoes
A helmet is the most important part of riding protection, (full face helmet recommended), helping to protect the head in an accident but also protecting from the elements such as wind, dust, bugs and rain. Personally I would recommend gloves and a jacket next, as your vital organs need the most protection other than your head, and your hands are usually the first to hit the ground in an accident. The rest is pretty self explanatory. Asphalt will rip skin apart in an accident, even at low speed, so cover up what you can just in case! Not only will it protect you from a potential accident, but from the elements as well. It can get cold, windy and dirty on a motorcycle.
When riding a more powerful motorcycle, it is recommended to invest in full leathers, either a full body suit or a jacket and pants combo that zip together, leather gloves and motorbike boots that cover the ankle. This will provide you with the most protection if you go sliding down the road at high speed.
Riding a powerful motorcycle is an amazing feeling. The faster you ride, the higher the risk to your safety. Your time to react to any unseen events or make important quick decisions is decreased dramatically at higher speeds. Corners will come up fast so be careful of your entry speed as entering a corner too fast will very likely cause an accident. The feeling of power can be intoxicating, so keep the ego in check because its very easy to break the law and create dangerous situations.