If you live in an area like me, it gets pretty cold during the winter months. While I'm all for getting the right warm-weather riding gear and still riding, what I'm not interested in is riding on the road when there's a lot of snow or ice.
I'd rather put my bike away for a couple months out of the year than end up sliding down a snow-covered road on my backside. That said, you have to know what you're doing when you first put your bike away for winter.
Throttle control is one of the best skills you can learn if you're a new rider. It's something that will help smooth out your ride overall, and it will keep you safer on the road in just about any situation. Braking and body control are huge, but proper throttle control can turn a decent rider into a good one.
This is a skill that takes time and every bike is going to be just a little different. Once you get the basics down, though, you'll be able to figure it out on any bike quickly enough.
Like everything else on your motorcycle, your brakes need regular maintenance. The last post in the Advice section of this blog talked about bleeding your motorcycle's brakes. The video below from Motorcyclist Magazine's series MC Garage discusses rebuilding your bike's hydraulic brakes, specifically the calipers.
Follow the directions carefully and note that while this isn't a difficult job, it can get a little messy. Don't let brake fluid get on your motorcycle's paint as it will ruin the finish.
Bleeding the hydraulic brakes on your motorcycle is something you have to do every once in a while. Usually, you can do it every two years, but I personally just wait until the brake lever or pedal feels mushy. This can take two years, two and a half years, or more time or less depending on a number of factors.
Bleeding your brakes is easy and the guys at Motorcyclist Magazine put together a pretty good video to show you how to do it. Take a look.
One of the skills that every good motorcyclist has to master is rev matching. Rev matching occurs during downshifts. Basically, you try to match the engine speed and wheel speed so that when you shift down to a lower gear you don't have engine braking and the gear change occurs smoothly.