Go Full-lock with your feet up, every time

Once you’ve nailed the basics, there’s one manoeuvre that you’ll be relying on the most in your day to day riding, and that’s the U-Turn.

You’ll probably have first done a U-Turn during your Basic Handling Skills test, and since then, it’s one of those skills that you don’t give too much thought to. While most of us can do a basic “Yuey”, it’s being able to do it with your feet firmly on the pegs and the ‘bars at full lock that sorts the men from the boys.

Regardless of whether you’re a beginner or pro here are some simple tips to help you nail that U-Turn.

U turn on your motorbike

Check for traffic

Since with a U-Turn you’re not only changing directions, but also lanes, you want to be sure that you’re going to be the only one occupying that patch of road as you enter the manoeuvre. Be sure to check for traffic coming in both directions first and foremost. You want to have enough time to perform your U-turn at your own pace, and you don’t want to be caught out by a car hurtling towards you at a crucial moment. You also want to be performing your U-Turn in an appropriate place. This means not at the crest of a hill or in the middle of an intersection.

Look where you want to go

This doesn’t mean looking at the opposite gutter; fixate on that, you’ll end up riding in to it. Look at the area where you want to end up once you’re finished. This means looking over your shoulder from the beginning of your turn.

Your other speed controls

You want to keep the throttle at a constant and instead use the clutch and back brake to adjust your speed. Avoid using the front brake as this will upset your balance and risk needing to put a foot down. You want to do this in one smooth move remember and putting your feet down will not only make you look like a novice, it’ll slow your U-Turn down significantly.

Lean the bike in

Leaning the bike into the turn might feel very counterintuitive at such a low speed, but it’ll help you make it round in a tighter arc. 

… but don’t lean with the bike

This is the bit that your body and mind are telling you is wrong, and they’re right! Don’t lean with the bike at low speeds or you risk leaning in too much and becoming unbalanced. Instead, lean the bike in to the turn but keep yourself upright. Putting your weight on the outside edge of the seat, or weighting the outside peg with your foot will help keep the bike planted.

PracticeYou know what they say about practice… Find a quiet road somewhere and practice your U-turns – all it takes is a few minutes once or twice a week to build those skills and keep them sharp