Riding Tip: Low Speed Motorcycle Maneuvering P4

July 5, 2017 Tags: , ,

Riding Tip: Low Speed Motorcycle Maneuvering P4

In this video, part four of four, we explore how to master low speed motorcycle maneuvering by utilizing a tear drop turn. When it comes to slow speed turns, like a u-turn, mastering tear dropping will be valuable.

For riders who want to improve their skills and have total control of their motorcycle at slow speeds, register for a course or private instruction today at MotorcycleTraining.com!

Alright Bill. So what is the last golden nugget you want to share about slow speed maneuvering?

Well it is a technique that we call tear dropping. We don’t use this in the Basic RiderCourse, but its something motor officers use extensively in their day-to-day riding and in their motor officer skills competitions. Its an effective way to initiate low speed u-turns.

Alright, so once we nail this it is out to the street?

I promise Jordyn, we’re almost there. Alright!

So I want to define tear dropping. For low speed maneuvering its essentially two consecutive turns. We initiate a turn of the handlebars away from the direction we want to go and then we turn the handlebars into the turn in the direction that we want to go.

So if we want to go left, first we turn right? Exactly! By turning in the opposite direction and then back into the turn, we destabilize the motorcycle and it gets the bike onto the edge of the tires so that the motorcycle can turn easier.

Okay, what’s the best way to practice that? The best way is in a private closed course area. You’ll want to practice where there are no other vehicles around. You’ll want to have lots of room and understand when we do turns, we’re trying to get between 15 to 30 feet in our turns. The reason for that is roads are often 9 to 15 feet wide. If we can make a turn within 30 feet, then we can make a turn on the street. Preferably though, we want to give ourselves room, so we’ll want to get that turn down to about 24 feet; 20 if we can.

Alright, Bill, that makes perfect sense. So if we can do a 24 foot U-Turn in a parking lot, we can do it on the street? That’s exactly right. You’ll want to practice on a closed course because we’re putting all the skills we’ve learned together and that includes our clutch-throttle-rear brake relationship, our counter weighting, and our tear dropping. We want to have that skill put all together, nice and tight, before we start mixing it up in traffic.

Alright, so are we ready to try this on the street? Yep! We are ready to go! Let’s do it!

Notice how the rider is setting up on the outside, not all the way, giving him enough room so that he can tear drop for the turn. Notice how early he’s established the clutch-throttle-rear brake relationship. Watch as he counter weights before he initiates the turn, turns his head, turns the handlebars, and away he goes to make that tight u-turn on the roadway.

So I bet this comes in handy in parking lots too. Absolutely, you can be in a parking garage or in a Target parking lot and it works all the same.

So we’ve come a long way since our first video on friction zone and there is a lot to get right.

You’re right, Jordyn, there is a lot to get right. TEAM Arizona is here to help you become the best possible rider. You know, the coaches who have been showing you in the videos the various techniques and skills and they make it look easy, but it didn’t start that way for them. They started at the bottom and worked their way up practicing the techniques on a regular basis to get better. We’re here to help ALL riders enhance their skills. And you can start by visiting MotorcycleTraining.com

Awesome, Bill, thanks so much for your insight and I can’t wait to get started!


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Bill Seltzer Yamaha FJ-09Bill Seltzer has been a Motorcycle Safety Foundation RiderCoach since 2003 and a Total Control Advanced Riding Instructor since 2011.  He currently serves as the Marketing Director for TEAM Arizona and is a member of the Arizona Strategic Highway Safety Planning committee.  Have questions or comments about the article?  Email him: Bill@MotorcycleTraining.com

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