Riding a motorcycle does not come naturally; riding skills are learned and developed through practice. While a Harley-Davidson Fat Boy is a motorcycle with low ground clearance, as most Harleys are, learning to lean the bike without scraping the floorboards is possible. It’s better to do some exercises at low speeds in a controlled area, such as a parking lot, to determine the Fat Boy’s lean angle limit, rather than find out when you’re barreling into a curve at high speed.
General Lean Angle Practice Techniques
1. Find a controlled, off-road practice space. Cut the tennis balls in half. Place each half onto the pavement of a parking lot — fairly wide apart — to form a large circle of 30 to 40 feet in diameter.
2. Ride the motorcycle in the friction zone with pressure on the rear brake. Keep your head and eyes up. Do not look at the ground or the tennis balls, or you will drop the bike. Do not touch the front brake, or you will drop the bike. Ride around the circle in both the left and right directions. Keep your speed at between 3 to 5 miles per hour. Do not pull the clutch in all the way, or you will drop the bike.
3. Reduce the size of the tennis ball circle in increments until you can safely and comfortably navigate through a 20-foot circle. If you scrape the floorboards, don’t panic; it means you have reached the limit of your lean angle. Keep your speed at between 3 to 5 miles per hour throughout the exercise. Master the 20-foot circle, repeating until it is second nature.
4. Create a large figure eight shape with the tennis balls. Weave through the figure eight with the clutch out and your foot off the rear brake, keeping the speed just over 15 miles per hour. Lean the bike over as far as you can throughout the maneuver. Repeat until you have mastered the figure eight and have comfortably leaned the bike over as far as possible.