Navigating Fear: Transforming Motorbike Riding Techniques

In our exploration of conquering fear, a significant portion of our discussion revolves around the origin of fear and subsequent strategies to control it, enabling an optimal learning environment.

However, there is one particular riding method that warrants legitimate dread. Unfortunately, several programs often propose inadequate riding tips to avoid this intimidating technique.

You’ve likely heard of them. The most infamous, and arguably the most detrimental one, is “Never brake in a corner.”

However, corner braking often brushed aside as a tactic only used in racing for swift lap times, is a crucial skill that street riders need to acquire.

The Reality of Corner Braking

How often have you encountered an unexpected obstacle in the midst of a bend? It could be an animal, rubbish, oncoming vehicles, or even the corner tightening unexpectedly.

So why has the notion of not applying the front brake while cornering been so strongly ingrained?

The issue lies in the fact that many training programs are excessively focused on teaching beginners how to be novice riders, thus, overlooking key elements required to advance to proficient riders. It’s a commendable initial step in the learning journey but merely the beginning.

The Fear We Should Nurture

Let’s return to the one element in our riding technique that should instill fear. It’s not fear of our controls, nor should we dread our front brake or applying it when leaned over. We need to feel secure in our ability to use the brakes when anxious.

We should fear “abruptness” or any sudden, unexpected movements. Abruptness is one of our biggest foes as riders, but the upside is it’s within our control.

Many training programs instruct us not to brake while cornering because they are worried about riders suddenly grabbing the brakes.

However, instead of dismissing a potentially lifesaving skill because it could be misapplied, why not educate riders on the value of gentle, steady control inputs?

A New Approach to Riding Techniques

The Yamaha Champ School demonstrates this beautifully. If I’m upright with good grip, nothing matters. However, what happens to abruptness as we lean more or when grip decreases?

If I’m gentle and progressive when using a control, the tire can withstand a considerable load, just not a sudden one.

The same principle applies to how we apply the throttle. Slowly increasing throttle isn’t an issue; the problem is suddenly grabbing a large amount of throttle.

Echoing the insight of a wise six-year-old, “You really shouldn’t startle the motorcycle like that.” This six-year-old, by the way, has matured into a skilled 13-year-old racer.

Utilizing Rider Aids Responsibly

We also shouldn’t allow rider aids to make us complacent. ABS isn’t an invitation to abruptly apply the brakes. There are many scenarios where ABS can be overtaxed, as can traction control.

While Traction Control and Anti-Lock Brake Systems are remarkable feats of science and technology, they are not perfect.

They lack the ability to anticipate. Our goal is to ride in such a way that our rider aids, at most, only activate minimally.

Consider these rider aids as safety measures put in place by engineers rather than enablers of bad technique.

Imagine what would happen if we never learned to gently apply the brake or never mastered the art of smoothly increasing throttle, and then something severed our ABS or Traction Control lead wire?

Embracing Control and Technique

Don’t fear your controls. Don’t fear your front brake. Don’t be afraid to use the brakes when you’re anxious when a corner tightens unexpectedly.

It’s not the front brake to fear; it’s abruptness. We need to transition from being emotional riders to becoming technical riders.

Rather than letting fear dictate our actions, we need to embrace analysis. As Valentino Rossi, the “Doctor” himself might suggest, be clinical.

Instead of riding with hope and praying you make the corner, remain focused and stay cool – like ice! Be analytical and critique your riding. Instead of fearing abruptness, be critical of it.

Riding into the Future

Remember this: Braking in a corner doesn’t cause the bike to straighten up and veer wide. Abruptly grabbing the front brake mid-corner could make the bike stand up. It’s not the control that’s flawed; it’s the sudden application of that control that’s problematic.

Table: Features and Benefits of Effective Riding Techniques

Gentle, steady control inputsImproved bike stability, minimized risk of accidents
Clinical analysis of riding techniqueIncreased control, safer navigation through unexpected scenarios
Limited reliance on rider aidsDevelopment of robust skills, decreased dependence on technology
Focused, cool approach (“be ice”)Enhanced ability to respond appropriately in challenging situations

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