Most people think of riding position and conjure up images of an elbow out and knee down. I am talking about your relationship to the handle bar and pegs. I recently let go of one of the motorcycles in my garage because of this relationship. I couldn’t ride it without discomfort anymore and the option to change it enough to fit me was too costly.
Something many people don’t realize is that bike ergonomics play an important roll in how well you can control the motorcycle, how long you can ride, and whether you even want to ride.
Over the years I have learned several things about my riding style and position. I prefer a short reach to the bars, I like to sit upright, and I like my legs underneath me. Essentially I ride like a motorcycle police officer. There’s a reason for this, it’s very, very comfortable. It has to be for the officer to put long hours in the saddle riding their motorcycle on highways, back roads, and sitting on the side of the road looking for speeders.
This riding position also gives you the most control over the motorcycle and the most leg leverage when stopped. Both items are of great importance for your safety and those around you. Not too mention the ability to use your legs to raise your butt off the seat when you need to.
What does it all mean?
Why am I talking about this? Well, I got the new bike and didn’t like the stock seat softness. I decided to get an aftermarket seat and I noticed a trend. Most seats were either extended reach or reduced reach. There were some stock location seats but I incorrectly opted for a seat style combination I liked that happened to move me back 1.5 inches. Worst decision ever. My arm hurts every time I have taken the bike out since the switch. I happen to have a shoulder that causes problems due to a training accident while I was in the Army. Not everyone is dealing with an injury but it is part of my life and it impacts what I need. That’s why I had to get rid of the previous motorcycle it was too hard to fix the ergonomics to suit me.
If you find that your stock seating location and bar location are comfortable, don’t change it just for style. You may end up regretting it and riding less. My other advice is if you think you need more reach or more leg room and you make the change, and you aren’t more comfortable you might want to go the other direction. Less reach and your legs at a more neutral seating position. As a rider who is over 6 feet tall I fall into the less reach more neutral category even though my height seems like it should be the opposite. Don’t just do what your friends say when it comes to choosing what’s right for you. Make sure it fits and you will enjoy the ride a whole lot more.