6. Practice Panic Stops

Honda CBR600RR ABS

Worried the front end will wash out from under you when braking hard? Don’t be. When done correctly, a modern motorcycle will stop very quickly, even in the wet, as shown here.

New or inexperienced riders can have a hard time grasping the braking power of modern motorcycles. To fully understand how powerful your brakes are, we recommend practicing maximum braking drills.

Find a safe, empty lot clear of any sand or gravel and gradually experiment squeezing (not grabbing!) the brake lever until you come to a stop. Try this at different speeds to see how the bike reacts. You’ll soon realize the front tire has more grip than you think. Being aware of how the bike reacts when aggressively using the brakes can be a huge benefit when you’re unexpectedly thrust into panic mode.

It’s important to distinguish between squeezing and grabbing the lever. A squeeze is deliberate, controlled and powerful, whereas grabbing involves a sudden, erratic, forceful yank at the lever. The former keeps the motorcycle composed while gradually loading the front tire, while the latter can overwhelm the grip of the front tire. For those with ABS-equipped motorcycles the same rules apply, with much less risk involved if you grab or stab at either lever.