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How to handle and ride a tall motorcycle

How to handle and ride a tall motorcycle


Hey everybody, DirtDad here. I’m in violation of some sort of video authoring law, right? You can’t put your shadow in a video. I want my shadow in this video. Because I am going to use it to show you some stuff. The topic is how to handle a tall bike. Why would you want to know how to handle a tall bike? Maybe you are looking at buying a tall bike. Maybe you wanted a dirtbike and you go “ohhhh” “those are great but they’re all too tall.” Maybe you’re just a perp (criminal) and the last time you went to steal bikes they were all tall bikes and because you couldn’t ride them you figured that you’d get to the first intersection drop the bike and run and the angry mob
would come to beat the crap out you because they could figure out that you probably stole it. So maybe you want to learn to ride it for that reason whatever the case, I’m going to show you some of the tips I’ve learned from experienced riders. I’ve only had this bike for a year, gotten pretty comfortable with it. I’m only 5’8″, got a 30-32″ inseam I think its all pretty normal proportions. A lot of people look at bikes like this and figure, “Oh, “Oh, you gotta be 6 feet to ride a bike like that, that’s a bike for a tall guy.” Not so. So let me start off, the first thing you got to know how to do is get on on the bike. That’s where we start. I’m going to start also by lowering the camera here a bit. There we go, now we’re in looking down mode which is what we are
doing a lot right now. Let me start by showing you how people normally get on a bike. It’s a pretty easy thing and how it doesn’t work with a tall bike. Mostly you throw your leg over the back right? Grab the bar, throw your leg over the back of the bike. I’ve never gotten on that bike this way. Not sure I’ll be able to for this video. I’ll probably burn my pants of on the pipe. I don’t think I can do that. And most people don’t on a tall bike. What they’ll usually do is throw their feet
right over the seat, so I’m going to try that. Which is also something i never do. So maybe with practice you could get better at it. Throw your foot over like that and kind of have to walk over to get on the bike. And to get off you have to either pick your leg up or scrape your shoe all over the top of your seat, make a big mess. I don’t do that. Look at that, my seat’s a mess! Who would do that? Here’s how I get on my bike. I’m on the left side of the bike, left foot, left foot peg, grab the bars, watch my shadow here. I’m going to throw my leg over the back of the bike like that. This is also a nice way to get on a touring bike that is stacked up with big bags. A variation of that, if you can’t get your leg back that far because of the bags, is to do it with a bent leg. Get up on the bike, put the knee on the saddle and come around like this to get around all of your stuff. When you’re done, you’re standing on the bike. That’s what I’m doing, standing on the pegs, which is what you’re going to do a lot riding a bike like this on the dirt anyway. So it’s easy to do. Alright now that we’re sitting on the bike, the next thing you’re going need to do is hold the bike up: how to balance it while you’re sitting on it. so let’s take a facility to look at Let’s look at how this bike fits me. Here I am, trying to put both feet on the ground. This foot is on a toe. THIS foot is on a toe. That’s how I fit this bike. My advice is if a bike fits you like this, don’t try to put two feet down. It does
not work. Why? Well, if I am slightly off balance that’s all I’ve got for traction. This foot can slip that easy. I’ve got nothing holding me up. The way to hold yourself up on a bike like this is to let the bike lean off to one side. I’m going to lean it to the left. the point where i can get the ball of my foot on the
ground, meaning i can bend the toes at the toe joint. That means this foot comes off the ground. I think the mistake a lot of people make is they think that is just a useless foot, now. No, it’s not. You put your foot on the foot peg and now I can balance my bike using both feet, one just happens to be using the foot peg to do it. Let me take my hands off the bars now I’m going to manipulate the bike using just my feet: the ball of my foot and my foot on the foot peg. I have a lot of control. All of the movement doing here is just
using my foot on the ground and my foot on the foot peg. And I am not moving the camera. I am not moving my helmet. That would look like this. Its just me balancing the bike. This is probably a good little exercise. I’ve found that this is actually a good
way to hold up any kind of a bike, even bikes were I can flat foot both sides this gives you more control over the
bike than having to feet on the ground using
using your butt to do the same thing. So I always put a foot on the ground, a foot on the foot peg when I’m standing a bike at an intersection. One thing that helps me as i a handle a tall bike like this is
thinking about the let that’s on the ground: I have to think of this leg as operating
like a kick stand. Number one the bike leans slightly
towards it when I have the foot on the ground. And that’s about all it can do is serve as a kickstand, it can’t be doing all the things like pushing the bike around (although I’ll get into that later) in the same way you do with a flat foot. and the next thing you need to know how to do after you are on the bike and balancing it is: how do you stop? Stopping a bike like this requires a
technique called “pick a side”. and “pick a side” sounds easy enough. Kind of intuitive, right? What it means is before you get to a stop you’ve gotta decide. Because you’ve got to lean the bike one way or the other and put only one foot down you have to
decide at some point before the stop what side that’s going to be so that you
can shift you weight to that side and get your leg out on that side. So i’m gonna go
ahead and do that here. I’m gonna stop. The side I’m gonna pick is the left side. So out goes the foot and I lean the bike over and I stop. Now there’s more going on to it than that. People go “Well, just pick a side.” A couple of things to know: number one you’ve gotta be precise about your stopping technique, and how and where you put your foot
down. If you’re used to using two feet and doing a little paddle at the stop, you’re not going to be a
to do that on a tall bike. You’ve got to have that foot on the side that you pick hit the ground
within what I call one stride of where you’re ultimately going to stop. Foot down, and stop. As you get a good what you’ll find is you can put your foot down exactly the point where you’re going to stop anyway there’s no need to
stride: boom there you’ve stopped. Now that we understand “pick a side” another thing to know about tall bikes
is how they react under braking. tall bikes are tall because they have
long to travel. And long travel suspensions exaggerate certain behavior about bikes that all bikes have but they rear their ugly head more on a long suspension bike. These are things you need to master
anyway when handling a long travel bike, a tall bike. Number one is they react very differently
the front and the rear brakes. I’m going to apply the front brake and keep my head level. And I don’t know if that comes across very well in the video very well, I hope it does. I’m getting brake dive. The front of the bike is diving down a
lot when I apply the front brakes only really
hard. If I apply the *rear* brake only, the whole bike squats: the front and the
back of the bike. And sometimes my ABS kicks in. So
this is important know so when you’re stopping the bike it’s nice to fly the rear brake or at
the front and the rear not the front only you try to stop the buying applying
from prego you’re gonna have to deal with all that nosedive a separate guides
as you coming to a stop and then when you don’t come to a stop at least breaks
if i would like to pop up but which isn’t that terrible really but
there’s a picture day is good news you can eliminate that behavior the bike
while you’re stopping that’s good the reason i mention that is because you
can only use the rear brake when you play the left foot down here in the
right foot down the obviously you know they have access to the rear brake
anymore so at first it’s going to be easier to
stop with the left foot should when you say
pesticide pick the left side as he’s he’s going to stop with first plus in
america right on the right hand side the street
and the road is corrupt and as a result it’s a blessing to reach for your left leg to hit the pavement then for
the right i’m gonna stop here intent to show you that america and wrote him off on the side program be pretty exaggerated and his
wife leslie is down here’s my rights that that i’ve got to
do the again this minute come across in the
video how much more lenient that do to get
that right foot left foot frightfully the vasily should learn to stop with either foot you’ve left for
the right foot down because you never know where your balance is going to be
where obstacles might be a website what foot you might have to come down with i’d l_a_ favor the left foot but i force myself to use the right foot
once a while sometimes when i don’t have to just to keep myself in practice
because you’ve also then got to be good at stopping smoothly with the front
brake only lisa last little bit of the of the s dot past the curve live from
breakaway and you have to have all the precision so it’s a it’s easier to start with the
left foot son and move on to the right foot well i think if you are a couple our
bikes and breaking is how they can also you had a hill
sonicwall over here estoppel i’m facing down hill and i’m why in the rear brake only which
is the uphill break befuddled won the rear brake only we’ll
break away the likes it’s lower if i asked change instead of grabbing at the
front brake the pike props up significantly higher bills that i wrote a spirited rear brake only it sits down preparatory pops up so if you want to
keep the vital largest opt-out ifill favor the up no break and i said that way because it’s
reversed is not a front replicas uphill downhill break a tie returned if they
see tocqueville ulduar beholden to the front breaking out the rear brake
unordered have help the bikes at lower assertion about a black unclear on your car you carry only supper control you have a
career break at the parking brake which gently controls that we are only
so you can subsurface behavior on your bike or your car it’s going to come through much more
long travel fight one final tip i can figure out of for hanley atop lake is how to maneuver
around we need to balance they’ve got back in a
parking spot evidently the bike going to use them until the underground tendon wishing the bike around it like ever written at the new much is
it was around when it’s in neutral then it is when it’s unclear and you’re
holding down the clutch so i’ve got a new from our work pushed the biker refusing to push
forward wishing back as a prize is the issue and
what i do they get way up to the side of the bike and even kept pushing up hill beer and
especially condemn soviet sometime just dark doing this hit the flag moved around bc i got it right friend and sort of cooking around lag eventful rather off the side foldable
bike up so i think we should that’s just what you’re going to be
stark has just what you have to deal with when you’re not that we have such a talk i can’t
wait all night different but despite here instead for i don’t think the holy week let’s do
the same thing westerners which around where is the same technique though hood light over videos that we have been
your footwear inside were struggling that and has been used effectively expo
movements sales of some of the skills i’ve learned for more experienced riders applied
myself and every state dined and comfortable

100 comments on “How to handle and ride a tall motorcycle

  1. Great Video. I have tried it this morning.

    4:18 – Using the other leg on the foot peg to balance the bike

  2. Iv heard that in the msf course they make u do left foot down…. Why??? So u can keep ur right foot on the rear brake… Safety!!! Ur supposed to have rear and front brake engaged at light or stopped…

  3. Always stop with right foot down so you can easily pop into first if a car is careening towards you. that extra second it takes to switch feet and shift could be the seconds that matter.

  4. is this a real video?
    put your leg over the bike?
    i got an idea, start the bike and turn the throttle while standing next to it when the bike spins around jump on it in true wheelie style and crack the throttle wide open. if that does not work get a midget to get down on all 4's back up 4 or 5 steps and take a running start at it! 🙂
    He sounds like the mailman from cheers…

  5. If you're right handed, you're left foot-ed. That's why the controls are where they are…because people are mostly righties. +Wear ankle armor as you'll be dropping this thing on yourself often.

  6. The trick to backing-up is to put your right hand under the tail and pull up while left paddling. The resulting compression on your body will allow the weight of the bike to drive your left foot into the ground, giving you increased friction and leverage.

  7. I am a taller rider with a tall bike. I use my right foot on the peg to apply the brake when stopped. Also helps with balance if bike doesn't want to roll around. I have some short riding buddies that will be sent this link. Maybe they will take my 650 out for a scoot …

  8. I have a buddy with less experience who is slightly taller than me but cannot function on a normal trail ride because once he drops his bike, he can't put the kickstand down to use the peg to get back on the bike how he usually does. He's too intimidated by being on the higher side of an embankment because the bike isn't on a stand and feels like once hes on then the bike will lean towards the low end and he will drop or pull a hamstring trying to get his big toe to reach the ground.

    I'm 5'5'' and I literally jump on the bike while I let the clutch out so I can almost pull myself up on the bike with the forward momentum and big leap, however this isn't practical for most people.

  9. I'm 5'11 but one time I got off by slipping my leg over the bars, pulled a tendant, could'nt walk for a week XD but thx for the information, so I can explain to short people…

  10. My opinion on "Pick a side": I naturally want to put the left foot down, but always pick the right side, unless an incline is on the left, in which case pick the left side.
    The reason why I want to pick the right side to put the foot down is because I have access to the shifter. I frequently toggle between 1st and N to be able to adjust my visor or open my modular with my clutch hand, or relax both hands, as these actions require the bike to be in neutral. More importantly, I try to shift down to 'N' at stop lights so I don't risk accidentally popping the clutch in gear upon brainlessly releasing my left hand, but then when the light turns green I need my foot ready to go into 1st gear. When you're stopping both feet are up, but when you're completely stopped you really only need the front brake (right hand is tied up), or none at all when on level ground (both hands can be free).

  11. Knowledgeable and effective information… Well done, thank you!
    I do think that you missed the likelihood that your kickstand will be in sand/dirt/gravel when off road, or even hot asphalt in town; which (using the pegs) would be like trying to get on your bike after putting the kickstand up… I believe the fear of being unsure feeds the misconception about needing to be tall to ride these bikes, and the more informed a rider is the better… So, imagining that a new rider might be overly discouraged by stepping onto their bike and driving it into the ground, I thought I might as well mention it, lol.

  12. Really???  I am 5ft 7 inches ride a Husqvarna TC250 and a ktm 1190, does anyone really need this lame ass information?

  13. Just discovered your site; Very nice presentations.
    So here are the facts on tall bikes and also BMW F700 vs. F800.
    First tall bikes. I am 5’9” and have a 31” inseam. For some reason all dirt bike manufactures today think they need to make bike with 38-39 “ seat height. I rode dirt bikes in the 70’s and 80’s and all seats heights were around 32 inches. I remember it being a lot of fun. So when I got my WR450 I was excited until I broke three ribs. Every time I went out I just did not have fun. I was always falling over on steep trails when I had to stop for some reason. It just wasn’t fun. So I sold it. One day I got on my wife’s Yamaha 250 that I had lowered for she is 5 feet tall and a new rider and had a blast. I bought a KTM 250 with a 39” seat height and had it lowered 4” by a racing suspension expert. When I told the dealer what I was doing he said you will not be able to do triple jumps. Guess what I don’t plan to. I want to have fun on trails with a trail bike. I have no issues and it is a blast again. I am having fun which is why I ride in the first place. The bike you used in your discussion is fine for the street but on rutted trails you will have an issue when stopping. You can make do but the fun factor fades.

    On the F800 F700

    I bought a 2015 BMW F800low. Chose that bike because it has 21” front wheel, spoke wheels, reverse forks and 10 more horse power. All the forums I read people would say what a great balanced bike. Even though it was a low it was very heavy. And top heavy. I had several friends stand up the bike and tell me what you think. 100% thought it was top heavy. On pavement I could do the one foot tip toe but on gravel there was a fear factor that I could not live with for I did not want to pick it up if my foot slipped out from me in the middle of nowhere. I sold it and just bought a 2017 F700low. This is a game changer. I change the front sprocket to a 15 instead of stock 16. F800’s have 15 tooth sprocket so gearing is now the same as a F800. I put TKC knobby tires on. My F800 had the stock street tires and was very slick on grass or sand. The new F700 is No comparison to the F800. The F700 is so much better balanced. Neither is good for single track unless it is smooth dirt. I have had the F700 up to 85 on the highway and lots of room left and have been on some jeep roads and the tires now make it much safer. I thought I need the extra horsepower but I can’t tell a difference. If someone wants an adventure type bike to drive on the highway to a dirt trail this is a great choice. Especially if they are in the 5’9” height range. You can take just about any bike anywhere. I have taken a 900lb Harley down gravel roads but was very, very cautious and was very uneasy. For me the fun factor has to be there and the F700 works for me.

  14. how to get on dirt bike when it's 7 inches too high lol and how to get the kick stand up? I'm only 5'6" with 30 inch inseam 🙁

  15. Hey there!
    Please could you let me know how you got your luggage setup so great? :O
    Who makes that and are they still available?

    I am forever in your debt <3

  16. very frustrating when you're 5'11/6 ft (which should be tall enough) but have been cursed with short legs. FAIL

  17. was that a hot girl walking her dog? never will know cuz you didn't look! up!! Dude!!! come on really? nice Vid anyway! Thanx>>>

  18. I bet 876984673876894 dollars you skipped that number your smiling you didn't realise I put a letter in it I bet you just looked back and realise I didn't put a number in it I also bet your reading this in your head
    I earn my like😀

  19. Very helpful video! I have been looking at a 250 or 450 dirt bike and the height has been a major issue, I will have to try some of these tricks next time I sit on one.

  20. I'm 6'2" and 340 lbs. with a 30" inseam. I ride a KLR 650, a notoriously tall bike. I have never climbed on my bike like it was a horse.
    Turn the handlebars to full right lock, while standing on the left side. Place the left foot close to the left foot peg with your boot instep even with the foot peg. Grab your handlebars and lean forward and throw your right knee over the tank just behind the gas cap and flip your right foot over the seat. Done deal…..
    Next, I'm gonna teach you how to eat spaghetti with a soda straw…………

  21. Thank you, I am a 5’3 short woman who is going to own a DRZ400S or a WR250R and am somewhat worried about off-roading with my height.. cornering, just being a hooligan in general period.

  22. Im new to riding. I have yet to get my permit. But I have a question, is counter steering a thing on taller bikes? O just on lower ones?

  23. my brothers would hold their motocross bikes until i was on and set off. to stop i had to lean the bike against a wall and jump. i was 10 when i was given my first ossa trail bike. i still have to push and jump to get on the the old husqy 490. petite but if i want to ride it i shall

  24. ktm 690 enduro and a 5'9 rider, putting the kickstand up is a pain in the ass, so i kick one leg over with the stand up prior

  25. Thanks for taking the time and effort to put this out there! I too am a man who has short legs (5ft 9in with 30 inch legs). This will help much.

  26. I’m 5-8/5-9 and walked passed an Africa Twin at the dealer and thought – man that is way too tall – all the off-road bikes looked super tall

  27. This is so helpful being a shirt chick and only seeing tall bikes at every damn lot. I could always have the bike lowered but the one I just bought isn’t lowered and I don’t really care because it all has pros and cons. That’s beside the fact. Point is, I’m going to use these tips and it’s great I found this video

  28. I enjoyed this video – Also 5'8-1/2 with maybe 31" inseam and just about to get a new bike with 35" seat….
    My 650 Dakar had me doing the 'boot scoot' – moving my cheeks to whatever side I planned on putting a foot down on. It worked, but you do have to plan ahead – but if you aren't good at planning ahead, maybe you should reconsider motorcycles, as survival in traffic is all about planning ahead!
    One trick you could have mentioned for 'backing up' – I also have an R1100RT. A fairly heavy bike – esp when packed up with a week or two's worth of stuff! I can back it up, even uphill by engaging the front brake, compressing the suspension, and releasing it just as the bike is about halfway up the rebound. If it's a steep hill, it may only move a couple inches at a time, but you can back up about anything until you get exhausted from doing it. Even on flat ground, it can help get the bike started backwards, and then with a little momentum it's easy to keep it going – even with one leg. Good dialog style and cool bike too – BMW 450?

  29. Thank you so much! I'm a petite 5'2", and I have issues on almost all bikes, but this increases my confidence exponentially in being prepared for and being able to handle taller bikes. You're awesome.

  30. how to remove the kick stand is important for me but not covered well here. if left leg is on the ground and right on the pegs, how would you remove the kick stand?

  31. Just letting anyone who needs to hear this know DONT BE SCARED OF BIG BIKES, I’m 5’8 120lbs light side and ride a 2000 trr250 it’s a big beefy bike but I can handle it

  32. Thank you so much is 2019 I just saw your video and now I’m ready to go and test drive the Honda African twin I didn’t want to embarrass myself I know the bike tall

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