If you are a motorcycle owner, you agree that not a lot of things compared to riding your bike. It is particularly attractive if you have an opportunity to ride on a new track or surface. You were probably tempted to ride your motorcycle in the mountains, too, but you are still afraid to try it.
In this article, we are focusing on tips that will maximize your safety when riding in the mountains. Before you take the bike for a spin, make sure to read these tips.
Prepare Yourself and Your Bike
Preparation is the key to success when it comes to mountain motorcycle riding. The bike will be under more stress than in the city environment, which is why you need to ensure everything works smoothly.
It doesn’t matter if you have Suzuki SV650 or any other motorcycle, here is what you should do before you go:
- Check the brakes first because you will be relying on them frequently. You should fill the brake fluid and inspect the pads. It is vital to ensure the brake pad between the metal caliper and the disc is 5mm or thicker.
- Inspect tread levels and tires. You want to have optimal tread depth and tire pressure for your model. Transmission and engine will be under added stress if you don’t optimize these levels.
Now, make sure that you also have all safety equipment that you need. That includes gloves, helmets, pants, and jacket. Don’t forget knee and elbow pads in case anything goes wrong. Mountains can get foggy, and they often feature curvy roads, which is why a vest with high visibility features might be a wise choice.
When choosing clothes, keep warmth as your primary priority. It can get very windy in the mountains, especially if you are riding during the winter season.
Always Keep Your Eyes On the Road
Modern motorcycles, such as Honda Africa Twin, come with great power, and great responsibility follows. If you are a responsible rider, you know that it is important always to keep your eyes on the road.
That is particularly vital in the mountains because these roads feature blind and sharp curves. Even if you do everything right, the chance of a surprise caused by another driver’s mistake is big. That is why you need to be ready to act quickly and identify obstacles and other riders and drivers a lot sooner than usual.
Apart from the riding experience, you surely want to enjoy the views and beautiful landscapes. If you find a perfect location to observe the surroundings and take a couple of photos, it is vital to park your motorcycle safely first.
First, make sure that you pull over outside of the road. Don’t park at the edge of the road because it is not only disrespectful to other traffic participants but also dangerous.
It would be ideal if you can find an ideally flat surface for parking. But if you don’t, always park facing uphill. If you park downhill, you risk the bike falling, which can lead to damages. We are sure you don’t want to damage your new wheels, especially if you picked up a sweet model like DRZ400.
Once you are ready to continue the trip, use the left leg to hold yourself up when riding off. The right foot should be placed on the peg so that you can use the rear brake if necessary.
Riding When Snowing
Sharp curves, uphills, and downhills can be tricky enough, but snow poses another challenge that you could face in the mountains. Our best advice is to avoid riding when it is snowing, especially if there is more than an inch of snow on the road.
Experienced riders and those looking for adventure might consider riding when snowing but make sure to be extra careful. First, always rely on Suzuki motorbikes or other reputable brands to ensure that you have high-quality wheels.
The first rule of riding when snowing is to keep the speed low. That means you should stick to walking speed if necessary.
If the snow is particularly deep, you might need to keep your both feet down to get additional stability. When going downhill, avoid touching the brakes as they are not reliable at all, and you might end up falling easily. That is because there is little friction when roads are icy, and brakes might cause the wheels to lock up and cause problems.
Know the Right Speed
We know that your DR650 can achieve high speeds, but mountains are not the place to prove that. Furthermore, you should stick to the basic rule of keeping both speeds and gears low. If you downshift, you can tackle descents and inclines easier.
It can be particularly helpful if you are going uphill, and you need to accelerate. A high gear might cause the motorcycle to lose power quickly, but keeping the vehicle in low gear is a guarantee that you can tackle any uphill.
Use Your Brakes Carefully
You will use brakes frequently when riding through the mountains. If you are going downhill, brakes are the easiest way to reduce speed. However, try to loosen the stress you put them under as much as possible. Instead of hitting the brakes to slow down, try not accelerating and going slowly down the descent.
If you are loose when it comes to using brakes, you might heat them. That might lead to glazing the discs, and in extreme cases – brake failure. It is crucial to note this rarely happens, but if you have an opportunity to stay safe without using the brakes, consider doing that.
While we are talking about brakes, let’s mention that you should focus on using rear brakes when climbing up, and front brakes when going down a descent. The reason behind this is simple – gravity. Thanks to that, each of the mentioned brakes will be more effective in particular situations.