Tips for the perfect U-turn

Feet-up, full-lock, each and every time

Tips for the perfect U-turn

IF THERE'S one slow-speed riding manoeuvre you’re likely to need on a regular basis, it’s the U-turn.

You will have done it when learning to ride and perfected it for your test but have you still got the slow speed skills to pay the bills?

Maybe you’re a rider that shies away from full-lock, feet-up U-turns. Perhaps you’re unsure of your slow speed skill and don’t want to risk dropping your expensive bike when you can easily paddle it back and forth. Regardless of the reason here are some simple tips to help you refine your slow mo' mojo.

Check for traffic

You’re going to be using both lanes, so be sure to check for traffic coming in both directions. You want to have enough time to perform your U-turn with enough time to suit you, and you don’t want to be caught out by a car hurtling towards you at a crucial moment.

Look where you want to go

That doesn’t mean looking at the opposite kerb; fixate on that, you’ll end up riding in to it. Look at the area where you want to end up. It’ll means you’ll be looking over your shoulder when you begin to turn.

Clutch and back brake to control speed

You want to keep a constant throttle and use the clutch and back brake to modulate your speed. Don’t use the front brake or you’ll upset your balance and risk needing to put a foot down, and you can’t do that because the floor is lava.

Don’t be afraid to lean the bike into the turn…

Leaning the bike into the turn might not feel like the most natural thing to do a such low speed, but it’ll help you make it round in a tighter arc

… but don’t lean with the bike

Or you risk leaning in too much and becoming unbalanced. Instead, lean the bike in to the turn but keep yourself upright. I find that slightly shifting myself to the outside of the seat helps me get the feeling of balance I’m after.


It makes perfect, dontcha know? Find a quiet road somewhere and practise your U-turns – a few minutes once or twice a week will keep you sharp.