Bike Handling


Get it up!

Ooops! You dropped it. Here’s how to pick it up again.

Hands up anyone who hasn’t dropped a motorcycle. Okay, that’s three of you. The rest of us have tipped our bikes over in graceless fashion at some time or another. Mostly these have been slow-speed pratfalls.

Pesky gravel catches us out, there’s diesel at the servo, a U-turn goes pear-shaped or we put our foot in a trough we didn’t see and down she goes. So then you have two problems. The first is you feel like a complete idiot and the second is you have to pick your bike up. Naturally, your mates will lend a hand but if the worst happens on a solo ride you will need to know how to pick it up yourself.

If it’s a slow-speed tip-over, all that will be hurt is your pride but you may have gone down pretty heavily, so take a deep breath and check yourself out before you do anything else. Do your ankles, fingers, wrists, shoulders, elbows and knees work? Are you okay? Do you need medical assistance?
Next, check if you are in a hazardous situation. Remember all those people skittled while trying to change a tyre by the roadside? Get out of the way! If possible get other drivers to divert traffic round you while you sort out the bike.

Your adrenalin is going to be pumping, so try not to waste your energy on fruitless attempts to pick the bike up by heaving on the saddle – you often see road racers trying to do this when they land in the kitty litter.

Wayne Carter of Stay Upright’s Sydney facility says the best way to get a bike sunny side up is to observe the pivot angle and use your whole body to lift, not just your legs.

If the bike is carrying heaps of luggage, try to get it off to reduce the amount of weight you have to lift. So heave-ho she goes!

Once the bike is upright Wayne advises you to inspect the bike systematically. You could have bent a gear or brake lever in the fall.

Check for fluid leaks, especially battery acid, coolant or oil and check that there’s nothing on your tyres. And check your tyres while you’re at it – perhaps one had a slow leak that contributed to the fall? You don’t want a reprise do you?

Check indicators and brake light – you could have done a bulb. Look at your mirrors. Adjust them if they have swung out of alignment. Sometimes a solid thunk on the brake disk will cause the brake pistons to separate giving you less braking the first time you squeeze.

So make sure you check the brakes. If the bike tips on the throttle side, the throttle will often stick, which you will find out only when you ride off!

The best bit is that by the time you’ve checked the bike out properly the adrenalin rush will have subsided and you will be able to concentrate on your riding.

Stay Upright
Even if you are an experienced rider, it’s amazing what you can still learn. Stay Upright runs great courses to suit every level of rider: Learners, pre-provisional, private tuition, practice sessions, intermediate, advanced 1, advanced 2 and trail bike courses.

Stay Upright instructors are a great bunch of blokes with years of experience and they can start you off right, help you hone your skills and point out your bad habits. The emphasis is on keeping you safe and helping you enjoy your motorcycle riding. Try to do some form of course every year or two. Visit, or phone (02) 8824 9980 and tell them ARR sent you.