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Congratulations! You got your Class M Motorcycle License. Here are some riding tips from ETEX and other riders.

Updated: Apr 14


Basic RiderCourse Graduates
Happy New Riders!

Now that you've successfully received your Class M Motorcycle License in the mail, we know you may find there's a lot to learn about riding on the street. Our hope is that this Blog will become a place where experienced riders can share some of the things they have learned. We'll start with a few basic topics.


What kind of riding would be best for me at first?


It's going to take some time for the skills you learned on our machines in the beginner class to transfer to YOUR machine. We suggest that you start out riding in empty parking lots where you can practice your slow speed skills like clutch control, power walking, turning from a stop, U-turns, shifting between 1st and 2nd gear, starting and stopping smoothly, and quick stops. Then move on to neighborhoods with wide streets, stop signs, light traffic, and slower speed limits. Remember to go easy on these exercises at first and gradually increase your speed to what you did in the class. Part of the skills you learned includes turning your head and eyes to search and evaluate curves and corners, so get used to that as you ride the neighborhoods. Look where you want to go and ride to where you're looking.


Highway Riding


The faster a motorcycle travels, the more stable it can be. The gyroscopic affect from the wheels actually makes the bike "want" to stay upright. That's why many riders might tell you it's easier to ride on the highway. Highway riding can be thrilling, but those higher speeds require your constant focus and attention. Here are a few tips:

  • Stay under the speed limits at first. Get used to how quickly the scenery goes by.

  • Keep your eyes moving. Search far and near and side to side.

  • Keep a minimum 2 second following distance.

  • Don't ride in blind spots.

  • Slow down and pay attention to cross-traffic vehicles as you approach intersections as they may not see you.

  • Change your lane position as you ride to make yourself more visible, especially to on-coming traffic.


Riding with Friends


Riding with friends can be much more enjoyable than riding by yourself. Here are a few suggestions to keep your rides together safe and fun.

  • Don't ride side by side. An obstacle in your lane, a glance to the side or down, checking your blind spot, a gust of wind, even if you're paying close attention to your riding, it doesn't take much of a change in your balance to cause a motorcycle to drift to one side or the other. Give each other all 3 of their lane positions and ride staggered.

  • Communicating with each other can be difficult while riding. Before the ride, agree on some hand signals for things like, Trash on the road, Left turn ahead, Let's pull over, Need gas, Let's eat, and Where are we going?

  • MSF has a white paper on Group Riding. you can find it here.


Get to know your motorcycle and take care of it


You have a lot riding on those 2 or 3 wheels.

  • Listen to and feel your motorcycle. If you hear or feel something different, have it checked out.

  • Be diligent with your TCLOCS inspections.

  • Review your Owner's Manual often.

  • Don't skimp on tires and keep them properly inflated.

  • Keep your fluids topped off. Use quality oil designed for motorcycles.

  • Does your gas tank have a reserve on it? Knowing you have a reserve might help you get to a gas pump if your main tank runs dry.

  • Should you be using premium gas?

  • Know how much gas your tank holds and what kind of mpg you're getting. This will tell you about how many miles you should be able to go on a tank of gas. Then, if your speedometer has a trip meter, reset it every time you fill up with gas. Your trip meter can then tell you when you're getting close to empty.


What kind of gear should I wear when I ride?


Consider the gear you were required to wear during the class: helmet, eye protection, gloves, long sleeves, long pants, and sturdy footwear that covers the ankles. That should be your foundation. It's only skin, right? Leather offers great protection but can be very hot and heavy. You might consider some of the modern textiles available for good road protection while still keeping you cooler. Layered clothing is ideal so you can adjust as the day gets warmer or colder. Lightweight motorcycle rain gear can be very handy and doesn't take up a lot of space in your bags.


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Guest
Mar 06
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

If your bike doesn't have a reserve fuel tank, it's useful to have a small liter or 750ml emergency gas tank. They are about the size of a large water bottle and come in handy when you use more fuel than you expect or have a long distance between fuel stops.

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