It’s a common misconception that riding a motorcycle is no different from driving a car. However, those of us who ride—and take our riding skills seriously—would know that this couldn’t possibly be further from the truth. Riding a motorcycle is an activity that engages all your senses, and one that requires your undivided attention and concentration. This is especially true if you ride a big bike that’s packing a lot of power.
I recently had the pleasure of joining the first batch of the KTM Riders Academy in partnership with RIDE ACADEMi, and it goes without saying that it was a humbling, yet thoroughly enjoyable experience. Through the class, I came to realize that despite having ridden for years—and having taken multiple classes previously at that—there will always be room for improvement. Having said that, here are three reasons why you should take an advanced motorcycle course, no matter what kind of bike you ride.
Get rid of bad habits
It’s normal, that as we keep riding on a regular basis, that we will develop some bad habits. Some of these things are easy to spot, while others are much more complicated, and will require you to unlearn certain things. For example, a bad habit that you may be unaware of could be something as simple as your foot position on the pegs. Do you rest your heel on the peg instead of the ball of your foot? Do you unintentionally keep your right foot over the rear brake?
Another thing that you may need to unlearn is being too stiff on the bars, and the need to correct even the slightest movement of the bike underneath you. Indeed, being relaxed and proactive with your inputs on the bars can go a long way in boosting your confidence, and making you an overall safer rider.
Develop new skills
Riding a motorcycle fast is one thing, but riding it slow—i.e., in heavy traffic—requires a completely different set of skills. As such, it’s not an uncommon sight to see veteran riders who have thousands of kilometers of experience on the highway, and even on the track, struggle with low speed maneuvers such as u-turns and figure-8s. Conversely, from a beginner standpoint stepping up to a more powerful motorcycle with a bigger engine and more powerful brakes will require you to develop the skills to handle this added performance.
Practice makes progress
It’s often said that practice makes perfect. However, one thing I learned from the KTM Riders Academy is that nobody is perfect, and achieving perfection is a fleeting and frustrating process. Instead, we should aspire to achieve progress—become better than we were the day before, and hopefully tomorrow, become better than we were today. The same is true not just for our riding skills, but for every other facet of our lives.