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Teaching Throttle Control To Kids/Newbies

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We give demo rides to friends and their kids on our backup bikes, and one of the most common problems for kids is to learn to control the throttle. It's common for first-time riders to give the bike a little gas, which accelerates the bike and makes them lean back some, which opens the throttle more, etc., until they are screaming across the learning area and crash or loop out. This can be very scary for the parents, not to mention the kid!

So I was trying to think of a way to keep this from happening when teaching kids to ride, and I think I have a solution. Try it out the next time you teach a kid or a newbie how to ride. Tell them to keep their right hand OPEN on the throttle, with their first two fingers covering the brake lever, and the last two fingers just under the brake lever. Tell them to twist the throttle with their open hand, by using just the meat of their hand at the base of their thumb and index finger. They can use their palm to hold the throttle open once they get it twisted, but they shouldn't close their fingers and hold onto the throttle grip.

So if they get surprised by the acceleration of the bike, that just pulls the throttle out of their hand, which slows the bike. Plus, they're learning early to ride more relaxed with open hands (which we all do anyway, right?), and they are also forced to learn to control their upper body with their abs, so that they can stay in the same position and keep their hand on the throttle with body position, not with a death grip.

I'm going to try this on the next demo ride that we give. It'll be nice not to have to worry so much about the kids looping out on their first day! -Mike- 😢

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That might work, as long as the rider doesn't panic and give the throttle the death-grip.

I take my kids through a step-by-step process. It helps if they start on a small bike that is not intimidating for them. Auto-clutch is also helpful for that first ride.

Steps:

1- explain all of the controls with the motor off and helmets off (so they can hear.

2- let them try all of the controls while you hold the bike upright (motor still off).

3- helmet and gear on, start the engine.

4- practice throttle control - not full-on and full-off (like video game control), but gradual and smooth.

5- practice throttle off while pulling in the front brake. This causes a lot of kids trouble - when the pull on the brake lever they give it gas.

6- explain very carefully the riding exercise to come:

a) put in gear

😢 give a little gas

c) let out clutch (in necessary) very slowly

d) bike starts to move

e) let off throttle (pull in clutch if they don't panic) and come to a stop

7- let them try exercise #6. Repeat until they are comfortable.

8- now add the rear brake to the process, still focusing on letting off the throttle. It is key that they develop the habit to let off the throttle.

9- now add front brake.

10- gradually increase the distance they ride before stopping.

11- once they can start and stop repeatidly and in control, let them ride around.

12- once they are comfortable riding around, teach them emergency stopping - they must stop quickly and in control every time you raise your arm.

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The first bike i ever rode was a CRF450R. How did i go about not killing myself, you ask? My mate had me undergrip the throttle, as in elbow closer to the ground from the get-go. You can't give it a fist full like that.

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Something simple that really helped my wife was telling her that whenever she wanted to stop to roll the throttle forward, instead of just letting the springs close the throttle.

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The first bike I ever rode was my 250F I have now. I was 16 when I got it, and I knew for some reason I wouldn't have any problems with it. Its just something that honestly came natural for me. Sure, I'm still learning to become a much better rider, but I never had any clutch or throttle problems. I just got it, broke it in right, and took my time on the trails learning the ropes. When I got better I would start riding faster and picking lines and such.

Dirtbikes are a great thing. I cant wait to teach my kids how to ride when I'm a dad.

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The first bike i ever rode was a CRF450R. How did i go about not killing myself, you ask? My mate had me undergrip the throttle, as in elbow closer to the ground from the get-go. You can't give it a fist full like that.

This is exactly what they do in the MSF class. They call it the wrist-down position, and it works very well.

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When both my kids were learning to ride (at age 5) back in the 70's, I took the carb apart and put a piece of metal tube over the cable between the carb top and the slide. That way the throttle would only open about 1/4. After a few days, I cut a bit off the tube and gave them 1/2 throttle, and eventually took it out completely when they could handle it.

Cheers,

Mac

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Both my Mom and my girlfriend learned to ride. I told them to lean forward when accelerating. This helps keep your body position in the correct spot for later. Also, its good to teach leaning back when braking. I found that throttle control is best learned over time and body position for control over the bike is best leanred early. I'm not sure if some kids would understand that. It maybe a little beyond a 6 yr old.

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