For someone with little experience riding motorcycles, any motorcycle can be dangerous but what if you have never been on a motorcycle and want to go try out a sports bike? Even if you have some experience riding, you might feel that you are underqualified to ride a sports bike.
In his article, we discuss what you need to know before getting onto and riding a sports bike. This comes from some experience I had teaching other people how to ride a motorcycle and it also includes using my CBR1000RR as the test dummy.
We’ll discuss the following:
- General – what you should practice and why
- How to balance the bike
- How to pull away
- How to shift gears
- How to stop the bike
- How to make turns with the bike
General – what you should practice and why
First off, for you guys and gals that have never been on motorcycle, this is a bad idea.
Just because it’s possible to learn how to ride a motorcycle on a sports bike doesn’t mean you should do it. There are a lot of things that could go wrong and I would highly recommend taking a course with a certified instructor.
Once you have learned how to ride a standard motorcycle, you can move on to learning how to ride a sports bike. Why? Because they just aren’t the same and you could benefit from learning how to ride a standard motorcycle first.
But let’s get into what you need to practice and why. We’ll cover each topic in more detail later on.
You’ll need to practice balancing the bike while standing next to it and while you are on it so you get the feeling of how the weight shifts as the bike leans over. This is because sports bikes are more top heavy than standard motorcycles.
You need to practice pulling away on the bike. Sports bikes have a lot more power than what your regular scooter. Opening the throttle too much could get you into some trouble.
You’ll need to practice shifting gears even though you may find this to be easier on a sports bike. Knowing how the shifter feels before you ride could let you concentrate more on other stuff like steering the bike.
You’ll need to practice stopping the bike before considering to go out of a parking lot or closed area. You may find that the brakes on a sports bike are much stronger than a standard motorcycle.
You’ll need to practice turning the bike as you may find this to be very different from how a standard turns. Even going over from a powerful naked bike to a sports bike can be somewhat stressful in the turns.
How to balance the bike
Your main concern here is getting the feeling of how heavy the bike is and how that weight shifts as the bike leans over.
First, while standing next to the motorcycle, bring it up to the upright position and balance it with your hands while walking around it. It’s important that you learn how to keep it in that perfect upright position.
Next, while standing on the kickstand side of the bike (next to it), lift the kickstand and slowly let the bike lean over towards you until you feel that it gets too heavy to go further. Lift it up again and put down the kickstand.
What you’re doing here is getting used to where the centre of mass is on the bike. You don’t want to realise how heavy the bike really is in a difficult situation.
You should also try leaning the bike over as far as comfort allows you while on the bike. By doing this, you’ll understand how you are able to control the mas of the bike while seated.
How to pull away
One thing you have to keep in mind, especially when pulling away on a sports bike, is that these machines are powerful and you shouldn’t apply too much throttle or release the clutch too fast.
In any case, you will probably be able to pull away just fine without using the throttle at all. Just slowly release the clutch when you have selected first gear. In the worst-case scenario, you could flip the bike or lock up on the throttle and crash.
If (despite what I just said) you do lock up on the throttle, your first response should always be to pull in the clutch lever and then brake.
Locking up on the throttle means that you try to hold on as the bike pulls away too fast and you fail to release the throttle. In turn, the bike keeps accelerating while you cling to the handlebars for dear life (very uncomfortable situation).
How to shift gears
Shifting on a sports bike is usually much easier than on a small cc bike as the gears are better tuned and better engineered. But you should still get used to how the particular motorcycle shifts.
You can do this by setting the bike up on a rear paddock stand and practice some shifting. You just need to get used to where the shifter is and how it feels.
What you don’t want to do while you are riding is look down at your feet. For an inexperienced rider, this can cause you to crash because you weren’t concentrating on the road in front of you.
Although shifting on a paddock stand might feel different from shifting when you are riding. This is because the rear wheel is spinning freely and there isn’t anything working against the engine. But it will be as close as you can get to the real thing.
How to stop the bike
This is the most important part that you should know and practice. Don’t try anything else unless you know that you have this under control.
This is a bit difficult to explain in written form. And you also risk misunderstanding what is said. Below is a video I recommend watching:
How to make turns with the bike
Steering on a sports bike can feel much different than on a standard motorcycle for one main reason; a sports bike has a fixed dash.
What I mean by this is that whereas most other motorcycles have the dash and windshield (if it has any) fixed to the steering, a sports bike’s dash and windshield is fixed to the body.
So when you turn the front wheel left or right, the dash and windshield stays where it is on the body of the sports bike.
This doesn’t sound like much of a problem but believe me, if you are not used to it, your brain will tell you “oh sh!t, it’s not turning”. It’s just something you will have to learn and get used to.
So even if you are an experienced rider, you can get confused and make mistakes if you are not used to a fixed dash.
Below are two videos explaining the basics of turning a motorcycle which you should already know before trying to ride a sports bike:
Once again, I don’t recommend you learn how to ride a motorcycle from the very start on a powerful sports bike even though it is possible. My girlfriend learned how to ride on my CBR1000RR but it’s not best way and it’s dangerous.
I recommend going over to the YouTube channel, DanDanTheFireman to get some really good information on riding a motorcycle. He explains these things really good and thoroughly.
Also, if you want to know what motorcycle would be good for a beginner instead of a powerful sports bike, you can read one of my other articles: What is the best small cruiser motorcycle?
Featured image @jana_biz by on Instagram.
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