One of the biggest concerns of motorcyclists while shopping for a motorcycle is: Will I be able to pick it up if it falls? And there is enough reason to worry, seeing as most litre-class supersport and naked machines weigh well over 200kg dry. Adventure motorcycles are even heavier, getting porkier with added luggage bits.
So out in the middle of nowhere, if your bike takes a spill with or without you on it, how are you going to put it the right way up? We tell you how.
There are two methods of picking up your bike. You can perform the first method all by yourself. A pillion comes in handy for the second technique.
Solo Spill Recovery I: Put Your Back Into It
So your motorcycle is lying on its side, and you have no one to help you raise it up again. Fret not, for this is a job one can do by himself. Let’s get down to it then.
The first mistake most people commit is bending over and trying to lift the bike. This is the wrong method for the simple reason that you are using the wrong muscles for the job. Relying on shoulder strength while bent over could cause you to pull your shoulder, lower back, and/or lower arm muscles.
The right way to lift a motorcycle is by putting your back into it. Approach the bike with your back to it. Kneel down and find a good place to hold with your hands on the bike. Once you are confident the bike won’t slip off your hands, focus on lifting it slowly. Push the bike with your hips, keeping your feet planted. Keep pushing against the bike and easing it upward with your hands.
Lifting a bike like this evenly places the load on your calf, butt, back, and shoulder muscles. This is an efficient technique to lift a fallen bike with lesser chances of hurting yourself. Simply bending over and trying to lift it is going to leave you with a sprained back or muscles or both.
Solo Spill Recovery II: Put Your Chest Into It
The first technique is the most widely used one to lift a fallen motorcycle. Some bikes rest at a very shallow angle when they fall, which makes it harder to employ the first technique.
In such cases, there is another way around the situation. Find two spots down the side of your bike that is resting on the ground to lock your arms on. Remember, the arms should not fold at the elbows. Now put your chest against the seat of the motorcycle and push forwards without folding your arms. You are giving the bike horizontal thrust, which will eventually get it upright again.
This technique is quite useful in less-than-ideal situations where you are stranded on mud, loose gravel, or sand. You don’t need a firm grip for your feet to pick up the bike this way.
Got A Partner? Monkey-Lift It
Having a pillion with you is a boon in spill recovery. Of course, first you need to deal with the blame game after having taken down the both of you, but that is part of the charm of riding with a pillion in the first place.
The pillion can make the task of lifting a fallen motorcycle easier. Ask him (for the sake of brevity) to grip the grab handles, or anything that can get him a good grip on the tail section, with his hands. Next, ask him to plant his feet on the rear tyre of the bike. Now he needs to pull back. In essence, the pillion needs to pull the tail section towards him and push the tyre away with his feet.
Next up, lift the bike yourself as you would if you were alone. You will find yourself having to put in less effort. This is because the pillion is compensating for the balance of the bike’s mass. Have him hold his position until the bike is the right way up. At the end of the process, he should be seated on the ground. The pillion can let go once you pull the kickstand down. Of course, you can swap roles if you so wish.
With these tricks in your handbook, I hope you don’t limit yourself to light motorcycles for fear of not being able to pick a heavy one up if it happens to fall. Have a safe ride!
All Images Credit: ADV Pulse