Is riding a motorcycle hard? You see people ride motorbikes all the time, seriously, how difficult can it be?
Famous last words because riding a motorcycle is difficult my friend.
Being a motorcycle rider is something demanding from both body and mind.
It requires a lot of control, coordination, and judgment.
Thus riding a motorcycle is not and should not be for everybody.
Yet, If you are thinking of becoming a motorcyclist, don’t let my previous comment dissuade you.
I was stating that riding is challenging, and thus learning it in 5 minutes is not realistic.
To let you know how difficult it might be, here is an example.
I recently bought a Honda rebel 250. It is one of the best motorcycles for beginners.
I got this bike, so my girlfriend could start to ride herself and make it as easy as possible for her.
Émilie is familiar with the way a motorcycle work and she ride my bike passenger seat all the time. She is no complete beginner.
We got to an unused parking lot behind our apartment for her first practice run.
I gave her the first exercise the most basic could think of.
”Move the bike forward by managing the relation between the clutch and gas throttle. SLOWLY. take it easy.”
After 2 to 3 going in a straight line, Émilie accidentally jerked the accelerator too hard. As a result, it surprised her; she lost control and dropped the bike. 😧
She felt terrible about it, but I did not. I had a slight curve of a smile. I reassured her that there is nothing to worry about as long as she is okay.
“Didn’t I tell you from the beginning that riding a motorcycle is difficult? Why do you think I bought the bike with crash bars”. 😉
PHOTO DE ÉMILIE QUI A ÉCHAPPÉ LA REBEL
Is riding a motorcycle hard? Yes, it is!
But it is not rocket science. As previously mentioned, many people ride and learn to ride motorcycles every day.
Why is riding a motorcycle hard?
- It is not something that feels natural or intuitive, particularly at first.
- Mistakes are easy to make and often unforgiving with unpleasant consequences.
- It implies a LOT of management between a motorcycle controls and balance by its rider.
These factors combined can be overwhelming in difficult situations.
That is when the riding gets tough, and you could lose control as a rider.
How Challenging is a Motorcycle to Operate and Drive?
You need to do a lot of management to keep controls of a motorbike properly. There are many levers, handles, and buttons to operate and keep track of.
First of all, most motorcycles have manual gearboxes, usually 5 to 6 gears.
Unlike a car, you make the gear selection with your left foot with a lever.
Your left hand handle the clutch lever. Pulling the lever will pull the clutch. Letting go of the lever will release the clutch that allows a motorcycle in gear to move forward.
If you are unfamiliar with a manual gearbox, gear change needs to happen when you pull the clutch. Then you can change gear and finally release the clutch to re-engage the transmission.
Your right hand operates both the gas throttle and the front wheel brake.
Your right feet control the rear wheel brake by pushing on a pedal.
On top of that, the most demanding part of riding a motorbike is keeping your balance. It also includes managing the machine’s steering according to speed and road condition.
As you can imagine, it is not simple to handle all these factors.
This is especially true in more stressful situations on the road when you need to react quickly.
For example, while riding on a collision course with a deer crossing the road. — Well sh#@!
How to make riding a motorcycle easy
Since it is so complicated, how do motorcycle riders make it look like child’s play?
I’ll give you a straightforward answer to that;
Almost anything in life is complicated and significantly more when starting out.
Motorcycling is like that too.
Yet, it will become easier if you do this;
- Get a basic understanding and feeling of the way the machine operates and start to practice.
- When you make a mistake, please don’t be scared and give up because of the bad experience. Keep doing it and rack up that practice time. Eventually, you will get the hang of it.
- When you get the hang of it, keep doing it until you get good at it and push yourself from time to time.
The recipe for getting good at motorcycling is precisely that.
Experienced motorcyclists force riding to be natural and spontaneous for them. They do so by accumulating riding time and learning from their mistakes.
They do it again and again until riding becomes muscle memory.
If you wish to become a motorcycle rider, treat this project as something more complex than it may seem. See it as a challenge to conquer.
- Be patient while learning to ride.
- Keep a cool head.
- Accept that you’re going to make mistakes.
- You are statisticly likely to drop your first motorcycle.
- Don’t give in to the frustration.
Is it hard to learn to drive a motorcycle?
It varies from person to person.
Some will find it harder than others. Some will get the hang of it fast, while others not so much.
The best comparison I can give you is learning to ride a bicycle all over again but more complicated.
You won’t have your little training wheels to save you this time 🙂
Speaking of bicycles, cyclists will have a head start as future motorcyclists.
If you are one of these folks, that’s good!
You may not know it, but you already have a familiarity with riding a motorcycle. That is from the instinct you developed while riding a bicycle.
Where do you think the expression ”you never forget how to ride a bicycle” comes from?
Muscle memory is some strong stuff.
Some of that muscle memory will transfer to your ability to handle and steer a motorcycle.
- People who drive manual cars also start with some advantages.
Almost all motorcycles have manual gears.
But, Plot twist!
Motorcycles had to be different. I mean, why make it easy XD.
In a car, you use your feet for the clutch and your hand for your gear shifter.
On a motorcycle, it is the other way around; hand for the clutch and feet for the shifter.
Finally, if you were one of the lucky kids who rode dirt bikes, you already got motorcycling in your blood.
You will feel right at home with two wheels on the road.
How long does it take to learn to ride a motorcycle when starting out?
A realistic number would be 2 to 8 weeks but it varies from person to person.
Let’s say you practice about 8 hours throughout the week with a mentor.
Expect 1 to 4 weeks in a controlled environment like a quiet parking lot for the basics.
Anticipate 1 to 4 weeks after that to be comfortable and safely ride on the public roads.
Do take motorcycle safety courses. Even if they are not mandatory where you live, they will teach you a lot in the safest and fastest way possible.
Don’t rush anything at first. Take it easy.
If you are riding with friends who are “teaching you,” politely but firmly remind you’re a beginner. Please encourage them to take it easy to give you a chance.
You don’t have their riding skills and experiences yet. If you try to keep up with them, especially on twisty roads, it is a recipe for disaster.
This very scenario is the cause of many accidents every year.
I almost crashed myself riding a cruiser trying to keep up with my buddies on sports bikes when I started riding.
I mean ego, right? You don’t want to flag yourself as the snail of your group. XD
Tips put the least experienced or slowest rider in front of the group, so the rest of the squad follow the same pace.
is riding a motorcycle harder than riding a bicycle
It is absolutely more difficult even if there are lots of similar principles to riding both vehicles.
- Motorcycles and bicycles use the same physics principle for standing upright. (Gyroscopic Effect)
- Both machines have separate levers for the rear and front-wheel brakes.
- Most bicycles and motorcycles have manual gears.
- The rider shifts its body weight for steering, and all limbs control parts of the machine,
Although bicycles and motorbikes are similar, being a motorcycle rider is more challenging.
One of the reasons motorcycles are tougher to handle is the speed these machines can reach.
Yet, the factor making it extra tricky is a motorcycle weight.
Keeping control of 25 pounds bicycle rather than a 400-600 + pound machine is not the same game.
It is directly related to why handling a motorcycle at low speed is so difficult (1-5 Mph)
Riding at low speed is prone to jerky and erratic movements from the motorbike.
In this situation, having your motorcycle tip-over and ”dropping your bike” is common.
Most motorcyclist’s reaction, beginners, in particular, is to put their feet down. Then pulling on the handlebars by using their body strength to bring the bike back upright.
It can work, and the stronger you are and the lighter the bike is, the better chances you have for it to be successful.
But sometimes, it is just too much, no matter your strength. The motorbike’s tipping angle is too far gone.
You dropped your motorcycle on its side 😫
In general, the heavier a motorcycle is, the more difficult it is to handle.
That is why I recommend newcomer riders to begin with a lightweight motorcycle.
Or better yet, practice with a bicycle.
Can riding a bicycle help you become a better Motorcycle Rider?
Both motorcycles and bicycles use the same core principle for them to be viable vehicles.
The gyroscopic effect.
It is the physics effect that while in motion, a motorcycle and bicycle will stand upright.
It is also true for scooters and moped who also stand on two wheels.
All of the above can indirectly practice your motorcycle riding skills.
In fact, the gyroscopic effect is not what you are after but something generated by it.
That is Counter Steering.
How Riding a Bicycle Will Help You Master Motorcycle Counter Steering
Counter Steering is crucial to riding a motorcycle.
It is the effect that while a motorcycle is in motion, for initiating a change of direction, you need to first steer in the opposite direction you wish to go.
Gravity and centrifugal forces will then push you back to the direction you wanted to take.
It is confusing and difficult to explain but fear not, it is easy to put into practice.
If you ever rode a bicycle or something similar, you already used counter-steering on your own.
Do you still have a ton of questions mark above your head regarding counter steering?
Watch this video.
It will give you a visual reference and a better understanding of counter steering.
However, while intuitive and easy to use, counter steering is challenging to master.
And this is where riding a bicycle will help you become a better motorcycle rider.
You can practice counter-steering on a bicycle, like a motorcycle, all day, every day.
You won’t feel as bad about dropping your bicycle rather than your new motorcycle.
By practicing with a bicycle, the risk of injury is also tremendously lowered.
Dropping your motorcycle is responsible for two of the most common motorcyclist’s injuries.
These include crushing your feet and legs under the bike weight. It is often followed by burned skin from the hot engine and mufflers.
Pro tips wear proper motorcycle boots and pants.
If you want to take it a step further, consider practicing mountain bicycling. It really helps in sharpening your reflex and riding.
Is Riding a Motorcycle Harder Than Driving a Car?
Hands down, Yes, it is way more difficult to drive a motorcycle than a car.
- Keeping your balance and not falling over is something irrelevant for car drivers.
- Handling a motorbike’s pedals and levers requires a lot of muscle coordination.
- Motorcyclists take less visual space. They have to be wary of not being seen by other road users.
Ryan f9 at Fortnite made a fantastic video on why we motorcyclists may end up ”invisible” to other road users.
It explains a loophole in the human brain that sometimes discards some visual information when driving.
This is why car drivers sometimes don’t ”see” that a motorcycle is nearby.
Motorcycles are also harder to drive in bad weather than cars.
First of all, obviously, when riding a bike, you are more exposed to the elements like rain, heat, cold, etc.
Lousy weather conditions also increased your risk of a crash. More so while riding a motorcycle than a car by a significant amount.
Rain makes the pavement wet and slippery, and motorcycles rely twice or even more on tires grip than cars.
A slight slipping of a tire or aquaplaning may not be so much or a deal for cars. For motorcycles, it often results in a crash.
Strong gusts could surprise a rider and throw them off balance.
There are also many road hazards that are not a threat or way less so to a car than a motorcycle.
The following could put you and your bike on the ground by slipping on them.
- Loose gravel on the road.
- Sand or dirt on the pavement
- Animal crossing, even a squirrel, is enough to throw you off by running it over.
- Running over fresh-cut grass and fallen autumn trees leaves.
I could keep going like this for a while. XD
Know that many details out there are a threat for motorcyclists and less so for car drivers.
So yeah, riding a motorcycle is way harder and more dangerous than driving a car.
The only thing I can think of that is easier for a motorcyclist than a car driver is finding parking.
So long sucker, I can fit in there, and you can’t 🙂
Is Riding a Motorcycle Even Fun or Worth it?
Ho hell, it is definitely worth it and a ton of fun!
Is riding a motorcycle hard? Yes, and that is part of the fun.
It is also more dangerous than driving a car and sometimes scary, but that is part of the experience too.
Have you ever felt satisfied when you finally got the hang of something challenging?
Being a motorcycle rider gives you that feeling.
Because riding a motorbike is not simple.
Riding also gives you a priceless sense of adventure.
Would I recommend you to start riding?
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, motorcycles are not for everybody.
But If you made it this far into that post, the answer is clear.
You should definitely become a rider. I would be proud that you’ll do so 🙂
I don’t know where you are in your research or decision-making about becoming a motorcyclist.
Please don’t wait any longer and take the necessary step to get your motorcycle license,
If you haven’t put your name for a motorcycle introduction and safety classes, do so in the next 24 hours.
Open up google and type ”motorcycle safety course near me”.
Choose one and start making phone calls and fill their forms.
That is the first important step you need to take to commit to becoming a rider.
Life doesn’t have to be boring, and motorcycles are one of the answers for excitement and joy.
I’ll see you on the road. Ride safe 🙂