How to Ride a Harley 101: Learn to Tame that Hog!

You saved up for ages, waited patiently, and now you bought your first Harley. Congrats! Here are five YouTube videos on how to tame that Hog!

So, you just bought a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Now what?

Well, now you’ve got to learn how to ride it! All bikes are not built the same and seasoned riders may have a few tried-and-true pointers for you. Below, we’ve picked five YouTube videos that will help you stay upright on your new baby.

How to Ride a Harley-Davidson

Up first is How to Ride a Harley-Davidson with Old Dirty Biker (O.D.B.). Featuring an intro by Matt Laidlaw from Laidlaw’s Harley-Davidson in Los Angeles, the five-minute video offers a quick overview of bike basics. With a twang and a faux rockabilly beard, O.D.B. goes over the gear you’ll need (helmet, glasses, and fingerless gloves) and the bike’s different controls: front brake (“You usually only need one or two fingers unless you’re in a panic situation,” advises O.D.B.), rear brake, clutch, and shifter. O.D.B. demonstrates how to start the bike and offers up this gem: “If you’re not riding a Harley, you’re not riding a motorcycle.” Check out Laidlaw’s YouTube channel for about 150 more videos, about four of which feature Old Dirty Biker.

Harley-Davidson Tips: Mounting, Dismounting & Passengers


For a more in-depth look at how to get on and off your Harley, the guys from Fix My Hog offer up the five-minute clip Harley-Davidson Tips: Mounting, Dismounting & Passengers. From his years of experience, the host recommends mounting the bike from the left side because right-side mounting takes the weight off of the kickstand, which could then result in the bike falling over either on top of you or onto the ground. Both of which may damage the bike, and, of course, cause injury.

“More often than not I see outer-fairings are damaged,” the host says. “Or if the particular motorcycle that has sustained damage has a front engine guard, you’ll see the guard has a nice big gouge in the chrome. Usually what that is from is when the motorcycle is either parked incorrectly and falls on its own, or if the rider and passenger are not getting on and off the motorcycle correctly.”

The host also demonstrates how passengers should get on and off the bike. Fix My Hog offers a free and pay-per-view video collection containing essential information specifically constructed to assist Harley-Davidson owners.
For a more in-depth look at how to get on and off your Harley, the guys from Fix My Hog offer up the five-minute clip Harley-Davidson Tips: Mounting, Dismounting & Passengers. From his years of experience, the host recommends mounting the bike from the left side because right-side mounting takes the weight off of the kickstand, which could then result in the bike falling over either on top of you or onto the ground. Both of which may damage the bike, and, of course, cause injury.

“More often than not I see outer-fairings are damaged,” the host says. “Or if the particular motorcycle that has sustained damage has a front engine guard, you’ll see the guard has a nice big gouge in the chrome. Usually what that is from is when the motorcycle is either parked incorrectly and falls on its own, or if the rider and passenger are not getting on and off the motorcycle correctly.”

The host also demonstrates how passengers should get on and off the bike. Fix My Hog offers a free and pay-per-view video collection containing essential information specifically constructed to assist Harley-Davidson owners.

Top 5 Motorcycle Tips Every New Rider Should Know


Self-professed Harley newbie and YouTube personality BxPolymath tells it like it is in his nine-minute clip, Top 5 Motorcycle Tips: From a Harley NEWB!! The first item on his top five list of things he wishes he knew when he first started riding, BxPolymath recommends, “Get a bike that you like and are actually going to enjoy riding.” Do you enjoy riding a cruiser? A sport bike? Test them out before you buy one, advises BxPolymath. “Save your money and get the bike that you really want.”

The second most important aspect of learning to ride a Harley, according to BxPolymath, is to not buy cheap gear. “Don’t be a cheapass and buy the cheap gloves or helmet, because, in the long run, that’s going to cost you more.” BxPolymath points out the inexpensive gloves that he bought. “They’ve lasted me… but have no protection at all.”

Third, BxPolymath recommends going to an empty parking lot to hone your skills. “Practice, practice, practice,” he says. “Build that confidence on the bike before you even go out on a long ride.”

Fourth, BxPolymath says to practice your friction zone and letting go of the clutch. “I wish I knew this [information] from day one and practiced it, because guess what? I’ve stalled my bike three times already and one of the main reasons is the friction zone,” he says.

Lastly, BxPolymath says to become familiar with your throttle control so that you don’t gun it and accidentally do a wheelie on the freeway entrance ramp. Like he did.

Harley-Davidson Riding Tips


Stan Hazen, a motorcycle instructor at the Ontario Police College, demonstrates slow speed controlled riding in the five-minute YouTube clip Kitchener Harley-Davidson Riding Tips from Blackbridge Harley-Davidson.

“Slow speed maneuvering is where a lot of people have problems,” says Hazen. “Pulling into parking lots, their bike falls over.” Hazen recommends having some drive to the back wheel, a little throttle, a little bit of rear brake, and eye lead. “Eye lead is so important,” he says.”You have to look where you want to go.”

Hazen demonstrates what happens when you don’t look where you want to go, and what happens when you have correct eye lead. “Try this in a parking lot, [with] big figure eights. When we do this at the police college, it takes 80 hours to get the guys confident on slow speeds.”

Learning to Ride a Harley

If you’d prefer to take a training course on how to ride your new bike, the five-minute video Learning to Ride a Harley from YouTuber OnMilwaukee shows its benefits.

The men and women who attended the “Ticket to Ride: New Rider Course” from Harley-Davidson Riding Academy with House of Harley were all glad they had signed up for the class.

“I felt that this class would put me in a right position to learn how to operate a motorcycle safely and also enjoy it at the same time,” says student and West Allis firefighter Chris Williams.

Milwaukee police officer Jesus Merced says of the course, “I had a blast. It’s a skill that I didn’t have before. I’d never ridden a motorcycle before.” The House of Harley-Davidson Riding Academy is taught by certified, award-winning coaches. Students learn to ride on the new Harley-Davidson Street 500 motorcycle in a safe environment, plus they have the opportunity to spend more time with a coach during available extended riding sessions.

So there you have it. Some solid tips so you too can make your Harley squeal on down the highway.

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