New rider tips, guides, and reviews on great starter bikes.

8 Great Beginner Riding Habits

There are a few things that it will take you a few months to learn once you finally get your motorcycle and you start riding regularly. If you are lucky you will have a riding mentor with some experience help guide you and tell you some of these tips, but if you don’t then feel free to study this guide. This is a lot to remember at first so when I started riding I would only concentrate on doing one thing really well for the whole ride, like looking through the turn for example. Eventually this becomes automatic and you can concentrate on building other good habits.

1 - Keep heels in

- If you ride a sportsbike then you will notice that right next to the pegs where you put your feet are little diamond shaped metal plates separating your foot from the inside of the bike. They aren’t just there for show, you should use them, and it’s easy to do. All you have to do is move your foot closer to the bike until your heel is pressed against the plate. I find that when I ride this makes me feel much more stable and in control. It’s a little thing to do, but it really does make a big difference. If you doubt me then try it for a week or so, and then the next week try putting your feet in their old positions not touching the plate, it will feel like your feet are hanging out in midair!

I know some riders might think that tip is too obvious, but I am a great example since I did not do this for my first 3 months of riding until my mentor pointed it out to me one day.

2 - Loose on top, Tight on bottom

– The best position for your body when riding a motorcycle is to make sure your bottom is tight, and you’re loose on top. What does that mean? It means that you squeeze your thighs together enough so you are gripping the tank, and that you are pressing into the bike with your ankles as well. This will keep you very stable and attached to the bike should you happen to roll over a large bump at 60+ mph. While being strong and stable on the lower half of your body is ideal, on the top half you really want to be as loose as possible. My test is if you can’t wiggled your elbows like a chicken while riding then you aren’t loose enough. Many a new rider has crashed from getting a death grip on the handlebars to the point of not being able to control the bike well in a turn. If you are tight on bottom and loose on top you will really feel a difference in the twisties.

3 - Take turns outside-inside-outside

– Turning in a car is cake compared to turning on a motorcycle, you don’t have to worry about lean angle, entry speed, or not being able to brake in the middle of the turn. The general rule of thumb for taking turns on a motorcycle is to line it up so you enter the turn on the outside, traverse the turn through the inside, and then exit on the outside. This lets you look farther through the turn for possible danger and lessens your lean angle so you can take the corner faster. I practice taking almost every turn this way, even when I am on surface streets.

4 - Don’t brake in a turn / Accelerate through turn

– Braking during a turn is a big no no. If you are leaned over in a corner the first thing that is going to happen is the bike will start to straighten up immediately. If you are past the apex of the turn then you might be able to save it if the road happens to straighten up pretty quick, but if you hit the brakes before the apex…. Bad news. I remember two times specifically when I was taking a corner in the hills and I got spooked because I came in too fast (too fast for me at the time was actually BELOW the posted speed limit for that turn, so I wasn’t breaking any land speed records), I hit the brakes in the middle of the turn and the bike straightened up and I ended up on the side of the road in the dirt. Thankfully, both times I managed to keep the bike upright and slow down before I hit a fence or the canyon wall. Those two incidents forever etched into my mind the importance of never braking in a turn. The ideal way to take a turn is to brake BEFORE you even get there at all, then once you are leaned over you roll on the throttle and accelerate through the turn.

5 - Look through turns

– Another big lesson is to look through a turn. They really grind this into your head when you take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation course (MSF) as they have you almost over exaggerate the amount you turn your head while looking through the corner. If you have already formed the bad habit of only looking in front of you, or just a little bit ahead while turning then by looking as far as you can ahead you will open up a whole new world. Roads will seem to get really wide and a whole lot less scary, and you will be able to take turns faster because of it.

6 - Keep visor closed

– I think it might be the law in California (anyone want to look that up?), but even if it isn’t you should wear eye protection when riding a motorcycle. Bugs, dirt, rocks, phonebooks, chairs, etc… all have a tendency to fly right towards my eyeballs when I’m riding my motorcycle. The only time I usually have my visor lifted is at a stop light, and if I really need to get some extra airflow while riding I will open it maybe an inch or so, but that’s all. I have had prehistoric sized bugs hit my face shield multiple times while riding, so much so that I had to wipe it off with my glove in order to see properly. I would hate to see what happens if I happened to have my face shield up when a hornet was making a kamikaze run for my retinas.

7 -Assume you are invisible

– You’ve probably heard this before, but just in case you haven’t, when you are riding a motorcycle just assume you are invisible. I have had people look right at me, make eye contact, and then continue to drive right for me like I wasn’t even there. Use the quickness and namelessness of your vehicle to your advantage and throttle your way out of situations like that. The best advice though is to try to avoid them as much as possible by pretending you and your motorcycle are made of the stuff predator wears.

8 - Assume everyone is out to get you / Escape plans

– After a few close calls with people on cell phones and inattentive drivers I have made it a habit to always have an escape plan when riding. If I am in the far left lane going faster than the lane directly to my right, I ALWAYS assume that there is some asshole just waiting for me to ride by so he can shove into my lane and me into a guardrail. Most people won’t do things like that on purpose, but through negligence they will happen. It is the best to pretend you are the running man and everyone in the world is out to get you (+10 points for two Arnold Schwarzenegger movie references in one article!). If you always have an escape plan then you will be much less likely to get in an accident.


Kickprivate's picture

Submitted by Kickprivate on
Escape plans. Every single night i ride home on a packed freeway with people trying to make it home faster then me. They lane hope, coast stop and piss truckers off like no one else could. This has caused me to devise some very clever escape plans and honestly, I use them every single night I ride. Make it a habit to plan these out because they will save you and your bike very quickly. Another thing is to know where you're riding. Know every single bump like it would save your life because you know never know when you're going to have to come against that bump in a fight for survival. On our highways, most of the shoulder is not big enough to fit a car, and most times not large enough for a bike either. To add to that, the lane barrier at every over head sign cuts 1 foot from the white line in the far left lane. What does this mean? If I had to hit the shoulder I better know for sure where the barrier breaks towards the highway because if I don't, the time when I need that shoulder the most I won't have it. To add to that, the clever engineers of Fort Worth though it would be a great idea to put the storm drains in the center of the high splitting the two sides. What does this mean? Every 100 feet you have a storm drain inlet that dumps into this storm drain system. Go out side and find a storm drain inlet in your area. Notice how the pavement crowns down into it? Can you imagine trying to ride through that. So lets see, We have a barrier that extends 1 foot from the white lane of the highway at every overhead sign and storm drain inlets every 100 feet on the same side of the highway. The shoulder is non-usable and to me, the only reason I know its their is because of the amount of hazard it has. So whats my plan? As this may sound bad, we can put those two downfalls to good use! We can use them as markers! My plan is to turn my head at every other storm drain inlet to make sure I have a way out if something goes bad. It's that simple/complicated. I do this every night. I do not slack on it. I do not forget it. Thats my plan and i'm sticking to it. There isn't anything greater then a escape plan. I can go on and on about what I would do if this happened, but I refuse to do so right now.

~Not your average hairless monkey

Ben's picture

Submitted by Ben on
Damn!! That is quite the obsticle course you have there in texas! And I thought 101 south was bad. Ben ~Best Beginner Motorcycles Admin


Ben - Editor and Owner of BBM

Fate's picture

Submitted by Fate on
Can you number these? It would make it easier to follow. (And then we'll know we are getting all 7 without counting!.. you know.. to get our money's worth!)
Ben's picture

Submitted by Ben on
Done, haha, it looks like I put down 8 reasons! Ben ~Best Beginner Motorcycles Admin


Ben - Editor and Owner of BBM

Fate's picture

Submitted by Fate on
Now aren't you glad I said to number them. An even better deal... 8 for the price of 7.. which themselves were free. You can't beat that! ha
Ben's picture

Submitted by Ben on
Indeed! :) Ben ~Best Beginner Motorcycles Admin


Ben - Editor and Owner of BBM

NorCalKLR's picture

Submitted by NorCalKLR on
Hey great article. I find myself making liberal use of the word asshole while I ride, such as looking at a car sitting at a stop sign waiting to pull out in front of me and thinking/saying to myself "don't do it asshole" Guess that falls under the whole everyone is out to get you. Also one thing my mentor told me was to "own" my lane especially on two lane roads where impatient cagers like to pass. If I am being tailgated by an impatient driver I tend to ride a little closer to the center line (i.e. the far left side of the lane), this give you more escape should that car decide to pass and cut back over too soon, or swerve over to avoid on coming traffic
futurebiker's picture

Submitted by futurebiker on
This helps a lot for me since I am going to start in a few months!!!!
Redliner777's picture

Submitted by Redliner777 (not verified) on
Hi, I wanted to take a moment to add my thoughts to the "Everyone is out to get you bit" This is possibly the best driving advice that anyone could take regardless of the number of wheels they put on the road. I've always preached it as a 2 part process. The first is A.S.P. Active Scanning Pattern. What this means is that your point of focus (the thing you are looking directly at) should be moving constantly. It's very easy to get comfortable and just kinda zone out when you are traveling familiar and/or easy roads. How often do you hear people say "He came out of nowhere and hit me" The reality is that nothing comes from nowhere, he came from somewhere. Perhaps according to the law it was the other driver responsibility to look out for you, but that is little comfort when the number of pieces your leg is broken into is expressed in exponents. In short, you can dodge what you can't see so never stop scanning. The second part is what was called the escape plan here. When we first start learning to drive there's very little we know about what the drivers around us will do. As we become more experienced we just "kinda know what to expect". Lets think about what this really means. As you experience similar situations over and over you start to build a model. For instance you know that if a person puts on their left turn signal they will likely be moving to the left soon. There are however few guarantees in life. Over time we learn how to identify whether or not the person will be turning left or moving to the left lane or shoulder. Is this person going to be performing the maneuver soon or will it be a moment. We process all of this without thinking about the individual things that give us these indications because we have built a model of past experiences so we notice small details without consciously cataloging them. For instance is he lowly drifting left or is he swinging to the far right of the lane, are the movements steady or is he thrashing the steering adjustments about? Most important though is our responses. Our responses to what we perceive is built into our model as well. if someone slams the breaks in front of you do you clamp down the brakes or do you gently squeeze while drifting to the side of your lane prepared to dodge around the vehicle? The difference here is whether or not you have a model of the situation and an appropriate response already. This is why experienced riders seem to "instinctively" know what to do. It's not instinct, it's just a model so thats been built in the mind so that they already have a general outline for how to treat a similar situation to the one they find themselves in. Experience is not the only way to build these models though. My friends and I spend a great deal of time discussing the various situations we have seen on the road, or situations we think up. It usually starts with "what would you do if..." We discuss it in detail, envisioning ourselves in the situation, thinking about how each action would effect the situation. While this is no substitute for experience it certainly beets the complete surprise/panic that happens when a situation occurs that you are completely unprepared for. Sorry for the long post. Keep the rubber side down.
collinsfriend's picture

Submitted by collinsfriend on

Escape plans are important no matter what you drive and motorcycles/bicycles even more so.I always drive with headlights even in cars. People STILL take chances. When I drive my 4wd large version Tundra-some people try to out race me or think if I don't see them, they're not there. Sort of a "Hit me if you dare, I've always wanted disability and a lawsuit jackpot." When I drive my Camry, people try to bully and fake me out-rarely works. I've had drunks(?) pull out and make a left turn from a side street, fail to use the merge lane and I had to swerve onto a cross street to avoid T-boning them. All in all people are more fearful of my large truck vs the small car. On my bicycle-most people are caring and courteous-but there are harrassers (I won't hesitate to mace them if they get close enough) who honk, pull into the bicycle lane, accelerate hard,serve toward you etc.There is also the moth to a flame theory which is why most police dept have fewer rear emergency flashers. Many people have the false idea motorcycles and bicycles can stop faster and maneuver more so it doesn't matter if they are stupid and rude. Unfortunatey, there are also passive-aggressive homicidal maniacs. Ever try to pass in a car and have the other slow driver speed up? Meet a secret Freddie Kruger wanna be. They assume wrongly that it's all your problem to figure it out. Most people also assume that all drivers/riders are expert and can just deal with whatever they dish out in the quest for road empires. It is important to have an escape plan, it is important to stay on your own side of the road, don't fight over the road-you'll lose. I pull over a lot (I'm still slow) just to keep the stress down, and for many it builds better relations between drivers, rather than insist on slowing down the world to my beginners speeds. LOL, now 2 long posts.

coreyo's picture

I have stumbled across a few articles in your blog, and I must say, great stuff you have here. I myself have been riding one thing or another since I was 12, I am 31 now and just last season I broke down and finally bought my first street bike. It was a toss up between a zx10 or a zx 636... I have experience with riding and I went with a 06 zx 636. I am so glad I did. I think zx10 would just be to much power for where I ride, and the 636 is plenty fast and powerful, plus it handles like a dream, and accelerates like a rocket. I have rode my cousins Katana 1100 and his Busa and although powerful bikes, they are like Cadillacs on 2 wheels. I have a hard time keeping the front wheel down on the 636 without even trying. But this blog is great cause so many people out there think they can just jump on anything and go. People need to know it is not embarrassing to start out with a 250. A 600 may be small displacement, but it will kick your ass if you don't know what your doing. To me a rider is a rider and I don't care what you ride, once you are on a bike, we are family out there. I'll even wave or nod to the occasional scooter rider out there. Thumbs up to you brother.
Jeremy's picture

Submitted by Jeremy (not verified) on
Tip number 3 is a good idea when you're racing, but a bad idea on the street. Cars don't expect motorcycles to weave around the lane like that, and both the oncoming and following traffic may try to pass you (or do something stranger) when you're mid-maneuver. Additionally, if you take every corner in that manner, what happens if you have to suddenly move out of the apex of the corner? (Maybe there is a rock at the apex.) You're now carrying too much speed to be able to stay within your own lane, and you will swing wide into opposing traffic. Finally, you are spending a lot of time crossing over the "grease strip" (which is slippery) in the center of the road, for no good reason. Generally speaking, I would say you are better picking either the left or the right lane position and sticking with it until some possible threat to your safety encourages you to change. Picking the inside lane position is probably the best idea, as it avoids oncoming traffic that cuts the corner (into your lane), and it also gives you room to "swing wide" if needed.
ixfe's picture

Submitted by ixfe on
i was thinking about that. makes sense to track the inside lane ... forces u to slow down. reduces chance of a head-on with oncoming traffic too.
Anonymous's picture

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

inside lane track makes you less visible to those a car or 2 behind or oncoming. You might get a leap frogger trying to share with you or have a car start a pass into you after the car he sees.

I change as the situation dictates. Usually follow the inside of the outside wheel track.. so I'm almost centered. but in heavier traffic.. or slow and go. Im always wherever the shoulder is. If I have to get out I get out Left lane "hov" mostly. Jump off onto the shoulder when traffic stops suddenly or when the guy behind you isn't slowing down.. someone tries to share you lane.. whatever.

That.. and even in bumper to bumper stop and go traffic I am never side by side with a car, and always have plenty of room in front of me (so as not to be a sandwich). p

Mike Macaulay's picture

Submitted by Mike Macaulay (not verified) on
Six weeks ago, my loose left shoestring got caught in my 1200 Bandit's chain, pulled my foot off the peg and between the frame and back wheel. Because I was "attached" to the bike when I went down I was unable to roll and ended up with a broken shoulder blade, collar bone and 5 ribs! I was only doing about 15 mph and yet did $3500 in damage. I had removed my chain guard 'cause it looked cooler. Even the littlest things...
Anonymous's picture

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
You should *always* tuck in your shoelaces before riding so they aren't dangling. As this poster points out, it's not fun getting a shoelace stuck in the chain.
kmashraf's picture

Submitted by kmashraf (not verified) on
Well I can see that there ain't many bike riders in the US of A. Out here in India motorcycles are a mode of transport, including carrying things, believe me. You can see sights such as an entire PC (including a 15" CRT monitor) being transported on one. Thankfully these days LCD's are beginning to replace CRT's. You can get some idea of how bikes are used in India from here Please also note that not a single picture has a rider wearing any kind of protection including helmets. By the way India must have one of the highest rates of head injury fatalities. I guess the 1 billion plus population kinda makes life cheap out here. In India you have to be 'one' with your bike when you ride it cause no amount of planning will prepare one for the surprises that can pop up to de-bike you. To people used to orderly driving/riding, Indian roads are beyond use. I have been riding various types of two wheelers in India since 1977, bought a helmet with the bike back then and I can assure you I am in existence today because of it. Survived a high speed (in India doing 50 mph or 80 kmph is high speed) head-on collision with a four wheeler due to wearing one. In my city Madras, we have had an on/off relationship with the law requiring wearing head protection. Thankfully recently wearing head protection has become mandatory and most are forced to wear one. Though a few still brazenly refuse to wear one. By the way most of the pictures you see in the link are probably from my city. The registration plates give that away. But they must have been taken before our cops started enforcing the 'helmet' 'rule'. By the way it was a compromise with 'women' and 'children' being excluded from the 'rule'.
Anonymous's picture

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

I relate well to what kmashraf said. I live in Indonesia and each year, 4.5 million new motorcycles are introduced into the already overcrowded streets. The things they do on a motorcycle are beyond insane; let alone wearing protective clothing. Take a look:
This is a common sight.

I've also seen a family of four + luggage doing 100kmh on a 125cc bike and in another occasion, riding on the wrong lane directly towards cars in the opposing direction! Pure suicidal. To add to the madness, i would reckon half of all the riders in Indonesia are on pirated (bribed) licenses. Imagine the chaos of our roads. As a motorist in Indonesia, there are plenty you could hate about bikers. I have been in several accidents involving motorcyclists whom clipped my car (tried to overtake me on a turn, from the INSIDE lane) or T-boned me (the teens were racing). All of which resulted in pretty serious injuries. I wish they could see how civilized people ride.

Sam's picture

Submitted by Sam (not verified) on

Haha,so true .

btw, I used to lived in indonesian too.
Whats your ride?

Kita punya forum biker di luar negri ga sih? :)

Matt's picture

Submitted by Matt (not verified) on
These are all good tips. I grew up and started riding in Michigan and can't agree enough with tips number 7 and 8. In my experience, there are fewer motorcycles on the road in the northern states (of the USA) due to the shorter riding season. Consequently, drivers do not expect to see them and don't look for them. Watch out for yourself because no-one else will. -Matt
Michael's picture

Submitted by Michael (not verified) on
Awesome site! I've been riding for almost 30-years (I'm 45 now) and one thing riders NEED to think about is simple turning at speed. Most people I talk to do not think about this... but it could save your life. Imagine yourself going straight and slow, like 10 mph. you turn the bars left to go left. Simple. But now imagine yourself going straight at 40 mph when a cage makes a left turn in front of you. You have to turn left to avoid the car... but how? YOU PRESS FORWARD ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE HANDLEBAR. It is essentially like trying to turn right at slow speed, but with the opposite effect. We do it instinctively without thinking about it... but I have seen too many riders try to TURN the bars to the left to avoid a car and wind up steering right into the door. (Not convinced? Think what happens when you lean right into a turn... Press the left hand grip forward and the bike will right itself FAST... and if you don't let up it will lean, and turn, left.)
Tim's picture

Submitted by Tim (not verified) on
Hey, first of just wanted to say this is a great site. Im 18 and want to get a bike in a few years and trying to learn as much as i can before purchasing one. I wanted to ask if anyone has every ridden on long island. I live here and everyone tells me that i shouldnt get a motorcycle and i will probably end up dying and all that other stuff that im sure all you guys have heard. Everyone on LI drives like a complete idiot and i was wondering if anyone had driven on LI roads in peticular and if so any advice you could give. Thanks.
Ben's picture

Submitted by Ben on
I've got some great news for you! No matter where you live people always say "Your going to die on that thing" or "You should get a car, motorcycles are too dangerous" etc... My girlfriend's parents say that to me all the time, and it can be quite annoying. Plus I live in california with its notoriously bad drivers, but pretty much any place will have its share of people who pay more attention to their cell phone than the road. You are definitely not alone in the obstacles you face to get a motorcycle. Some people are going to think motorcycles are death machines no matter what you do, but for the people that are on the fence about it, you can usually do a few things to convince them not to hate motorcycles. 1. Take the MSF course: People will know you are serious about riding if you save up the cash and sign up for the motorcycle safety foundation course. There should be one in your area, and it teaches you everything you need to start riding. I think the only required gear is a helmet, a thick jacket, jeans, and gloves. I'm sure you have all of that except the helmet if you live in a colder area. 2. Wear full gear: I'm not sure if its the law in LI, but in California it is illegal to ride a motorcycle without a DOT approved helmet. In addition that that, I recommend getting full gear from head to toe, because odds are you are going to crash at least once if you ride a motorcycle (every person I know that rides has crashed, including myself). So if people see you suiting up like you are going deep space exploring every time you hop on a motorcycle, then they will know that you are into safety and you take riding a motorcycle very seriously. Usually if you do those two things then a lot of people will understand your passion about motorcycles and won't hassle you every time they see you. Granted there are those that will say, "Make sure you have your organ donor card with you", and various other things to try and deter you from riding no matter how safe you are. For people like that I guess you'll have to come up with your own solution to convince them that you will survive (most likely, I mean they are half right, a lot of people do die on motorcycles every year). Hope that helps! Ben ~Best Beginner Motorcycles Admin


Ben - Editor and Owner of BBM

Anonymous's picture

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
OK, so I also live on Long Island and while I don't ride a motorcycle I do ride a bicycle through the traffic of Long Island. I know most will say "p'shaw, thats apples and oranges" but one tip I have found interesting is that a survey in the U.K. has shown that bicyclists who dress like Tour D' France riders get less clearance from drivers because they are automatically assumed to be more skilled riders. As a result their chances of being in an accident go up. One cyclist proposed that a little wobble every now and then, at one's discretion, might be a good way to let drivers know that they cannot just cruise by within a couple of inches. Any thoughts on applying this to motorcycle riding?
Ben's picture

Submitted by Ben on
I've actually heard of that study, didn't the experimenter get the most clearance while wearing a long haired wig (basically impersonating a woman)? I have thought about weaving around in my lane, but in general I don't because I usually go faster than the speed of traffic. The only time where a driver can 'squish' me in is if I am lane splitting. I would say 20% of drivers actually give me more room when they see me coming, about 1% give me less room (I guess they hate I get home faster than they do), and the majority 79% don't see me until I'm already past them. I sometimes weave a little bit while lanesplitting but I try to keep it to a minimum that way drivers that I pass don't think that I am a jerk and become one of the 1%. Also, I make it a habit to wave to anyone that gives me extra room. I feel like doing that is better than appearing 'unsafe' by weaving to and frow. Ben ~Best Beginner Motorcycles Admin


Ben - Editor and Owner of BBM

Anonymous's picture

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Lol, I WISH I could do that on my bicycle....
Oldie Newbie's picture

Submitted by Oldie Newbie (not verified) on

This is the first time I hear of that study, but it sort of makes sense. However, if you're riding a motorbike, wobbling may make car drivers around you think you're losing control over your bike and hence panic with unpredictable results. Wouldn't it be enough if you just "claim your space" and drive in the middle of the lane? This assuming you can keep pace with other traffic, but if you're motorized, I don't see why you couldn't.

Living in north Europe, I have no idea what type of bicycle safety gear you have in the US, but at least in Finland it used to be popular to attach "safety pennants" to your bicycle. They are little downward-pointing, stiff triangular plastic flags with a reflector on a shaft sticking out about 10 inches from the bicycle. This "scares" bypassing car drivers enough to make a wider sweep around you. I don't know if that would be legal in your area, but if it's never been tried, maybe it would be worth suggesting to the appropriate authorities?


Anonymous's picture

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
In PA where I live, if you have a valid PA license, even for a car, the course is offered for free. There's no excuse to not take it!
Joe_Lo's picture

Submitted by Joe_Lo on

This is my first year riding and I also live on LI. I haven't found it to be too bad and see a lot more bikes on the road than I can ever remember. This could just be because I am paying attention to the bikes more or perhaps gas prices are contributing as well. I have also heard that getting a bike on LI is nuts because of all the congestion but I think some of it depends on where you live. I'm on the south shore of Suffolk so it doesn't seem so bad but if I lived in Nassau, I might have had have second thoughts. Long trips like going to work, I don't do on my bike yet. I really only ride around for fun/practice later at night when traffic is slow or early in the mornings on the weekends (and hoping no residual drunks are out on the road) and haven't really jump onto the major roads (LIE, Sunrise, etc). People really do drive terribly on LI and while I haven't really had any problems yet I only use the bike for enjoyment so I don't have to get into the rush hour mix.

Anonymous's picture

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
im thinking about the ninja 250 as my first bike, im about 6 feet and 220lbs frankly the bike looks kinda small for me, am i allucinating ?
Canticle's picture

Submitted by Canticle (not verified) on
"a hornet was making a kamikaze run for my retinas." Well said... I am devouring all these tips!
Claire +10's picture

Submitted by Claire +10 (not verified) on

I was thinking about getting a Ninja 250 for my first bike as well. But I'm really not sure how it will fit me. I'm a athletically built, 5'3 female. Any suggestions?

megaspaz's picture

Submitted by megaspaz on

Sit on one? Only way to be sure.

If there's anything more important than my ego
around, I want it caught and shot now...

--- AFM #998 If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now...

Candice's picture

Submitted by Candice (not verified) on

I live in Illinois and there is a Motorcycle Safety Class offered for $20.00, good luck getting in though as they fill up fast! I am confirmed in that class at the end of August and I am so excited! Once I take the class then I will buy my first bike. I am looking at the Honda Rebel. Well, actually, I was looking at the 2008 Triumph Bonneville t100 until I realized that I would be very very very very sad if I dropped it so, after that fabulous fantasy of driving that glorious looking bike, I decided on something USED and something a little more appropriate for a brand spankin' new rider. Love this website, love the comment also about the hornets/wasps/bees/prehistoric size bugs making kamikaze runs for your retinas, and it is so TRUE that people will tell you that you are going to die. HOLY CRAP! Thanks for the vote of confidence friends and family! Just kidding, I know they are worried about me so at least they care but I was so happy to read that I am not the only one people say that to and also that I am heading in the right direction with taking the safety class and getting all the gear, that makes me feel much better. Happy riding everyone! WOO HOOOOOO!!!!

Sam's picture

i live in england and im looking for a great new bike im thinking a yamaha 125
of some sort, any other ideas? my uncle rides alot and thats what he reccomended, and also im looking to go for a 250 as quick as possible, is that a good idea?

Joe's picture

Submitted by Joe (not verified) on

I haven't been pn a bike in 25 years. When I got my license the first time I took a motorcycle safety class in IL, I recall it being free. All these years later and now I'm about to take up riding again! I'm taking the MSF class in NH, it isn't free but worth the $110 to me. I plan on getting the Yamaha Virago 250.

Andrew's picture

Submitted by Andrew on

I'm taking the MSF class in IL and it's $20 to hold your spot in a class. You can request it back afterwards but most people seem to donate it to the cause.



Anonymous's picture

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

i took mine in Fl. and i was charged $250, but honda payed seventy bucks towards the finaly cost.

Candice's picture

Submitted by Candice (not verified) on

I also toyed with the idea of getting a 125cc bike but I am sticking with a 250cc. In the Chicagoland area a 125cc I don't think is going to cut it. I was just visiting Sault Ste Marie, Ontario which is a small town with no "real" highways/tollways and I saw 2 girls riding thru town on Suzuki 125s which seemed ok but I wouldn't feel comfortable on big city roads/highways/tollways/traffic on one of those. The 125s are cute though.

BoOZe P-ti Motard's picture

Submitted by BoOZe P-ti Motard on

gals on 125cc are cute.. :} hihi..ur rite..stick to the will not regret coz u'll learn fast on 125 cc and will get fed up and will want a 250..experience...well here we have suzuki en125/gn125, yamaha ybr 125,honda cgl125/125 firestorm/cg125..that's for the big makes..+ other chinese ones like haojue n 250 u can go far fast, and return fast..but in a safe

Solomolo Rider ;D

Solomolo Rider ;D

Randy's picture

Submitted by Randy (not verified) on

Also, If you are military, you can take the MSF course for free. It's now a DOD requirement.

Sethi's picture

I am a beginner. Finally bought a used motorcycle last weekend. Took on road this morning and wow ! it was scary. I survived. I think that this article is invaluable to someone like me who is always looking for tips from more experienced riders.

new bike guy's picture

thanks alot for all the advice guys,

I went along with my uncle rider of YZF R1 and experienced since he was 16 (49 now), to a second hand suzuki dealership and sat on a couple of bikes including some 125's but immediatly saw the difference in a 250cc. after a quick ride i was certain it was for me. 2002 bandit 250cc. what a beauty. i was out for around 3 hours last sunday with my uncle. damn its scary riding on your own. Being on the back is nothing compared to riding it on your own. once again thanks for all the great advice, you really helped me out. Cheers.

Anonymous's picture

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

hey, i'm only 15 but im aiming on riding a sportsbike when i can get my license. what kind of bike should i get for my first time?

Anonymous's picture

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

im on the same path as you and also not too sure where to start some people say 250cc some people say to open up with a 600cc because your going to get fed up with anything less also im very unsure which brand to look into i live in Florida where its nice and moist and looking for advice pls reply

Anonymous's picture

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

I keep hearing this too. I heard it from the Harley dealer and big bike riders, but this forum and others like it disagree, Now I have a big bike, passed the MSF course and want to trade the big bike in. I met some big Harley bike riders who tell me my concerns are not real and they want to take me riding with them. Any additional advice?

vinny's picture

Submitted by vinny (not verified) on


SunyJim's picture

Submitted by SunyJim on

I found the pictures of India interesting.
Scary but interesting.
Notice the rack on the left side so the dresses don't get caught in the wheels and chain.
They must have learned the side saddle riding from the British women horseback riders.
and I would hope that soon we will see more helmets.

AndrewH's picture

Submitted by AndrewH (not verified) on


Your site is excellent down-to-earth advice. I can't however find any information on your site (or the internet in general really) on Motorcycle Power (ie CC's) and what that means for performance in different situations.

I would like to get a general idea of what performance I will get in differently powered bikes, especially in terms of:
- performance up hill
- performance with a pillion
- performance for safety (being able to accellerate out of danger, too much power)
...say for 25/50/100/250/400/600+ CC bikes...

Personally, Im looking to commute only, with an emphasis on safety. But I thought your viewers might benefit on a general article about Motorbike Power?

Im also interested in getting an idea of the fuel consumption for each of these bike power ranges - obviously that will vary quite a bit based on model and usage, but I guess its most closely related to the issue of Motorcycle Power...

Stay safe!

CanadianDudeLikesBeer's picture

Submitted by CanadianDudeLik... (not verified) on

yeah isnt it crazy? i was born in india but live in canada; indian roads are really conjested and its weird to think ppl ride with their families like that but they do. My dad and uncle used to take me on rides like that as a kid and i felt 90% safe, or maybe just because i was a small kid and unaware lol. But im glad im in canada, not as many ppl on the roads (compared to India) = more fun time

(oh and by the way i think i read someone saying to ride in the middle of road, i dont know if thats a good idea cause the middle of the lane is where the dirt and shit falls of cars the most?)

IBA270's picture

Submitted by IBA270 on

#3 Outside inside outside is ABSOLUTELY the correct technique. It's what we teach at the MSF and it's how you should negotiate turns. Let me dispell a few myths here;

The outside/inside/outside path of travel is much shorter than following the engineered radius. When you execute it properly, you're moving from the first third of your lane to the inside third of your lane. It's a matter of probably six feet. Could a car over take you or try to take your lane? No more than at any other time because remember, a car cannot take the same path of travel and therefore would have to accelerate quickly (very quickly) in order to come along side.

Another question raised was head turn. If you're looking through the turn, how would it matter what your path of travel is? You're still looking for the exit of your turn. It's no difference.

Try this at home just for fun. Take a tall drinking class and a piece of string and measure around the mouth of the class and then measure the length.'ll learn a fun bar quiz if you do this.

Last thing...take the BRC.

Allen Dye
MSF Rider Coach
Track Day Instructor
Ironbutt Rally Finisher '03-'05

Glotzer Sweat's picture

Submitted by Glotzer Sweat (not verified) on

You provide some great tips here for new motorcycle riders.  As an attorney who represents injured bikers, I can tell you that your number one rule should be "pretend you are invisible"!  Lack of visibility (or, in my opinion, inattentiveness by drivers of passenger vehicles) is the NUMBER ONE cause of motorcycle crashes.  Assuming that no one will look out for you (because they won't), and driving defensively is the single greatest thing you can do as a rider to prevent a crash.  Thanks so much for providing this information.  I'm going to re-share your blog on some of my motorcycle safety blogs!  Keep up the good work!

Gary Green's picture

Submitted by Gary Green (not verified) on

Oh dear oh dear oh dear!

Bad drawing, poorly written and open to miss interpretation. very amateur at best, dangerous at worse.

try the Police riders handbook for a clearer and better definition of cornering on the road. 

  • ISBN-10: 011341143X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0113411436


NEStriple's picture

Submitted by NEStriple (not verified) on

You are fundamentally correct on tip #4 for all beginners. When you reach at least mid-level experience, learning to trailbrake can be an essential skill to learn for becoming smoother in turns. Nick Ienatsch wrote an article available on the "Cycle World" website called, "The Brakelight Initiative". It's semi-controversial, and rightly so because of how the MSF teaches braking. I highly recommend it for once you are comfortable with using your brakes and throttle smoothly, and have built enough real confidence to learn something new. I started practicing it in my neighborhood going to and from work, and then I started applying it to all the curves I ride through. It sounds difficult, but think of it this are already trailbraking as you come to a stop in a straight-line anyway. No one (normally) locks up their brakes when they come to a stop every time, but eases off of them as they complete it. I'm hoping that someday the MSF has (more than two) tiered levels of instruction, and not just the two they currently have. That way people can learn more advanced techniques without paying $2,500 at a road racing school.

Angelina's picture

Submitted by Angelina (not verified) on

I am perfectly satisfied with painted bike lanes on roads; where they are, I have never had issues with cars except at intersections where cars often block the bike lane by pulling into the bike lane while waiting to turn. These can be rectified by painting the approaches as it is done in several locations throughout the city. Worst offenders to my point of view are the intersections between Hyde Park Road to Wonderland on Oxford and the bike crossing at Riverside Dr. eastbound lane on Wonderland Dr heading south. It would be nice to have bike lanes between Wonderland to Highbury on Oxford, on Riverside from Sanatorium Road to ?? ( I am too afraid to ride down there so don’t know where it starts and stops) and even I use the sidewalk if I have to ride along Adelaide between Hamilton Rd to Huron St.  

You can learn about road bike & buy it in cheap cost prize :

Annie M Young's picture

Submitted by Annie M Young (not verified) on

I just started riding this summer and ride every chance I can, I put over 1200 miles on in 2 months. Thanks for reminder about turning my head on turns and curves, I do that, I just needed the reminder to turn my head even more.

kuttaik's picture

Submitted by kuttaik (not verified) on

Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple: might be a landmark vaishnavite temple placed at intervals hill town of Tirumala at Tirupati in Chittoor district of province, India. The Temple is dedicated to Lord Venkateswara, associate incarnation of Hindu deity, United Nations agency is believed to be appeared here a lot of|to avoid wasting} lots of human beings from trials and troubles of Kali Yuga. Thus the place has together got the name Kaliyuga Vaikuntham and Lord here is mentioned as Kaliyuga Prathyaksha Daivam. The temple is to boot noted by different names like Tirumala Temple, Tirupati Temple, and Tirupati Balaji Temple. Venkateswara is assumed by many different names: Balaji, Govinda, and Srinivasa. <a href="">Tirupati Tour Package from Chennai</a> | <a href="">One day Tirupati tour package from chennai</a>

bobby's picture

Submitted by bobby (not verified) on

i totaly agree with what you have mentioned above and i just wanna give some tips that i think its also important for the beginner

1. Riding the motorbike must be one of the greatest adventures in life. Irrespective of your level of expertise as a motorbike rider, you must realise the importance of having a helmet. There are so many people who have survived serious accidents, by virtue of having helmets at the time of the accident.( how to find a right helmet you can visit here :

2. whenever yo are on the road, always keep an safe distnace with evey vehilcle, it depend on how much yo estimate but as i know the average safe distance is about 30 feet


Geoffrey's picture

Submitted by Geoffrey (not verified) on

Great tips here. Interesting how I have been doing these techniques while riding for years. Never really thought much about them though. Thanks for the reminders. Like most other procedures, stick with the basics and everything seems to workout OK.

Geoffrey's picture

Submitted by Geoffrey (not verified) on

Keep the basic's in mind even when you think you're good at riding. don't ever get too relaxed like this article says "we are invisible" to neighboring automobiles.

Yo's picture

Submitted by Yo (not verified) on

I'm just 18 years my height jus 155 and weight 40

Can I ride yayamaha r1

Raja's picture

Submitted by Raja (not verified) on

I have read your post, very nice, your article shearing for; Tirupati may be a major journey and cultural hub within the Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh. It’s the biggest town within the Rayalaseema region, placed at the foothills of the jap Ghats. Tirupati is known for the richest temple Venkateswara Swamy temple that is devoted to Lord Venkateswara, placed within the Tirumala hills. More contact

 Chennai to tirupati one day tour package | Tirupati tour package from chennai


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