New Rider Tips: Learning to Ride a Motorcycle

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If you’ve never ridden before, you’ve probably got a few questions about learning to ride, how long it’s going to take, and what it will cost.

While this entire website dives deep into a lot of different topics for motorcyclists, this page should help answer some of the initial questions if you’re still deciding whether it’s right for you.

Tips for New Motorcycle Riders

One of the first tips for new riders is to learn on the right type of bike.

You’ll want something relatively smaller and not too heavy or powerful, so that you can master the basics. Check out our page on some of the best motorcycle for beginners.

However, before you even get on a bike, here are some things you can practice and think about in order to be a better motorcyclist:

  • Stay calm under pressure.
  • Be able to make quick decisions when presented with potential hazards.
  • Don’t hesitate when you need to make a maneuver.
  • Practice your riding skills regularly and develop good instincts.
  • Avoid being in a rush to your destination. Slow down and enjoy the riding experience.
  • Get to know your motorcycle, perform regular inspections, and keep up with maintenance.
  • Always where the proper motorcycle safety gear.

Riding a Motorcycle for the First Time

Riding a motorcycle is a lot more involved than driving a car. However, with a little practice, it can feel like second nature.

There are a few key components to master when learning to ride a motorcycle. This includes:

  • Shifting gears.
  • Operating the clutch.
  • Operating the throttle.
  • Using the brake levers.
  • Turning by leaning and pressing.
  • Balancing when stopped.
  • Balancing and controlling the bike during low speed maneuvers.

You’ll also need to become comfortable doing different things with your different hands and feet simultaneously.

For example, as you operate the clutch with your left hand, you’ll need to adjust the throttle with your right hand, and shift with your left foot.

Shifting itself is something you’ll need to get used to as well. You’ll need to know when to shift up, when to shift down, and how to do so smoothly. If you’re only used to driving an automatic car, this may take some practice.

You’ll also need to get used to the start up procedures for your bike, which typically involves a few more steps than a car.

How to Learn to Ride a Motorcycle without Owning One

If you want to learn to ride a motorcycle, you’re going to need a bike to practice on!

If you don’t own a motorcycle yourself, practicing your riding skill may seem like a challenge.

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Your best option to learn to ride without any experience or motorcycle of your own is to enroll in a motorcycle safety course or MSF Basic Rider course near you.

These courses are designed to teach you important motorcycle safety topics and teach you the basics of operating a bike – even if you’ve never ridden before.

In most states, taking this course will waive your DMV testing requirements and make getting your license a whole lot easier.

How Hard is it to Ride a Motorcycle?

To the untrained eye, riding a motorcycle may look difficult.

However, it you are comfortable riding a bicycle and can learn the basics of shifting gears, using a clutch, and operating the throttle, it’s not that hard to get the hang of.

It does take skills that require some practice to become a good motorcyclists though.

The hardest things for most new riders to learn include:

  • Cornering.
  • Using the clutch’s friction zone for low speed maneuvers.
  • Safe quick stops.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Motorcycle License?

Assuming you already hold a standard driver’s license, the process to get your motorcycle license in most states does not take very long.

If your state allows you to take an MSF basic rider course in lieu of taking your skills/written test at the DMV, you can actually get your license really quickly.

Assuming the scheduling lined up you could get your motorcycle license in as little as 3-4 days in most cases.

For this to work out, you’d need to take a 2-day rider course that at least waives your skills test, visit the DMV after you pass the course, take the written test if necessary, and pay your licensing fees.

Learn about the exact motorcycle license steps in your state.

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