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Motorcycle Safety Tips

Stayin’ Safe: Hidden Valley

The view of the road ahead looks wide open at first. But look again and notice the stretch of road that is hidden from sight.

Riding a stretch of rising and falling road is fun, but also presents a special kind of challenge for the back-road motorcyclist. While the rider can often see the road stretching out into the distance, parts of the path are hidden from view by one or more low elevation hillcrests. Those shallow dips—often hardly noticeable—can be as dangerous as a ...

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Idle Threat: The Danger From Behind

This rider has left no room for escape, is in physical and mental neutral and is highly vulnerable to that distracted driver approaching from behind.

Back in the days of the legendary Hurt Report (1981), a.k.a. the Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures technical report, the incidence of rear-end collisions was vastly underrepresented. Riders simply weren’t being struck from behind back then. Then came cell phones and texting. Now, being hit from behind by a distracted driver is a growing concern for motorcyclists…and ...

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Ready or Not, Here I Come

Will the car pull out and try to pass the line of bikes? How far will the driver make it before the passing zone runs out? Which riders will he try to squeeze between when it does?

It’s easy to become complacent when riding behind other riders. There doesn’t seem to be the same sense of urgency to actively scan the road or look to the mirrors as when we ride solo. Instead, while riding in a group, eyes tend to fixate on bikes ahead, and when we slip into “follow” mode, it’s easy to settle in, ...

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The Dirt on Riding Unpaved Roads

Even a large touring bike can be at home on unpaved roads when proper technique is applied.

It’s the end of the road for many. But it’s just the beginning for those who are comfortable and confident when the pavement ends and gravel or hard-packed dirt begins. Why is it we get so uptight when things get loose underfoot (or under tire, as it were)? Because things feel a little weird and unfamiliar on dirt. The motorcycle ...

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Under Pressure

One of these tires is inflated to 36 pounds. The other? Just 10 pounds. Is it any wonder why so many motorcyclists are riding on underinflated tires?

There was a time when riders routinely performed a series of checks before hitting the road. A day’s ride almost always began with a pop of the gas cap to check fuel level, a swipe of the oil dipstick and a careful check of tire pressures. Today, thanks to technology, motorcycles practically manage themselves, requiring less of us when it ...

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5 Tips To Deter Motorcycle Thieves

Abus Disc Lock_1

Of all the motorcycles stolen in the U.S. last year, it’s safe to say more than a few of them weren’t locked or secured in any way. It’s also a good bet that some of them were, and were stolen anyway. The scary truth is that hardcore professional thieves will get your motorcycle if they want it badly enough—locks, alarms and ...

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Road Striping Can Be Slippery When Wet…or Dry

Silicone, reflective glass beads used in road striping paint can be extraordinarily slippery. Avoid riding through splatters, overspray and any paint tracked onto the road surface, especially in curves.

Two friends of mine, Al Mattson and Paul Michelin, shared a recent experience they had when out with a buddy enjoying the twisties. All highly experienced and skilled riders, Al and Paul made it safely through a right-hand curve only to discover their friend had not. He and his bike slid mid curve, regained traction and then shot across the ...

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Putting Your Bike on its Centerstand

Putting your bike on its centerstand.

Try as I might, I have a very difficult time putting my motorcycle on its centerstand to lube the drive chain or check rear tire pressure. Can you guys give us some tips to make it easier? Joan Herron, Via Email Placing a motorcycle on its centerstand is all about body position and leverage, not necessarily strength: With the motorcycle ...

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Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign


On any given ride, we are presented with countless road signs along the way, each strategically placed to guide and warn of potential danger. Are there particular signs that suggest more of a threat than others? I believe there are. Consider the commonly seen signs shown here. Each represents a routine curve to either the left or right. Each also ...

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Stayin’ Safe: Goldilocks and the Three Gears


Through our Stayin’ Safe on-road training program, we’ve seen several consistent rider habits. One is failure to shift to an appropriate gear for corners. Riders often pick a low-rpm gear and stick with it, counting on the engine’s torque to do the work. But every motorcycle engine—including a large V-Twin—has a performance sweet spot. Which gear puts it there? Allow ...

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