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in: Cars, Manly Skills, Visual Guides

July 28, 2017 Last updated: December 31, 2019

How to Drive a Motorcycle

how to ride a motorcycle step-by-step illustration diagram

When Steve McQueen got away from the Nazis in The Great Escape, he did it on a motorcycle. When Evil Knievel roared over the top of the fountains at Caesar’s Palace, it was on a motorcycle. And when Chris Pratt sped through the jungles of a fictional dinosaur-filled island, he did it on a motorcycle, being chased by velociraptors. In other words, when a man has to get somewhere and make sure that he looks cool along the way, a motorcycle is the way to go. But in an age when manual transmission cars are all but relics of another time, it’s rare to find people who know how to operate gears, shift, and use a clutch; which is too bad, since motorcycles are a great way to get around, even when you’re not surrounded by velociraptors. Whether you want to find a more economical way to commute in the city or race down dusty roads in search of big adventures in far off places, a motorcycle opens up a world of opportunities that you just can’t get in a car. So strap on a helmet and grab a leather jacket — it’s time to learn how to ride.

1: Start the bike by switching the key to the “on” position and either pressing the ignition button or using the kickstart lever.

2: Squeeze in the clutch lever and press down on the gear shift lever to reach 1st gear.

3: Slowly release the clutch lever until you start to feel the motorcycle pull. As it pulls, twist the throttle slightly to increase the engine’s RPMs.

4: Fully release the clutch as you begin to move and increase the throttle slowly to pick up speed.

5: Shift to higher gears by pulling up on the gear shift with your foot. To shift down, push the gear shift down. Neutral is located halfway between 1st and 2nd gears-press lightly up from 1st gear or lightly down from 2nd.

6: Bring yourself to a stop by using the front and rear brakes in tandem.

Like this illustrated guide? Then you’re going to love our book The Illustrated Art of Manliness! Pick up a copy on Amazon.

Illustration by Ted Slampyak

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