Starting a motorcycle on a hill — the right way

It happens way too often. Your favorite back-road terminates on a steep hill at a busy thoroughfare, and now you’ve got the tricky job of starting your motorcycle on a steep hill as you merge with traffic.

starting motorcycle on a hillTo make matters worse, some BDC (brain dead cager) is on your taillight; you must not roll backward as you struggle to get started.

Starting a motorcycle on a hill

It should have all begun when you came to a stop, angled slightly into your new direction, with a textbook-perfect “left foot down, right foot on the brake.” That’s the secret.

Continue to hold the bike on the hill using the rear brake, leaving your right hand unencumbered to operate the throttle. Then, when you’re sure you have a safe opening in traffic, release the clutch (only) to the friction zone, feel the engine tug against the brake’s resistance, and coordinate increased throttle with full clutch release as you ease off the rear brake.

Practice makes perfect

Sound difficult? Practice the maneuver on a deserted piece of uphill pavement, where you have no intersection or traffic, until you’ve mastered it.

Pete Tamblyn