Is Riding A Motorcycle Easier Than Driving A Car?

If you are thinking about learning to ride a motorcycle there are probably quite a few things you are wondering about the whole process. If you already drive a car, you might be wondering if it is easier or more difficult.

That’s why I wrote this helpful article to help answer the question, is riding a motorcycle easier than driving a car? Riding a motorcycle is more difficult than driving a car. With a car you only really need to worry about steering, braking and acceleration. Motorcycles require you to do all those things as well as change gears, balance and are much more difficult to ride slowly.

Many new riders might think this all there is to it, everything from braking in corners to just parking can be harder or easier. If you want to know more, read on.

Is riding a motorcycle more difficult than driving a car?

When you are a new rider, it will be more difficult, but after enough practice and hours riding you will probably come to find it isn’t really that much harder than driving a car. This is just down to how a motorcycle is designed and is operated. Let’s go over why this is in detail.

When you ride a motorcycle you are going to have to use every part of your body to control it. Unlike a car where you only really need to use one foot for gas and braking and a hand to steer.

On a motorcycle you will need your left hand for the clutch, right hand for the front brake, right foot for the rear brake and your left foot for selecting gears. On top of that you will also need to use your feel to keep the motorcycle upright when you are stopped.

Your body weight and body position are also important on a motorcycle, you need to shift weight when braking, turning, leaning etc. None of this is required with a car, you just get in, sit your butt down and you’re good to go.

Stopping a motorcycle also takes much more effort and thought. In a car you can simply just slam your foot down and the car’s braking system will take care of everything for you. That is not the case on a motorcycle.

On a motorcycle you need to worry about balancing the front and rear brake, keeping your weight from shifting and changing gears at the same time. Then when you finally stop you need to use your foot to keep you from tipping over.

Taking a corner or turning is also a place where a driving car is easier. On a motorcycle you need to pick a line, calculate the correct entry speed, slow down to that speed, lean the motorcycle over, hold the line then straighten the motorcycle and exit the turn.

motorcycle cornering

On a car, you only need to pick an entry speed and turn a wheel. If you mess the speed up and take a corner too hot, you can easily just apply some brakes and slow down, not so on a motorcycle. On a motorcycle it’s a bit more difficult and can actually be dangerous or even cause you to run wide and crash.

On top of that, if you run into an emergency in a corner for a car this is no big deal. Just slam on the brakes and hope you have enough stopping distance. No real skill or training is needed, only good reaction time.

A motorcyclist is going to be in a bit of trouble, you are going to have to straighten the bike, apply the brakes and hope you don’t run wide or crash into the hazard you are trying to avoid.

This takes a tremendous amount of training and skill to be able to do effectively, especially when under the pressure and stress of an emergency situation.

This is such an important skill to learn, I actually wrote a really helpful article all about stopping quickly in a corner. Check out the link below, it’s worth the read. The technique and tips I share might just save your butt in an emergency.

When changing gears on a motorcycle you need to make sure you match the RPMs properly when downshifting. If you fail to do this correctly, you can make the rear tire lock up or bounce.

A car doesn’t have this issue, even in a manual car this does not matter. Sure, it might put some stress on the engine and or transmission, even make the car jerk a little and slow down, but there is no danger of a crash from it.

Then you have slow speed riding. On a motorcycle this can be difficult to do for new riders. You need to practice and learn how to do it. This can take quite a bit of practice, you need to master the clutch, learn how to balance, learn to drag the rear brakes etc.

A lot is needed to do it smoothly and safely. In a car, this is not an issue. From the start any driver will be able to easily drive a car slowly.

I wrote an article called “Ultimate Motorcycle Parking Lot Practice Guide”. There are a ton of drills in there to help you get better at riding a motorcycle at slow speeds. Check it out below.

ultimate parking lot practice guide

Apart from all that, riding a motorcycle is just a much more physically demanding thing to do. Unlike driving a car, you actually burn calories when riding a motorcycle.

You can easily burn up to 600 calories per hour riding, on a car you’d be lucky to burn 175 calories. Sure that’s not going to get you ripped and ready for the beach, but it’s a nice little bonus to riding.

As you can see, riding a motorcycle is a more involved process and can be more difficult than driving a car, but this is not always going to be the case.

After you have ridden a motorcycle for a while, most of the points mentioned (if not all) will become second nature to you. You won’t even notice you are doing them.

How long this takes will come down to how well you pick up riding a motorcycle. For some it’s a few weeks and they got it, others it can take much longer.

Just remember to focus on practising and improving your skills every time you hop on your motorcycle and in no time you’ll be there.

Related Questions

Is a bigger motorcycle harder to ride as a beginner?

A bigger motorcycle is harder for a new rider to learn on. This is mainly due to the increased weight and power of larger motorcycles. They are much less forgiving to mistakes and will tip fairly easily, making them not a good choice for new riders. That’s why it’s best for new riders to start out on a smaller motorcycle and work their way up.

Any skills learned on a smaller or lighter motorcycle will easily transfer over to riding a bigger motorcycle. I wrote a whole article about new riders and bigger motorcycles, check it out here to learn more.

Is it hard to learn how to ride a motorcycle?

Learning to ride a motorcycle is not difficult to do. For many new riders they can usually get the basics down after a couple of afternoons practising in a parking lot.

Then it’s just a matter of even more practising and getting used to riding. This is best done by taking safety courses or going to a parking lot and spending a good amount of time working on your riding skills.

There is no shortcut for this. I always tell new riders take a MSF course if there is one offered in their area. It’s the best way to learn how to ride a motorcycle safely.

That’s all there is to it folks. I hope you found this article helpful and that it answered your questions. If not, feel free to drop me a line using the on-site contact form.

Until next time, happy riding!

Jordan Baker

Hi, I’m Jordan. I’ve been riding motorcycles for a few years now(9+ years). Along the way I’ve learned a bunch, made mistakes and picked up a thing or two. I’ve also spent countless hours practicing and working on improving my skills, something I try to do a few times a week. That’s why I made this website. So I can share my love for riding and everything I’ve learned over the years. Hopefully you’ll stick around and check out a few articles.

Recent Content