You need a specific set of skills to ride a motorcycle slowly. You need to know how to coordinate your thumb or the index finger against the handlebar switch pod. You can ride as slow as possible using the throttle, friction zone, and body positioning to maintain balance as the bike moves forward.
Unless you are immune to the force of gravity, riding a motorcycle slowly will leave you wobbling when you have to stay upright and maintain balance while at the same time coordinating the throttle, clutch, and brakes without losing your visual focus. We are going to look at different parameters that you need to look at and consider practising to become a pro in slow riding a motorcycle.
You need to continually change the centre of gravity by shifting your body to help maintain balance on the bike. Your body weight should lean on the footpeg to make the bike move independently of your body. If you master this body movement, then you will have time to turn the handlebars, shift your weight, and regain balance.
Look at Where Your Next Turn is
The best way to control your motorcycle is to look where the next direction is. Looking towards your intended direction is one of the fundamentals of riding a motorcycle. It is well applied at low speeds where you have to look at the distance ahead of you to assess what is coming up if there is enough space to maneuver.
Use the Brakes
You may have noticed that one of the most used bike part are the brakes. That is why when swinging your body to shift the centre of gravity your feet should always be on the footpeg to apply brake pressure when slowing down.
The brake is crucial as it helps maintain stability by steadying the drive while applying rear brake to control the speed while at the same time giving a push to the bike tyres to create tension that steadies the bike when making tight turns.
Controlling the Throttle
The most critical control to master is the throttle. Know that the forward drive must be smooth or you risk falling off the bike. The bike may fail to make an intended turn when the throttle is lurching in an on and off position.
Making the Turn
To begin the turn, press the handgrip in the intended direction of turning to create a counter steering effect. This move should initiate your turn. When turning at very low speeds, you may have to turn the handlebars in the direction in which you are turning. Making one of the tightest turns would mean shifting your body weight outside the pedal peg as you begin to turn.
When making a slow speed turn, maintain a steady acceleration throughout the entire turn by making sure the engine revs as you control the speed with the clutch. When you feel comfortable, start falling inwards and slowly push in more gas to stabilize the bike as you complete the turn without taking your foot off the bike. As you near a complete turn, slightly increase acceleration to pull the bike up to a straight line as you get ready for the opposite direction.
When Taking a Tight Turn is not desirable
A professional motorcyclist will warn you against taking tight turn especially when you are looking for a parking slot. In such circumstances, the best way to maneuver on your bike is to straddle-walk it. However awkward it seems, walking a motorcycle in a narrow stretch; do so while walking in backward instead of trying to slow ride to get the right spot.
When straddle-walking the bike remember that you are still in control and turning your head too much can easily make you lose your balance and it is easy to tip the bike over. It is safer to position the bike in a way that you can guide the bike straight backward instead of risking a backward maneuver. Use the mirrors as much as possible instead of twisting and turning trying to find a suitable spot.
If you put a lot of practice in all the tricks and be able to take one smooth maneuver, you will, of course, be master of your parking lot.
Why Slow-riding a Motorcycle is Helpful
Trail braking is a skill that teaches you how to make fine adjustments to the bike’s speed and keeps the engine from stalling when losing momentum. For you to manage a bar stop, you must be adept at slow riding because a bar stop requires you to come to a halt by resting either the foot, elbow or handlebars on a tree or a wall without putting the foot on the ground.
Slow riding also helps you coordinate yourself when making turns and adjusting speed without putting your feet down. The more advanced skill you can attempt after being a master at slow riding is mounting and dismounting off the bike. Professionals achieve this by swinging their feet off the saddle and onto the ground, walk along the bike for a few feet, and then remount. This is a risky exercise for anyone who is not a master of the slow-riding technique.