bike on roadStrategy for Maneuvers


These articles are probably all you need for maneuvers. We've included a couple of articles on countersteering. Bikers make a big deal about countersteering, and sagely offer advice and explanations to new bikers. Thing is, you don't need to understand countersteering to ride your bike. On most bikes, over 15 MPH or so, if you are turning, you used countersteering. It is natural and automatic. If you rode a bike when young, you learned it then. Much better to read the Beter Motorcycling posts on Safe Cornering and Making a Turn below. Read the countersteering articles if you are interested in the physics of the situation.


Braking is important. Promocycle Montreal on Optimal Braking describes the result of experiments they did to find out the most effective way perform an emergency stop. The sequence is:

1) Close the throttle.
2) Apply the rear brake.
3) Straighten the bike to be completely vertical, straighten your body, brace yourself and position fingers and feet - can be started during 1 and 2.
4) Apply the front brake with appropriate pressure, increasingly harder as the brake bites and the front of the bike dips.
5) Declutch.

We would add: as the weight transfers forward, the front wheel applies more of the braking force and the rear wheel has less weight on it. We need to let off the rear brake progressively to avoid locking it up. In other words, the maximum effect of the rear brake is during the first part of the braking process. But this is an important contribution, as it helps to start moving the weight of the bike forward, and Promocycle found that omitting the rear brake seriously reduces braking performance.

The important thing to note is that, if you plan to use this sequence when you have to do an emergency stop, the routine needs to be practiced into muscle memory. It's important to use this same sequence every time you stop, so that when you need it in an emergency you'll deploy it without thinking. The above information is from "Task Analysis for Intensive Braking of a Motorcycle in a Straight Line" by Promocycle Foundation, Canada, and is based on research.

Problems during Braking:

You can lock up the front or rear wheel. If you lock up the rear wheel, the only thing to do is to keep it locked, steer the bike straight, and ride it to a stop. Here's Better Motorcycling on rear skids. Don't let it off. A front wheel lock, on the other hand, according to the WebBikeWorld article cited, needs to be dealt with by letting off the brake until the lock releases. Not dealing with a front wheel lock risks a lowside.

References for Maneuvering.

Better Motorcycling Blog on Overtaking Maneuver

Wikipedia on countersteering on countersteering

Better Motorcycling on Safe Cornering Technique

Better Motorcycling on Accelerating on Curves

Better Motorcycling on Making a Turn

BMW MOA Foundation on Tire Grip

BMW MOA Foundation on Adverse Weather

BMW MOA Foundation on Sight Distances

BMW MOA Foundation on Common Riding Errors