Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Are you born with motorcycling ability?

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by Fa1c0n, Dec 2, 2013.

  1. I am wondering if you are born with skill or if it is something that people must learn.

    I figured that it all just came naturally - I have always been comfortable on a bike and my skill just generally improves over time. However, a friend of mine has been riding a lot for 3-4 years and his skill level doesn't seem to improve.

    He even knows some of the stuff he does wrong, but cannot seem to improve his riding ability by himself. I've given him some tips and he has improved drastically - but I don't understand how you can ride for 3-4 years almost every day and not naturally improve?

    Am I just lucky that it is in my blood or something?
    Are you like me and just come to it naturally?

    Anyone else like my friend have trouble improving skill by yourself?
  2. Maybe it's like any other physical activity, those who are naturally co-ordinated simply have an easier time of it?

    But to a large extent your approach will also dictate how you improve. If you just go for a ride and not think have a think about it before or after, then you may not improve after 3-4 years.
  3. I don't know if you are born with the skill to ride a bike. However, some people have certain natural traits that allows them to learn a skill faster and better then someone else.

    For example all my life I had to work hard just to be mediocre at most sports (except white water kayaking and wave skiing). The basics of riding a motorcycle came quite easy, probably because balancing with your arse, and using your body to turn the bike is similar to kayaking and wave skiing).

    My eldest on the other hand is one of these people that if you show him a skill, walk him through the skill he can then do the skill very well.

    That however didn't translate to driving a car. He really struggled coordinating his feet and hands to change gears. But then I put him on motorcycle and within in 30 minutes he had down pat.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  4. Hmm - Fair enough.
    Do you guys have any tips I can pass on to my mate who appears to need that extra nudge to improve? Is there anything he can do to make it so he more naturally picks up motorcycling?
  5. I would have to say my abilites are learnt and in no way natural. I was an unc on a push bike and felt uncomforatble on a motorcylce the first few months of learning. All feels natural now as I commute everyday by bicycle for around 5 years and got around 3 years on the motorbike but even now I am still quite cautious on negotiating some bends with survival instincts kicking in. I know I can go quicker than I do on some sections but my mind is always in a "what if" moment which reigns in my speed. Even when it comes to push bikes I have the same mind set.
    Could be just experience in knowing what can happen when things "let go". Got a fair bit of experience with high powered cars and knowing what happens when good grip stops gripping and the momentum of weight kicks in. Physics is a biatch when you push her too hard.
    Is your friend just overly cautious or is he just plain awkward when riding?
  6. #6 b12mick, Dec 2, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2013
    My suggesting would be to get him to do some more formal training.

    The other thing that can hold people back in motorcycling (and other such activities) is fear or their perception of fear.

    And of course some people, while they are quite safe and of no danger to themselves or others, don't progress much further than maybe 'intermediate level' riding skills. While they are happy and not hurting anyone, leave them alone. I consider myself to be at an 'intermediate level' of skill.
    • Like Like x 2
  7. I'm no expert, and you aren't very specific to his issues, but has he read "The Twist of the Wrist"?
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. I am very uncoordinated so I know I took longer to pick up riding than most people. It was horrible learning and I wondered when I'd ever not need to think about the gears. I compensate for my poor coordination by lots of practice though and have done so for all my hobbies in the past. I generally have ended up highly skilled eventually, probably more so than the average person but that is only because of ENORMOUS amounts of practice (scuba diving is a good example from one of my other hobbies, I went from nearly failing OW to cave diving certification). I don't think I am there yet with riding though :p

    To help your friend maybe he could do a course? I know I did one at Sixty Degrees and they broke cornering down into small things for me and so I practiced one bit at a time and now when I focus and actually do those things I am a lot faster. Twist of the Wrist was not helpful to me at all even though I could understand it on an intellectual level. I really needed someone showing me what to do then immediately going and doing it, then getting feedback and another thing to try, and then going out and practicing straight away.
  9. There are those who were born to ride. I have no name for them other than "Sir" or in exceptionally limited cases "Ma'am".

    There are those who think they have a natural riding ability, but in fact are somewhat less capable than they would let themselves believe. These are known as "MOD"s (Mobile Organ Donors) or "Statistics".

    There are those who accept they have no natural riding talent, and take that into account each and every time they get on a bike. This lot I refer to as "Survivors".

    I think those are the broad categories, but there are some smaller sub-cultures and cross-breeds which appear from time to time.

    Interesting genus - the "Motorcyclist Road Rider"
    • Winner Winner x 1
  10. You have no idea how good it is to read someone saying that. There is hope! :D
  11. Whether or not someone improves in response to certain stimuli is something that coaches of all persuasions have to deal with. There are four ways of learning, visual, auditory, literal and kinaesthetic (from actually doing it). The natural learners are these kinaesthetic fellows - generally people who are fairly good at more technical, technique dependent and less team oriented sports are strong kinaesthetic learners (batting in cricket, badminton, tennis, fencing, motorcycle riding).

    If you have given your friend tips that have improved his riding, then he may well be an auditory learner. It doesn't mean he can't be quite good at something, but it does mean he might need a bit of help. As a suggestion, if he is also able to learn by literal means (reading and writing) he can self help there through writing down where he thinks he needs improvement, and then what he thinks he can do to improve it.

    In doing a professional skills improvements course, the instructors will recognise his primary learning styles and will work appropriately. They generally try to cover off all types by default.
    • Like Like x 1

  12. Little of column A and B...
  13. I don't know about normal road riding but in racing I certainly believe that some riders have that little bit more ability than others. The old 'Nature vs Nurture' discussion comes up here on a regular basis!
  14. These are an awesome way to organise the groups. :)

    I would like to think that I am a Sir. :p

    You could be right.

    I got on the back of his bike and also followed him around on mine and it was little things like cornering and gear selection.

    I said "Try that corner in 2nd gear instead of first".
    Instant improvement.
    I said "Go out wide, then come in tight".
    Again, instant improvement.

    I am sure he has the potential, but may not be natural.
  15. Personally, after doing alot of off road and track racing on four wheels throughout my teens and early 20s, i feel that i have struck a healthy balance between daring and having respect for the limitations of a vehicle.

    This meant that when i switched over to 2 wheels I was very conscious of my own limitations, but was still brave enough to keep pushing a little more. Keep leaning a little harder, brake a little later, twist a little further, always testing these boundries, I believe is what has made me a safe, sensible rider who has a sound understanding of the limits of my bike and the limits of myself.

    whether it is innate or learned, i think that anything can be learned but some personality types, as well as some peoples natural strengths and weaknesses, make them able to pick it up a little more easily than others.

    That being said, I love to play golf, but after many lessons, and hundreds of hours on the links i still slice the hell out of everything I hit off the tee...

    Another factor for your mate might be his bike/ setup... I started on my little NSR150sp (love that lil noisy, smoky scrapper) but it was nice and light, good brakes, easy to flick about and just enough power to keep a smile on my face.

    Perhaps he should consider a bike change
  16. See, Falcon, I reckon I am a "statistic", but try to ride like I am a "survivor". It's gotten me this far, and hopefully can struggle me through another 40 years in the saddle. Now, fingers crossed some snotty little b!tch in a hatchback who has a neck problem and can't head-check, doesn't wipe me out this arvo on my way home...
  17. Give us some examples of what you mean by bad riding. Is he struggling to keep up in the twisties? Or is he riding through traffic with little common sense? For me I have little skill when it comes to riding twisties fast. It's not that I don't know I'm not good at it, I just couldn't care less about it. For me I enjoy things less on a rec ride if I go too fast and make things too risky so I've reached my plateau of skill and it's not going to change. I'm comfortable with my level. I've never come close to getting a knee down and I have no interest in doing so. Put me in a heavy traffic situation though and I'm a completely different rider. I'll wipe the floor with most of you in a split race. As we are now talking about commute riding and extra seconds saved translate to more time at home it's a skill I've honed from commuting almost every day for 7 years.

    Learning requires desire. Being a technically brilliant rider is not a desire of a lot of riders out there, they just want to enjoy it.
  18. I think it is excellent that you are thinking about your friend with an open mind. Often people are written off extremely quickly as useless. With the right help, I have seen those 'useless' people work very hard on their technique, and then make themselves awesome. In the end, commitment beats lazy naturals.

    I want to also clarify that no one is just one type, and that the grouping of people into the different learning categories is arbitrary (ie: Your mileage may vary). If you do find yourself presenting some information to someone, you generally get better results when you cover multiple methods of teaching. It's just if one way isn't working, it helps to be mindful of other ways you can use to get the information across.
  19. I've been falling off things since before I could walk, does that count?

  20. Perhaps he would do better on a Standard, but his bike its pretty decent.
    Its a Harley Standard 1200.

    It has an intelligent seating position and handle bar setup.