This article originally appeared in a newsletter published by TEAM Arizona and is republished with their permission.
Have you spent much time thinking about throttle control? Better yet, have you spent much time actually practicing throttle control on your motorcycle? If you’ve been around motorcycling long enough, you’re probably thinking, “I have it down pat.” Are you sure?
Most motorcyclists can roll onto the throttle really well; just ask the general public and they’ll confirm that we’re effective at making tons of noise with our throttle hand. The part of our throttle control we’re concerned about in this article is the roll off. A vast majority of motorcyclists, when they’re coming to a stop or preparing to enter a corner, slam the throttle shut versus slowly, gradually rolling the throttle off. Why does this matter?
Slamming the throttle shut upsets the motorcycle’s suspension. Weight transfers forward causing the front suspension to collapse. Too much sudden weight transfer to the front tire reduces the tire’s ability to provide traction for braking, complicates steering, and prevents the suspension from properly soaking up bumps. We greatly reduce our options by sloppily rolling off the throttle. Lucky for us, the fix requires no money, just a little time and your attention.
To improve your throttle control, one can easily practice this today in a very low risk manner. In neutral, starting at idle, slowly and precisely roll onto the throttle to rev the engine up to 40% of its rpm range and then slowly roll off back to idle. Can you gradually and precisely control the throttle at all parts of the rpm range? Can you stop the throttle anywhere in the rpm range you choose in a precise manner? Do you have this level of control when you ride? Why not?
Simply practicing the slow, gradual, and precise roll on and roll off of your motorcycle’s throttle will make you a better rider. The best part is that we can practice as we roll off down the highway on our next adventure.
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