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As a technique, there can’t be anything you can learn that is less useful. Yet, despite that, it’s supremely important to learn to power slide because it’s both outrageously fun and guaranteed to impress your desired potential mate*. You’ll never feel more like a hero than when you nail a perfectly executed brake slide to power slide. Here is how we do it.
*This may not be true. Evidence of power sliding skills helping with any form of human to human interaction has been inconclusive.
The power slide is somewhat of a Brake Magazine staple. If a bike is good for it every one of our test riders wants one shot. They’re cool, they’re fun and big adventure bikes are better at them than any other production motorcycle. The mass of power on hand and geometry makes them perfect sideways machines.
“You’ll never feel more like a hero than when you nail a perfectly executed brake slide to power slide.”
Because we publish so many, we thought it was about time we passed on our wisdom* and steps to making yourself and your bike a power sliding, super cool duo.
*Wisdom is a loose term.
The key to a safe, controlled power slide is to be as aggressive as possible, rev the bike very hard and ping the clutch. The more aggressive and wildly you perform this, whilst going as fast as possible, the more chance you have of it… None of that is true. Sorry.
The reality of a great power slide is in getting the bike leant over and moving slowly. Trying to do it with speed and throttle aggression is risky and takes immense control. That approach is a quick way to a high side and a little Accident & Emergency visit. It can be done, but it’s not the way to learn it.
So we start by doing a brake slide turn. Attack the corner straight on, generally at about 15mph. Whip the clutch in and stand on the rear brake hard. You need the wheel to lock completely. Doing the slide upright and straight is easier because it lets some of your speed scrub off before you throw it sideways.
As you being to slow down, move your head and whole body in the direction you want to go. The faster and more aggressive your body movement is, the quicker the bike will turn. You also need to make sure your head and eyes move in the direction you want to. Be careful not to do this too early. Being leant over and sideways, with a wheel locked is a tough cookie to keep upright when you’re moving quickly. Wait till you’re slowing down to make it turn.
As the bike starts to turn, keep that rear wheel locked. It needs to stay locked until you are almost completely stationary. If you want it to lean more, add pressure to the inside peg, and vice versa for a little less angle and a little more grip.
You ideally want the brake slide to have almost stopped the bike, with a touch of lean angle. The key is all in the brake slide. Getting that brake turn dialled in is a good 75% of the package. If you get it right the process to power slide out is pretty easy.
When you’ve reached the position mentioned above, it’s time to add power to the package. This is the bit that makes you feel like the legend you are. It all starts with the clutch and throttle. At the end of the slide, we’re turning and the clutch is disengaged. As you turn the throttle to drive out, feed the clutch abruptly too. The sharp delivery of power will force the rear wheel to spin and let the bike slide.
This works tremendously well on big capacity bikes because of the huge torque output. Keeping the bike in the lower part of the revs by being in second gear will also make it easier to control the power delivery and keep it sliding longer.
The big key to making your slides awesome is in your body position. At the exact moment you wind the throttle on and drop the clutch to break that rear traction, your body position and weight has to transfer from a central position to as far forward as possible. The further forward you can get your head, the more grip you’ll get from the front wheel and the more control you’ll have. It also unloads the rear wheel, helping it slide and spin, giving you more control over the whole process.
Finally, having your weight over the front of the bike also helps you hang onto your now rapidly accelerating machine as you blast off into the horizon leaving bystanders in awe of your incredible skill.
The last part of your journey to impressing all your mates is controlling the slide. Footpeg pressure is the key to this. Want to turn more? Put more lean in. Apply some pressure to the inside footpeg. Sliding too much and losing control? Stop your pants filling up by getting some weight on the outside footpeg. And if you get to the point where you feel like everything is about to explode, pull the clutch in. It’ll save the day almost every time; I promise…