The excitement of riding a motorcycle for the first time fills you with a passion that just doesn’t seem to burn out. Riding is always on your mind no matter where you are, and you are extremely eager to go on all the road trips that you have read about or imagined since before you started riding. This passion is very good but it may tempt you to make some foolish mistakes that usually have bad consequences. As a new rider, here are a few common motorcycle mistakes that you really should avoid to make sure your riding experiences are both fun and safe.
Suggested Read: 5 best bikes for beginners in India
#1 Small motorcycles are lame
Your dream ride may be a Hayabusa, R1 or even a Harley-Davidson but it would be extremely foolish to ride one of these without gaining the necessary experience first. Even comparatively slower motorcycles like the KTM Duke or Ninja 300 can be a bad choice as things can go wrong very fast on motorcycles that you can’t yet handle properly. It is a good idea to start of with commuter motorcycles in the 100-150cc segment and then slowly work your way up to faster and bigger motorcycles. Don’t worry about looking like an amateur, everyone has to start somewhere and no one is going to judge you for that.
#2 Too excited to do a basic safety check
Even seasoned riders often ignore this step, but is very important to perform basic checks like the air pressure in the tyres and whether the brake light is working. And always be sure to check the fuel level in your tank because it can be quite embarrassing to push your motorcycle to the nearest fuel pump when you run out of petrol in the middle of the road.
#3 I Want to Ride Everywhere!
Yes, we get that you’re excited. But you’re not ready for every riding condition or situation just yet (who is really?). Get your riding practise in ever-increasing levels of difficulty, but only when you’re ready. Don’t start out riding in the city in rush-hour traffic. Ride at your current skill level and then when you feel you’ve progressed in skill and awareness, edge forward. And don’t attempt trips like the Leh-Ladakh ride until you have a few years of good experience under your belt.
#4 I don’t want to spend more money on a helmet and gear
We see a lot of riders who spend a bomb on their motorcycles and then skimp out on buying a good quality helmet and riding gear. One thing you should understand is that a good helmet and gear are long term investments. Sure, you might be a bit reluctant to spend an extra Rs 2000 on a quality helmet when you can’t really tell the difference from a Rs 500 one, but it can literally be the difference between life and death. The same goes for buying protective gear. Riding in a leather jacket and your old jeans may look cool but it won’t be of much use if you fall down at high speeds. Remember, prevention is better than cure.
#5 I want to bring someone with me
It might be tempting to take your girlfriend/boyfriend or buddy on your new motorcycle. You can show off your riding skills but you can also end up flat on the road. Riding with a passenger is very different from riding alone; the dynamics and handling of the motorcycle as well as the braking distance are completely different and unless you are sure that you can handle it, do not take a passenger with you.
#6 Riding in Traffic is Just Like Driving a Car
If you think riding a motorcycle in traffic is as easy as driving a car, then get off now. Your level of awareness has to increase about tenfold in order to ride safely. You can’t ride with earphones plugged in, bobbing your head to the latest music. You also have to be far more aware of how traffic flows, pedestrians, speedbumps and potholes —and pretty much everything else. Not only do you need to see, you also need to assume you are not seen.
#7 I’ve got Great Reflexes
Never assume that you can handle a problem before you have faced it. Keeping your finger on both the brake and clutch levers is beginner’s brilliance. That split second it takes to even think about it could mean the difference between life and death, injury and avoidance. It removes one entire step in the reaction process. Rather than having to move your fingers into position to activate either, they’re already there. It’s a good practice that reminds you never to be lazy when you ride.
We hope you avoid making these mistakes once you start riding. If you want to gain some experience before buying a motorcycle of your own, you can always rent a motorcycle (provided you have a license of course) from Wheelstreet at affordable rates. Happy Riding!