Motorcycle 101

Lesson 3 - Stopping

Before you start, you should know how to stop. A friend of mine ran a stop sign on his first day because he hadn't figured this out. (Fortunately, it was a rural road with no traffic)

  • The killswitch - recent bikes probably have a killswitch on the handlebars which will stop the engine by interrupting electric power to the ignition. Older bikes may not - you need to use the keyswitch. Don't use this while you are moving.
  • Emergency stop - this is quite simple, but needs practice nonetheless. Pull the clutch all the way in, and pull hard and smoothly on the front brake. On my bike, I am able to squeeze the front brake right to the grips without skidding on a dry road. If possible, stop in a straight line - a skid will be easier to control.
    Ideally, you should simultaneously apply the rear brake with your foot. This is hard to get right - as the bike decelerates, the weight moves forward towards the front wheel, so you must apply less pressure to the rear brake or risk a rear-wheel skid. New high-end bikes may have ABS which makes it easier
You should practice this braking action a few times before ever starting the engine. You should be able to get a good grip on the levers and move them smoothly, whether wearing gloves or not. The two-handed grab should become an instinctive action for stopping in a hurry.

Next: starting