Best Ways To Master Hairpin Bends During Your Motorcycle Rides
You can easily distinguish an experienced motorcyclist from a newbie by how they tackle hairpin bends on the road. As the name suggests, a hairpin bend is a sharp bend which makes the road turn back in the opposite direction. The road looks like a U-shaped hairpin, hence the name.
What To Do When You See A Hairpin Bend Ahead?
Observe the bend and use a systematic approach. A biker might not easily tackle a hairpin bend because of the wrong position, gear or speed. So, below, you can learn how to ride on those curvy bends.
The very first step is to stay confident and in control. Mind the clutch and the brakes and observe the bend. While you near the curve, you need to keep your bike in control and work your brain to assess as fast as possible. When headed uphill, you need to look upwards and check if any traffic is coming your way.
Position Your Bike
If you do not see any traffic coming your way, you can go as wide as you like. You can do so with a bit more speed, making it more accessible. But if traffic is heading towards you, make a tighter turn throughout the bend. Therefore, you need to make more adjustments.
Manage the Speed
Speed plays a crucial role during a hairpin bend. If you are moving at high speed, you may go too wide, while if you go slow, you might destabilise the bike and eventually drop. Therefore, you must maintain smoothness along with an even and optimal speed.
Select The Right Gear
Once you understand and maintain a speed, you must select the gear. You can choose the first gear for the steepest hairpins. However, for most hairpins, such as mountain passes, you must juggle between first, second and back to first gear.
Know when to accelerate instead of jumping on and off the throttle, which might destabilise your motorcycle. Choose a gear that helps you maintain some throttle. When exiting the bend, add power to the wheel and accelerate.
Target fixation is common with most newbie riders and can become dangerous. If you are going uphill or downhill, focusing only on the bend’s apex, you are more likely to collide. Fixating where you want to go is always better than focusing on where you want to avoid ending up. Therefore, focus more on the road and not the apex.
Keep in Mind the Luggage You Carry
Depending on the kind of bike you have, you might carry soft or hard luggage. Whether you are going on a BMW G 310 R or a Ducati, etc., the weight of your bike increases because of the luggage. Therefore, you need to handle the bike differently during hairpin bends. When moving downhill, your motorcycle may gather momentum and thus take more effort to slow it down. However, you must select a low gear and apply greater throttle when moving upwards.
Avoiding Braking Mid Corner
You will not have to brake mid-corner if you maintain the right speed and choose the correct gear before you reach the hairpin. But, if you move too fast into it, you might have to apply the brake at some point which can destabilise your motorcycle. Choose the back brake to keep your ride smooth and stable. Make use of both the front and the rear brakes when going downhill. But when moving uphill, avoid touching the front one.
Use Your Skills
Use your slow-moving motorcycle skills. However, it mostly depends on the bend, how and when you bring them in. You can balance your clutch and rear brake and get a positive throttle. Such skills become instrumental on tight uphill hairpin bends.
The key to tackling hairpin bends like a pro is timing. Whether you are riding a sports bike like a BMW G 310 R or a cruiser, the tricks remain almost the same. Start observing the bend as early as possible. It allows you to get into the correct position, spear and gear before you approach the bend and move out of it smoothly and steadily. By remembering the tips mentioned above and keeping your eyes on the road, you can move around the hairpin bend with great ease.