How to properly ride a motorcycle - Yamaha R3 Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 12-23-2016, 01:51 AM Thread Starter
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Smile How to properly ride a motorcycle

Hey everyone,

New guy here. Took my MSF course over a year ago and got so ~30 miles on the R3. I'm having some trouble/doubt with two particular procedures of riding a motorcycle.
  • When I begin a stop, I hit both brakes all the while pulling in the clutch and shifting down to 1st, until fully stopped. When the clutch is pulled in, the bike slows more than expected and often leaves me stopped earlier than expected (which is fine), just not polished. Adding to that, the bike jerks a bit when shifting down to 1st. Is it because I am doing that too early in the stop? Should the shifting be done the last few seconds of a stop?
  • Living in San Francisco, it's stall-city. And after half a dozen runs around my neighborhood, I am still stalling (though albeit less) on hill starts. I've watched numerous videos and while that's helped, what is the true proper method? I am typically stopped with my right foot on the rear brake with the clutch pulled in. I've had some success with these steps (1) slightly letting go of the rear brake (2) once I begin to feel the bike begin to roll backwards (3) I slowly let go of the clutch until I hear the revs drop (4) at which point I throttle to start moving. I'm sure this is wrong because rolling backwards to any extent does not feel right and it scares me. When I'm stopped on a hill, can I first pre-throttle, let go of the rear brake all the while letting the clutch go? Is that a better method?
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post #2 of 12 Old 12-23-2016, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by n8236 View Post
Hey everyone,

New guy here. Took my MSF course over a year ago and got so ~30 miles on the R3. I'm having some trouble/doubt with two particular procedures of riding a motorcycle.
  • A) When I begin a stop, I hit both brakes all the while pulling in the clutch and shifting down to 1st, until fully stopped. When the clutch is pulled in, the bike slows more than expected and often leaves me stopped earlier than expected (which is fine), just not polished.
  • B) Adding to that, the bike jerks a bit when shifting down to 1st. Is it because I am doing that too early in the stop? Should the shifting be done the last few seconds of a stop?
  • C) Living in San Francisco, it's stall-city. And after half a dozen runs around my neighborhood, I am still stalling (though albeit less) on hill starts. I've watched numerous videos and while that's helped, what is the true proper method? I am typically stopped with my right foot on the rear brake with the clutch pulled in. I've had some success with these steps (1) slightly letting go of the rear brake (2) once I begin to feel the bike begin to roll backwards (3) I slowly let go of the clutch until I hear the revs drop (4) at which point I throttle to start moving. I'm sure this is wrong because rolling backwards to any extent does not feel right and it scares me.
  • D) When I'm stopped on a hill, can I first pre-throttle, let go of the rear brake all the while letting the clutch go? Is that a better method?

A) Just coast a little longer and ease up on the brake until you get to the point you have to stop. Anticipate and look well ahead.

B) Are you letting the clutch out when you shift into 1st? That would explain the jerking and yes, if you are shifting into 1st before you come to a full stop that's likely why. You can just shift into 1st when you are almost at a full stop or fully stopped.

C) This isn't 'wrong', you just haven't gotten used to the sensation of rolling backwards. Normal for any manual transmission. Your technique is fine.

D) I'm not sure I totally understand. But, if you are worried about rolling back, keep your foot on the rear brake, bring up the revs FIRST, then let the clutch out slowly and continue to increase your throttle and let go of the rear brake when you feel your bike moving forward. That's usually what I do. Plus, I keep my left foot down until the bike is moving. Hope that helps and welcome!


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post #3 of 12 Old 12-23-2016, 07:26 AM
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If you keep your foot on the rear brake and slowly release the clutch lever then you will feel a point where it starts to grab and wants to move the bike forwards, if you then release the rear brake you will move forwards instead of backwards.
As for the stalling and stopping issues you just need more seat time so try and ride as much as possible
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post #4 of 12 Old 12-23-2016, 09:21 AM
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B) Are you letting the clutch out when you shift into 1st? That would explain the jerking and yes, if you are shifting into 1st before you come to a full stop that's likely why. You can just shift into 1st when you are almost at a full stop or fully stopped.
Sounds like OP needs more seat time, a refresher course may be useful. Here we have the basic rider course 2 where you can do the MSF in a one day format with your own bike. I took the MSF and felt pretty confident with these items, but I've also driven manual for over 10 years exclusively (except for my wife's car) and started riding right away.

Just to add to Bluebird's point on B - Don't shift from 2nd to 1st and let out the clutch if not at a standstill. I downshift and engine brake a good bit until I hit 2nd gear coming to a stop then pull the clutch, shift to 1st while keeping the clutch in when stopping until stopped. So basically once I'm doing less than 15mph ish (maybe 10?) the clutch is in until stopped.

Also in point C) the way you describe this "I slowly let go of the clutch until I hear the revs drop (4) at which point I throttle to start moving." makes it sound like you don't use any throttle until the clutch catches on the hill? That's part of your problem if so, give it a little throttle if starting on a hill then clutch out, I mean a LITTLE you want to bump up 1,000 or maybe 2,000 RPM's depending how fast you want to start out. More gas is necessary on inclines to prevent the stall and to move the bike forward without stalling, same as a manual car.

It's all about throttle and clutch control but give it a tiny bit of throttle and keep it there while letting out the clutch you should have enough throttle without having to adjust it mid clutch release to go without stalling the bike from the stop.
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post #5 of 12 Old 12-23-2016, 11:55 AM
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When I'm stopped on a hill, can I first pre-throttle, let go of the rear brake all the while letting the clutch go? Is that a better method?
Fellow SF R3 rider here. Yes, this is a better method; yes, you should do it. Most Bay Area riders, myself included, will also recommend using the front brake instead to hold the bike in place in case you need your right foot down for whatever reason. Two fingers on the front brake, roll the throttle, slip the clutch, slowly release the brake, and you'll be on your way. Practice on the flat streets first and you'll get used to it in no time.
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post #6 of 12 Old 12-23-2016, 10:36 PM
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Everybody develops bad habits that work for them, so here are my bad habits:

1. Approaching a stop I'm in whatever gear I need for engine braking on approach (if even needed) and in the last 20ish feet I'm just clutch-in and shifting down to 1st. I'm never in-gear in 1st except to accelerate -- it's a pretty jerky gear to use for engine braking.

2. I don't use the rear brake on sport bikes except for hard stops from-speed. MSF folks don't like that, but I've yet to find it an issue on a forward-bias bike.

3. I use the front brake (if needed) and throttle simultaneously to depart stops. The R3's progressive throttle & good fueling make it pretty easy to palm the throttle and brake at the same time. If you can keep the bike stopped with one foot or both down then launches are that much less complicated.

Good luck and just practice over and over -- you will get muscle memory down and develop a knowledge base of what does and doesn't work for you. For instance, it is fine to launch an R3 in second gear with a few revs, but I've decided not to do it at all-way stops since other traffic is flaky about figuring out who has right of way sometimes. It's just my personal policy not to suddenly need extra revs to get moving in that situation. You'll find other little nuances like this the more you ride.
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post #7 of 12 Old 12-24-2016, 12:00 AM
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Originally Posted by n8236 View Post
  • When I begin a stop, I hit both brakes all the while pulling in the clutch and shifting down to 1st, until fully stopped. When the clutch is pulled in, the bike slows more than expected and often leaves me stopped earlier than expected (which is fine), just not polished. Adding to that, the bike jerks a bit when shifting down to 1st. Is it because I am doing that too early in the stop? Should the shifting be done the last few seconds of a stop?


You shouldn't down shift into 1st gear when you're breaking or moving; and that's generally a rule for 'most' motorized vehicles (at least how I've been taught). The user manual suggests slowing down into 3rd gear until you're slow enough to drop it into neutral. Or stop, then shift into first. I will either abide by the user's manual or down shift into second and coast, in case I need to move suddenly. However, if you really want to downshift into first, then you need to rev-match properly to avoid that jerk reaction that your bike makes.

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post #8 of 12 Old 12-24-2016, 01:25 PM
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Seattle is just as hilly as san francisco, I learned the hill stop the first 30 minutes of owning a bike.

As stated already, but I want you to get it down, you keep your feet on the rear brake while you are throttling and and slowly release the clutch (and release the brake while you are doing clutch control). Although smaller hills, you will feel the bike wanted to go forward even while on the rear brakes, extreme hills you won't necessarily feel it but by then you should have good instincts and you will know that the bike will go once you release the brakes. You do this enough times, it will be second nature.

But anyway, yeah, the reason you were stalling is because you released the rear brakes then applied throttle. I mean, if you are experienced rider that isn't a big deal but as a newbie, that will just increase your panic setting in, causing you to screw up the clutch/throttle.

Telling you what you don't want to hear even though deep down you know I'm right.
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post #9 of 12 Old 12-24-2016, 07:30 PM
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HOW to PROPERLY RIDE a Motorcycle:

Don't CRASH.

Have FUN!
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post #10 of 12 Old 01-06-2017, 01:56 AM Thread Starter
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The last few times I took her out, I've been working on stop-and-go on hills. While I still stall from time to time, I've getting better at it. Those hills ranged from 10-25 degrees.

So, tonight I decided to tackle a 30-40 degree hill. WTF! When stopped, I could feel myself being pulled back by gravity. As I gather my thoughts to throttle, un-clutch and let go off the back brakes....I accidentally rev to 7k or more and started to roll back. Because the clutch was pulled in, nothing happened. I then immediately grabbed the front brake and thanked Buddha.

What I did to get over the hill was use the front brake while working the clutch and throttle. I made sure I had enough revs to move the bike forward. Not good. Did it all wrong. I never use the front brake for hill stops because I want to stay consistent to my MSF learning. However, I found it strangely useful because I am able to balance with both feet while using the friction zone and throttle to move me forward.

Basically, the knowledge I learned from small to medium hills didn't work for the really steep ones.

Here's a thought...as I pre-throttle, stopped on a hill, can I use the initial rolling back movement as an indication to work the throttle and clutch. Because I think that'll allow me to follow a kind of process...if that makes any sense.
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