5 Tips for Starting on a Hill | MOTORCYCLIST

Street Savvy

Overcome Fear On the Street or Trail: 5 Tips for Starting on a Hill

Getting going on an incline is a new rider’s toughest task. Here’s how to make it easier.

riding tips, starting on a hill, overcome fear

Practicing off road is a safe way to learn new techniques that can be applied to your street riding.

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Stopping on an uphill slope and then getting going again can be tricky, particularly for riders with insufficient inseam length to make solid contact with the ground. Here are some tips to help you handle these situations.

1. Evaluate your options. When you see that you must stop on a hill, identify an approach that is clear of significant debris or surface contamination that may cause your foot or tires to slip. Avoid vehicle drippings, sand, gravel and slick surfaces. You also want to stop so your bike is pointed toward an easy exit that does not require an immediate turn.

2. Stop perpendicularly to the slope. Stop so your bike is pointed as straight up the hill as possible. This keeps the tire contact patch centered and the bike in balance and gives you the option to put either the left or right foot down for support. If you must stop along a slight slope, lean the bike a bit toward the uphill side and support the machine with your uphill foot when stopped.

3. Keep the brake applied. Once you've successfully stopped your motorcycle, you'll have to keep the bike from rolling backward by applying the front and/or rear brake. If you feel the need to put both feet down, then the front brake is your only option. If you can, it’s often better to lean the bike slightly to the left so you can support the bike with your left foot and have the option of using the rear brake. On very steep hills, the front tire may not have enough traction to hold the bike from sliding backwards. In this case, you’re going to have to use the rear brake. This is a good reason to get into the habit of stopping with the right foot on the rear brake.

4. Choose a method for starting. To get going from the stop, you’ll need to release the brake while easing the clutch into the friction zone. This transfers the responsibility for holding the motorcycle in place from the brake to the clutch. If you are holding the bike in place using the front brake only (with both feet on the ground) you’ll need to release front brake lever pressure while at the same time rolling on the throttle. This method takes more coordination because you are asking your right hand to coordinate two actions simultaneously. It’s easier if you can keep the rear brake applied and then slowly release rear brake pressure with your foot as you smoothly roll on the throttle and ease out the clutch.

5. Rev the motor and engage the clutch slowly. Depending on how steep the slope, you may have to rev the engine more than normal to ensure it does not stall and for enough power to overcome gravity. Another important measure to help prevent stalling is to ease out the clutch slowly. Simultaneously release the brake and off you go.

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