You’re enjoying a smooth ride when suddenly, your motorcycle hits a bump. You maneuver your way around the potholes and loose gravel in the road, hoping for smooth asphalt around the bend.
For cars, these disturbances are a minor annoyance but for motorcycles, they can lead to a fall or bike damage. Unfortunately, you’re likely to encounter uneven, ridged roads at some point while out on your motorcycle. What can you do to get through these rough patches?
1. Plan Ahead for Rough Pavement
When you see signs for construction or enter a highly trafficked road, you may ride over:
- A grooved surface
- Gravel or an unpaved surface
- Rumble strips, usually around diverted routes and construction zones
- Fresh pavement, which brings oil to the surface when wet
- Slick pavement, worn-out blackout tape and pavement markings
- Steel plates, which may be smooth or rough in texture
- Manhole covers
In particular, pavement milling can be very noticeable on bikes with narrow front tires. When driving over these uneven surfaces, don’t panic. Stay relaxed and ride through it slowly.
In many of these instances, the change is sudden. Coupled with the uneven or traction-free surface, your bike may become harder to control. Take it slow and allow yourself enough time to see the obstructions before passing over them.
2. Look for Smoother Ground
Maneuver around ridged, cracked areas and seek out smoother ground. Similarly for slick surfaces, move around what appears to be wet, oily or shiny. Keep in mind that on highways, this smooth area may toward the center of the lane. Be careful of debris that ordinary motor vehicles can drive over.
3. Give Yourself Some Distance
Doing so not only benefits you, but other drivers:
- Give cars behind you enough time to react if and when you need to slow down.
- Get a full picture of what’s ahead without other vehicles obscuring your view. You should always be able to clearly see what’s in front.
- For whatever lies ahead, the extra distance helps you react and adjust – whether that’s slowing down, maneuvering around or changing lanes.
4. Have an Alternate Route
Whether you’ll be on the road for a few hours or have a multi-day road trip planned, always have an alternate route in mind. Less congested backroads can sometimes be safer than the highway for motorcycles. It might take longer but will likely be a smoother and safer journey.
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