Mountain Motorcycle Riding- 3 Mistakes to Avoid
With spectacular scenery and crisp mountain air, what’s there not to like about riding in the mountains? Unfortunately for the unprepared person with no mountain riding experience, there’s plenty not to like. Wind gusts, sudden thunder storms, and diminished engine performance from the decreased oxygen are just a few of the many “inconveniences” that await the inexperienced. Below are riding tips on how to avoid three mountain riding mishaps.
Using The Wrong Brakes On Hills
One principle to keep in mind when riding on hills is that weight will shift away from the uphill wheel toward the downhill wheel. Therefore when riding downhill, there will be more weight on your front wheel and less on the rear wheel. This means the rear wheel has less grip with the pavement. This makes it prone to locking up when too much rear wheel braking is applied causing your bike to skid out from under you. On downhills, take it easy on the rear brakes and apply most of your braking to the front brakes.
On uphills, the situation is reversed. More braking should be applied to the rear wheels and less to the front wheels. Unlike going downhill, gravity in this case is helping you with your braking efforts.
Using The Clutch To Avoid An Engine Stall On A Steep Hairpin
On a very steep uphill hairpin turn, always keep your speed higher than the stall out speed for the gear you are in. If you misjudge this and are about to stall, don’t use the clutch. While using the clutch works for avoiding a stall on flat ground, doing so on a steep upgrade means you will start rolling backwards. When you anticipate that you’re going to stall, turn it into a stop by applying the rear brake and letting the engine stall out. You can try the clutch AFTER you’ve engaged the rear brake but since you are so close to stalling, the engine will likely stall anyway. Preferably, you want this to happen on the side of the road.
Tensing Up And Panicking On A Surprise Turn
Lots of cornering is guaranteed when mountain riding. The classic panic response when cornering at a speed too fast for comfort, is to tense up while sitting upright and focusing on the outside edge of the road. Sitting upright is the opposite of what you must do which is to lean in while shifting your weight down and to the inside of the curve. One butt cheek might even be slightly off the seat toward the inside of the turn when doing this. Staring at the edge of the road will likely cause your bike to go there and off the road. You must always be looking through the turn to where you want to go, not where you don’t.
Mountain riding is an exhilarating experience that’s best enjoyed by knowing the proper techniques for negotiating its many challenges. To learn more mountain riding techniques, come check out the Colorado Motorcycle Expo in Denver CO.