How to Drift a Motorcycle: The Beginner’s Guide


Drifting is a technique in which the rider slides or skids their rear wheel to cause loss of traction on one side. This allows them to make sharper turns and maintain control at higher speeds. It also looks really cool! The following guide will teach how you how to drift a motorcycle, how it is done, and how you can use this technique for your advantage on the road or dirt track.

What is motorcycle drifting, and how does it work?

Motorcycle drifting is a technique that enables a rider to slide through the track. The move happens when you enter a corner with speed, lean your bike over to turn, and your tires start to lose traction. Thus you can slide or drift as the momentum pulls you to the outside of the corner.

Motorcycle sliding typically happens because of how the motorcycle’s suspension works. As the bike leans into turns, then suspension moves independently on either side of the bike, lowering how much traction it is available on both sides (which causes sliding).

Gain the skills to drift with some practice

Your first experience on your motorcycle is unlikely to be a pleasant one. Drift riding will be even less of a pleasant experience, especially for first-time riders.

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To build your confidence on the motorcycle, you need to practice as much as possible. This can be by riding around in circles at home or a safe place where people know how to find you if there’s an emergency. It doesn’t have to be fancy; just enough space for drifting without crashing into anything.

For your first motorcycle ride, it’s best to dress for comfort and not style. You should also consider taking a riding class before trying to drift. This will give you the experience of how to control the bike in this situation, so you are better prepared if something goes wrong.

Keep in mind that how to drift a motorcycle is not for beginners. If you are just starting out, continue your practice at home or with an experienced rider who can spot potential dangers before they happen while riding around on the track.

Don’t rush

To prepare for how to drift a motorcycle, you should start slowly. When drifting, it’s not about how fast you go in the corners, but how smooth the turns are and how often you can do them. You want to be going at a comfortable speed before you start your drift. The thing about drifting is that it’s not like racing where just going faster will make things happen sooner. I also want to remind you that when drifting, protection is important because it can be very dangerous even for professionals. I hope that all of you are wearing protection when around the vehicle if you are practicing how to drift a motorcycle or any other vehicle so that you do not risk getting seriously injured.

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Rear Wheel Braking

Rear-wheel braking is a technique used to initiate the drifting motion of your motorcycle. To learn how to rear a wheel break, you need to first get the motorcycle up in 15-20 km/h and pull the clutch. Once you have pulled the clutch, come to a hard break on your back wheel with the rear brake. 

Slide at the end of the braking distance

This next step is how you slide at the end of the braking distance. You’ll have to turn between 90 and 120 degrees at the end of your skid. This can only be done at the end, not in the middle or at the start. That would be too fast, and you would lose balance if you maneuvered it at too fast of a pace.

This is the hardest part of how to drift a motorcycle, and once you have mastered this step, the hard work is over. The next steps are fun because now it’s all about sliding through corners at high speeds with no fear!

Slippage of the rear wheel

The next step is to master rear-wheel slippage. The 90-120 degree skid, when executed properly, is the time for you to put this into action. Once you’re at a maximum tilt on your bike, drop the clutch and open the throttle to 50%. If you’re inexperienced with maneuvering it back up, use your leg for support and a better tilt feeling.

Final Step

A final step for drifting motorcycle beginners is to keep practicing, keep learning and keep playing.

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The more you practice, the better you become. You cannot expect to learn tricks and skills overnight and master them effortlessly if you don’t engage in deliberate practice. It’s how you get to be the best rider and how you learn how to drift a motorcycle properly.


There are also a lot of videos that show how to drift on youtube that will help you learn how to do this. It’s best to start by watching these videos and practicing how they do it before trying it yourself with your bike.


Is it possible to drift a motorcycle?

It is possible to drift a motorcycle, but it will take some practice. A motorcycle can be drifted two ways: with the front wheel or with the rear wheel. It is usually done by sliding in a corner and is how most bike riders get off the ground and perform tricks while riding.

Can you drift a motorcycle with ABS?

It can be done with ABS, but it’s not as easy. The bike will want to lock up the back tire, and you’ll have to use a lot more force on the break for it to happen.

What causes a motorcycle to the high side?

  • the motorcycle is going too fast;
  • the rider takes a turn at too wide an angle and loses control of how much the motorcycle leans;
  • due to poor tires, oil, or other liquids on the surface, such as gasoline;

By Jacob - The Rider

Hi, my name is Jacob. I'm the founder of Backyard Rider Mag - a blog about motorcycles. I've studied engineering in college but decided to make blogging my career because it really aligned with what I wanted to do creatively - talk about bikes! I've been riding for 16 years now- everything from sportbikes to cruisers, dirtbikes or even dual sports. And after all these years on the road, there are still new bikes that excite me just as much as when I first started riding.

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