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Advanced Motorcycle Riding Techniques

Learning to take corners at higher speeds, coming to a stop quickly in case of an emergency and working the throttle to get the most out of a bike are just a few of the more advanced riding techniques that can take a biker's abilities to the next level.

Improving and mastering these techniques in a safe and controlled environment will not only round out your moto-skill-set but will ultimately improve your riding experience and safety. That, folks, is what riding motorcycles is all about - the journey from newbie to expert and all the epic stories about how you got there.

I strongly believe there's passion in the journey and gaining perspective over-time about a sport that's been around for quite some time is an amazing experience.

Today, I want to go over some of these handy tips and tricks so anyone interested in upping their game can glean some valuable insight.

Trail Braking

This is one skill that's sounds simple in theory but takes dedicated practice to master. Though touched upon in many basic riding courses, it's not until a rider puts themselves through repeated attempts at trail braking that they start to truly grasp it.

The main goal is to gain more traction and stability going through corners and traverse them more quickly, while simultaneously providing an option for slowing down rapidly if an unexpected obstacle should appear in the rider's path. The added control gained by trail braking is also useful in tightening a turn radius or remedying a botched cornering attempt.

To execute this technique, a rider has to continually brake beyond the "turn-in" point when entering a corner. Afterwards, by easing up on the brakes as they lean, they can pick up speed and clear the corner more rapidly. This is typically done with the front brake only, but it is possible this skill with the rear brake or both brakes as well.

Again, this all sounds relatively easy, but there are significant risks involved with making errors performing a trail brake. The scariest among these is a loss of traction and going into a slide. It's important for riders to apply only light brake pressure when attempting this technique and to transition smoothly from braking to accelerating.

Throttle/Brake Overlapping

That last bit, handling the throttle and brake smoothly, can be significantly aided by the incorporation of another advanced technique: brake/throttle overlap. There are several ways to go about it, but one highly successful method is to curl finger(s) over the brake lever while squeezing, then straightening them out again to reduce the brake intensity while simultaneously rolling on the throttle.

The idea is to think about the throttle and brake as actually one apparatus and not two - so when the brake gradually comes off, the throttle gradually comes on.. and vice versa. Smooth on and smooth off.

Using Cornering Lines

Mastering cornering lines is another skill that can help with taking faster turns. In addition to "straightening" the curve, reducing lean and increasing traction, using proper lines provides a better view into the corner and a greater likelihood of avoiding hazards.

One of the most common methods is the "outside-inside-outside" line, which involves a rider entering on the outside edge, hitting the apex (closest proximity to the turn) around the middle of the corner, then exiting the corner toward the outside of their lane.

Body Positioning

The way a rider has their body positioned has a great effect on their center of gravity, overall stability and their lean angle when performing a turn. Some novice riders may have a tendency to stay static into a turn. This can actually increase the lean angle and the likelihood that they'll fall when trying to corner.

By shifting body weight to the inside of a turn, however, the rider's center of gravity helps to reduce the lean angle and better stabilize the bike. More lean = more risk.

In general, there are three main body positioning styles, each with an increasing level of aggressiveness.

Basic Type 1: The most basic, used for taking corners at regular street speeds, involves slightly leaning the upper body off of the bike's center line and toward the inside of a turn (when going right, lean right and vice versa). Riders should position their faces as if they were about to "kiss" their mirrors, keep their butts on the seat and look forward through the turn. This method can be employed on the streets.

Advanced Type 2: A more advanced form of positioning involves leaning the upper body into the turn while at the same time shifting the hips and buttocks to support more body weight. It allows for more stability on windier roads and sets a rider up to counter-steer as they take a corner. This method is better suited for a spirited run through the twisties.

Racer Type 3: The most aggressive positioning using the basics from the two methods above, commonly employed by sport bike enthusiasts and racers, employs hanging off the bike to achieve that much vaunted cornering speed. It's trickier to pull off correctly, but by using the balls of their feet to support more weight, keeping their hips perpendicular to the motorcycle and relaxing their arms, most riders can reap the benefits of this more advanced style of positioning. This method is for the race track only.

Knee Dragging

Traditionally seen as a right of passage for the sportbike and racer crowd, no other single skill set is considered a benchmark for setting apart the badasses from the newbs as knee dragging. Knee dragging is a result of proper aggressive body positioning + corner speed. For beginners, this can be seen as a goal or an "ah-hah" moment of achievement with subsequent entry into a faster riding group.

It's not uncommon to see those aforementioned sport-racer-types dragging a knee on the pavement while executing an advanced turning method. Far from simply being a flashy move, knee-dragging has the added benefit of allowing you to take turns faster and safer by shifting the center of gravity by allowing the bike to go faster into the turn (with less lean angle) than it normally would if you were sitting in the dead center of the bike. You can also gauge your lean angle by the pressure on your knee puck and by the relative position of your knee.

While knee dragging has no place on the streets for your daily ride, when tackling faster turns on a race track, it's an invaluable tool when combined with proper body positioning and the other techniques in this post to help you ride faster, safer and more controlled.

Emergency Braking

It's not something many riders want to do, but it sometimes becomes a necessity when an unavoidable obstacle suddenly presents itself. Coming to an emergency stop requires that a rider get off the throttle and progressively squeeze the brake to reduce movement. This helps mitigate the possibility of locking the front tire.

Simultaneously, a rider performing an emergency stop should also whip in the clutch and bring it down to first gear so that they're prepared to evade any vehicles that may be coming from behind. This is a skill taught in most state sponsored motorcycle riding safety courses.

Now get out and ride, do your homework & practice and take it to the track or venture out on a group ride through some twisties! If you want to up the performance of your bike and take things to the next level, pop over to your friendly online motorcycle parts store to pick-up some aftermarket upgrades!

By Daniel Relich

Popular Street Bike Accessories

Popular Streetbike Accessories

What exactly is a street bike "accessory" and how does it differ from parts and gear? Unlike motorcycle parts and gear, which are primarily installed on bikes to enhance or maintain performance or functionality (like a new chain & sprocket kit, brake line upgrade or a slip-on exhaust), bike accessories are geared more toward convenience and comfort in a way that enhances the riding experience.

For the most part, they aren't permanently integrated into the bike itself. Accessories encompass a range of products, from bike covers to tire warmers, and we've got a quick rundown of some of the more popular (and useful) street bike add-ons currently on the market.

Locks & Alarms

Scorpio i900R alarm
Bike security is paramount. Though not infallible, both locks and alarms work to deter thieves by making motorcycles more difficult to steal. Locks can keep a bike anchored to a larger object or keep the handlebars and wheels in place, while alarms can alert people in the vicinity if someone is tampering with the bike. One of the most popular, albeit expensive, motorcycle alarms is by Scorpio.

Depending on where you're parking your bike and what city you live in (and what the crime stats are), a motorcycle lock and alarm is likely going to be at the top of your shopping list when thinking about possible accessories to buy for your bike. If anything, a disc lock tends to be a low cost option for a little piece of mind.

Check out more motorcycle locks and alarms.

Indoor & Outdoor Bike Covers

Motorcycle Cover
When parking a bike outdoors on the mean streets or in an exposed parking spot, a motorcycle cover is essential. In addition to shielding a motorcycle from the dangers of the elements (or pernicious dust build-up if parking in a garage) the cover serves as an extra layer of security. Concealing a bike makes it a less tempting target for potential thieves, and securing the cover makes their job that much harder.

In areas of the country where parking motorcycles indoor for the winter is common, an indoor motorcycle cover will keep things clean and tidy and they're generally cheaper and easier to use than their outdoor versions. And plus, having an indoor cover lends a little bit of mystery when people visit!

Be sure to select the right kind of cover for your needs - an outdoor cover is generally overkill for indoor parking and an indoor cover has not place outdoors (it won't be ready for the elements).

Shop for that perfect bike cover.

Tie Downs

Motorcycle Tie Downs
When transporting a bike on another vehicle for an event or move, we often recommend using motorcycle tie downs or straps to keep the motorcycle in place. Be they ratchet or cam buckle style tie-downs, they work to create downward tension that  (when used properly) stabilizes the bike over a truck bed or trailer. Straps can also be used to secure items to a bike, so they've got plenty of versatility in the hands of a skilled user.

Generally, motorcycle tie-downs are purchased in pairs so they can be used on either side of the motorcycles (usually going from the handlebars to some mount point on the vehicle). There's plenty of different tie downs on the market and most work fine, although the ratcheting style tie-down will give you more security as they tend to hold well and won't loosen over time - this is especially important for heavier bikes.

See what kind of tie downs are available.

Hard & Soft Luggage

Motorcycle Luggage
Luggage add-ons allow riders to transport extra gear on their bikes and are usually associated with bags & packs that mount to the motorcycle permanently or semi-permanently and not something that you'd wear on your body These offerings can come in several varieties, from soft and hard cases to luggage racks that attach to the frame of a particular motorcycle enabling all sorts of luggage accessories to be mounted.

Whereas hard luggage containers offer advantages in stability, security, and durability, some riders might prefer soft cases or bags due to their lighter weight, widespread compatibility between bike types, and overall greater ease of use.

Soft saddlebags and tank bags are the two most popular options for riders not looking for a permanent solution - think a sport tour or a sport bike headed on a longer ride or trip or a lighter weight ADV or Dual Sport motorcycle. For the full long distant tour, hard cases will be the better option and will likely be more suited to your long distance touring or ADV bike.


Motorcycle Backpack
An alternate mode of carrying around essentials is the motorcycle backpack. Lightweight and convenient, these packs offer what some see as the perfect solution for day-to-day commuting or quick trips where but a few essentials are required.

Like normal non-moto backpacks, riders can fit in maps, laptops, or whatever other small items they need. The downside is that all this weight will be on your back and shoulders. The major upside, though, is that packs designed for motorcycle use are usually waterproof, made from heavy-duty fabrics, and secure snugly to the body so as not to slip away.  Some also offer a solution to secure your helmet to the bag while you're off the bike - which is super convenient

A backpack is a good solution for carrying larger items for the commute or quick trip. We suggest an upgrade from a tank bag to a backpack when a laptop or other delicate electronics are in the mix, as backpacks offer a more secure and purpose-built solution.

Front & Rear Stands

Motorcycle Stand
Whether storing a bike in a garage, performing routine maintenance or using tire warmers at the track, a set of motorcycle stands helps to maintain upright stability while the bike is at rest - without using the kick stand.

On top of looking cool and helping to show a bike off, tasks like washing, lubing, changing the tires, or changing the oil become much easier when a motorcycle is in a secure position. Additionally, there are a few cycles (like some race models) that don't come with kickstands, so investing in an external stand becomes a must for keeping the bike standing.

Front and rear street stands can also be used in conjunction with a cover when storing the bike inside and offers more stability than using the kickstand. Pit Bull makes some very nice, durable and long lasting street bike stands - our favorite.

Tire Warmers

Motorcycle Tire Warmer
While not a necessity for those riding on street legal tires, race enthusiasts will gain plenty of use from a good set of tire warmers. On the track, cold rubber is a disadvantage, while warm tires can easily conform to the contours of the road, grasp a track better, and provide increased performance.

Warming tires beforehand grants these advantages, and does so while circumventing the risk of cracking or cold tears that can come from trying to warm tires by running a few preliminary laps. Additionally, warmers can help extend tire life by reducing the instances of unnecessary wear and tear.

Motorcycle Tire Warmers are a necessity if you're hitting the race track. They should be used with front and rear stands. Haven't been to the track yet? You gotta read our track day guide.

Rider Communication Systems

motorcycle communicators
When riding in a group, communication is essential. Old-school hand gestures, though, are easily misconstrued (in addition to being a tad bit unsafe). I'm sure you've seen those memes going around Facebook when riders are gesturing to each other and trying to talk through their helmets - funny, but not effective. Helmet-mounted communication devices provide a solution to this problem, allowing riders to communicate via microphone/speaker to their fellow riders.

There are multiple offerings in this arena, ranging from wired devices with multiple speakers to sleeker Bluetooth communicators that cut out some of the cords. They vary, naturally, in clarity of communication, battery life, range, etc., but there are plenty of options to suit most riders and their personal styles. Some even have the ability to pair with phones to allow for personal calls and music streaming while riding as well.

Take a look at what motorcycle rider communication systems are available.

Device, Phone & GPS Mounts

motorcycle phone mount
When riding with a device, it's impossible to operate features like navigational systems without a mount that keeps said device in place. Phone and GPS mounts for motorcycles have this need covered, and come in several styles to accommodate different kinds of tech.

Cradles, for example, usually work well for smartphones, while many ball mounts are designed to accept clamps for varying GPS units. There are also universal mounts that can adjust size and fit a wider range of gadgets, and mounts specifically for action cams and other recording devices.

Battery Tenders/Chargers

Motorcycle Battery Tender
Motorcycle storage presents a series of issues to riders, one of the more notable ones being proper battery maintenance. When a bike sits idle, especially for months on end, the battery can drain, running the risk of becoming dysfunctional once it is finally removed from storage.

Battery tenders and chargers mitigate this risk by automatically keeping the battery charged (without accidentally overcharging it), then maintaining the charge so that the cycle is ready to go once bike season rolls back around. In addition, there are some chargers that will provide additional functionality such as LED flashlights.

Remember, most motorcycle accessory items are readily available online at your favorite online store. There's quite a few options available from an enormous selection of brands so be sure to ask the community, your riding buddies or go ahead and call or e-mail us! 
By Daniel Relich