New Rider: Riding A Motorcycle In The Wind

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By Evans Brasfield

As a novice motorcyclist, you’re already well aware that a motorcycle is inherently unstable, and if you don’t intervene on its behalf, it could end up lying on its side. So, what do you do when you find yourself riding on a windy day? With a headwind, you just suck it up and deal with it if you don’t have a windshield. You probably won’t notice a tailwind, but it will extend your stopping distance. You’ll need to learn how to dance with the wind when it blows from the side.

The type of motorcycle you’re riding can have some effect on how you experience the wind. Bikes with handlebar-mounted fairings can interact with the wind when it is blowing from certain directions. In this case, slow down until the wind shifts. Sportbikes, with their solid sides, can also be affected by crosswinds. How you feel on a naked bike is largely a factor of the riding position and the direction of the breeze. Headwinds on a naked bike suck. There’s no way around it other than laying down on the tank, flat track-style.

Bikes with handlebar-mounted windshields can be adversely affected by wind – particularly with aftermarket windshields.

The biggest issues for motorcyclists occur when the wind is blowing from the side. To a novice rider, It feels like it will push you off the road. And it will if you don’t take some action. Fortunately, in most cases, all you need to do is lean the bike into the wind slightly by countersteering. (Don’t know what countersteering is? Read this first.) In a light breeze, the effort is barely perceptible and somewhat automatic. You might not even notice that you are leaning into the wind. However, the key to proficient motorcycling is knowing exactly what you’re doing and why. As …read more

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