When on a motorcycle, how should one ride it? You could poll a group of riders and get a dozen different responses. The experts can’t even agree on anything. Consider the act of guiding a vehicle: Put that whole “push right to go left” thing out of your mind. The Power Pivot was developed by Keith Code, body steering was advocated by Reg Pridmore, and trail braking was emphasised by Freddie Spencer as a means of reversing course. They’re completely opposing strategies, and yet they all seem to work. What right do we have to argue?
There is no one correct way to ride a motorcycle; rather, there are many. And the learning process is continuous. Don’t just blindly adopt the advice of others; instead, give it some thought, give it a try, and if it works, make it your own. And then forward it to your pals.
For the past twenty years, I’ve been doing that as a journalist, racer, and track-day instructor. Drawing on that knowledge, I have compiled a list of 20 pieces of advice that have, for one reason or another, stayed with me all these years. The majority of these nuggets I learned firsthand from the experts themselves, while others I picked up from books and periodicals. I’m crossing my fingers that they return the favour to you.
A Twist of the Wrist is Keith Code’s seminal work on the subject of high-performance motorcycle riding, praise him or vilify him as you will. Even now, twenty-three years after its initial publication, I consider it the best of all time. Once I got used to his teaching style, however, I enjoyed Code’s California Superbike School, which I attended twice in 1984 and 1985. When he asked me what the best way was to round a corner, I had to turn the question around on him “I can’t say. Numerous plausible narratives can be found. They vary with factors such as the type of bike being ridden, the tread depth of the tyres, and the weather. Which do you think is the better line?” Personally, I decided that I needed to develop my own independent thought.