Nick Ienatsch, Chief Instructor Yamaha Champions Riding School – Author of Sport Riding Techniques

Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys®: I always feel uplifted and fortunate to have the opportunity to talk about motorcycling with Moto Sage Nick Ienatsch.

Known as the top ride coach in the business, tapping into Nick Ienatsch’s extensive knowledge and advice is a privilege I hold in high regard.
His impressive list of credentials is a mile long, however he doesn’t share them much and modestly shared with me, “I believe my strengths as an instructor come from my riding background…I didn’t start racing until I was 28 years old and had to work hard to catch some of the long-time racers. I realized very early that riding technique and desire were more important than “natural ability”. I’m hoping everyone hears what I’m saying!
“A desire to improve your riding is the most important ingredient.”
Spot on. Such a universal principle yet so often overlooked.
When we got on the topic of women riding, Nick stated, “I think of women riders the same way I think of male riders: You are each individuals and will struggle with particular aspects of this sport. I won’t broad-brush women riders with any ridiculous statements…I will simply approach this sport as I always have: it’s the best thing you can do on this earth, now what can I help you with?”
What I’m noticing about women on bikes:
Well…let’s get right into it, shall we? This sport is much less mathematical than a human wants it to be. Humans want hard answers, numbers and measurable results. And there is a trend in America to teach motorcycle riding in a rigid format: DO THIS. NEVER DO THAT. ALWAYS DO THIS. I want to get riders of every gender to realize this type of instruction is popular because it’s an easy way to teach. “Riding Instructors” don’t really need to have much experience or skills or credentials, or speed, or consistency…they can simply read the skill-sets off a sheet that another group of riders mailed to them or wrote in a book.
Unfortunately, this rigid, structured, standardized riding information will fail you quite catastrophically.
So here’s where I’m going with this: Don’t take riding advice, even mine, as something absolute. A “riding instructor” says you must use four fingers on the front brake lever…but GP World Champion uses only one, Mr. Daytona Scott Russell uses two, nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi uses three. Many roadracers have been “instructed” to never use the rear brake, yet two-time World Superbike Champion Troy Corses added a thumb-operated rear brake to his BMW so he could use it in right-hand corners too. Some cruiser riders have been “instructed” to not use the front brake, yet your bike will stop 60% less efficiently without the front brake being used.
You know what must separate me from those other “riding instructors”? I don’t think you’re stupid. They must think you’re stupid. They’re telling you to never use the brakes at lean angle. That’s insane…if there’s a car partly in your lane, if the gravel is covering the outside of your lane, if a car pulls out in front of you from a rest area. Their instruction will kill you. Get yourself into a parking lot, turn your bike in a gentle arc and ggggeeennnntttllllyyy (gently) close the throttle and squeeze on a little brake. Quit listening to advice that doesn’t make sense,”
As I wrap this up, a mixed bag of irritation and frustration disturbed me for a bit as I thought about instructors dolling out opinions that fall apart as the speed builds or the grip diminishes. Then came an appreciation of how lucky we are to enjoy the world of two wheels, ride safe as you enjoy the long road ahead.
Ride ON,
Brenda Fox

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