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Ten tips on walking your motorcycle

Walking your motorcycle is the quickest and most effective way of moving your bike, but most people find the safest way to move a motorcycle around in your garage or a carpark is to sit on it and paddle with your feet.

That’s fine unless your bike is tall and you can only get your toes on the ground or if you are trying to back up a slope. Then, you should walk your bike.


Have you ever watched a motorcycle shop first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening? The mechanics whizz the bikes in and out with ease. Even the big Harley Touring machines seem light and nimble in their experienced hands. If you want to be able to move bikes around like that for ease of parking, getting in and out of your garage or just moving your bike from the pump on a service station forecourt, here are some tips.

  1. Take off your helmet and gloves first. Helmets limit your periphery vision and you could easily back the bike into an object. Gloves can be slippery. It used to be illegal to walk a bike without a helmet, but thankfully that ridiculous law has now changed.
  2. Balance the bike and don’t try to hold all of its weight in your hands. Stand beside the bike as though you are going to get on. Get used to the balance point of your bike by practising this in your garage. Once you get the balance right, you will actually be able to move around the bike, supporting it just with one hand. Even a 300+kg tourer will feel light at its balanced point.
  3. If the bike is really heavy or very low, you may be able to support some of the weight on your hip, so push your hip into the seat or tank depending on your height.
  4. Some people use the side stand as a fail-safe. However, you can trip on it and on varying surfaces it can get caught on a bump and tip the bike over.
  5. Put it in neutral. Don’t hold the clutch in. If walking it up a hill, you may have to turn it on and ride the clutch to get a slow and steady speed.
  6. The bike is easy to move in a straight line, but difficult to turn as the front wheel gets wobbly and disturbs your balance. If you have to turn the bike, try to use only full lock as the front wheel will then be most stable. Stop before turning the handlebars from straight to full lock and back again. The points in between are where the bike is most unstable.
  7. If moving the bike backwards, it is easier to hold the bike by the left handlebar and put your right hand on the rear seat, top box or pillion handle.
  8. Avoid using the brake. Slow the bike to a stop. If you have to use the brake, you’ll need to be very gentle.
  9. Don’t use the side stand as a pivot to turn a bike around. It could bend the side stand which is not meant to take that much weight. It will also put a hole in your garage floor.
  10. Take it slow and easy. There is no rush. Practise this a few times at home perhaps with a friend nearby in case you lose your balance.


  1. For 20+ years as a professional, I have used an entirely different method. Walk around the bike and pick it up from the other side. Leave the sidestand down as an insurance. The brake lever is now right where you need it without having to reach across the width of the bike, which means you can now use your left hand to grab the rear of the bike. When you can open your shoulders and use the strength of your arms and chest, you can do a three-point turn in almost as many seconds. You can look behind without having to twist your neck. If need be, you can always reach over the bike to ensure the sidestand is still safe to put the bike back down.

    1. Not as easy to do as a female, when your strength is in you hip and legs. Not your arms and chest!

  2. The only thing is, when we are at a public place like a gas station, taking off helmet and gloves could be impractical. Where should we put them? Or maybe somebody else got another idea? I am new rider, so forgive me if my next question sounds a bit dumb. But when I am trying to walk my bike backwards while it’s still in gear, even though i’m holding the clutch in, it feels almost impossible. Or am I doing it wrong?

    1. Sometimes they stick a little give it a good jolt initially. Or if you really stuck. I push down and forward with front brake on to compress shocks then when it rebounds let go of brake and pull back( all in one fluid motion)
      Good for getting over bumps from a stop

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