SportBike

Sportbike, Motovlogging & Motorcycle Tips For New Riders.

How To Push Start A Motorcycle

Any serious motorcyclist will know the essentials, like wearing appropriate safety gear, proper riding position, turning mechanisms, and how to do a push start. Wait, you don’t know how to clutch start a motorcycle? What happens if you can’t start the motor with the switch? Good thing you’re here. In just a few steps, you can learn how to effectively push start a motorcycle and get riding in no time. 

Before You Push Start

There are a few things to keep in mind if you plan on push starting (also called bump starting and clutch starting) your bike. First, push starting isn’t the ideal method, and it sometimes doesn’t work.

Next, if your motorcycle isn’t starting, check some things that sometimes prevent a motorcycle from starting:

  • Ignition kill switch – make sure the kill switch is set to the STOP position.
  • Fuel level – your fuel gauge could be faulty, so pop the cap and check to make sure you’re not running on E.
  • Fuel petcock – if you have a non-EFI bike, make sure the fuel tap petcock is OFF.
  • Kickstand – some bikes have an added safety feature that prevents it from starting if the kickstand is down.
  • Gear set in neutral – if the gear is engaged, the bike will refuse to start. Do a double-check.

If none of these apply to your situation, then it’s time to push start your bike.

How To Push Start

Follow these steps in the order listed.

Find A Hill

While you could get a few friends to push your motorcycle, you’re not always going to be traveling in a group. When that happens, you need to find yourself a hill. Steep slopes help you get to the proper speed to bypass the start system.

On a flat road? Don’t despair. If you can push the bike at a reasonable speed then jump on and release the clutch, you can still do a push start.

Engage 2nd or 3rd Gear

A lesser known trick to a successful push start is to avoid 1st gear and go straight to 2nd or 3rd gear. Avoid 1st gear entirely if your bike as a high compression engine.

The reason why skipping 1st gear is important is because you could potentially lock the rear tire, which would result in a crash.

Clutch, Release, and Start

Start moving down the hill to get speed while holding the clutch. As you start to gain momentum, release the clutch and press the start button in a seamless motion. Quickly apply some throttle, and the motorcycle should start. As soon as the bike is roaring, engage the clutch.

It’s important to stay in full control of the motorcycle. Please do this as far from traffic as possible, just in case you end up swerving.

If this doesn’t work on the first try, don’t give up. Stop. Reset yourself, and repeat the first three steps again.

Rev That Engine

This is the final step—the most integral. If you don’t immediately rev the engine, the motorcycle will die again. Stay focused.

Depress the clutch slightly and moderately rev the engine. Don’t let it scream. Keep the revving slightly high so the motor doesn’t choke down. The worse case scenario if you don’t rev the motor is that the bike will die, and you don’t want that—especially since you’ll still be rolling down a hill.

Optionally, once you have the engine running, you can switch to neutral and apply the brakes while revving the engine. This will help you stay focused on keeping the engine from choking. This works best if the motorcycle is cold.

Get Riding

Once the engine has warmed up, do a quick ride to make sure everything is working as it should. Remember that your safety is the most important thing when push starting a motorcycle. Be sure to practice the push starting methods a few times before attempting it for real out on the road. You should be wearing protective gear and be away from traffic. If not, you could seriously hurt yourself and others.

That wraps up how to push start a motorcycle. Just follow the steps that have been outlined, commit to safety, and you will soon be push starting like the pros!

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Beginner’s Guide To Shifting Gears On A Motorcycle

An underrated aspect of learning how to ride a motorcycle goes beyond turning and popping wheelies. No, it’s something seemingly much more simple than that. Do you shift? Sure, shifting gears should be easy, because it’s a basic function; but shifting gear does have a layer of complexity that beginning cyclists could have problems mastering right away. 

Here’s everything you need to know about shifting gears on a motorcycle. 

Motorcycle Gears Basics

The three basic controls are ones that you might already know—the throttle, the clutch, and the gear selector. You use the throttle to rev the engine, the clutch to engage and disengage the brakes (transmission), and to select gears. For instance, if you pull the left hand clutch towards you, the engine revs without ever moving the bike. 

The gear pattern can be clicked through by using the gear selector lever and is moved by your left foot. Most bikes have the following gears, starting with the lowest first: 

• First gear
• Neutral
• Second gear
• Third gear
• Fourth gear
• Fifth gear 
• Sixth gear (depending on the bike)

As you can see, shifting fears is sequential. Up or down, neutral (N) is always put between 1st and 2nd gear. 

Technique For Motorcycle Shifting

It’s best to learn the proper technique required to maneuver through shifting gears before learning how to do anything else. 

Steps of the proper shifting technique:

  1. Disengage the clutch. Use your left hand to pull it towards you. 
  2. Select the correct gear by using your left food on the shifting lever.
  3. Slightly rev the engine if shifting up.
  4. Gradually release the clutch. Don’t pop it.
  5. Feather the throttle while releasing the clutch to accelerate smoothly.
  6. Continue revving if you which to switch to another gear in succession. Otherwise, find a nice cruising speed to maintain. 

Shifting With Sound and Feel

Have you ever heard wailing motorcycle engines on the road? You’ve probably thought to yourself, “Is that rider even shifting?” That’s you using the basic rule of sound. In basic terms, if an engine starts to scream, you shift to an upper gear. If the engine starts to grumble, then shift the engine lower. 

There a many methods to help you do this properly. Beginners should only focus on the simplest method. Afterwards, you can experiment. 

Start off by riding in first gear. Try to sense to point when you need to switch to second gear. This means the engine isn’t yet screaming, but you are feeling the natural inclination to gain more speed. The clutch will disengage easily. 

Should the engine start to scream, this means you’ve hit the red line, otherwise known as the built-in limiter. The limiter is placed in the engine to ensure the bike doesn’t overextend itself and burn up. 

If you shift a gear up too soon, the bike could stall or choke. Restart the bike. Try again. Keep working through the gears until you can hear and feel when it is time to gear up. 

Shifting Smoothly

You will notice that there’s no mathematical equation to figure out the “when” behind shifting. Every bike has a unique behavior that depends on how you handle it. For instance, if the bike jerks when you release the clutch, you’re being too abrupt. If the bike tends to lurch during shifts, you’re applying too much throttle. If the motorcycle’s speed dips during shifting, you need to rev the engine more between gear changes. Pay attention to the clutch, throttle, and gear selector, because these all interact and are dependent on one another. 

Mechanics of Movement

Let’s back-up for a moment. Now that you have this idea in your mind that you need to listen and feel and understand with muscle memory what to do when shifting, it’s time to talk about what is happening inside the bike while you’re doing the actions. 

The clutch is the first thing you touch when it’s time to shift gears, unless you have an automatic motorcycle or a quick shift. Once the clutch is engaged, meaning the lever is out and power is send to the rear tie, little springs press on the clutch plate that connect the primary drive to the part that rotates from the pistons going up and down. 

When you pull the lever, the plate separates and releases the connection to the motor. In this moment, you can change gears. 

That’s when you take your foot and move the gear selector. On the gear selector is a piece called a collar that has “dogs.” This dogs mesh together with the fork in the same way you interlace your fingers. When you move your foot up and down on the selector, the dogs and fork connect to help change the gear. Then, you find the right gear and accelerate. 

Keep this in mind while reading the next two sections about upshifting and downshifting. 

Upshifting

Most of this article has been devoted to upshifting. Upshifting is easier than downshifting, because you are accelerating. This means that if you do any of the steps of shifting a little too quick, there’s less of an impact. Of course, this could result in a sudden jolt of power to the rear wheel, causing the front tire to come off the ground. 

(Note: You should only practice stunts in a controlled environment and when you have gained enough experience.) 

Downshifting

On the opposite end of upshifting is downshifting, which tends to go a little less smoothly. If you release the clutch too quickly while downshifting, the sudden downward change can cause the gear to slow down the rear tire, compressing the front end, and causing a lack of traction in the back end. You need to be able to control the release of the clutch. 

Be careful when rounding corners and decreasing your gears for this reason. You don’t want to suddenly lose traction right when you need more grip on the asphalt. That could cause the bike to skid to the side. 

False Neutral

When downshifting, you could accidentally hit a false neutral. This can happen anywhere there shouldn’t be a neutral, including between 3rd and 4th or 4th and 5th and so on. This could happen if the dogs don’t connect with the fork when selecting gears. There is power loss to the rear wheel. 

If you end up in a false neutral, pull on the clutch, and put the bike into a higher gear. You can prevent excessive damage to the bike. Be quick and make sure you move into the correct once you get out of false neutral. 

With that, you should be able to master the basics of shifting. Practice the timing of the clutch release and working with the gear selector for a bit. You will soon be able to shift between gears like someone who has been riding for many years. 

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How Often Do I Need To Change Motorcycle Engine Oil?

Changing engine oil is essential to maintaining the life of your beloved motorcycle. If you don’t consistently check the oil level and change the oil when it gets old or dirty, the lifespan of the motor is severely shortened. 

Let’s get started. 

How Often You Need To Change Motorcycle Oil

Most riders will ask the question, “How often do I need to change the motorcycle engine oil?” at least once. The answer depends on the make/model of your bike (we’ll be discussed a Yamaha YZF-R6), the type of oil you used, and how often you ride. 

If you used a mineral-based engine oil (the simplest, cheapest kind), then you should change the engine every 2,000 miles if you’re riding frequently. If you don’t ride regularly, you can change your oil at least twice a year. 

When using a semi-synthetic engine oil, change the oil once every 5,000-6,000 miles. 

Lastly, if you use a fully-synthetic engine oil, change the oil after 7,000-10,000 miles. 

Semi- and fully-synthetic motor oils are more expensive than mineral-based engine oil, but the plus side is that they last much longer. The only time when you might have to change before the recommended mileage, regardless of the motor oil type, is if you are riding your bike every single day or you commute a great distance frequently. 

Yamaha YZF-R6 Oil Change Instructions

You can find the following information in the owner’s manual of your Yamaha YZF-R6. If you don’t have this specific Yamaha model, it’s recommended you find the specific instructions for your make and model, as the steps could be different. 

  • Checking the engine oil level: 
  • Put the motorcycle on a level surface and hold it in an upright position, as straight as possible. Slight tilts could result in a false read. 
  • Start the engine. Let the oil warm up for several minutes. 
  • Turn the motorcycle off again. 
  • Wait for the oil to settle. This may take a few minutes. 
  • Remove the engine oil dipstick. Wipe it clean with a cloth then insert the stick back into the fuel reservoir. Take a moment to look at the maximum and minimum oil level lines before testing if you’re not familiar with it. Don’t screw the stick in. Remove it again to get your reading. 
  • If the engine oil level is at or below the minimum level, remove the engine filler cap and add a sufficient amount of oil to get the level to the recommended spot. 
  • Insert then tighten the engine oil dipstick. Afterwards, install and tighten the oil filler cap. 

During this stage of your oil check, you might find that you need to change the oil completely. 

How To Tell If You Need An Oil Change

The normal color of oil is transparent, brownish, maybe even slightly black. When oil is “clean,” it works best for protecting and keeping the engine clean. 

Now, “dirty” oil is when the water consistency is lost. It feels slightly gritty when rubbed between your fingers. The color will be darker, if not completely black, and it will have lost it’s transparency. 

You might also notice that the engine is making bizarre noises when the oil is dirty. All these signs point to needing an oil change. 

How to change engine oil on a Yamaha YZF-R6: 

  • Put the motorcycle on a level surface. 
  • Removing the cowling. 
  • Start the engine for several minutes. Once warmed, turn the bike off. 
  • Place an oil pan under the engine to collect used oil. 
  • Remove the engine oil filler cap, the engine oil drain bolt, and lastly the gasket to drain the oil from the crankcase. 
  • Once the oil is drained completely, replace the gasket and bolt, fill the tank to the recommended level, and then replace the engine oil filler cap. 

When To Change The Oil Filter

Change the filter every time you change the oil or once every 2,000 to 3,000 miles if you’re using synthetic motor oil. You don’t want to ride around with a dirty, old oil filter because it traps any dirt, dust, debris, metal, and sludge that would otherwise harm your engine. 

Not a frequent rider? Again, change your oil at least twice a year and pair that with a filter change. 

Conclusion

To wrap everything up, frequent riders will need to change their oil more often than those who ride once in a while. The quality of the motor oil changes the mileage for oil changes, and synthetic oils will have the longest life. Make sure to check the oil level and consistency often so you can protect the engine and preserve the life of your ride. 

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How to Ride a Motorcycle in the Rain

Be it a shower or deluge, rain can be your worst nightmare when on a motorcycle if you’re not properly prepared. During the spring and winter months, precipitation is unpredictable, and if you are in a rainy state, expect to get caught at least one shower while riding your bike. Rather than avoiding rainy days altogether, learn to ride your motorcycle in the rain. 

Before The Ride

For maximum safety, inspect your bike to make sure it’s ready to tackle a ride in the rain. 

• Fluids: Check your motorcycle to make sure there’s no brake fluid or oil leakage. While oil leaks aren’t very dangerous in dry conditions, when oil mixes with water, the road becomes a slick and dangerous course. 
• Brakes: Make sure the brake pads have enough material left to help you with prompt stops in wet conditions. 
• Tires: Check that your tires have enough tread to push water away and grip the road. You also want to ensure they have enough air pressure. Under or over-inflated tires react differently in water, but both are potentially dangerous. 

Weatherproof Gear

In order to keep you and your bike safe, you should have the correct riding gear and attire ready to go. You can choose between water-resistant and waterproof items. Water-resistant will shed water, but after a period of time, water will begin to permeate the material. Waterproof, on the other hand, will never allow for water to absorb into the material, unless you get completely submerged in water. 

• Water-resistant or Waterproof Gear: Jackets and one piece suits should be zipped up tightly when riding in the rain to prevent water from seeping. Zippers should have a flap that covers the edges to protect the interstices. Cuffs on the jacket or coat need to be long enough to reach your gloves. 

• Riding Boots and Gloves: More effective deterrents against complete saturation of your clothes. Both boots and gloves need to be tight enough to prevent water from dripping through. No one likes cold, wet socks. 

• Helmets and Goggles: For the best protection, get a full-faced helmet. If you have a ½ or ¾ face helmet, get a pair of goggles. Pair the goggles with a waterproof balaclava that can shed water away from your face. 

• Miscellaneous: If you have a saddlebag or storage unit, consider keeping a change of dry clothes with you. Also, keep plastic bags with you to keep valuables dry if you happen to get caught in a sudden rainstorm. Dry bags or waterproof backpacks can also help. 

Be Cautious Of Road Conditions

Be Cautious Of Road Conditions

Wet roads are dangerous for motorcyclists and other vehicle drivers, regardless of how prepared you may be. Even when the roads appear clean, they could be slick from oil. Here are some things to consider when traveling by motorcycle in the rain: 

Less Traction

The first hour of rainfall is the most dangerous, because oils absorbed into the asphalt rise to the surface. During this time, it’s best to pullover at a rest stop about wait for about an hour. Once the rain has washed the road of oil and debris, you can head out again. Remember that this also means an increased braking distance. 

Less Visibility

Sometimes, the fog or mist is too dense, or the rain is falling so hard you or other drivers can’t see. You can make yourself more visible to the traffic around you by wearing high visibility clothing and reflective patches. 

Hydroplaning Risk

Hydroplaning occurs when water prevents the tire from making contact with the road. Reduce the risk of hydroplaning by avoiding painted lines, manhole covers, iridescent patches on the road and puddles (oil), tar snakes, metal crossing, and other places with reduced traction. 

Also, you should reduce your speed when approaching puddles you can’t maneuver around. Start slowing down, squeeze the clutch, then coast through the puddle. If you’re going too fast, it’s better to maintain that velocity rather than slowing down abruptly, as this will reduce friction could cause fishtailing. 

Decrease the risk of hydroplaning further with all-weather tires. 

Nature’s Wrath

Stay aware of lightning, hail, ice, sleet, and other conditions that could transpire in a rainstorm. High winds can cause debris to fall into the road, and you might not see it due to decreased visibility. If it starts lightning, pull over. 

Conclusion

Not every day is going to be perfect riding weather. Planning ahead and being prepared goes a long way when dealing with rainy conditions. Not only will you stay dry, but you will arrive at your destination safely. 

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The Ultimate List Of Motovloggers On YouTube Part II

Are you looking for motovloggers to follow?

Be sure to check out our other lists:

Shout Out To PhatboyR6 and No.Bumpers for helping me come up with this collection of motovloggers. So here they are in no particular order! 

What Is the Average Cost of Motorcycle Insurance?

Motorcycles are fun, and have become a bit of an American icon representing free spirits, independence and a fun personality. Who hasn’t, at one time, wanted one, or at least to try riding one?

Well, like with any vehicle, you’re going to have to be trained to ride it, and you’re going to need insurance, as with anything on the road. Insurance is a pain, of course. It’s one of those things you shell out hundreds of dollars a year for, and hope to powers above that you never wind up needing once you have it.

It’s necessary. When you’re on the road traveling at speeds of over sixty miles per hour, accidents can and will eventually happen. Humans make mistakes, and some are, to put it frankly, idiots who just drive or ride carelessly. Insurance protects you from said idiots.
Insurance is a necessary evil, so it’s not free. Before investing in your motorcycle, you should do your due diligence regarding what upkeep of your bike is going to cost you. This includes maintenance, plates, tags, your license and, most importantly of all, said insurance.

So, how expensive is motorcycle insurance? There’s no clear-cut answer to that, because different companies will vary, and more importantly, factors about yourself will directly, linearly impact price in every situation.

Let’s take some time to talk about these. If you see yourself described in any of these with prices you find painful, it may not be time for a motorcycle yet, or some other luxury may have to be given up.

What’s the Difference?

You’re thinking, you have a car, you know what car insurance rates are like, is there honestly a difference between cars and bikes in this regard? And if so, why?

To answer your first question, yes, there’s a significant difference in all regards between cars and bikes, from obtaining the license, to maintaining it, all the way up to insurance. It’s a horse of a very different color.

As for why? Well, all vehicles are inherently, mostly equally dangerous. How they’re dangerous is a big one. Vehicles can be dangerous to their passengers, of course, and often are. Their bigger danger is inflicting that damage on another unsuspecting driver, pedestrian, or other thing they may collide with.

A motorcycle is more dangerous to its rider(s). Hitting anything stationary like walls, polls, buildings or trees in a car is something you stand a decent chance of surviving, as the giant metal box around you absorbs the shock. Doing so on a motorcycle isn’t so pretty.
You could also fall off one of them doing 60, or be hit by one of the idiots we mentioned earlier whom drive negligently. When a four wheel vehicle hits a motorcycle, it usually does damage the car, though often fairly superficially. The motorcycle and its rider(s) enjoy no such luck. Riding a motorcycle requires far more vigilant operation due to this risk, the dangers of larger vehicles, and a plague of drivers who don’t check for motorcycles. 

Check for motorcycles, America.

Insurance Pricing

Like we said, due to a lot of variables, there’s no way to predict with one hundred percent certainty what your price would be, even with a lot of criteria, as these prices tend to be calculated at the time by an agent, due to the impact of variables changing from time to time.

Thus, the pricing below is an average, or generality. They’re good enough to ballpark whether or not you have the budget to ride a motorcycle legally.

Cruiser or Touring Motorcycle

  • 25-60 yo, Good Driving Record, Liability Only – This going to be the least expensive scenario, as liability is the minimal legal coverage possible, just as with home or car insurance. It’s not hard to qualify for this insurance if you have a clean or at least good driving record. It may be possible to get it cheaper through your car insurance provider, if you’re in good standing with them as a customer. Est. Price: $100-$500/year
  • 25-60 yo, Good Driving Record, Full Coverage – Chances are, you’ll want to protect what you love, and that means additional coverage for repairs, replacements, theft and other such concerns, not just covering you legally in an accident. This makes the price go up a good bit, but for this particular customer bracket, less than you might expect. This too may be cheaper through your existing auto insurance provider. You may also cheapen it further via installing approved anti-theft devices, purchasing approved safety gear, and so on. Est. Price: $400-$800/year
  • 25-60 yo, Bad Driving Record, Full Coverage – A bad record can really haunt you with insurance. Not only can it be hard to get liability (due to having a record of being one), but the price of the full coverage will be considerably higher. We can’t really even give you a reliable estimate here, because it all depends on which provider you approach, what kind of bad driving record it is that you have, and what kind of mood the agent is in when they quote the price. Suffice it to say, it will be very expensive, possibly unmanageably so, and there aren’t really any lifehacks to make it cheaper. Et. Price: Impossible to guess, but tremendously high!

Crotch Rocket Sports Motorcycle

  • 16-24 yo, Good Driving Record, Full Coverage – A 16-year-old probably shouldn’t be on a motorcycle, especially not a crotch rocket of all things. At that age, if motorcycles are something they want to pursue as a hobby or way of life, they should be learning fundamentals on dirt bikes. However, in some states, it is legal under guardianship, and at 18, anyone can legally drive anything if they earn the license to do so. Inexperience (which for motorcycles often takes liability only off the table) raises prices quite a bit, and full coverage is itself quite expensive. Parents might be able to get prices lower if policies give them some of the responsibility, thus lowering the premiums a little, but really, this is just going to be expensive, no matter how you slice it. Est. Price: $900-$1200/year

Are you a long-time rider just seeing if you can find a better price for your motorcycle insurance? Are you someone who’s planning to get into biking? Did these prices make you rethink how interested you were? I’m curious to know, so subscribe to me on YouTube, and let me know somewhere in the comments if these prices are obscene, about what you expected, or quite a bit lower than you feared. Then stick around, if you still want to ride, I’ve got some great content to get you started with one of America’s great hobbies!

Motorcycle Basics: Before You Start Riding

Before even hopping on a motorcycle, it’s a smart decision to ride about the mechanics of the machine and familiarize yourself with key concepts. Having an idea in your head is going to come in handy when you’re faced with common beginner problems or later on when you’re on the road. 

That’s how you really get a handle on the motorcycle. Let’s get started. 

Motorcycle Basic Controls

Most motorcycles have the same controls; but you should always check the owner’s manual since the locations and shapes of some features will vary between makes and models. 

Motorcycle Basic Controls
motorcycle controls indicators and equipment

Motorcycle basic parts:

Handlebars

Right side: 

  • Electric start button – usually yellow or white.
  • Engine cut-off switch – above the electric start button. Usually red. 
  • Above the right throttle is the front brake lever.

Left side: 

  • Horn
  • Indicators (blinkers)
  • Choke
  • Headlight dip switch (high beams/low)
  • Clutch lever.

Between the handlebars, you find the ignition key. Ahead of the handlebars, you will also see the speedometer, odometer, and the tachometer. 

Left Side Handle/Throttle
motorcycle handlebar controls
Right Side Handle/Throttle
motorcycle throttle

Older Styles and Off-Road Bikes

Here’s some special considerations if you are on an older model or have an off-road bike: 

Fuel petcock – these are usually attached to the left near the carburetor. You can lean down to switch the gas tank when the fuel is getting low and you need to get to the gas station ASAP. 

Kick starter – off-road bikes have kick starters more commonly than street bikes. The kick starter works when you push down on the lever, turning the engine crank and causing the pistons to put pressure against the spark plug. Fuel ignites to start the engine. 

motorcycle shifting

What To Check Before Your Ride Every Time

Professional schools throughout the country use the acronym T-CLOCs to help you remember what you should check before heading on your bike. These checks should be done at least once a year, depending on how often you are riding your bike. If you ride every single day, you will have to use T-CLOCs much more often. 

  • T – Tires
  • C – (Main) Controls 
  • L – Lights & other controls 
  • O – Oil & other fluids 
  • C – Chassis
  • S – Stands

Tires

Check the air pressure and look at the condition of the tires. Are they worn down? Cracking? What is the condition of the spokes? Do you note any air leakage?

Next, look at the rims, bearings, seals, and casts. Does each brake work as it should? Does the bike fight you when turning or slowing down? 

Controls

The main controls include the handlebars, cables, hoses, levels, pedals, and throttle. Make sure the condition of the hoses is good and that everything is properly lubricated. The bars should be straight, and the throttle should move without resistance. Ensure the hoses aren’t cut or leaking. Any bulges, chafing, cracks or fraying of control cables needs to be repaired. 

Lights & Other Controls

This includes the battery, wiring, tail and signal lights, switches, blinkers, headlight, and reflectors. Is everything illuminating? Do the blinkers flash right? Is fraying or kinks in the wiring? Are the beams strong enough in the dark? 

Oil & Other Fluids

Check the gaskets and seals for any leaks. Ensure the oil level is good, along with other fluid levels. Check for sediment in the coolant reservoir. 

Chassis

The chassis is made up of the frame, suspension, chains, belts, and fasteners. Nothing should rattle. Nothing should be frayed, cracking, peeling, or chipping. Ensure that everything is tight and that there is tension in the belts and chains. 

Stands

Check for cracks or bends in the stands. Springs should hold their position without looseness. 

Basic Mechanics of a Motorcycle

Being that a motorcycle rides on two wheels, it is designed to lean to either side. Through balance and input from the ride, the motorcycle maintains an upright position. Many beginners are afraid that the bike is going to fall over if they lean too far, but that’s not the case. Through the forces of physics, such as friction, momentum, and gravity, it’s nearly impossible for a bike that’s going to straight to fall over. 

Engine

Another reason the motorcycle stays upright is the force of the pistons in the engine. These pistons move up and down, creating a force that helps the moving bike maintain it’s upward position. 

Tires

The tires of motorcycles are designed to be rounded, ensuring that as the bike rounds a corner, the same surface area of the tire remains on the ground. 

Chassis

For the beginner, all you need to know about the chassis is how to sit properly. When positioned properly on the bike, your wrists, knees, and back will be comfortable. You should also be able to engage your core and thigh muscles when using your body to maneuver. 

Clutch

Most bikes are manual transmission. The clutch keeps the bike moving but also controls the speed by using friction. Clutches are usually bathed in the same oiled the engine uses, so if you ride the clutch for a while, you won’t cause damage. However, some bikes are different, so refer to the owner’s manual. 

Wrapping It Up

For the new rider, your focus should be memorizing where the controls are and what certain parts of the bike do. By learning the general location, you can drive much more safely (and not while staring at the handlebars). 

Remember, the everything takes practice. In the same way you learned to ride a bicycle, you need some patience with riding a motorcycle. With that, you’re ready to begin! 

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What to Expect at a Beginner Rider Course

If you want to gain valuable experience, then you go to school. The same applies to motorcycle riding. When you sign up for the Beginner or Basic Rider courses that are available from multiple organizations throughout the U.S., you are taking a giant step forward. Here is what to expect: 

Pre-Course Assignment

The assignment that you receive is dependent on the organization that you sign up with. Make sure you do this work, because you will be better prepared for what is to come in the class. You are welcome to take notes, write down questions to ask the instructor, and familiarize yourself with the terminology. 

Necessary Items

When you have class, you should bring your student handbook, a notepad, pen, and some food items for snacks and lunch. These classes will last for most of the day, so be prepared for a full day of learning and moving. 

You should wear jeans with ankle boots, a long-sleeved shirt or jacket, full fingered gloves, and a DOT-legal helmet. Some schools will have helmets to borrow if you don’t have one. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to attend the class if you don’t have the appropriate gear. 

Also, regardless of the weather, the class will go on. Be prepared for cold mornings. Lightweight layers are best, because you can peel them off as you get hot. You should also wear a waterproof jacket, boots, and gloves, just in case it rains. 

What Happens In The Class

The class structure depends on statewide regulations and the course provider. However, most programs cover the same points. The courses are completed within two days, although you can sign up for more advanced courses later on. 

First Day

On the first day of the Basic Rider Course, you don’t want to be late. Anyone who arrives late has a direct impact on how much information you receive—and you don’t want to miss anything. Before you turn on the engine, you need to sign some liability papers and other paperwork. You might be asked to introduce yourself and talk about what experience you have on a motorcycle. It’s fine if you have zero experience, because the class is designed for beginners. Relax and enjoy the chance to make new riding buddies. 

The first half of the day talks about basic riding mechanics. This should be considered review if you did the pre-course assignment. If you jotted down any questions in your notes, this is the time you ask. 

The first riding exercise doesn’t send you off down the road with no assistance. You review the handlebar controls once again. You mount, dismount, and turn the vehicle on and off. You then get a feel of the manually-operated clutch. Gradually, you get familiarized with the motion of the bike 

The exercises thereafter include riding in a straight line, shifting gears, turning and cornering. The class is paced to allow for you to absorb this information is quickly or slowly as you need. 

Second Day

The second day builds off the operations you picked up on the first day. Now, you can get more technical and polish those skills. The session begins with practice of slow speed maneuvering, emergency braking, swerving, and more cornering. 

Once these drills are complete, you are assessed on your competency. The riding test will be the most stressful part of the day, because you need to successfully complete the exercises. If you don’t pass, you can retest for free; but if you fail twice, consider that riding a motorcycle might not be for you. 

Other Things To Expect

There’s a reason you sign a liability form. You could tip over or crash during the hands-on section of the course. Don’t worry, though. This, too, is practice. Once you have fallen a few times, you get the hang of controlling the bike. You will receive advice for staying upright from a professional instead of having to figure it out yourself. 

All in all, a Basic Rider Course is an excellent choice for all new riders who want to gain valuable experience before hitting the road. Though the course only lasts for two whole days, you learn much more than you probably expect. Go in with an open mind and leave riding your motorcycle. After that, the road is yours to master. 

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How To Start A Yamaha R6

Starting a motorcycle is easier than it used to be, thanks to technology. While there are various kinds of bikes, starting a Yamaha R6 or other fuel-injected motorcycles is more or less then same across the board. 

Here is how you start a fuel-injected motorcycle, like the Yamaha R6: 

How To Start A Yamaha R6

Starting The Engine of a Yamaha R6

You can find this information in the owner’s manual of your bike, too. Before starting the bike, make sure you have done the following: 

  1. The transmission is in neutral. 
  2. The transmission is in gear, the clutch is pulled, and the kickstand/sidestand is stowed. Some modern models, Yamaha included, have a safety feature that will prevent the bike from starting if the sidestand hasn’t been raised. 

Next, follow these steps precisely: 

  1. Insert the key into the ignition. 
  2. Turn the key to the ON position. Make sure the engine stop switch is set to the correct position. 
  3. Warning lights and indicator lights should illuminate momentarily then disappear if conditions are satisfactory. These lights include:
    1. Oil level 
    2. Coolant temperature
    3. Fuel level 
    4. Shift timing 
    5. Engine problems
    6. Immobilizer system 
    7. Shift the transmission into neutral. The light should come on. If not, you might have an electrical circuit problem. 
    8. Start the engine with the start switch. 
    9. In the event of failure, wait a few seconds and try another start. Don’t draw out the time trying to start the engine to preserve battery power. Do not extend for more than 10 seconds. 

General Instructions for a Fuel-Injected Motorcycle

Here’s some instructions to follow if you don’t have the make/model mentioned above: 

How To Start A Motorcycle

  1. Put the motorcycle in neutral. Neutral is always located between 1st and 2nd gear. 
  2. Put the key in the ignition if necessary.
    * Note: Fuel-injected motorcycles have an engine management system. This means you don’t have to worry about using the choke lever. Only a small amount of throttle will be needed, regardless of engine temperature. 
  3. Start pulling the clutch near the left handlebar. Some riders choose to pull the clutch and front brake simultaneously, but the choice is yours. 
  4. Press and hold the start button. You will find this on the right handlebar. Maintain your hold on the clutch. 
  5. The motorcycle should automatically catch and start. 
  6. If the engine doesn’t turn over and start immediately, you can try using the throttle while pressing the start button. Make sure you are holding the clutch. 
  7. Remember to never crank the engine for more than 10 seconds clips at a time. Otherwise, you’re wasting battery power. 
  8. You can slowly start to release the clutch.

    Now, you’re ready to ride!

How To Start A Yamaha R6

Final Thoughts

Unlike carburetor motors, fuel injection systems rarely fail. To prevent the pump from failing, do some routine maintenance. Get into the habit of listening to the bike and know what a healthy running engine sounds like. That way, if something unusual happens, you will be able to tell whether or not something is wrong with the pump fuse by sound alone. 

Modern fuel-injected motorcycles are easy to start. Follow the instructions in this article, and you will have no problem. 

For more information about how to start, ride, and care for your motorcycle, check out my YouTube channel. Hit the subscribe button for notifications whenever there’s an update.

Viking Cycle Bloodaxe Leather Motorcycle Jacket Review

When it comes to motorcycle jackets, you want something that balances the need to look like you own the road and enough protection to keep you from becoming part of the road. Viking Cycle, a brand based out of California, has been turning heads with their attention to detail and security in their full range of motorcycle clothing for men and women. The best part is the price tag.

Viking Cycle Bloodaxe Leather Motorcycle Jacket Review

Overview of the Bloodaxe Motorcycle Jacket

Out of the box, the Bloodaxe looks awesome and feels awesome. When the jacket first goes on, you’ll notice it’s a bit stiff—but it does loosen up with some wear, as good leather should. The zippers have solid construction, open and close smoothly, and lay well when you’re riding.

The biggest advantage of the Viking Cycle Bloodaxe isn’t the awesome name but the amount of storage. You won’t believe the amount of storage space you have with this jacket. There’s so much, it’s almost ridiculous.

There is a headphone wire system that you can feed into the collar of the jacket, earphone pockets, a media player pocket, cellphone pocket with 3 second access, 2 knife and pen pockets, an eyeglass pocket, a pocket designed to find a 10-inch tablet, extendable keyholder, and another pocket that can fit travel documents and your wallet. The pockets have a unique “no bulge” design, so even if you somehow managed to stuff every single compartment this jacket has, it will still look flat and sleek and not like a bubble jacket. Overall, it sits nice on the body and doesn’t feel stifling.

The sizing does run a little small. Someone around 5 foot, 10 inches, 180 pounds will fall into the M-L range, depending on how much you want to bundle up. If you take out the thermal lining or don’t want to wear a lot of clothing underneath, you might want to size down to prevent the jacket from floating on you.

Specifications

(listed adapted from vikingcycle.com)

  • Construction – Drum-dyed soft genuine cowhide leather (milled buffalo), padded shoulders, and Viking cycle level 1 removable “armor” on elbows and spine; two intake vents on the top of the shoulders and exhaust vents in the back
  • External Storage – 2 zippered chest pockets, 2 zippered side pockets, and a single sleeve pocket
  • Internal Storage – 2 secured zippered pockets and a secret compartment
  • Adjustability – waist snaps and sleeve zippers
  • Visibility – High viz stripes located on the back and shoulders

Pros

  • Sag and wrinkle resistant
  • Wind and water resistant
  • Abrasion resistant
  • A ton of hidden pockets on the internal side of the jacket
  • CE marked armor in the back and shoulders – comfortable and stays in place while riding around
  • Budget-friendly cost without a lack of quality and safety
  • Stylish design

Cons

  • Can be hot – the jacket has a thermal lining and is heavy, so it can be oppressive in the summertime even with the vents open. For that reason, it might not be ideal for moving in slower paced traffic;
  • CE armor level could be higher.

Warranty Info

Viking Cycle offers a 1 year manufacturer’s warranty on all of their products. This means that any defects or imperfections that you find are covered. The warranty does not cover wear and tear or damages caused from improper care.

This might raise some questions about durability, since some production errors or faults can take a few days or weeks to appear.

If you start to notice something odd going on with the jacket that you didn’t cause, you can contact Viking Cycle at info@vikingcycle.com with the order number and a photo of the defect to get an exchange or refund.

Conclusion

Honestly, for the quality of the jacket, you would expect to pay more for it than you do. The name might be a bit for metal than what this motorcycle jacket offers, but the sleekness of the design, paired with the sound construction and unheard of amount of storage makes it a clear winner. If you’re looking for a balance of style and safety without breaking your bank, I recommend the Viking Bloodaxe motorcycle jacket for your wardrobe. 

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