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7 Motorcycle Tricks You Should Know But Not Try

7 Motorcycle Tricks You Should Know But Not Try

Posted by West End Motorsports on Mar 21, 2019

         Bikers pulled to the side of the road

When you’re safely riding your bike, motorcycle tricks might be the furthest thing from your mind. Good for you! Knowing some basic tricks, however, can actually help you be a safer rider under the right circumstances. When you know these maneuvers, you’re more prepared should they be needed while you’re riding the open road.

Don’t Blame Us If You Try This At Home

Always ride safe and obey your local traffic ordinances. These motorcycle tricks are dangerous when done for onlookers because they can create dangerous situations. But sometimes using one of these tricks can bail you out of a truly dangerous situation, in which case, knowing what you’re doing may make the difference between regaining control or laying your bike over. If you decide to try these out, don’t do it in traffic or with other people around. Nice, empty parking lots are a good place to practice riding skills in a controlled setting.

As with any new skill involving hundreds of pounds of powered equipment, start working on these motorcycle tricks slow. Keep your speed down and make minor adjustments to the difficulty level. You’re working to become a better rider, not to impress anyone, even yourself. Take along an experienced rider who can help you learn the moves properly and also help in case you get hurt.

What Do We Mean By Tricks

We’re not going to have you surfing your seat, and no busses are required for these tricks. As far as daredevil fare goes, these motorcycle tricks are pretty bland, but they’re also more difficult and dangerous than your standard riding maneuvers. If done properly, however, they serve legitimate safety purposes.

  • Countersteering - We’ll start with this one, because if you’ve ridden for any length of time, you’ve already performed this maneuver to an extent. Countersteering involves turning your bars for a sharper turn, but this gets tricky due to the physics of your bike. When you turn your front wheel, your bike wants to fall away from the direction you turn. If you don’t believe it, you can try it sitting still with your feet on the ground. Under power, your back wheel pushes the bike through this fall, changing its course. Though if you have the wrong amount of power or angle of your bars, you can still lose control.

    Bikers take a hard curveMotorcycle tricks like this one are about giving you more tools as a rider if your bike starts to get out from under you, whether because of something you did or due to a road hazard. Learning how to properly countersteer before you need to gives you the experience and confidence you need for sharper avoidance maneuvers.

  • Wheelie - Everyone’s bike gets away from them at some point. Whether it happened because you weren’t in position on your ride, had a little too heavy of a hand on the throttle, or had a piece of detritus on the road kick the front of your bike up, you’ve probably gotten on your back wheel with the front tire up in the air.

    You’ve only got two points of contact with the ground on a bike, and during a wheelie, half of those aren’t doing you any good, but recovering from a wheelie is relatively simple as long as you don’t panic. The brake is not your friend and can easily send you tumbling. Instead, ease up on the throttle and your front end should drop back down. Don’t overbalance forward as you grip your bike with your knees. Once you drop back down, you should be clear to return to riding like normal.

  • Stoppie/Endo - The stoppie is similar to a wheelie but it’s the rear wheel that goes up in a stoppie. Often caused by an inexperienced or panicked rider stabbing the front brake. This can give you a far closer view of the pavement than you’d like. This is especially dangerous as your bike has been robbed of all power and you’ve got no rear brake, which is your most stable stopping force under normal circumstances.

    Surviving this situation is about body and brake control. Shift your weight up and back, which may be enough on its own to get the bike down. You don’t want to crunch the front brake handle now, because you will most likely go over if you do. Instead, loosen up on it a bit, allowing the front wheel to roll forward out from under the rest of the bike. Once you’re down, safely pull off the road and inspect your bike for damage. Front forks aren’t meant to hold a bike and rider up on their own for long, and rear suspensions aren’t meant for quite that much impact.

  • Road Skiing - When done fast, this is one of those motorcycle tricks that’s a crowd pleaser. But you don’t want to do it fast if you like your shoes. The basics of this trick, however, can give you more stability if absolutely needed at extremely low speed or lead to an emergency bailout if necessary. If you ever do this at high speed, you can expect to be injured and wreck your bike, so please don’t.

    Scoot your body weight back on your bike, and extend your legs. If you are traveling at extremely low speed, this can help disperse your weight over a wider area for better control. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to abandon your bike, you can place your hands between your legs and push, propelling your pelvis up and back, clearing the bike. Make sure if you need to do this that your bike is pointed away from pedestrians and other vehicles, as it is still hundreds of pounds of rolling road machine.

  • Trail Braking - This is one of the motorcycle tricks you should not only master, but use properly to be a better rider. Popular on racing circuits, you will usually not need to perform the maneuver at the speeds professional riders do, but even at highway speeds, it can make taking corners safer, giving you more control and speed through the curves.

    For trail braking, you engage the front brake slightly late as you enter the turn. This compresses the front suspension and tire, giving you increased rubber surface area on the road as you accelerate through the curve. When done properly, you can take a curve at speed and keep going with less wear on your bike and components. Practice this one real slow and with no cars around if you choose to try it. It’s a good skill to have if you can master it.

  • Emergency Braking Under Control - If you’re going to ride fast, you better be able to break fast. Hard brakes happen, whether due to your fault or that of someone else on the road. When they do, you need to be ready. As wheels lock, your tires lose traction, leading to a screeching, swerving mess. The entire handling profile of your bike changes.

    One of the coolest motorcycle tricks you can perform is bringing you and your bike home in one piece every time. Practicing riding under adverse conditions or for dangerous situations can help make that happen. While hard brakes can be hard on your bike, it’s important to understand how your ride performs. Just make sure you give yourself plenty of room when doing braking drills.

  • Proper Lane Splitting - In other countries, this isn’t classified as a motorcycle trick as much as it is considered “how to ride a motorcycle.” In America, however, many locations have laws banning lane splitting. It may be illegal in your area, and you should always obey all traffic laws, but understanding how to lane split should an emergency situation arise is important.

    First, understand that if you need to lane split in an area where it is illegal, you may be ticketed, but other drivers are definitely not looking for you to be moving through traffic lanes. More so than ever, try to make sure you can see the eyes of drivers as you pass their vehicles to lower your risk of being hit. Judge your spacing carefully, as you will have less margin for error than you’re used to, take it slow and watch for opening car doors or extending arms. If you’re turning, make sure to get visible acknowledgment before turning your bike in front of another vehicle. You may never have to use it, but if you do lane split, do it as safely as possible.

Ride Prepared

These aren’t motorcycle tricks you would usually intend to try on the road, but when the time comes, they can save you and your bike. Make sure you’re always careful, and always planning the next move on your ride with safety in mind.

If you’re looking for top-of-the-line parts to keep your bike running great, we’ve got the best selection available. Call our customer service crew at (570) 992 1113 with any questions or if you need help ordering your aftermarket parts and accessories. And here’s one last trick, shop West End Motorsports for all your biking needs.