One of the biggest components covered by the Road Strategy umbrella is “following distance”. Simply put, this is the distance at which you are “following” the vehicle directly in front of you. They talk about this in various highway codes as the “2-Second-Rule” which means the suggested minimum gap between you and the car in front should be two seconds of time. Or as long as it takes you to actually say “only a fool breaks the two second rule”. The rule is more a guide to reaction times and safe stopping distances. When applied to motorcyclists however, the 2-second rule is somewhat inadequate, largely due to a motorcycle’s small size and greater reliance on rider visibility and positioning. Let’s look at why such a premium is placed on following distance for us bikers.
We all know that ABS on motorcycles has been around for a while, but what it might surprise you to know is just how long it’s been around. According to the Wiki, BMW launched an 11kg (!!) ABS system on its K100 series way back in 1988. I was only 13-years-old back then and am in my forties now…. Because the system has been around for a long time and is becoming a standard feature on most bikes nowadays, a long-held assumption I’ve had is that the vast majority of today’s riders are au fait with the system…
With the dozens of riders I’ve coached over the years, it’s always a source of bemusement to me that the two most important tools for riding a motorcycle are the two I always find used the least – counter-steering and the rear brake. Counter-steering may be considered an advanced technique but rear-braking is firmly in the “basic motorcycle control” one.
There are so many different factors and variables that contribute to successful corner execution and reading about them on a blog isn’t ideal, mainly because of the problems involved in learning a practical skill from the written word, but since so many riders have a tendency to corner extremely badly, I thought I’d examine a few of the major areas of cornering that you can take with you and practice.
This blog post might be the first time you have come across the term “counter steering”, or maybe you’ve heard of it but think “pfffft I don’t need to do that in order to steer MY motorcycle! I just lean it over!” – but here is the honest and total truth: in order for the motorcycle to turn at higher speeds, you must counter steer, whether you realize you are doing it or not. Consciously counter-steering, and practicing it will open up a whole new world to you as a rider because it enables incredibly precise, quick and effective turning – far more than using your body to lean the motorcycle over will ever achieve.