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Motorcycling 101, Slow, look, lean, roll. What's it all mean?

Look where you want to go
Look where you want to go
Ralph L. Angelo Jr

Slow, look, lean, roll. Four very simple words that sound like nonsense, unless you are riding a motorcycle. Then they are something every rider should know.

What do they mean? They are what a rider should be doing as he comes upon a turn, especially a blind or new to him turn. Let's break it all down shall we?

Slow: That means just what it sounds like.a motorcyclist wants to be slowed down to a comfortable entry speed on his motorcycle before he gets to a turn.

Look: This is simple, the rider should look through the curve as far as possible ahead of where the motorcycle is going, preferably to the end of the curve. But if the motorcyclist cannot see that far ahead , he should at least be looking as far ahead as he can see.

Lean: This is the tricky part. The motorcyclist must lean the motorcycle into the curve, not away from it. We won't discuss body positioning here because it is a whole other matter worthy of its own article. Suffice to say, lean into a curve not away from it.

Roll: We're not saying roll across the pavement in a crash. What we're saying here is to roll on your throttle so you are slightly accelerating through a curve, not decelerating. The reason behind this is not as complex as it sounds.It has to do with traction. When you are accelerating through a curve your motorcycle is squatting down in the rear, meaning more weight is on the rear tire. If you are decelerating the weight bias goes to the front of the motorcycle and the rear lightens up. Your traction goes away at the rear wheel. If you panic and apply your brakes the rear wheel will break loose and you'll slide. That is another reason to set up your turn before entering it. You should never, let us repeat this never apply your brakes in a turn. If you are already committed to a turn or curve and you have to apply brakes, stand the motorcycle up straight, scrub off speed or brake and then dive back into the turn. If you apply brakes in a turn the rear wheel will lock up and you will crash.

This is why you must practice Slow, look, lean, and roll.

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