Easy Touch

In their hit song “Slow Hand,” the Pointer Sisters capture the essence of Reg Pridmore’s riding philosophy: use an simple touch. Being careless or abrupt spoils the mood; smooth is the name of the game. It works.

After cutting his teeth on British race circuits in the 1960s, Pridmore went on to win the AMA Superbike Championship three years running (1976-1978).

CLASS Motorcycle Schools, which Pridmore began in 1986, is taught at racetracks around the United States (our course was held at the Streets of Willow Springs in California), but its primary emphasis is on street abilities. The goal is to ride greater and safer, not necessarily faster. Classroom sessions are followed by track sessions, which contain observation and feedback by patient, good-natured riding coaches. And students ride their own motorcycles so they learn and practice methods on familiar machines.

Smooth riding requires great throttle management. Keeping the engine speed up, particularly on technical roads, gives us a lot more control. With the engine spinning in the heart of the powerband, subtle throttle variations supply immediate results. Jokingly, Pridmore refers to an engine at low rpm as an “anchor” that holds a motorcycle back. “I use my brakes on street rides, but quite lightly. I make most of my speed adjustments with the throttle,” he says.

Shifting and braking must also be done smoothly. Pridmore recommends synchronizing use of the front brake with throttle adjustments. With your index and middle fingers on the lever, roll off the brakes as you roll on the throttle and vice versa. Release the front brake and clutch levers smoothly rather than simply letting them go. “Chopping” the throttle and “stab-n-grab” use of the front brake are anything but smooth. Instead, move gracefully and deliberately to speed up, slow down and change gears with minimal chassis disruption.

Although acknowledging the importance of countersteering, Pridmore puts more emphasis on body steering. Rather than sitting statically in the seat, adjusting body position helps us negotiate turns more smoothly. Do this gradually, very first by pointing your head, upper body and knee toward the inside of turns. As this becomes a lot more comfy, at higher speeds rotate your hips around the tank and put your body weight on the inside peg. Once more, everything should be completed smoothly—adjusting throttle, levers and body position in a fluid, harmonious manner.

An typically-utilized axiom is that several activities are “90 percent mental and 10 percent physical.” This certainly applies to motorcycling. Certainly avoid alcohol and distractions, but also calibrate how you think when you ride. According to Pridmore, if we feel in smooth, flowing language then we’re far more likely to ride in a smooth, flowing manner. Self-criticism and self-doubt rob us of enjoyment and the confidence we require to ride well and respond to risks with sound judgment. And keep in mind the chorus, “It’s not a fast move, but a slow groove.”

Go to the video gallery on www.ridermagazine.com to see Greg’s interview with Reg Pridmore. For more information about CLASS Motorcycle Schools, visit CLASS.

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.