Basic motorcycle controls (CBT)

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Basic motorcycle controls

Learners (CBT) overview of controls

There are five basic controls that must be mastered in order to safely operate and ride a motorcycle. There are of course many other important controls, but until a new rider has reached a level of proficiency with these five basic controls, they will struggle with other aspects of riding a motorcycle.


  • Disengages the drive when in gear
  • Pull in the clutch to select first gear
  • Use it slowly when pulling away
  • Vital for slow control and stopping
  • Aids smoother gear changes


  • Use a flat wrist
  • Gently, do not be aggressive
  • Turn it away from rider to allow engine braking

Front brake

  • All four fingers
  • Finger tips only
  • Bike is in an upright position and in a straight line
  • From high speed to low speed
  • Never in a corner or when bike is leaned over

Rear brake

  • Only at slow speed
  • Use when cornering or steering the handlebars

Gear lever

  • Sequential gearbox – up or down one gear at a time
  • Speed up – change up
  • Slow down – change down
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