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Riding Over Obstacles On A Chopper

Riding over obstacles with a regular motorcycle is not usually a problem. The suspension and bike setup on most modern street motorcycles allows for a smooth transition over all but the largest obstacles.

Think about the recommended Motorcycle Safety Foundation procedure for crossing a 2x4 in the road or hitting a "pothole" that is 2" or so deep... you should try to cross at or near a 90-degree angle, stand up on the foot pegs to use your legs as shock absorbers, roll on the throttle a little to lighten the front-end as you cross the obstacle (and rolling off as you cross it to avoid throwing the obstacle up behind you), clear over the obstacle, and ride on.

With a chopper the procedure is slightly different. The greater than normal rake, extended front forks, far-forward controls, minimal (if any) rear shock travel, and low ground clearance requires more faith and strength and will take some practice to be able to complete the procedure safely. Of course, the best course of action is avoid obstacles completely (they say chopper riders are the most vigilant road surface scanners) but that just isn't realistic on today's roads.

My aching spine today tells me that I need more practice after hitting a pavement "bump" of approx. 2-3" yesterday on the highway.

The key to successfully crossing an obstacle on a chopper is having faith in the handlebars (and the strength in your arms/back) so you can pull yourself up off the seat enough to allow the rear tire to ride over the obstacle while keeping the bike under control.

It takes some practice... especially for the larger obstacles... and I would recommend you try it a few times on your motorcycle before you are on the highway going 65 MPH and notice the pavement squished up 3" across the lane right in front of you!

Practice obstacle clearance no matter what you ride and ride safe! Ron

Submitted by:

Ron Gallagher

Ron Gallagher operates his web-based development business http://www.ROAT.com and writes a blog http://www.HowToRideChoppers.com. Writing articles about riding and choppers has allowed my blog to become a FAQ on tips, tricks, and ideas on how to make owning and riding a chopper more fun!


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