New Models Added – February 22, 2013

– Motorcycle / Scooter

– 2013 Aprilia RSV4 FACTORY APRC ABS

– 2013 Aprilia RSV4 R APRC ABS

– 2013 Aprilia SR 50 R Replica SBK

– 2013 Aprilia Tuono V4 R APRC

– 2013 Ducati Hypermotard 821

– 2013 Ducati Hypermotard SP

– 2013 Ducati Hyperstrada 821

– 2013 Suzuki Boulevard C50 Special Edition

– 2013 Suzuki Boulevard C90T

– 2013 Suzuki Boulevard C90T B.O.S.S.

– 2013 Suzuki Boulevard M109R

– 2013 Suzuki Boulevard M109R Limited Edition

– 2013 Suzuki Boulevard M50

– 2013 Suzuki Burgman 650 ABS

– 2013 Suzuki GSX-R 1000

– 2013 Suzuki GSX-R 1000 1 Million Commemorative Edition

– 2013 Suzuki GSX-R 600

– 2013 Suzuki GSX-R 750

– 2013 Suzuki GW 250

– 2013 Suzuki Hayabusa™ 1340

– 2013 Suzuki Hayabusa™ 1340 Limited

– 2013 Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS

– 2013 Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS Adventure

– 2013 SYM RV 200 EVO

– 2013 Ural Gear-Up 750

– 2013 Ural M70 Retro 750

– 2013 Ural Patrol 750

– 2013 Ural Patrol-T 750

– 2013 Ural Retro 750

– 2013 Ural Solo sT 750

– 2013 Ural T 750

– 2013 Ural Tourist 750

– 2012 Ural Yamal LE 750

– 2013 Vectrix VX -1 Li

– 2013 Vectrix VX -1 Li+

– 2013 Vectrix VX -2

– 2013 Vectrix VX -3 Li+

– 2013 Yamaha Super Ténéré Base

– 2013 Yamaha WR 450F

– 2013 Zero DS™ ZF11.5

– 2013 Zero DS™ ZF8.5

– 2013 Zero FX™ ZF2.8

– 2013 Zero FX™ ZF5.7

– 2013 Zero MX™ ZF2.8

– 2013 Zero MX™ ZF5.7

– 2013 Zero S™ ZF11.5

– 2013 Zero S™ ZF8.5

– 2013 Zero XU™ ZF2.8

– 2013 Zero XU™ ZF5.7


– 2013 Can-Am™ Outlander™ 650 X mr

– Utility Vehicle

– 2013 Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000

– 2013 Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000 Limited

– 2013 Arctic Cat Wildcat 4 1000

– 2013 Arctic Cat Wildcat X

– 2013 Polaris RZR® XP 900 EPS White Lightning / Evasive Green LE

– 2013 Polaris RZR® XP 900 EPS White Lightning / Orange Madness and Blue LE

New Models Added – January 29, 2013

– Motorcycle / Scooter
– 2013 GAS GAS TX Randonne 125
– 2013 GAS GAS TXT Racing 125
– 2013 GAS GAS TXT Racing 250
– 2013 GAS GAS TXT Racing 280
– 2013 GAS GAS TXT Racing 300
– 2013 KTM 1190 RC8 R
– 2013 KTM 690 Enduro R
– 2013 KTM 990 Supermoto T
– 2013 KTM Duke 690
– 2013 KTM SX 450 F Factory Edition
– 2013 KTM XC 450 F
– 2012 KTM 690 Enduro R
– 2012 KTM 990 Supermoto T

New Models Added – January 22, 2013

– Motorcycle / Scooter
– 2013 BMW F 800 GT
– 2013 BMW F 800 R
– 2013 BMW G 650 GS
– 2013 BMW G 650 GS Sertao
– 2013 BMW K 1300 S
– 2013 BMW K 1600 GT
– 2013 BMW K 1600 GTL
– 2013 BMW R 1200 GS Adventure
– 2013 BMW R 1200 GS Adventure Triple Black
– 2013 BMW R 1200 GS Rallye
– 2013 BMW R 1200 GS Triple Black
– 2013 BMW R 1200 R
– 2013 BMW R 1200 R Classic
– 2013 BMW R 1200 RT
– 2013 BMW S 1000 RR
– Utility Vehicle
– 2013 Polaris Ranger® XP® 900 HO Jagged X Edition

Advanced Riding Techniques: Emergency Braking

There are two main factors that separate a beginning rider from an advanced rider; experience and confidence. My guess is that there are some people who have ridden for years but who are still at a beginning skill level because they don’t ride that often or don’t have a wide range of riding experience. An advanced rider hasn’t been endowed with any magical powers; he simply has ridden a lot, in a wide range of circumstances. Advanced riders realize the importance of the basics, many of which I outlined in “Motorcycle Safety And How To Ride Safely.”

They anticipate potential hazards, manage risk and maintain as much control over their situation as is possible. They also understand that not everything on the road is within their ability to control. So they practice the skills that could save their lives, such as emergency braking.


Straight Line Braking

There will be times when you need to stop quickly, like when a car turns in front of you at an intersection or an animal darts into the road. The first time this happens to you your initial reaction may be to slam on both brakes. But doing that may cause more problems for you. It’s important to understand the dynamics of your motorcycle and how they change under hard braking. The goal is to apply both brakes to the maximum without losing traction or locking up one or both wheels, causing you to skid. When you first apply the brakes the weight of the motorcycle shifts to the front. This means your rear tire will have less traction available while the traction available to your front tire is increasing. Take advantage of that increasing traction by increasing the pressure on your front brake. I’ve seen this theory referred to as “brake staging” or “progressive braking.” What it really means is that you keep squeezing the front brake lever with increasing pressure as the weight of the motorcycle shifts forward.

Motorcycle Braking

Because your rear tire has less traction available under hard braking, you should apply the rear brake a little more gradually than the front brake. The rear wheel is more likely to lock up and skid, causing it to slide out of line. If this happens, steer or lean slightly into the direction of the skid. But don’t release the rear brake if it locks up. This can cause a high-side. And that’s very bad. A high-side usually happens when the rear tire loses traction and then suddenly regains traction, like when you lock up the rear wheel by over braking and then let go of the brake pedal when you notice the skid. When this happens the bike will violently begin to straighten, so much so that it throws you off the bike on the high side, or the side of the motorcycle furthest from the ground.

Now your bike is riderless, but still in motion and heading in the same direction that you are. Pretty soon your motorcycle is riding you. The easiest way to avoid this scenario is to not lock up the rear tire in the first place. But in an emergency situation it’s easy to slam on the brakes a little too forcibly. If that happens and your rear wheel starts skidding and fishtailing on you, get the bike straight as quickly as you can, but do not release pressure on the rear brake pedal.

If you lock up the front tire by over braking your response should be the opposite. Release the brake. Once the tire begins to roll again you can reapply the brake, but do it a little more gradually this time so you don’t lock it up again. When you lose traction and begin to skid, and you can’t regain traction, you’re in for a low-side. This can happen when you lock up your front wheel or go too fast around a curve. The tire, or tires, begins to slip out from under you and you lay the bike down on its side. While this is bad, it’s not nearly as hazardous as a high-side.

Braking In A Curve

We’ve already seen that when you brake, the weight of your bike shifts frontwards. As the weight shifts the front suspension will compress and both of these events will affect your ability to steer. For this reason, whenever possible, get your bike perfectly upright before braking. If you happen to be leaned over into a curve and suddenly need to brake hard you have to apply the brakes more gradually. As you brake in a curve get the bike upright as quickly as possible and then apply full pressure to both brakes.

Braking in a Curve

Because some of the traction available to your tires is being used to turn your bike into the curve, it’s not available for braking. So with less traction available you’re more likely to experience a skid when braking hard in a curve. For that reason you need to apply the brakes more gradually, while getting the bike straight as quickly as you can. It’s also a good reason to slow down before you enter a curve. Curves present all kinds of opportunities for mishaps. Having less traction available for braking is one. Another is that on some curves your sight distance is limited. You need to enter a curve slow enough that you have time to stop within the distance you can see.

Downshift While Braking

Let’s say you’re riding along and suddenly a car pulls out of a driveway in front of you. You apply both brakes to the maximum without losing traction or skidding and come to a complete stop with a couple of feet to spare. What about the guy in the car behind you? Was he paying as much attention as you? Can he bring his much heavier vehicle to a full stop as quickly as you? If you’ve managed to downshift into first gear while bringing your bike to a stop you can quickly accelerate to safety. But if you’re in neutral or second you may have just traded a front collision for being rear ended. Always shift into first gear when you’re coming to a stop, whether it’s for a stop sign or in an emergency. Always. If you make it a habit then you’re much more likely to do it in an emergency, and that could save your bike and your life.

Downshift While Braking

Let’s recap. To get your motorcycle stopped in the shortest amount of time and distance you apply both brakes. To take advantage of the increasing traction available to the front tire, thanks to the forward shifting of the weight of your bike, you apply more pressure on the front brake. You do this gradually, though in reality it’s only going to take a few seconds. Your application of pressure on the rear brake should be more gradual, to compensate for the smaller amount of traction available to the rear tire. Keep the bike straight, or if you’re in a curve, straighten it as quickly as possible to give your tires more available braking traction. You squeeze the clutch lever and downshift until you’re in first gear. The only difference between performing an emergency stop and a normal stop is how much pressure you apply to the brakes and how quickly you apply that pressure.

Practice Exercises 

To be sure that you’re able to successfully execute an emergency stop when you absolutely have to, it’s a good idea to practice. And practice often. I’ve read studies that show that once you learn or practice a skill it’s good for about six months and then it begins to deteriorate. So if it’s been awhile since you last practiced emergency braking, it’s time to head to a nice big parking lot.

If you can, use a parking lot with lines outlining the parking spaces. Most parking spaces are about 10 feet wide and provide a wonderful set up for practicing. If you can’t find a lot with marked spaces bring a tape measure and some chalk. You’ll also want to bring a few objects to use as markers. Two-liter bottles with some sand in the bottom work well, as do those bright neon colored tennis balls cut in half.

For the first exercise set one marker at the beginning of one parking space and another marker at the end of the third space, or at 30 feet. Get on your bike six parking spots, or 60 feet, away from the first marker. Ride across the lot toward the first marker, getting your speed up enough to shift into second gear, say 15 to 20 mph. Keep looking straight ahead and keep the bike heading in a straight line. As you pass the first marker begin applying both brakes, squeeze the clutch lever and downshift. The goal is to come to a complete stop by the time you reach the second maker. If you overshoot the second marker try a little more pressure on the brakes next time. If you lock up the rear tire keep the rear brake engaged until you come to a stop, but on the next pass try a little less pressure on the rear brake. Run this exercise until you can stop right at the second marker five times in a row.

Next we’ll move that second marker a little closer to the first one, say to 25 feet or the middle of that third parking space, and gradually increase the speed of your approach. Start off from the same place, 60 feet from the first marker, and get your speed up just high enough to shift into second gear, say about 10 mph. As you pass the first marker begin braking and downshift to first. The goal on this exercise is to come to a complete stop before you reach the second marker. Once you’ve accomplished this at 10 mph five times in a row, go back and increase your speed to 15 mph. Then do it at 20 mph.

The final exercise will be stopping in a curve. It’ll be helpful if you can use a portion of the parking lot where there are two rows of parking spaces where cars would park head-to-head. Put your first marker on the outside edge of one of the parking space lines. Put another marker, we’ll call this one number three, on the opposite end of the same line, or the end of the parking space that abuts the first space. Place another marker; we’ll call this one number two, on the line that separates the two rows of spaces, two spaces or 20 feet away. Start about six spaces, or 60 feet, away from the first marker. Get going fast enough to shift into second gear, about 10 mph for the first couple of attempts. Position yourself so that you’ll ride on the outside of the markers, or that you’ll ride by them with the markers on your left. As you pass the first marker begin to lean into a curve, so that you’ll ride past the second and third marker as tightly as you can. Once you’ve got the curve down try it again, but as you pass marker number two begin to straighten the bike, apply the brakes and downshift to first. See how wide of the third marker you are? This is why it’s so vital not to enter a curve going too fast. Try this exercise at 10 mph until you can get the bike stopped close enough to the last marker that you wouldn’t be going off the road if you were actually out in traffic.

The key to being able to successfully execute an emergency braking procedure is knowing the limits of your bike, being aware of road conditions and remaining vigilant the entire time you’re riding. Practice is big factor. The longer you ride, the better you’ll get. And you’ll be able to minimize your chances of needing to use this skill. But it sure will make you feel more confident knowing you can do it if you ever need to.

New Models Added – December 28, 2012

– Motorcycle / Scooter
– 2013 Piaggio BV 350
– 2013 Piaggio Fly 150
– 2013 Piaggio Fly 50 4V
– 2013 Piaggio Typhoon 125
– 2013 Piaggio Typhoon 50
– 2013 Triumph America Base
– 2013 Triumph Bonneville Base
– 2013 Triumph Bonneville T100
– 2013 Triumph Daytona 675
– 2013 Triumph Daytona 675R
– 2013 Triumph Rocket III Roadster
– 2013 Triumph Scrambler Base
– 2013 Triumph Speed Triple ABS
– 2013 Triumph Speed Triple R ABS
– 2013 Triumph Speedmaster Base
– 2013 Triumph Thruxton 900
– 2013 Triumph Thunderbird ABS
– 2013 Triumph Thunderbird Storm ABS
– 2013 Triumph Tiger 800 ABS
– 2013 Triumph Tiger 800 XC ABS
– 2013 Triumph Tiger Explorer
– 2013 Triumph Tiger Explorer XC
– 2013 Vespa GTS 300 i.e.
– 2013 Vespa GTS 300 i.e. Super
– 2013 Vespa GTS 300 i.e. Super SE
– 2013 Vespa GTV 300 i.e.
– 2013 Vespa LX 150 i.e.
– 2013 Vespa LX 50 4V
– 2013 Vespa LXV 150 i.e.
– 2013 Vespa S 150 i.e.
– 2013 Vespa S 150 i.e. Sport SE
– 2013 Vespa S 50 4V
– 2013 Vespa S 50 4V Sport SE

2013 Las Vegas Antique Motorcycle Auction

January 10, 11, & 12, 2013

  • South Point Casino and Exhibit Hall
  • 9777 Las Vegas Blvd S
  • Las Vegas, Nevada

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The pinnacle of the industry! Six hundred (600) motorcycles in three days! See motorcycles you may never see again. Meet friends in a city built for fun. Talk to experts and owners of the motorcycles you have dreamed of for years. Take home that motorcycle! For twenty-one years MidAmerica buyers and sellers have looked forward and saved the dates for the LAS VEGAS MOTORCYCLE AUCTION. This is the legacy of a company dedicated to its customers and grateful acknowledgement to that “network family” that made it possible. It is our hope you will join our family.

New Models Added – December 14, 2012

– Motorcycle / Scooter
– 2013 BETA Evo 125
– 2013 BETA Evo 200
– 2013 BETA Evo 250
– 2013 BETA Evo 250 4-Stroke
– 2013 BETA Evo 300
– 2013 BETA Evo 300 4-Stroke
– 2013 BETA Evo 300 SS
– 2013 BETA Evo 80 Jr
– 2013 BETA Evo 80 Sr
– 2013 BETA RR 250 2-Stroke
– 2013 BETA RR 300 2-Stroke
– 2013 BETA RR 350
– 2013 BETA RR 400
– 2013 BETA RR 450
– 2013 BETA RR 498
– 2013 BETA RS 400
– 2013 BETA RS 450
– 2013 BETA RS 520
– 2013 Ducati 848 EVO Base
– 2013 Ducati 848 EVO Corse SE
– 2013 Ducati Diavel AMG
– 2013 Ducati Diavel Base
– 2013 Ducati Diavel Carbon
– 2013 Ducati Diavel Cromo
– 2013 Ducati Diavel Dark
– 2013 Ducati Diavel Strada
– 2013 Ducati Monster 1100 EVO
– 2013 Ducati Monster 696
– 2013 Ducati Monster 796
– 2013 Ducati Monster Diesel
– 2013 Ducati Panigale 1199 R
– 2013 Genuine Scooter Co. Blur SS 220i
– 2013 Genuine Scooter Co. Buddy 125
– 2013 Genuine Scooter Co. Buddy 170i
– 2013 Genuine Scooter Co. Buddy 50
– 2013 Genuine Scooter Co. Buddy Psycho
– 2013 Genuine Scooter Co. Buddy Little International Italia 50
– 2013 Genuine Scooter Co. Buddy Little International Pamplona 50
– 2013 Genuine Scooter Co. Roughhouse R50
– 2013 Genuine Scooter Co. Stella 4-Stroke
– 2013 Honda CB 1000R
– 2013 Honda CB 1100
– 2013 Honda CB 1100 ABS
– 2013 Honda CB 500F
– 2013 Honda CB 500F ABS
– 2013 Honda CB 500X
– 2013 Honda CB 500X ABS
– 2013 Honda CBR® 1000RR
– 2013 Honda CBR® 1000RR ABS
– 2013 Honda CBR® 500R
– 2013 Honda CBR® 500R ABS
– 2013 Honda CBR® 600RR
– 2013 Honda CBR® 600RR ABS
– 2013 Honda CRF® 250X
– 2013 Honda CRF® 450X
– 2013 Honda Gold Wing® F6B
– 2013 Honda Gold Wing® F6B Deluxe
– 2013 Honda VFR 1200F
– 2013 Honda VFR 1200F DCT
– 2013 Honda XR™ 650L
– 2013 Hyosung GT 250
– 2013 Hyosung GT 250R
– 2013 Hyosung GT 650
– 2013 Hyosung GT 650R
– 2013 Hyosung GV 250
– 2013 Hyosung GV 650
– 2013 Hyosung ST7 Base
– 2013 Hyosung ST7 Deluxe
– 2013 Indian Chief Classic
– 2013 Indian Chief Dark Horse
– 2013 Indian Chief Vintage
– 2013 Indian Chief Vintage LE
– 2013 Lance Cali Classic 125
– 2013 Lance Havana Classic 125
– 2013 SYM Citycom 300i
– 2013 SYM Fiddle II 125
– 2013 SYM HD 200 EVO
– 2013 SYM Mio 50
– 2013 SYM Symba 100
– 2013 SYM SymWolf Classic 150

How To Start Riding

Motorcycling is a tremendous activity. It’s something I recommend to just about everyone. If riding is something you’ve been thinking about taking up there are a few things you can do to make sure you get off to a good start. Get a book on basic motorcycling, talk to riders you know. If possible, take a basic rider’s course offered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF).

Motorcycle Safety Foundation

According to some studies that I’ve seen you’re actually better off teaching yourself how to ride than you are having a friend teach you. Unless off course that friend is a certified instructor. Whichever way to decide to learn how to ride, this article will give you some of the basics. I’ve written it as if I was discussing the topic with a friend who had never ridden.

Let me also suggest you read a couple of other articles here on, Motorcycle Safety And How To Ride Safely, 5 Things You Should Know Before You Ride and What To Look For When Buying A New Motorcycle all contain some great information for riders of any experience level.

Get To Know Your Bike

Most motorcycles have a lot in common, but each model is a little different. Once you get your new ride home spend a little time familiarizing yourself with it. Take out the owner’s manual and read it. Then take the manual with you outside to the bike. Stand on the left hand side of the motorcycle facing the seat with your left hand on the left handlebar. Throw your right leg over the seat and sit down. Grab the right handlebar with your right hand and look straight ahead. This is a view you’ll come to love.

Put your feet up on the pegs (or floorboards if that’s what’s on your motorcycle) and move around on the seat a little to get an idea of how much room you have to adjust your sitting position. Get both feet back on the ground and straighten the bike so that it’s off the kick stand. You may need to stand up to do this. Once the motorcycle is up, sit back down and rock it gently from side to side to get a feel for how heavy it is.

Now while still sitting on the bike and with it resting on the kick stand, open your owner’s manual and identify all of the controls and instruments located on the handlebars and/or tank. The grip on the right handlebar is the throttle or accelerator. You twist that toward you to increase the amount of fuel going to the engine and thereby increasing your speed. Also on the right handlebar you’ll find the lever that operates the front brake, squeeze it to get a feel for how much play it has. You’ll also see a red rocker switch on the right handlebar, that’s the kill switch. To be able to start the motorcycle that switch must be in the “on” or lower position. Directly below the kill switch is the starter button. With the key in the ignition, the kill switch in the “on” position and the clutch in or disengaged, all you have to do to start the bike is push the starter button. But we’re not there yet.

Since we mentioned the clutch, let’s move to the left handlebar. The lever over there is the clutch. Go ahead, squeeze it and then let it out slowly. That motion is one you’re going to spend a lot of time practicing. On most motorcycles you’ll also find your turn indicator switch on the left handlebar. Very few bikes have self-canceling turn signals, unlike cars. So chances are your switch has three positions, the center or “off” position, and then left and right. To signal a turn simply slide the switch to the left or the right. You’ll notice that (on most bikes) the switch will return to the center position after you’ve released it. To cancel your signal (or to turn off the blinker) you have to press in on the switch. There may be several other controls on your left handlebar. Usually you’ll find the horn button, the headlight dimmer switch and, if your bike is so equipped, the emergency hazard flasher switch.

Somewhere in the center of your field of view you’ll find an instrument cluster. Some bikes have these mounted on the tank, others on the handlebars. Common instruments include a speedometer, odometer, fuel gauge and tachometer. Not all motorcycles are going to have all of these. Many will include a digital display that allows you to select between the clock, trip meters and other readouts. There will likely also be indicator lights for neutral, high beams and turn indicators. You’ll probably also find either gauges or warning lights for oil temperature and/or pressure and the fuel injection system, if your bike is so equipped. The cap for the gas tank is located on top of the tank itself on most bikes and usually locks and unlocks with the ignition key.

You’re going to have to use both feet to control your bike. So let’s get you feet back on the pegs, with the bike still resting on the kick stand. Your right foot will operate the rear brake pedal. Go ahead and depress it. You should be able to operate the rear brake with your foot remaining on the peg. Your left foot shifts gears. Pull in the clutch with your left hand and push down on the shift pedal. If your bike was in neutral this will put it in first gear. Most bikes have a shift pattern of one down and four or five up, depending on how many gears. Between first and second gear is neutral. Neutral is usually indicated by a green light on your instrument panel, but it only lights up when the bike is running. Like the brake pedal, you should be able to operate the shift pedal with your foot remaining on the peg.

Starting Your Motorcycle

Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the basic controls, let’s fire up the bike. Take your key and put it in the ignition switch. This is one of those components that doesn’t have a standardized location. Some bikes have the ignition switch on the fuel tank, others are mounted on the frame and some are under the seat. Before turning the key to the “on” position make sure that you’re in neutral. Many motorcycles will not start if the bike is in gear and the kickstand is down. And if you put the kickstand down while the bike is in gear it will, on many bikes, stop the engine.

Flip the kill switch into the “on” position and then turn the key to the “on” position. Your speedometer will probably peg and then return to zero and your warning lights will come on. Your bike is doing a self-test, making sure everything’s good to go. Once that’s compete, usually just a few seconds, squeeze in on the clutch, disengaging it and then push the starter button. If the bike doesn’t start you’re probably not in neutral. Shift up or down with your left foot until the green neutral indicator light is on and then push the starter again.

You can go ahead and let the clutch out, since we’re not going anywhere just let. If the bike’s been sitting for a while and the engine is cold you’ll want to let it up warm up for a minute. Go ahead and twist the throttle slightly and listen for how the engine responds. Now lift the bike off the kickstand and flip the kickstand up. Let go of the throttle and pull the clutch lever in all the way. Push the shift lever down into first. Now slide your toe under the shift lever and lift up to put the bike back into neutral. Do this a few times to get used to how much pressure you need to apply and to get familiar with getting your foot into position under the lever. Practice this until you can do it without looking at  your foot.

Friction Zone

If you’re still sitting on your motorcycle with the engine running and you don’t have your helmet on yet, turn the ignition key to “off”, flip up the kill switch and go get your helmet. It’d be a good idea to put on your gloves and jacket too, we’re finally ready to get the bike moving. Start your motorcycle, flip the kickstand up, pull in the clutch lever and shift into first. Put both feet firmly on the ground. Now start to let out the clutch slowly. You’ll feel the motorcycle start to move forward. You are now in the friction zone, that point where the clutch begins to send power to the rear wheel.

Your clutch is more like the slider on a dimmer switch than an on-off switch. As you let out the clutch slowly it transfers more power to the rear wheel until the clutch is fully engaged (the point where you let go of it) and all available power is now being transferred to the rear wheel. Just like the further you push a dimmer switch the brighter the lights get until you’ve moved the slider all the way open and the lights burn at full power.

As the bike begins to move you’ll need to gradually twist the throttle. Practice this while keeping both feet on the ground, walking the bike forward, as you continue to slowly let out the clutch and open the throttle. Once the clutch is fully engaged put your feet on the pegs and increase throttle gradually. This maneuver sounds pretty simple, but chances are it’s one that you’ll need to practice. I’ve seen people wash out of Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Basic Rider Courses because they couldn’t master this basic skill. Engage the clutch too quickly and your bike will lurch forward and stall. Give it too little throttle, you’ll stall.

If your bike is in the driveway or parking lot or on a lightly traveled street, practice finding the friction zone and getting your bike up to speed. If you don’t have room to turn around once you’ve reached the end of the driveway, put the bike in neutral and walk it backwards. Practice until you can get the bike up to speed 10 or 20 times in a row without stalling.

You’re going to stall the bike. Don’t let that discourage you. Keep practicing. Once you’ve gained a basic mastery try it on a slight incline. The trick to getting rolling while going up hill is to not roll backwards before you get to the friction zone and begin forward movement. You can apply enough pressure to the rear brake with your right foot to keep you from rolling backwards down hill as you slowly let out the clutch and apply throttle while keeping your left foot on the ground.

Counter Steering

So now you’re actually riding. But eventually you’re going to come to the end of your driveway or street. You can’t spend your entire time on a bike going in a straight line. To change direction, make a turn or go around a curve at speeds above about 10 mph you have to employ a method commonly called counter steering. Personally, I don’t like that term. I think it confuses many new riders. Some instructors explain counter steering as turning the handlebars in the opposite direction of a turn. But unless you’re maneuvering at parking lot speeds you never actually turn the handlebars.

Counter Steering

Press or push steering is actually a more accurate description of what you do to make your motorcycle change direction. By applying pressure downward on one of the handlebars you cause the bike to lean into a turn. The term counter steering comes from the initial motion of the tire in the opposite direction of the turn.  To turn left you apply pressure to the left handlebar, to turn right you push down on the right handlebar. The more pressure you apply the more dramatically the bike will lean and the more sharply you’ll turn.

Here’s how press or counter steering works on a motorcycle or bicycle or other single track vehicle. The spinning of the tires, above parking lot speeds, creates a gyro effect, much like a gyroscope or spinning top. The gyro effect of the spinning tires keeps the motorcycle upright and stable. Press steering exerts force against the gyro effect, causing the bike to lean. Release the pressure, or stop pushing on the handlebar and the spinning tires will cause the motorcycle to return to its original upright position. The faster you’re going the more pressure you need to exert to counteract the gyro effect and get the motorcycle to change direction.

Before making a turn or rounding a curve reduce your speed by downshifting, reducing throttle and/or braking. Look through the curve or turn to where you want the bike to go. There’s something almost magical about how a motorcycle will follow the rider’s nose. So to maintain control and keep your bike on the road look at where you want to go, not where you are going. Next, press on the handlebar in the direction of the turn or curve. As you enter the turn maintain or slightly increase throttle to keep the bike stable.

Find an empty parking lot to practice your press steering. As you get more proficient and confident try increasing your speed. Remember, you need to be traveling at speeds about 10 mph for press or counter steering to work.

Start Slow

With these basic skills under your belt you’re ready to ride in traffic. But take your time here, don’t jump right onto the Interstate. Plan out a few rides that will include gradually more challenging elements. For you first ride stick to lightly traveled two lane roads with minimal stop signs and traffic signals. Once you’re comfortable with this route incorporate a short stretch on road with two or more lanes traveling in the same direction.

After you’re confident riding in heavier traffic you’re ready to try the Interstate, but let’s keep to stretches of Interstate that don’t take your through major metropolitan areas and ride during non-peak hours. The longer you ride and the more challenging your rides become the more confidence and experience you’ll gain.

Common Mistakes

You can help ensure that your first motorcycling experiences are fun, safe and not your final motorcycling experiences by avoiding a few common mistakes. First, don’t buy more motorcycle than you’re able to handle. The bigger the engine the more powerful and heavier the motorcycle, and the more difficult it will be control. There’s nothing wrong with starting with a mid sized bike, in the 500 cc to 1000 cc engine range and then, if you absolutely feel it necessary, moving up to a bigger motorcycle once you’ve gained some experience.

Even if you’ve taken an MSF course, you’ll want to build up your skills and experience by riding lightly traveled roads at first. Work up to more complex situations as you gain confidence. And be sure you’re comfortable riding by yourself before you attempt to travel with a passenger or with a group. Both of these activities change the dynamics of operating your motorcycle, so make sure you have adequate solo time on the bike before attempting either.

And remember to cancel to your turn signal once you’ve completed a turn. There’s nothing that screams “I’m a new rider” louder than a motorcycle traveling for miles with it’s left hand blinker flashing.

Get Out And Ride

Nothing can make you a better rider than actually getting out on the road on your bike. So ride, whenever you get the chance. Talk to other bikers and read all you can, but ride. You many just surprise yourself at how quickly your skills improve and how natural it feels to travel on two wheels.

Get Out And Ride…

New Models Added – November 29, 2012

– Motorcycle / Scooter

– 2013 Ducati Hypermotard 1100 EVO SP

– 2013 Ducati Hypermotard 796

– 2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200

– 2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Granturismo

– 2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak

– 2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring

– 2013 Ducati Panigale 1199

– 2013 Ducati Panigale 1199 S

– 2013 Ducati Panigale 1199 S Tricolore

– 2013 Ducati Streetfighter 848

– Utility Vehicle

– 2013 Can-Am™ Maverick 1000 X rs

– 2013 Can-Am™ Maverick 1000R

Motorcycle Safety And How To Ride Safely

Life is a risky business. You can minimize risk, manage risk, anticipate and have a plan for dealing with risk, but you can never totally eliminate risk. There is risk associated with riding a motorcycle. You can ride safely and do things, employ strategies to help ensure your safety, but, as the U.S. Supreme Court said in a workplace safety related case in 1980, “safety is not the equivalent of risk free.”

Motorcycle Safety

There are two major areas of motorcycle safety or risk management that I’ll look at here; avoiding getting into an accident in the first place and minimizing your risk of injury if you do have an accident.

Before You Get On The Bike

If you drive a car there are probably a few things you do before pulling into traffic. You fasten your seat belt. Check your mirrors, maybe you use your blinkers to signal your intention to pull away from the curb. And then you drive away. All of the safety equipment you need is contained in the vehicle itself; air bags, steel body and chassis, crumple zones. Not so much with your motorcycle.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) National Agenda for Motorcycle Safety says, “Motorcycles continue to offer no significant protection to their users in a crash, a fact that horrifies some people used to being enclosed in a steel cage and cushioned by airbags. The very fact that a motorcycle at rest won’t remain upright without its rider or some external method of support seems ominous to some.”

Largely due to what most attracts us to riding, the unfettered freedom of riding in the open air, we bikers are at greater risk of injury if we have an accident. The NHTSA says that 80 percent of motorcycle crashes result in injury or death to the rider compared with 20 percent for occupants of a passenger car involved in an accident. There are several common factors that contribute to the severity of the results of being in an motorcycle accident. If you’re aware of these factors you can take steps to minimize your risk of being involved in an accident and of being seriously injured if you do have a wreck.

Get Licensed And Trained: I’ve said this before here at PowerSportsTV. And I’ll likely say it again. Before you ride get your motorcycle license and take a rider safety course. About 25 percent of riders involved in an accident are not properly licensed. A safety course will introduce you to or refresh you on some basic safety strategies and give you the opportunity to practice them in a controlled environment.

Motorcycle Training

Gear Up: You’re hanging out there in the open on your bike, that’s the beauty of riding. It’s also why your risk of being injured if you have an accident is so high. There are no seat belts, no cage-like body, no roof, no airbags (unless you ride the top-of-the-line Honda Gold Wing). So invest in some safety gear and wear it every time you ride. The NHTSA puts the percentage of riders involved in a crash who are not wearing helmets at 42 percent. So strap on that lid.

Drop your bike, even at parking lot speeds and you’ll find out just how hard and abrasive the road is. Motorcycle specific jacket, gloves, boots and pants will protect you against road rash and lessen the likelihood of broken bones thanks to the body armor included in many jackets and pants. Brightly colored or florescent gear will also make you more visible to other motorists, reducing your chance of getting into an accident in the first place.

Ride Sober: Riders with a blood alcohol level at or above the legal limit account for 34 percent of all motorcycle accidents and, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), 29 percent of all motorcycle related fatalities. Even if you somehow manage to ride after drinking without having a wreck you risk a stiff fine, possible impounding of your bike or even jail time if you’re caught. Drinking and riding is just not worth the risk.

Do A Pre-Ride Bike Check: A motorcycle is not totally void of safety features. But if they’re not working they’re not going to do you any good. Before every ride do a quick visual inspection of your bike. Look at all the cables and hoses to make sure none are fraying, cracked, kinked or leaking. Check your tires for tread depth, cracks or bubbles. It’s a good idea to regularly check the air pressure in the tires.

Once you start the motorcycle make sure all your lights are working; high beams, turn indicators, brake lights and, if your bike is so equipped, emergency flashers. Sound the horn. Yeah, those bike horns are pretty wimpy, but it’s still loud enough to get the attention of a motorist who’s about to pull out in front of you, so be sure it works. Check and, if necessary, adjust your mirrors. It is possible to get most motorcycle mirrors positioned so that you’ll get a clear view of what’s coming up behind you, so take the time to set them so they work for you.

On The Road

Sitting in the driveway, all geared up, the motor running. That’s a pretty low-risk environment. It’s also a pretty low-fun experience. Funny how those two factors, risk and fun, so often seem to be related. If you’re wearing the proper gear, done your pre-ride check and you’re sober you’ve gone a long way in reducing your risk of injury if you have an accident. Once you get into traffic there are a number of strategies you can employ to keep from having an accident in the first place. So let’s get you out on the road.

Lane Position: A car or truck will take up an entire lane of traffic. But our bikes are much smaller, so we have three options for positioning ourselves; the far left, the center, or the far right of a lane. I usually opt for the far left. This gives me the best view of oncoming traffic and puts me about equidistant from the shoulders on both sides of the road, giving me the maximum amount of time to react to a critter or pedestrian who might dart out in front of me. I do move around in the lane though, as circumstances require.

Position yourself where you have the best view of what’s ahead. If you’re coming up on an intersection and there’s a truck or high profile SUV or van in front of you, look for oncoming traffic that may be turning left and traffic preparing to enter the intersection from the left cross street. Then you’ll want to shift to the far right to check traffic coming into the intersection from the right cross street and to make it easier for that driver to see you. Choose the lane position that gives you the best view of the road and makes it easiest for others to see you.

If you’re riding in a stiff cross wind you can ride on the side of the lane that the wind is coming from to minimize the chances of your bike being pushed into the oncoming lane. Big trucks can cause a pretty strong windblast, so when you see one coming in the other direction, move to the center or far right portion of the lane.

On multi-lane roads choose a lane position that keeps you out of the blind spot of vehicles in front of you. If you can see the driver’s face in the mirror then you know you’re not in his blind spot. If a vehicle starts to pass you it’s a good idea to move to the center position of your lane. Staying in the far left puts you too close to the other vehicle, especially if the driver swerves into your lane too quickly. And riding in the far right of the lane may encourage the driver of the passing vehicle to jump into your lane without giving you adequate space.

Anticipate Hazards: When you ride, play a little game. Try to guess which other vehicle on the road is trying to kill you. Here’s a hint: they all are. Or at least it can seem that way. A good dose of paranoia is a healthy thing when you’re on your bike. And are you really paranoid if they ARE out to get you? Watch people as they drive. They’re eating, drinking, talking on the phone, texting, checking email, putting on makeup, singing along with the radio. No wonder they don’t see you and your comparatively small motorcycle. It’s actually pretty amazing that any of them ever make it to their destination.

Be keenly aware of your environment when riding. Pay special attention to intersections. According to the NHTSA that’s where 70 percent of collisions between motorcycles and other vehicles happen. Get a good view of traffic around and in the intersection. Anticipate what they’re going to do and have a plan to deal with it. Don’t expect other drivers to signal before they make a turn through an intersection. Always signal before you make a turn through an intersection.

Look as far down the road as you can. Watch for entrances to the roadway, driveways, parking lots, on ramps and position yourself in the lane to give you the best view and the best chance of being seen by other motorists. If you live in an area with a large deer or other wildlife population (which would be about anywhere except for maybe Antarctica) watch the sides of the road for animals that may dart out in front of you.

The roadway itself sometimes presents hazards. Debris, road kill, potholes, oil and other fluids left on the roadway, especially around intersections where vehicles have to sit idling waiting for a light to change, are all things you want to see long before you reach them so that you can safely avoid them. Different road surfaces will provide different levels of traction. Approach railroad tracks, manhole covers and the steel surfaces of some bridges and overpasses with caution, especially in wet conditions.

Establish A Space Cushion: Empty space is one of your best friends when you ride. The more space there is between you and other vehicles the more time and room you have to react and maneuver when faced with a hazard. Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. Keep at least two seconds of space between you and the vehicle in front of you. More at highway speeds. This gives you ample time to stop or swerve to avoid a vehicle that stops suddenly in front of you. To determine how close you are to the vehicle in front of you look for a stationary object up ahead, such as a mile marker sign or phone pole. As the rear end of the vehicle in front of you passes the object begin counting; one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two. If you pass the object before you get to one-thousand-two you need to slow down.

Motorcycle Space Cushion

It’s a little tougher to command the space between you and vehicle behind you. If you’re being followed too closely tap your brake lightly a few times to cause your brake lights to flash. If the other vehicle doesn’t slow down then you should slow down a little. Still too close? If you’re on a multi-lane road or a two-lane road with a passing zone slow down even further so the other vehicle will pass you. He won’t pass you? If possible, and safe, pull off the road and wait for the other vehicle to get a good distance down the road before you continue. If you can’t pull off the road and the other motorist can’t or won’t pass, reduce your speed to the safest slowest rate you can. At least that way if you have to brake suddenly the other vehicle will the maximum amount of time to stop, reducing the likelihood that you’ll be rear ended.

We bikers don’t always need to use the brakes to scrub off a little speed. We can roll off the throttle or down shift to control our speed. But motorists behind us won’t always recognize that we’re slowing down. Be aware of what’s going on behind you and if you’re slowing down a little or coming to a complete stop tap your brakes three or four times a few seconds before you actually begin slowing. This will cause your brake lights to flash and alert the driver behind you that you’re preparing to alter your speed, provided of course that he’s not reading his email.

Whenever possible allow yourself enough space for an escape route, especially at intersections. Don’t pull up so close to the vehicle stopped at a traffic light in front of you that you can’t quickly move to safety if another vehicle comes up behind you too quickly or closely. On multi-lane roads don’t allow yourself to get boxed in. Alter your speed, slow down or move faster, to keep some open space on at least one side.

Recognize Your Own Limitations: Nothing compares to zipping along the open road on a motorcycle. And it can be tempting to open the throttle a little more than is prudent, especially on a nice long stretch of straightaway when there are no other vehicles around. Don’t allow yourself to over ride your limitations or the limitations of your bike or the road. Research by the GHSA shows that 35 percent of all fatal motorcycle accidents involved excessive speed. And half of those fatal accidents were single vehicle wrecks. Let’s not add ourselves to that list of people who are out to kill us. Slow down and ride at a speed that’s within your ability to control your motorcycle.

You can ride safely if you recognize the inherent risks associated with motorcycling. Wear safety gear. Be aware of other traffic and potential hazards. Keep as much space between you and other vehicles as possible. Follow these simple guidelines and you’ll be riding safely for years to come.