Sliding the rear wheel of a motorcycle might look easy when Marc Marquez is doing it on track, but if you’ve had the back let go on the road, you’ll know it can be a heart-stopping moment.
Some might argue that the only traction control they need is in their wrist, but with modern bikes delivering 200bhp+ there’s only so much even the most experienced biker’s brain can cope with in a split second, especially if the road’s wet or the surface loose.
Training and practice is always the best way to understand what a bike is doing and how to control it. But trying to practice sliding your bike on the road is a really bad idea; the best bet is to get some training off road. The BMW Off Road Skills course is one place that you can really get a feel for what’s happening (and it’s also where our video’s star Chris Northover teaches).
In the split second it takes the back to lose traction, you’re not going to have time to think about what you need to do, so it has to become second nature to freeze the throttle where it is and gently roll it off; snapping the throttle shut (the natural instinct) will see the rear instantly gain traction again… the worst case will be that there was enough momentum in the bike sliding out that when the tyre grabs the rear shock is compressed, then as it unloads it can fire you out of the saddle, resulting in the dreaded high-side.
In the same way as our ‘How to brake in a corner’ video explains, it’s about being progressive: Don’t surprise the tyre