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Motorcycle Basic Controls

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 0

Motorcycle Basic Controls

Motorcycle controls can be a very confusing and overwhelming thing to understand for somebody who is learning about them for the first time. Whenever I ask somebody the question "what controls are on a motorcycle, and where are they found on the vehicle", I get answers similar to there is a lever on the left and right and some pegs on the sides. If that would be your answer to the question then this is the article for you.

Many people have a desire to go and learn how to ride a motorcycle because to be honest with you, they are extremely fun to ride! I have wanted to get my motorcycle license since I was about 12 years old, and now at 22 years old, I went out and got it. I would recommend reading this article on motorcycle basic controls to anybody who has absolutely any desire to get on a motorcycle in the near future. This will give you a general idea of what each control is, where it is located, and what it does.

First and foremost, it is only fair to give you a general idea of the complexity of the controls by comparing them to an automatic car. The maximum amount of basic controls that need to be used at once in an automatic car is 2; whether it is steering and accelerating, steering and braking, or depressing the brake and shifting the car into drive. Comparable to a motorcycle, which uses 4 basic controls nearly all of the time; those four controls can be nearly any four from a selection of throttle, front brake, rear brake, clutch, and gear selector. It is easy to see why somebody should read this article to get a general idea of the motorcycle basic controls before even starting the engine of a motorcycle.

Clutch Lever

The clutch lever is located on the left handlebar, and is used in a similar way as the front brake on a bicycle. This is the most necessary of the motorcycle basic controls, as it is necessary to get the vehicle in motion. The job of the clutch is to attach and detach the transmission from the engine so that the gears may be changed effectively. In order to use the clutch you must depress the lever towards the handle bar; when the clutch lever is depressed the transmission is detached from the engine so that the gear may be changed, and vica-versa follows when the lever is left away from the handlebar.

TIP: more control of the clutch depression can be gained by placing your index and middle fingers on the outside of the lever, while leaving your ring and pinky fingers on the inside of the lever.

Front Brake Lever

The front brake lever is located on the right handlebar, and is used in similar ways as the rear brake lever on a bicycle. This is the most important out of all of the motorcycle basic controls, as it will determine most of your stopping power on the vehicle.The job of the front brake lever is to depress the brake pads on the front brake disc so that the motorcycle ultimately slows down. In order to use the front brake you must depress the lever towards the handle bar; the more that the lever is depressed, the more pressure will be placed on the brake discs from the brake pads.

FACT: 70 percent of a motorcycle's braking power is found in the front brake, making this lever the most crucial of the two; however, it is still important to always use both brakes together!

Throttle Handle

The throttle handle is located at the end of the right handlebar. This requires the most discipline out of all of the motorcycle basic controls, as this will determine how fast you make the vehicle go. The job of the throttle handle is to control the amount of power that the engine is exerting, which will ultimately determine how much power is being transferred to the rear wheel. To use the throttle handle you must rotate your wrist towards your body; the more that you rotate your wrist, the more power will be exerted to the engine.

Gear Selector

The gear selector is located immediately in front of the left foot peg; it is placed in a location so that your left foot has complete access to it when it is resting on the peg. This is the most delicate out of all of the motorcycle basic controls, as the slightest push will put the vehicle in an entirely different gear. The role of the gear selector on a motorcycle is to control what gear the transmission is in, which will ultimately control how much torque is being made available to the engine, and how much stress is being placed on the engine and transmission. The brake lever can be used by placing your foot either on the top or the bottom of it and placing pressure to move it in the direction of your choice. Almost all motorcycles have the gears in the following order from bottom to top: 1, Neutral, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

TIP: an easy way to remember the controls of the gear selector when starting a motorcycle in the neutral position is "1 down, rest up"; the first gear is a downward push from the neutral position and the rest are upwards pushes.

Rear Brake Pedal

The rear brake pedal is located immediately in front of the right foot peg; for safety and convenience reasons it is placed in a location so that your right foot has complete control of it when resting on the right foot peg. This is also important in the world of motorcycle basic controls, as it will secondarily determine how much stopping power you have. The role of the rear brake pedal is to depress the brake pads on the rear brake disc so that the motorcycle ultimately slows down. In order to use the rear brake you must place your foot on top of the pedal and depress is downwards towards the ground; the more that the pedal is depressed, the more pressure will be placed on the brake discs from the brake pads.

FACT: 30 percent of a motorcycle's braking power is found in the rear brake, making this pedal the least crucial of the two; however, it is still important to always use both brakes together!

These are all of the motorcycle basic controls, as they are absolutely necessary to use to even get the motorcycle in motion. There are many other motorcycle basic controls such as turn signals, headlights, and much more; however these are referred to as advanced controls. I hope that this article will allow you to see like a professional the first time that you take a seat on a motorcycle by understanding all of the motorcycle basic controls and their role in the motorcycle's line of motion.


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