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hi all,


found this while clearing up some old files.

tink it may have been posted before but still worth a read :smile:


What have you done wrong today?


Recognising mistakes is the first step to becoming a better rider. Here are

15 of the most common ones ? and how you can avoid them.



HOW many times have you gone to overtake a slow-moving vehicle only to have

a car pull out from the queue behind it to attempt the same thing? That's

frustrating if you see him swerving out in time, downright dangerous if you


Always assume the driver won't have seen you, let alone given you a second

thought. And bear in mind that the higher performance the car, the more

likely the driver is to attempt the manoeuvre. One thing the Porsche driver

has in common with a Ford driver is he is less likely to look behind before

making his move than you are. His chances for overtakes are fewer than your

own, so his frustration is greater. If he sees a gap he'll go and it's

hard luck if you are alongside at the time. So if you are going to go past

him, go as far to the other side of the road as you can in case he swerves

out, and go past at a speed at which you can abort if the need arises.

While you are waiting to overtake, don't get too close to his rear. Act as

if you are on a long piece of elastic strung out behind the vehicle you

want to overtake. When your view of the road ahead is blocked, drop back

(stretching the elastic). As you scan ahead, try to predict when the view

might open up (on the exit of a corner, for example) and start accelerating

with the intention of being in the right position to overtake when you

first see the road ahead is clear. You'll actually find the exits of

corners are often the best and safest places to whip by.



There's no need for a leotard or a Yoga class, but to be fast, smooth, safe

and focused on a bike you need to be relaxed. Remember the time you got

buzzed by a rapid rider passing you? When the red mist descended you got

more than angry, you got tense. You may have felt fast because your riding

was erratic, but you didn't go faster. He got farther and farther away.

Relax and start to flow and you're more likely to reel him in, even if you

feel like you are going slower.

Tensing up is an all too natural response. Almost overshoot a corner and

the fear makes arms and legs stiffen. Your rigidity hampers the movement of

your bike's suspension (you are effectively fighting back against its

movement) which makes the risk of you losing control even greater. You fear

this, get even more tense and, if you don't break the cycle, you'll end up

breaking your motorcycle.

You may feel this doesn't apply to you. To find out, do this simple test.

Find yourself a corner and, while you ride round it, try waggling your

elbows up and down. If doing this " funky chicken " upsets your bike, you

are holding too tight. Holding on too hard also increases your risk of

having a tankslapper.



THE best riders are those who use every clue they can to see where the road

is going.

That gives them time to react to the ever-changing view without fear of the

unknown chiming in to slow their ride.

Others ride like a man walking down the street but staring at his feet.

Before too long they are going to bump into something. You tend to end up

going where you are looking.

The big advantage a bike has on the road is that it can be moved from side

to side to improve your view. Unless the surface or other hazards dictate

otherwise, always ride on the part of the road that gives you the greatest

view ahead.

The vanishing point (the point at which the road disappears from view) now

becomes a useful go-faster tool. If that point is coming closer to you then

you should slow down or at least keep the throttle constant, as this shows

the bend is tightening. If it is getting farther away from you, the corner

is opening out and you should start powering out.

Police riders have to do a commentary on their ride during tests,

describing every hazard they see, where the road ahead is going and what

the surfaces are like. Try doing a commentary to yourself next time you

ride. Keep it up and you'll learn to make use of the things you are seeing

to tell you when and where you can pile on the power. You'll end up

cracking on smoother than ever.



TWO things keep us on the road. One is our tyres, the other is the road

surface. If we haven't got a good bond between them we're going to struggle

to ride fast. Watch the road surface and learn how your bike feels when

it's on different surfaces.

We know what happens if we hit a drain cover or metal studs while cranked

over, but some roads, where you see black lines in the bitumen where cars

have started to wear out the road, can be just as slippery. Reading the

surface can also give you advance warning of what is around the next bend.

See horse manure and it ain't an all-girl marching band you can expect to

find on the next straight. Lots of skidmarks from heavy braking could

suggest the next corner is tighter than it initially looks. Remember the

rubber part of the story, too. We all know someone who crashed on new tyres

- cold tyres can be just as dangerous. Be patient, take the time to warm

them, then enjoy.



IT takes more than just a big handful on the straights to go fast. Used

properly, the throttle is the key to getting round corners quickly. Take

time to get to know how your bike reacts to your throttle inputs.

The best way to discover its effects is to find a favourite corner and go

into it a little slower than normal. As soon as you are in the turn, gently

open the throttle. A constant throttle balances the bike. Accelerate too

hard and the rear will squat too much, lightening the front and reducing

the control you have through the front tyre. Roll off the throttle and the

bike will be slowing through the turn, loading up the front and potentially

overwhelming it. Keep it constant and, as the exit opens up, open the

throttle more to drive firmly out of the bend. You will end up smoother in

both the dry and the wet.

Once you've got this nailed down you can start looking for more

acceleration out of the bend. The closer to upright the bike is the more

throttle you can feed in, as an upright bike puts more rubber in contact

with the road and is less prone to stepping out. Get the bike in the

powerband and feed it in gently, always being aware that the rear tyre

could slide if you're trying really hard.

Many make the mistake of going round corners in too high a gear. Ideally,

you should be in a gear you can go round the whole turn in, as changing

ratios can unsettle the bike when cranked over. Keep the revs relatively

high and the bike is less likely to wallow.



IT'S a busy Bank Holiday and you are filtering through the car park that is

the M25. Check your mirrors moment by moment for signs of riders even more

impatient than you. And keep looking ahead for signs of movement from cars

and lorries. Look at the wheels. Are they steering to change lanes? Look at

the drivers. Are they looking in their mirrors? Are they turning their

heads? Look out for indicators ? a lot of drivers seem to think they only

have to turn them on to have the right of way.

Filtering is illegal in some countries. Here the police tend to accept it

if you are going

4-5mph more than the traffic. Whip through lanes of parked cars at 40mph

and expect Plod to get excited. He has good reason.



THERE'S nothing on a bike more satisfying than grinding your kneesliders to

dust, but if you have never quite achieved that it may not be because you

can't, just you want to too much. Staring at your slider and willing it

towards the deck is likely to slow you and make a knee-down harder to

achieve. Concentrate on your riding and accept your knee will kiss the deck

when your riding is right.

It's best left to the grippy surfaces of a track day. But if you can't

wait, find a well-surfaced roundabout at a quiet time of day. You need one

you can get round at about 40-50mph.

Ride it a few times to set yourself up and get your tyres warm and attempt

to get at least one buttock off the side of the seat. Go round the corner a

little faster than you normally would and probe down with your knee. If it

doesn't go down it could be that you're not sticking your knee out in the

right place or you're not going fast enough.

The key is to concentrate on your lines and keeping your corner speed


If the police show up, don't argue, move along.



ALLOWING less than an inch of movement up and down in the chain not only

means the next big bump will put a tight spot in it, it can also affect

your bike's handling.

If the chain's too stiff it will upset the bike by restricting the movement

of the swingarm and you will essentially have an extra, and unpredictable,

damper. One-and-a-half-inches is a better guideline, though you should

refer to your manufacturers' handbook for precise details. It may look a

little loose while you are staring at it from the side of the bike, but

don't forget how much difference the addition of your weight will make.

Getting the adjustment right is particularly important on bikes with

long-travel suspension. Check your handbook and follow what it says. Some

require adjusting on a centrestand or paddock stand to be set correctly.

It's not worth gambling with.



PERIPHERAL vision tends to only register when something is moving.

If a truck is coming towards you down a slip road, your peripheral vision

will pick it up only if it is moving fast enough to meet the road safely

ahead of you, or slow enough to meet it after you have passed the junction.

But you won't notice the one on a collision course with you, because it is

closing at the same relative speed you are. In order to create the movement

you need to pick up that potential killer, you should turn your head to

look into the slip road. Now, looking directly into the slip road, you'll

see any danger. It's also a top tip to check there are no coppers skulking

up there with plans to catch the unwary.



TRYING to apex a corner without seeing where it ends is always likely to be

difficult. It could mean you cut in too early, then find you are heading

for a kerb and have to create another apex to get round the corner when you

finally work out where it actually goes.

The best position you can find to see round a corner also gives you the

most road to play with on the entry and exit. On right-handers, you should

start off as far left as you can and on left-handers you should move to the


Look where you want to go rather than fixing on the hedge that may be

threatening your finance deal and you'll go where you look (think about a

U-turn and you'll know what we mean).

There are three elements to getting round a corner: Entry, apex and exit.

Getting a good view is the key, and the way you'll get to part three


On a left-hander, stay out towards the centre white line until you get the

view to the exit and then start moving away from the white line to take

advantage of the camber and to give yourself more margin for error between

you and oncoming traffic.

On a right-hander, start close to the kerb, stay deep until you see the

exit, and then start moving away from the gutter to reduce the adverse

impact of the camber when you want to drive hard out of the corner.

Try a racing line and the camber is likely to force you on to a wider line

than you had intended.

You'll also get less view through the kind of cluttered bends we experience

on the road.

The best line for a good view is also the best line for speed on our hectic




TRYING to keep up with someone you know has more experience can put the

pressure on. Pride might force you to try too hard and, while stretching

yourself is good, going beyond your limits is dangerous.

When you ride in a group, the last person often has to go considerably

faster than the man at the front ? to make up for the reaction lag between

the leader deciding to accelerate and the last rider in the chain realising

he has gone.

It means the last man could end up charging into the next corner much

faster than the man at the front of the queue.

Next time you're leading a group, spare a thought for the blokes behind.



PILLIONS have a drastic effect on the way your bike performs.

Try to ride like a loon and you are likely to end up dangerously, and

unimpressively, erratic.

The key to riding fast with pillions is the same as with any fast ride:

Keep it smooth. Feed in the acceleration gently and be easy on the brakes.

No pillion wants to be head-butting your lid and I'm sure you don't want

them mashing your Arai either.

You can use more rear brake than you would when riding solo. It helps

steady the bike and stops the forks diving so much. The extra weight over

the rear tyre means the back is less likely to slide under braking than

usual, too.

For the same reason, the rear suspension is likely to squat more under

power so be ready for your front to lift if you roll on too hard.



RESALE values, the desire to keep your bike looking showroom-fresh and your

leathers free from grime keeps many off the road when the clouds turn grey.

But rather than fearing the slippery conditions rain can bring, you should

make the most of them to help you become faster and smoother.

True, there is less margin for error in the wet, but that's a really good

incentive to keep it smooth. Restrained use of the throttle, sweeping,

smooth lines and progressive braking are all ideal wet-weather techniques

which translate usefully into faster dry-road riding.



THE wrap-yourself-in-cotton-wool approach to riding dictates you should

always be able to stop in the distance you can see to be clear. In the real

world it is certainly best to slow down a bit when you can't see what's


Blind crests of hills are good examples. Try to get airborne over the hump

and you could end up in the back of a combine harvester lurking on the

other side.

Ease off and put yourself halfway between the white lines and the kerb.

That gives you room to react to slow-moving farm traffic on the left, and

idiot car drivers drifting from the right.



GRABBING a panicked handful, or being reluctant to brake hard enough for

fear of locked wheels, means many of us do not make the most of our brakes.

Of course, if your observation of the road ahead is painfully perfect you

should never find yourself running out of brakes on the road. But we've all

charged on presuming the granny in the Metro at the crossroads has spotted

us. When she doesn't, you may have to rely on hard and effective braking.

It's best you find out how before you are faced with a real emergency.

Find a quiet, clean-surfaced and relatively camber-free stretch of road.

Set yourself a marker and try stopping at it from varying speeds. Start at

20mph and gradually build to as fast as you feel comfortable with. You'll

see how quick you can stop, even from high speeds.

More importantly, the practice will teach you to trust your brakes not to

spit you off the first time you use them in anger.

Don't grab the lever as hard as you can (the rear brake is next to useless

in emergency braking, the rear locks easily and can slide, because weight

is transferred forward). Squeeze it progressively ? gently at first, with

increasing firmness as you slow.

Braking during cornering is rarely recommended.

Using the front brake will stand the bike up at best and dangerously

overwhelm the front tyre at worst. But if you are running wide, using the

rear brake gently (and only the rear brake) can tighten your line to help

you make it round.

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Even a slow-rider will become a speed-demon in this situation. On top of the anger one is experiencing, one will get shocked as well due to the different handling and aggressiveness in riding. This will most probably result in kissing other vehicles or the road.



hehe, talk c*** only. :sweat:

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When I'm pissed off, I'll accelerate very hard from traffic lights, but I never go over the speed limit, and I never overtake dangerously or squeeze between moving cars.

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Guest tony15gck



looks like the few common mistakes mentioned here are linked to our emotional state of mind.. anger, pride, fear, etc..


So always be cool should shelve most of the common mistakes by riders..


I especially like the part about catching up, i was once slow in the pack and thanks goodness my friends were all willing to wait for me as i was a new rider.

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Great tips! :thumb:



Jun 2002 - May 2003 ~ NSR150SP

May2003 - Dec 2006 ~ GSXR400RR

Oct 2006 - Present ~ Burgman AN400K3

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Guest ZZR-Pilot
Originally posted by mecha_design@Apr 23 2004, 03:47 PM

Good advice. Too bad it came a lil late. I just crashed my bike last week.

What happened?

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Hey guys.. after reading the common mistakes.. i feel that i really have to ask a qn from experienced rider in here man..


2 days ago, i failed my tp.. the whole course was smooth, no major mistakes..


but they min a lot of points from 2 main mistakes: wobbling while turning and wobbling while starting off/stopping. a total OF 18 points WAS DEDUCED FROM THERE!

wah lao.. dulan..


i seldom have that kind of mistakes.. :cry:


maybe u all can enlightened this newbie ?




Honda Phantom TA200 // Yamaha WR200

Honda Wave 125 S // Piaggio Skipper 125

Piaggio Vespa Excel 150 // Yamaha X1

Gilera Runner VXR 200 // Honda Super4 Vtec2

Yamaha Spark135 LE // Bus, MRT, LRT and Taxi

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Guest BoBOKik
Originally posted by OrionFire@Jul 2 2004, 10:45 AM

Hey guys.. after reading the common mistakes.. i feel that i really have to ask a qn from experienced rider in here man..


2 days ago, i failed my tp.. the whole course was smooth, no major mistakes..


but they min a lot of points from 2 main mistakes: wobbling while turning and wobbling while starting off/stopping. a total OF 18 points WAS DEDUCED FROM THERE!

wah lao.. dulan..


i seldom have that kind of mistakes.. :cry:


maybe u all can enlightened this newbie ?



yr eye point.. u are probably nt lookin far enuf ahead of u, or u are jus lookin at yr handle bar or the ground jus in front of yr front wheel.. dats why u ended up wobbling.

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Hmm.. maybe that's my mistake.. didn't look far enuff..


but how far is enuff? 2 car length ahead?


Honda Phantom TA200 // Yamaha WR200

Honda Wave 125 S // Piaggio Skipper 125

Piaggio Vespa Excel 150 // Yamaha X1

Gilera Runner VXR 200 // Honda Super4 Vtec2

Yamaha Spark135 LE // Bus, MRT, LRT and Taxi

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  • 10 months later...
Originally posted by OrionFire@Jul 2 2004, 11:00 AM

Hey guys.. after reading the common mistakes.. i feel that i really have to ask a qn from experienced rider in here man..


2 days ago, i failed my tp.. the whole course was smooth, no major mistakes..


but they min a lot of points from 2 main mistakes: wobbling while turning and wobbling while starting off/stopping. a total OF 18 points WAS DEDUCED FROM THERE!

wah lao.. dulan..


i seldom have that kind of mistakes.. :cry:


maybe u all can enlightened this newbie ?



wobbling while turning could be due to not enuf acceleration or u may hv jerk if u threw clutch. wobbling while moving off could also be due to ur clutch ctrl and acceleration as well and stopping at times it could oso be due to eyeline and jamming brakes too hard. trick is to use more rear brake. am a newbie myself and this r things i learn fr other experience riders. however, these days am more comfortable to using mainly front brakes cos am used to my bike and brakes

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Originally posted by OrionFire@Jul 2 2004, 11:00 AM

..... 2 main mistakes: wobbling while turning and wobbling while starting off/stopping. a total OF 18 points WAS DEDUCED FROM THERE!

wah lao.. dulan..


i seldom have that kind of mistakes.. :cry:

it may not be ur fault, tyres might be deflated.

highlight this the next time they penalise u again. :thumb:

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Just mi 2 cents worth... Mi way of tackling the prob of wobbling fr moving off (esp prominent when u are pillioning a heavy pillion) is to move off faster, i.e. release more clutch (but dun throw) and throttle more... As for wobbling when turning, like someone has mention, maybe is due to insufficient acceleration coz u really can't turn properly when u are too slow... Of course ur eye-point plays a big part too.


May 2005 - July 2007: Honda Phantom TA200 (FU 3*** S)

July 2007 - Dec 2016: Honda CB400 Spec III (FBB 7***X)

Dec 2016 - Aug 2017: Yamaha FZ1N (FBD 4***E)

Aug 2017 - Present: Kawasaki Z1000SX (FBF 6***B)


Boono :cool:

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very useful info for all new & old bikers, thx

Four Wheels Move the Body, Two Wheels Move the Soul.

Honda Phantom TA200 || Kawasaki ZXR400 || Yamaha YZF-R6 http://badges.fuelly.com/images/smallsig-metric2/443649.png

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