Show cover of Around the Wheel with Bret Tkacs

Around the Wheel with Bret Tkacs

Discussions and interviews between Bret Tkacs and ADV riders, travelers, Patreon fans, and industry experts.


Why teach four fingered braking?
WHY TEACH FOUR FINGERED BRAKING? Guest: David Weed, currently an MSF-certified RiderCoach and RiderCoach trainer and formerly the lead technical specialist for the Washington State Motorcycle Program. Topic: Bret and David dive into the controversial topic of teaching and using four fingers on the brake, why it's still being taught, and strategies to improve as a rider (hint: it involves questioning the status quo). Key Takeaway:We need to learn from what the bike is telling us and be able to make our own choices.  Each choice has it's own advantages and consequences.  To be a really good rider, a talented rider, we must make choices in the moment and know when something makes sense and when it doesn't. Video mentioned in this podcast: Does MSF Teach Four Finger Braking?
36:08 09/27/2022
What Boots Should I Wear?
MX BOOTS VS ADV BOOTS Guest: Alex and Bret discuss some of the advantages and challenges of switching to a heavier boot for ADV riding. Discussion Points: 1.  There is huge difference between motocross boots and boots that are marketed as an Adventure boot. Key Takeaways: - There is the challenge of getting away from boots that you can walk around in.  Move into boots that actually protect your ankles if you fall down. Boots mentioned in this podcast are the Sidi Crossfire 3's - purchased on Amazon here. Disclosure: I only recommend products I actually use, and all opinions expressed in this podcast are my own. This post contains affiliate links that - at no additional cost to you - I may earn a small commission.
26:49 08/22/2022
Tire Talk
ADV Tire Talk Guest: Jarrett King is an ADV rider and mechanical designer at Mitas Tires.Discussion Points:1.  Air pressure – should I air down before riding off-road?2.  Why is the manufacturer's baseline pressure different from what's written on the sidewall?3.  Can a rider increase or decrease the size of the tire on the bike?Key Takeaways:- It’s interesting to observe what people think they can feel and what they can actually feel when it comes to tires.
37:50 06/17/2022
Large & Tall Bike Setup
LARGE & TALL BIKE SETUP Guest: Kip Kyler stands 6’4” with a 38” inseam who is riding a Husqvarna 701.  He has made a few adjustments to accommodate his height and weight, but still feels cramped in the cockpit while riding.  He has reached out to Bret to find out what other adjustments he can make and what kind of suspension he may need to install. Discussion Points: 1.  How to choose the right spring for your riding style and weight. 2.  How to find the right local suspension tuner for you. 3.  How to determine the correct suspension setup needed for you. Key Takeaways: - When a bike is suspended properly, it will greatly increase your confidence.  People don’t understand how important setting up the bike properly is. - Many people adjust their bars to be comfortable when standing straight up.  This is not correct – if something catches you off-guard, it can throw you off-balance and you end up with a whiskey throttle. - Preload does not actually make the springs stiffer; they just feel stiffer.
33:43 03/28/2022
Invest in Experience, Not Farkles
INVESTING IN EXPERIENCE When taking riders overseas on motorcycle expeditions, Bret has been surprised to note that participants don't have the problems he would expect them to have.  In fact, less-experienced riders quickly develop their skill sets and become confident off-road riders very quickly - much faster than in any traditional training environment.  Bret dives into this phenomenon with his friend and instructor Paul.Note:  If you are bothered by foul language, please start this podcast at 00:56.Guest: Paul Solomonson teaches alongside Bret and enjoys riding a BMW 1200GS off-road.Upcoming Tours:  South Africa - Learn MoreDiscussion Points:1.  The highest risk issues in traveling overseas or in remote areas.2.  How to change training to quickly and effectively develop skill sets.Key Takeaways:- Make sure you practice the things that are uncomfortable to you.- Focus on the skill sets you don't think you'll ever need.Videos Mentioned:Mistakes riders make in tight places.The Bar-Stop Skill - Ride Like a ProThe Rolling Dismount - Ride Like a Pro
35:03 03/03/2022
Stop Being Complacent
AVOID DANGEROUS COMPLACENCY Sometimes riding can be not very exciting or even downright boring.  The excitement of reacting to everything on the road fades away once you feel you've encountered most situations and feel comfortable with the threats that are common to motorcyclists.  However, this natural progression can lead to a dangerous lack of focus... and that's when the curve closes up too fast or the deer is directly in line with your headlights.  Bret talks about methods he uses to keep focus while riding. Guest: David Holy is a Patreon subscriber and rides a BMW 1200GS.Discussion Points:1.  What is riding with a PLAN?2.  How can I avoid getting distracted in daydreams while riding?Key Takeaways:- Identify the IMpossibilities in order to see the possibilities.- You should never go faster than the distance in which you can come to a controlled (non-panic) stop.Trail Braking Rant @ 22:50
30:48 09/20/2021
How to Manage Fear
HOW TO MANAGE FEAR WHILE RIDING A MOTORCYCLE. Bret Tkacs discusses a subject that every ADV motorcyclist has faced - how to manage fear.  This is a subject that’s widely discussed, but only in general terms – until this podcast.  Learn specific strategies to work specifically with a paralyzing fear of heights while riding.Guest: Kerry Haggerty, a Patreon subscriber and a former student of Bret’s ADV Camp.  She rides Triumph 900 and reached out to Bret for advice after experiencing some paralyzing fear while riding with some friends at Crater Lake, Oregon.Discussion Points:1.  Is fear a good thing or a bad thing?2.  How can I work on my fear while riding?Key Takeaways:- Fear can be reasonable, unreasonable, or fatal.- The objective is not to eliminate fear, but to not become debilitated by fear.References Made:Three Corner RockAdventure CampADV Training Tour
35:33 08/10/2021
Is Suspension Worth the Cost?
IS ADJUSTABLE SUSPENSION WORTH THE COST? Suspension is undoubtedly one of the most critical aspects to your motorcycle, and many people talk about upgrading their suspension.  However, since the cost can be up to $7,000, it's important to know what upgraded suspension can do for your motorcycle, and whether you should invest in an upgrade.There is a narrow weight window for stock suspension, which is around 180lbs (rider and gear together).  Some people believe if they add preload and get the motorcycle up to proper sag, they're in good shape.  However, that may provide for a rough and unstable ride.  It's most important to have the right spring for your weight and riding style.  Manual adjustments to suspension are only important when you start riding aggressively on the street (in curves) and into dirt that challenges the bike.  Any upgrade to suspension from OEM will be a significant improvement for most people.@ 12:45.  Process of measuring sag on your motorcycle with a second person.@ 19:15.  Damping discussion@ 31:45.  Rant on trail brakingGuest:  Jake Fry owns a BMW R1250GS and wants to know whether he should spend the money to upgrade the suspension on his motorcycle.  He recognizes the importance of suspension and wants to set the bike up correctly for the riding he does.Discussion Points:1.  Is it worth the money to upgrade my suspension?2.  What is stiction?3.  How do I adjust sag?4.  What is damping?Key Takeaways:- People believe if they add preload and get up to the proper sag, they assume they’re in good shape. That’s not always correct.-  As good as traction control is these days, we still need to stay in-tune with what the technology does and also what it hides.- Riders don’t realize the importance of having a riding style that prevents you from running too wide in a corner.-  Never, ever ride faster than you can see.References Made:Woody’s Wheel WorksTouratech Extreme ShocksTractive SuspensionRace Tech SuspensionRace Tech's Motorcycle Suspension Bible (Thede/Parks)Wilbers Motorcycle Suspension TechnologyTrail Braking Presentation in New Zealand
36:28 04/15/2021
Riding While Hurting: A Talk on Aging
RIDING WHILE HURTING: A TALK ON AGING Adapting to the realities of age is important in the ADV world, where it’s too easy to get hurt if you’re not developing the correct muscles, use the correct technique, or your bike is not ergonomically set up.  Fatigue while riding is likely to be a skill issue, a technique issue, or an ergonomic issue.  If it’s none of those, then it will likely be a health or strength issue.Learn exercises to improve the strength of your midsection, lower back, legs, and triceps – those muscles that are critical for riding comfortably off-road.  Learn how to protect your back when picking up your bike. Riser Rant starts at 25:40.  Risers can make a mess out of a bike and people don’t realize the consequences.Training Rant starts at 30:40.  Most other ADV instructors teach a specific, mechanical formula that does not take into account the individual needs of older clients.Guest:  David Beverstock lost both weight and strength from an extended stay at the hospital.   He reached out to Bret for advice on how to build his body back up - despite some bad vertebrae - so he doesn't get hurt while riding.Discussion Points:1.  How do I get healthy to be a better rider?2.  When do I need risers?3.  Why should I use a partner to help lift my motorcycle?Key Takeaways:- The problem with risers is it puts riders in a bad position (hurts the back) or a dangerous position (whiskey throttle).- Most other ADV classes use a formula that doesn't take into account individual weaknesses, injuries, age, and bike setup.References:Kevin Muggleton/Redverz TentsLone Rider vs. Mosko MotoMonkey LiftShort Rider
34:25 04/01/2021
How to Choose a Motorcycle Training Class
How To Choose A Motorcycle Class Washington State has two state-approved motorcycle basic rider education curriculums.  One is through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) and the other is the Motorcycle Education Program (MEP), which Bret wrote for Puget Sound Safety.  There are some major differences between the two curricula: The MSF courses are formulaic, structured, and linear while the MEP courses are flexible, adaptable, and offer students the opportunity to self-correct.  In addition, the MEP course have increased student volume by 25%.  To best choose a class, choose the one that supports your particular learning style. Guest:  Kevin Tusler has embarked on his second career; from retiring as the vice president for a project management company to a full-time motorcycle instructor. Discussion Points:1.  Why doesn't Bret teach advanced classes?2.  What should I look for in a motorcycle training school?3.  Does the student/instructor ratio of the motorcycle training class matter? Key Takeaways:- How are people supposed to improve if they don't know what the goal is?- If you understand why you were successful, then you can replicate that success in the future.- People underestimate the value of humor while learning. References:Evergreen Safety CouncilMotorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF)Motorcycle Education Program
27:37 03/04/2021