The dreaded U-Turn. It may look easy to some, but slow turning a bike that weighs an average 160kg’s is not an easy task. Here are some tips on how to perform a U-turn on a motorcycle – smoothly and confidently.
1. Don’t look down at your front wheel, look through the turn.
That age old saying, “You’ll go where you’re looking” holds especially true when it comes to performing a U-Turn on a motorcycle. Fixating your vision on your front wheel will unsettle your balance and your sense of speed. You need to keep your line of vision through the turn and always keep you focus in front of you, rather than below you. You’ll be surprised at how naturally the bike will turn.
2. Keep a relaxed grip on the handle bars and bend your elbows!
If your elbows are locked straight, your going to find it very difficult to make the bike turn in a tight circle. Keep your shoulders and elbows relaxed and don’t fight the bike from turning in. Thoughts of dropping the bike often come to mind when turning at slow speeds, but they’ll quickly go away so long as your relaxed and one with the bike.
3. Cover the clutch and be smooth on the throttle
Not enough throttle and the bike will want to stall and turn in, too much throttle and the bike will run wide and you’ll miss the mark. How you roll off and on the throttle is key here. To execute the smoothest of U-turns, you need to find that sweet spot on the clutch, where its slipping enough to transmit some, but not all of the power from the engine to the rear wheel.
4. Stabilize the bike with the rear brake
First of all, never use the front brake when performing a U-turn on a motorcycle. Instead, gentle dragging of the rear brake creates stability, enabling better control while you’re maneuvering through the turn.
5. Look over your shoulder before committing to a U-Turn.
Yes, we have blind spots too! Check your mirrors and always look over your shoulder before you start to make your turn. A great place for practicing U-Turns is in a parking lot. For good measure, try completing a U-Turn between 2 vacant car spots. Try both left and right U-Turns until you become a fully fledged U-Turn master warrior!