Images: Gaurav S Thombre
There are three things that are foremost in a bike enthusiast’s list – a wheelie, a stoppie… and a burnout. That’s how we began the third part of our ABC of Stunting series. In the fourth part, it’s time to slip and slide. The slide is one of the most spectacular motorcycle stunts there is. It is also probably the only stunting technique that comes in handy while racing motorcycles. Don’t believe us? Google, flat track racing or just watch what the boys are doing in Moto 2 and Moto 3 as they go on the brakes. It’s spectacular stuff. It isn’t difficult to think of enthusiasts who aspire to do this. The only thing that stops them from going out and doing it is the lack of knowledge and training.
It looks great but is difficult to master. Spills are guaranteed in the learning phase. Naturally, you need to be protected well enough to be able to make it to your next slide. Goes without saying that you will need to have a proper helmet on, along with proper riding gear so that you’re well protected. Also, do not do it on public roads. Use a private track. Normally we use the safety of Pune’s Indi Karting track but burnouts and slides are not meant to be done on a track. So we chose the controlled environment of a private property with zero traffic. With that, let’s get down to business.
The basic slide
- Get the motorcycle moving and then get up to a speed of around 25-30kmph as quickly as you can.
- Once you’ve reached the desired speed, roll off the throttle and pull in the clutch simultaneously to free up the rear wheel.
- Lock your knees firmly in to the tank of the Pulsar.
- Hit the rear brake hard enough to get the rear wheel to suddenly stop. This helps the motorcycle’s rear wheel lock up and break traction. Without this you will not be able to slide the bike at all.
- As the bike starts to slide, turn the handlebar in the direction of the slide. Without this counter steer input to the handlebars, the bike will become unstable and you will fall.
Like in the case of a burnout, tyres get spoilt trying to get a motorcycle to slide. Also, new tyres on rough concrete or tarmac makes it difficult to break traction. Either try practicing on polished concrete or see if you can lay your hands on slightly older tyres that are worn out.
The basic steps of a slide remain the same on dirt. However, with dirt, since traction levels are already low it takes less effort and speed to get the bike to slide.
- Start with the steps of the basic slide. Get the bike moving but you’ll need more speed than in a basic slide. Get up to around 35-40kmph. Roll off, pull the clutch in and stomp on the rear brake.
- Once the rear wheel has locked up and moved beyond the point of adhesion, stick the inside leg out and tilt the motorcycle into the turn.
- Trace a circle on the tarmac or on dirt, depending on which surface you’ve chosen to try this on, till the bike comes to a stop. You have now done a drift.
The Bajaj Pulsar NS200 comes shod with 100/80 rubber on the front and 130/70 rubber on the rear. The tubeless tyres on the 17-inch wheels are great for all sorts of stuff on tarmac. You can also upgrade to knobby tyres to get more grip on dirt.
The power slide
- Things get interesting with the power slide. This is the spectacular stuff you see on screen, be it movies or dirt track racing. Although the initial steps remain the same, you will need quite a bit of speed for this. Say around 50-60kmph.
- Keep the legs locked firmly around the NS200’s sculpted tank. In fact, this deserves special mention. Keeping the legs locked firmly around the petrol tank is a standard operating procedure for all stunts and the shape of the Pulsar NS200’s tank is such that it can be held very easily. Another reason why it’s the preferred choice of stunt riders like Hrishi.
- Stomp on the rear brake to ensure that the rear wheel has broken free of the surface and is sliding.
- Once the rear has locked up and started to slide, open the throttle as hard as you can to get the wheel spinning away to glory, thus ensuring no chance of regaining traction.
- Tilt the bike into the turn and keep the handlebar pointed in the direction of the slide, basically countersteering.
- Stick one leg out to prop the bike back up if it dips too low and power your way around.
Power slides are best done on dirt since the lower traction level makes things easy. Also, it’s better if you can find a turn with some nice run off to practice this stunt.
Done reading? Now watch and learn how to slide in our video here.