Is riding a motorcycle hard? Humans are designed to overcome challenges, adapt to our surroundings, and learn new skills to improve our quality of life. This primitive survival skill has evolved and can now be applied to modern situations with the same effect on our individual improvement. This certainly applies to motorcycling.
Is riding a motorcycle hard?
Riding a motorcycle isn’t as hard as most people think. It’s on par with learning how to ride a bike, except you’re using an engine instead of pedaling your feet to get where you’re going. If you already know your way around a bike, you’re already halfway there.
Riding a motorcycle is considered safe when you use the proper gear. You generally need to be at least 16 years old to start riding. You will need to get a riding license and learner’s permit even if you already have a valid driver’s license. Contact your local state office of motor vehicles to learn more.
Use the proper safety gear
You will need to have all the proper safety gear to ride a motorcycle. There are no seatbelts or airbags to support you in case of an accident. Protect your skin by covering up with durable layers, including thick pants, boots, gloves and a long-sleeve jacket. Wear a full-face helmet or half-face helmet with goggles to protect your head and face.
Find a helmet that fits the exact shape and size of your head by trying it on in the store. You can also measure the circumference of your head using a soft measuring tape when ordering a helmet online.
Consider adding pads on your knees and elbows to make it easier on your body. You’re bound to fall at least once and wearing additional protection will help you get back on your feet as soon as possible.
Take a beginner’s course
Consider taking a motorcycle training course in your community to learn the basics from a trained professional before you hit the road. Most courses offer around 15 hours of training, including five hours of classroom learning and 10 hours of actual driving time.
You will feel much more confident when you finally take off on your own. You can also pair up with a more experienced driver and try out a few moves in an empty parking lot.
Stay connected while riding
We are all used to using our phones and other mobile devices pretty much every second of the day. You may be tempted to look down at your phone or check the map on the GPS while riding, but it’s never a good idea to take your eyes off the road.
Use a helmet Bluetooth communicator to stay connected to your phone and GPS while riding. The device clips onto your helmet without blocking your view. Just speak into the device to access your device hands-free.
You can also use your motorcycle Bluetooth headset to keep in touch with your instructor or fellow riders. The device works like a radio, connecting you to 15 other riders at a time. They can talk you through the experience as you learn to navigate the controls in real time.
Trust the lean
Mastering the art of turning on a motorcycle can be one of the hardest parts of learning how to ride. Twisting the handlebars won’t be enough to turn your bike at high speeds. You’ll need to use your body weight to turn the bike in the direction you want to go.
This involves leaning your weight to one side. This can be unnerving for some riders as the fear of falling starts to set in, but the truth is that your bike can lean much farther than you may realize. Leaning far to one side is the only way to turn at high speeds.
Try setting up a long stretch of road that curves to one side. Drive around the outside of the curve and give yourself plenty of time to get into the lean. Avoid making any sudden movements to avoid losing your balance.
How hard it is to ride a motorcycle?
There are different aspects of riding a motorcycle and not all of them are hard to learn. In my opinion, most people would find it easy if they know how to ride a bicycle and how to drive a manual car. Knowing how to do either or both of these things will should make it a lot easier learning how to ride a motorcycle.
Balancing a motorcycle
Balancing a motorcycle is very similar to balancing a bicycle. The only real difference is that a motorcycle has a lot more weight which might make it more difficult at higher speeds. At low speeds, balancing a motorcycle might be easier than a bicycle.
If you don’t know how to ride a bicycle, I suggest you start there because you need the skill of balancing on two wheels in order to ride a motorcycle.
Countersteer is the way in which motorcycles are able to steer left and right by turning the handlebar in the opposite direction of where you want to go.
While DanDanTheFireman has some good explanations on this topic, I recommend that you don’t think too hard about it as it may confuse you. Bicycles also turn by using countersteer, so if you can turn on a bicycle, you already have the required skill.
Using a clutch
The clutch is what disengages the engine from the drive that turns the wheel. Even though motorcycle clutch levers are very different from a clutch pedal on a car, the skill or instinct to engage and disengage the clutch at the correct time is still the same. Knowing how to use the clutch on a manual car can make it much easier to learn on a motorcycle.
Using a turn-throttle
No other vehicles besides motorcycles and scooters use turn-throttles so it might be a completely new experience for first-time riders. Yet, the basic skill of applying throttle at the right time when combined with a clutch is the same on a motorcycle as it is on a manual car.
Unlike vehicles with automatic transmissions, most motorcycles have a manual gearbox that can be operated with the left foot. Being able to shift gears requires that the rider is able to operate the clutch and throttle with their hands and simultaneously operate the gears with their foot.
Being able to drive a manual car can help a rider understand this but the way in which the gears are shifted is much different.
Does the age of the rider make a difference?
I have seen many people get on a motorcycle for the first time in various age groups and I don’t see the difference in the learning capability of young and older people. It really only matters what skills you have acquired before you start riding a motorcycle. These skills would be:
- Being able to ride a bicycle
- Being able to drive a manual car
- Knowing the rules of the road
Each one of these skills will make learning to ride a motorcycle easier and possibly increase your riding skills faster. While an older person might have accumulated more of these skills, it could reflect in the age groups and give a false impression that older people are able to learn how to ride a motorcycle much easier than young people. But it really just depends on what skills they already have.
How long it takes to learn to ride a motorcycle?
Again, it depends on the skillset that you have built up over the course of your lifetime. The more of these skills you already have, the faster you should be able to learn how to ride a motorcycle.
These are the skills that will make learning to ride a motorcycle faster:
- Being able to ride a bicycle
- Being able to drive a manual car
- Knowing the rules of the road
For each person, the time it takes can be different but I estimate that a new rider should be able to learn how to ride a motorcycle in a safe manner between 2 and 8 weeks of daily practice depending on the skills they already have and which bike they are using to learn on.
What gear you need when learning to ride?
You will definitely need some basic protection for yourself when riding a motorcycle. Most people can’t really afford the very best gear when they are just learning to ride, so here I’ll recommend some entry-level gear that you may consider.
I recommend that you only consider full-face helmets with at least a DOT safety rating when looking at headgear. Full-face helmets offer the most protection over all other types of helmets and don’t cost as much as modular helmets.
There are various types of motorcycle jackets that may or may not fit with the type of motorcycle you are riding. But you don’t need to worry too much about how you look, just make sure you are safe and the jacket you are wearing is able to protect you in a slide.
I always used to think that my steel-capped working boots provide good enough protection until I had a crash as the steel cap in my boot was ripped out during the accident. You need to wear proper motorcycle boots, but not the ones named ‘motorcycle boots’ on Amazon.
Go to a decent motorcycle gear retailer like RevZilla, or FC-Moto if you are in Europe, and ask for their opinion regarding the safety of the particular boots you would like.
How hard is it to ride a motorcycle for the first time?
Learning how to ride a motorcycle is much easier than most people think. Motorcycles aren’t these big, complex machines requiring an expert level of skill to get started. Essentially, they’re just bicycles with engines, and anyone can learn to ride.
Is learning to ride a motorcycle harder than a car?
Motorcycles are categorically more difficult to operate than cars. You aren’t going to learn to drive a car overnight, and you certainly aren’t going to learn to ride a motorcycle without years of practice.
Is a motorcycle harder to ride than a bicycle?
Riding a motorcycle differs slightly from riding a bicycle. More specifically, navigating a motorcycle requires more skills especially when you’re making turns. To improve your motorcycle riding experience, ensure you gain the necessary skills before hitting the road with more adventurous rides.
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