While maintaining control of your motorcycle at parking lot speeds won’t necessarily save your life, it could spare you costly and a fractured foot. This is what happened to me. You can try to balance your bike using your legs, but relying more on skillful slow-speed handling will improve your self-assurance and street cred.
How To Ride Motorcycle at Slow Speed?
We no longer benefit from inertia and gyroscopic forces when speeds drop. The more you slow down, the more you are responsible for preventing gravity from tipping your motorcycle over. To do this, maintain the Center of Gravity squarely above the tire contact patches (or keep the contact patches directly beneath the Center of Gravity).
To do this, you must constantly modify the relationship between the contact patch and the center of gravity. It’s like attempting to hold a broomstick in your palm. The broomstick must be constantly adjusted to keep the contact point of the broom vertically below the Center of Gravity. React too slowly, and the broomstick will drop to the ground.
The same maneuvers are necessary to maintain balance while riding a motorcycle at a slow speed. The distinction is that the bike serves as the “broomstick,” and maintaining balance requires moving the tire’s contact area. You can move the Center of Gravity of the motorcycle and the steering head in either direction by twisting the handlebars left and right.
Positioning Your Body
You adjust the combined Center of Gravity of the bike and rider over the contact patches by shifting your body weight. Doing this helps to have a flexible torso and a relaxed grasp of the handlebars. When performing tight bends, keep your torso erect as the bike leans and place your weight on the outside footpeg (the right peg for left turns). We refer to this as counterweighting.
Maintain your weight on the footpegs so you can lean on the bike without shifting your body (and vice versa). You can quickly change your body weight, adjust the handlebars, or rely on the bike to balance yourself again.
Show That You’re Serious
We often follow our eyes to where we want to go—at the same time, we take a U-turn with a vehicle and look at the exit by turning our heads over our shoulders.
Another benefit of putting your feet on the footpegs is that if you need to slow down, your right foot can apply pressure to the back brakes.
Additionally helpful for improving stability is the rear brake. To manage speed and provide the powertrain with force to “pull against,” maintain a steady drive while dragging the back brake. When executing tight U-turns, this “stress” aids the bike’s pivot and stabilizes the driving force.
When doing U-turns, throttle control is one of the most critical controls to master. It would help if you delivered forward drive smoothly to avoid dropping your motorcycle. Making a tight U-turn is highly challenging when the bike is suddenly lurching due to clumsy on-and-off throttle application.
All Together Now (Steps to Ride a Motorcycle Slowly)
Let’s set everything in place to execute a precise, slow-moving turn:
- Become appropriate in speed
- Release the brakes once the motorcycle has slowed down.
- Keep your torso erect and place your butt on the outside edge of your seat (counterweight).
- Lean the bike while turning the handlebars.
- As a barn owl, turn your head.
- You should roll on the throttle just enough to avoid stalling and maintain a constant speed.
- Utilize the “friction zone” to manage speed by easing out the clutch approximately halfway.
- To improve speed control, lightly press the brake pedal.
Leaning may be necessary, but it’s okay as long as your drive remains constant. You can reduce throttle movement by keeping your wrist lowered and securing your thumb or index finger to the handlebar control pod.
Try to execute tight U-turns from a rolling start whenever you can. In this case, stability is already under control. The “keyhole” approach involves rolling forward, veering slightly away from the desired direction, and then making the turn. This causes the bike to lean sooner.
From A Stop, U-Turns
This is more difficult. It would help if you positioned yourself and your bike to turn quickly from a halt beforehand. Lean the bike into the turn as far as you feel comfortable while rotating the handlebars to almost complete lock. Your left leg should support the bike, and your right foot should be on the back brake. It would help if you looked at the “exit” turn by turning your head over your shoulder.
Now accelerate a bit while swiftly releasing the clutch to go from zero stability (a halt) to stable (approximately 3-5 mph) in the shortest amount of time and distance possible. But take your time. Maintain the handlebar turn and lean angle while doing this. If you do it correctly, the bike will turn beautifully.
Speed = Stability
Just remember to ease off the back brake or the clutch a bit to increase your speed if you start to sway. Not too much, though, or you’ll miss your mark. Anxiety need not be a side effect of slow-speed handling. A little bit of information and practice can boost confidence and reduce the possibility of a slow-speed tip-over and potential harm.