Riding a motorcycle is one of the most fascinating, enjoyable, and pleasant moments in a motorcyclist’s life. This article will give you a realistic idea of how hard it is to ride a motorcycle.
Think of motorcycles as a crossover of bicycles and cars; since they offer the balance and manoeuvrability of a bicycle but also the power and consistency of a car.
How Hard is it to Ride a Motorcycle?
Riding a motorcycle is a moderately hard task but it is more difficult than riding a bicycle or driving a car. Motorcycles are quite hard to master as you need to learn how to turn sharply, accelerate quickly, change gears, and balance yourself.
The general consensus suggests motorcycles are quite hard to ride. They may not be as challenging as flying a plane or driving a truck but are generally hard to master.
Riding a motorcycle requires a significant amount of multi-tasking. You must do the following tasks when riding a motorcycle:
1. Changing the Gear, Releasing the Clutch, and Providing Gas
The overwhelming majority of motorcycles, even today, are equipped with manual transmission. You must learn to change the gear, release the clutch and provide gas in a matter of seconds in order to prevent the motorcycle from stalling.
This takes a lot of time to master, and you should ideally learn this skill on an empty ground. Many motorcyclists claim this is one of the most difficult steps in learning how to ride a motorcycle.
2. Sharp Turns
Sharp turning is another aspect riding a motorcycle that many motorcyclists struggle with. Simply pushing the handlebars is not sufficient. You must also adjust your body weight in order to complete a successful turn.
Motorcycles want to stay upright by default. To turn you must unsettle the motorcycle. The direction the handlebars are pushed is the direction in which the weight of the motorcycle will shift.
You must counteract this weight by producing an equal force in the opposite direction. Getting the hang of this will take some time and you should practice turning in empty grounds with proper safety equipment before launching yourself on the roads.
3. Brake and Throttle Control
Riding a motorcycle on the road requires mastery over the throttle and brake. Several motorcycles lack an ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System), which makes riding a motorcycle all the more difficult. You need to be extra careful and vigilant in the absence of ABS.
Most stable vehicle owners can get away with braking too hard or accelerating too quickly.
Motorcyclists on the other hand need to control their break and throttle nearly perfectly. Rolling on the throttle too quickly can lead to lead to a loss of control over the motorcycle. Braking too hard will result in a dangerous skid.
4. Weather and Terrain
Motorcyclists are most affected by the elements. Rain or snow can drastically increase the chances of the motorcycle skidding or losing control. Low visibility can make riding a motorcycle a hard task.
Most vehicles can escape the punishment of a bumpy and uneven terrain. Riding a motorcycle in a rugged landscape can be lots of fun but quite difficult for motorcyclists.
Strong gusts of wind can also can be very distracting whilst riding a motorcycle.
How long does it take to learn to ride a motorcycle?
Learning to ride a motorcycle can take a lifetime. Motorcyclists claim they learn something every time they ride their motorcycle. Realistically you can learn all the essential skills and become quite proficient at riding a motorcycle in a months time.
Ideally, you should take an introductory course to go over the basics of riding a motorcycle. Many motorcyclists develop bad riding techniques by trying to learn everything themselves. This can cost them dearly in the future.
Most of the motorcycle accidents that happen are preventable in nature. The motorcycle safety course from the MSF is highly recommended. You should be learning from someone who knows how to ride a motorcycle correctly. I cannot emphasise this more.
The course instructors can provide you with low Cubic Capacity (cc) motorcycles which are noticeably easier to ride. Moreover, the training drills and an instructor pointing out your mistakes will help you develop the right technique for riding.
Mastering two skills can be very helpful in learning how to ride a motorcycle and can considerably reduce the time needed. The first skill to master is riding a bicycle and the other is driving a manual transmission car.
Riding a bicycle will teach you how to balance yourself on two-wheelers and driving a manual transmission car will help you understand how to effectively use the clutch, throttle, and gears.
A month should be sufficient to learn the essentials. However, the journey does not end there. You need to continue to improve your riding skills each time you go out to ride and eventually master them.
How Long Does it Take to Get Comfortable Riding a Motorcycle?
It takes a motorcyclist several months before they can get truly comfortable with riding a motorcycle and handle all kinds of situations. However, you should never get too comfortable when riding a motorcycle as a slight error of judgement could be very costly.
Many expert motorcyclists warn against getting too comfortable when riding a motorcycle. You should never ride a motorcycle with your mind preoccupied with something else.
You must focus all your mental and physical capabilities on riding the motorcycle. Car and other vehicle owners can usually get away with slight mistakes; motorcyclists will not.
A bit of anxiety when riding is normal and prevents your mind from drifting away. Nonetheless, you should never fear riding a motorcycle. This would be counterproductive.
Fearing a motorcycle will cause you to panic and commit mistakes you have no business making.
You need to understand motorcycles are a marvel of Physics and Engineering. They rarely malfunction. Most motorcycle accidents are a result of bad judgements, not respecting the laws and regulations, and skipping the safety gear.
Overall, several months of riding a motorcycle will help you understand your own limitations as well as that of the bike. It will also make you familiar with various terrains, weather conditions and common problems motorcyclists face.
Can You Teach Yourself to Ride a Motorcycle?
You can definitely teach yourself to ride a motorcycle thanks to a large number of online resources and Youtube Videos available. However, you might develop bad riding techniques and the law in some regions may require you to complete a mandatory safety course.
The large plethora of online resources will help you learn a great deal about riding a motorcycle.
However, as a beginner, you may learn and develop a bad riding technique. This could happen due to your own ignorance or the possibility that the individual teaching online is not an expert themself.
Hence you should ideally learn all the essentials from a safety course. The trained instructors could identify bad riding techniques or any mistakes you make. Fixing these issues early on will greatly help you in the future.
Moreover, some regions require the completion of a motorcycle safety course before allowing motorcyclists to apply for a license or ride on the roads.
Once you take the basic course and learn the essentials, then you can use the online resources to gain further mastery.
You should always verify the online information by checking if the same advice has been given in other Youtube Videos/Websites.
More importantly, you should only apply the things you learnt in a safe and controlled environment. Never try something new on the roads.
Is it Easier to Ride a Motorcycle or Drive a Car?
Riding a motorcycle is much more difficult than driving a car since it requires more focus and skills and a better technique. Driving a car is a simple, relatively risk-free, and quite easy as compared to riding a motorcycle.
Cars that are built for utilitarian purposes are the easiest to drive.
Many of the modern cars available today are equipped with automatic transmission, ABS, cruise control, emergency brakes, power steering, and several other features which makes riding cars a breeze.
Despite the addition of modern gadgets in motorcycles today, they are still, quite challenging to ride. Motorcycles still require a great deal of control and consistent good judgement.
Motorcyclists have to make so many more decisions in a single journey as compared to car owners. A change in visibility, terrain, or weather conditions requires motorcyclists to radically adjust their riding technique to cope with the change.
Car drivers can ignore most variables and drive without worrying too much.
Most cars can be driven with one foot and one hand; the foot for gas and the hand for steering and indicators.
Motorcyclists need to constantly multi-task such as changing gears, pressing and releasing the clutch, rolling on the throttle, and braking. Each action needs to be carried out nearly perfectly.
Sports cars are increasingly difficult to drive but not in the same league as sportbikes.
Do you need to be Strong to Ride a Motorcycle?
You do not need to be strong to ride a motorcycle. A bit of physical strength and the ability to consistently make good decisions is all it takes to become good at riding a motorcycle. However, being strong can make riding a motorcycle easier.
Slow turns are one aspect where your body weight and physical strength are valuable. When you turn you need to use your arms to guide the motorcycle handlebars in the right direction.
Moreover, you need to shift your body weight to counteract the force the motorcycle experiences. However, most motorcycle models require very little force or small adjustments of body weight.
Most individuals’ body weight and physical strength can easily fulfil these tasks.
The other area where physical strength is valuable is when you need to lift your motorcycle from the ground (if it falls) or move the motorcycle around without starting the engine.
As you can see, the areas where physical strength is important are rare occurrences. On the other hand, mental strength is extremely important.
You must be very vigilant and consistently make good decisions; as a small mistake can be very costly. You must also have the ability to multi-task, constantly work on improving your riding technique, and learn from your past mistakes.
If you feel your bike is too heavy to manage; there are an extensive list of smaller and less heavy motorbikes. You can master the smaller varieties before moving to the heavier ones.
Is Riding a Motorcycle Difficult?
Riding a motorcycle is not particularly difficult. If you know how to drive a manual transmission car and ride a bicycle then riding a motorcycle will become a considerably easier task. Overall, riding a motorcycle is a moderately difficult task for most individuals.
Riding a motorcycle is not a child’s play. There is considerable risk involved. You should only ride a motorcycle if you recognize the risk and understand the consequences.
Motorcycles are different species of vehicles. Most vehicles are utilitarian in nature. Motorcycles command adrenaline, joy, and energy.
If you enjoy riding then mastering the essential skills should not be a hard task. Always remember to wear all the safety gear regardless of how experienced you are. Safety First!