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Using Throttle Sense when Cornering on a motorcycle

Using Throttle Sense On a Motorcycle When Cornering

Using Throttle Sense on a motorcycle when Cornering

Many riders do not know about or understand what is meant by “throttle sense.” It is also referred to as Acceleration Sense, they mean the same thing which is to control the speed of the motorcycle by being in the correct gear to stabilise the motorcycle using the engine.

One of the reasons that riders do not use throttle sense to control the speed of the motorcycle correctly, is because of the way they are taught during learner training. To prevent any issues during this low level guidance new riders are encouraged to ride in slightly higher gears and to use the brakes to slow down. This gives other road users a chance to see the bike in front slowing down.

Not many riders undertake further training or coaching after they have passed their motorcycle test. A common misconception is that you only start learning to ride once you pass the motorcycle test.

There is some truth in this, riders will gain experience and more confidence while they are riding. But the progress is limited because you can’t practice what you don’t know

How the best do it

Do you really think that police rider naturally got better the more they rode? Absolutely not, they go through a long and arduous training plan that develops their riding skills over a number of years.

Learning is just one part of the process, you must first understand what needs changing and how to change it. This can be done in a number of ways; through reading, watching videos, and undergoing coaching.

The next part of the learning process is to put it into practice whilst being watched. This enables you to be told what is going well, what needs to be changed and what needs to be practiced. Riding well does not happen in a few hours or days, it takes time and practice and plenty of it!

But be warned. If you go out to practice the wrong things, your riding may get worse because the faults you have get bigger as you add speed to the ride. There have been a lot of accidents as riders practice what they think is right, or what their mate told them!

Very closely linked

Speed and Gear are linked, like siamese twins they are joined at the hip. But as riders learn and try to implement new skills, they get too focused on individual aspects of “The System of Motorcycle Control.”

The two phases of the system overlap on the approach to a hazard. It is not always necessary to use the brakes to slow down. Using ‘throttle sense’ is an integral part of riding at the correct speed and correct gear.

The phrase that you may hear spoken in advanced rider training circles is: “you must be able to stop within the distance you can see to be clear, on your side of the road”.

Motorcycle Training Instructor and student


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Learn how to use the brakes correctly

Before jumping in at the deep end and not using the brakes at all. Learn how to slow down using the correct braking techniques, this will help to develop skills and an understanding of how the motorcycle is handling beneath you.

This is known as ‘feel’, which many riders do not have. In fact a lot of riders seem to be perched on top of a motorcycle and it is taking them for a ride.

The changes required can be taught fairly quickly but you will need time to develop the skills to become accustomed to the ‘feel’ of the motorcycle.

You have three methods of braking on your motorbike:

  • Engine braking
  • Front brake
  • Rear brake

Direct machine response

Throttle sense is the ability to use the correct gear to have direct machine response. This in turn will control the speed of the motorcycle in all situations. By accelerating and decelerating the bike will speed up or slow down in response to the amount of throttle used to control the speed.

By using engine braking early you reduce the need to use the brakes which results in the bike being smoother and more stable.

You should avoid using the engine as a brake, the example of this is changing down a gear to force the engine to slow the bike down.

Never chop the throttle off (meaning decelerate quickly) or be aggressive in application (rev hard). Always use the throttle progressively and smoothly at all times.

Gear selection

The lower gears are referred to as power gears, they can be too aggressive when controlling the speed of the bike. If the gear is too low and the engine revs are high, the bike will pitch too much and will not create a smooth stable ride.

The higher gears are referred to as speed gears, but if the high gears are used to slow down, the bike will feel like it runs on when the throttle is closed. This means you will need to use the brakes to ensure the bike slows down. This type of braking is usually reactive because you are running into the hazard quicker than you feel comfortable.

The intermediate gears with mid range revs give extremely good throttle control. This is what throttle sense is, it is used to control the bike’s speed and keep the bike balanced. This is where you improve your riding skills and get a true feel of exactly what the bike is doing beneath you.

Throttle sense (or acceleration sense) is the ability to use the correct gear to have direct engine response. This means that by being in a mid range gear, you will be able to accelerate and decelerate in the same gear increasing and decreasing speed without the need to brake or gear change.

Written by Simon Hayes

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