Learning to ride: how to avoid stalling your motorbike

Avoid looking inexperienced by learning how to pull away smoothly from a standstill
Avoid looking inexperienced by learning how to pull away smoothly from a standstill

Stalling turns your fleet-footed steed that responds to every delicate touch, into a 150 kilo lump of metal that wants to crush your leg. But if you learn the warning signs you can pull away cleanly and trickle along in the highest gear possible at walking speed, never putting a foot down.

A stall happens when there is insufficient power being fed from the engine to the rear wheel to get it moving or keep your bike rolling.

To start off cleanly, hold the bike steady on the front brake with the engine running. Put it into gear, then switch to having your left foot down while the clutch is still pulled in, allowing you to use your right foot on the rear brake, freeing up your throttle hand to control the revs more easily.

Now, begin to ease the clutch out and increase the revs gradually, feeling for the point when the clutch begins to bite and load up the engine. As you get to that point come off the rear brake and balance the engine’s power so that it isn’t labouring against the load of you and the bike as you slowly release the clutch and move off cleanly.

How to hill-start on a motorbike

Pulling away on a hill can be testing for a new rider

The very same technique will work for hill starts where you’ll need more revs to counteract the slope.

Once you’re moving it’s all about balancing the usable revs of the engine with your bike’s speed, and remembering to pull in the clutch when you come to a stop!

Of course, many new bikes these days come with anti-stall devices to stop the engine dropping much below idle speed. 

Chris Dabbs

By Chris Dabbs