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Articles > The 'How-to' guide on motorcycle basics

So you're sitting there wondering how a motorcycle is ridden? Is it hard to do? How much different is it than driving a car? You've come to the right place. Read on...

Starting up
Unlike conventional cars, most motorbikes are started by pressing the starter button, after the ignition is turned on (by your key). But before you start it, make a quick check to see if the (usually) green coloured Neutral light is lit. If not, you may simply engage the clutch by pulling in the left hand lever.
Almost all pre-2000 model bikes are carburettor fed, so more often than not they will have a choke, much like older cars. If the bike is newer, it will likely have an automatic choke, or do away with a carby altogether, and use fuel injection instead.

After starting, the bike needs to be left to warm up. More importantly, you need to give it a few minutes to allow the engine oil to re-coat the moving parts (cylinders, cams, gearbox, etc). If you try to speed off immediately after starting up, it can damage the engine before it has a chance to lubricate itself.

Brakes

Gear selector pattern
Motorbikes have a sequential gearbox. Sequential gearboxes, as the name implies, only allows you to select the gears sequentially, e.g. 1, 2, 3, 4 and so on. You cannot skip a gear as you could in a car with a 'H' shaped gear shifter pattern.

Normally, after starting up the bike, the gear will be in neutral. Neutral is halfway in between first and second gear, for reasons which will be explained in a moment. So, from the lowest to highest gear (e.g. on a 6-speed gearbox) would be 1-N-2-3-4-5-6.

To put the bike in first gear, you would pull in the left hand clutch lever, then using your left toe, click down on the left gear shift lever, located in front of the left footpeg. The bike will now be in first gear. You then start accelerating as you would in a conventional manual car - slowly release the clutch to the 'friction point', give the engine a bit of gas by rolling the throttle (right handgrip on the handlebar) towards you, and watch your speed and RPMs increase as you continue releasing the clutch and opening the throttle more.

Shifting to second would require you to reposition your left foot toe under the gear shift lever so you can click it up to second (whilst going past neutral in fact). To get it into third, fourth, etc is much the same.

Coming to a stop



Comments

Bibi, Wed, 04 Sep 2013 02:44 pm:
The Italians certainy do have some great style, from food to chleots and even the cops look pretty cool in a saddlestitched jacket. I don't think that lady photographers will be annoyed at your comment, just amazed at the heels in the press pack scrums.Great shots from your quick tour of Europe, captures the feel of the moment well as ever.Following our chat about cyclists I've been treating them well on the narrow roads of Scotland. Cyclists and motor cyclists abound as the season changes to Spring.Douglas

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