We sat down with the Rookie and asked him for tips on how to sit properly on a motorcycle. He kept talking for hours and we might just need to write a book to get all of that in place but we managed to bring you the short version.
Body positioning while riding a motorcycle is one of the most important techniques one should learn to be safer and quicker. Every motorcycle is set up differently and you would need to modify the way you position your body on the motorcycle accordingly
- Sports Bikes need to you place your weight forward, the footpegs are set up high and handle bars/clip-ons low
- Sports Tourers & Standards need more of an upright body position, and the weight is moved away from the front to the base of your spine
- Cruisers are more varied in the way their weight is distributed and usually are somewhere between a Standard and having your legs stretched out in front of you, even here a majority of the weight is on the base of your spine.
Below, we will look at how to properly sit on a Sport, Sport Touring & Standard Motorcyle
- Foot Placement Body positioning on a motorcycle starts from the feet and works its way up. Most of us are or were used to riding a motorcycle by resting our heel on the foot pegs, this can cause a lot of problems be it you riding on a race track or during your daily commute. There are high chances of your foot scraping the ground this way. Hence to prevent this, once the feet are done shifting gears or using the back brake, one must place the ball of the foot onto the foot peg. This way, it makes a rider much more flexible to move his weight around and also prevents the rider from unexpectedly scraping his foot to the ground while cornering 2. Them legs Now that the foot placement is sorted lets head on to the next part – the legs. In my opinion, legs are what keep you planted on the bike. Based on how you use your legs on the bike, the strain on the upper body changes. For example, if your legs are just dangling and chilling out there, there is a lot of pressure falling onto your arms and upper body, then again, if you hold the tank of your bike with your knees, you can have your upper body and arms to be relaxed, this prevents the most complained “wrist & shoulder pain” from arising. Also, this gives you a better feel or being connected with your motorcycle. 3. Seating Position BUTT COMFORT!! – The main thing a rider worries about is the butt pain from riding, be it a long ride or just a short commute. If you are a rider who commutes a lot, then the best place to sit would be towards the front of the seat, close to the tank( do not hug the tank, as a rule of thumb, you should be able to place your fist between your crotch and the tank), this helps you in shifting your weight from side to side while filtering through traffic and also places most of the weight onto the front end of the motorcycle. This is also a technique used on the track, as this position helps the rider move around and shift his weight with ease. 4. Upper body The upper body is the main part used to maneuver the bike either during your daily commute or a day at the track. The key position here is to keep the spine relaxed so that it can help absorbing the shocks you normally get over ditches on the road. This position helps you and your bike take on corners with precision and ease by simply jutting your shoulders out into the corners. The technical term used here is called “kissing the mirror” where you put your shoulders out in such a way that you try to kiss your mirrors. This position helps in making the bike more stable during a corner.
- Them arms Thanks to the above mentioned body positions, the weight on your arms will reduce drastically. The arms need to be relaxed as well so that they can absorb the shocks taken from the bumps on the road. They term here is “chicken wings”, which means your arms from the shoulder to the wrist should be relaxed and loose, this will prevent any strain on them. The wrists should grip the handle firmly but not too tight so that the bike is in control at all times. Ones index and middle finger on each hand should always be covering both the brake and clutch levers at all times. Remember, your handle bars are not meant to hold on to the bike, they are meant to steer the bike in the right direction. 6. The Head Since you have to be wearing a helmet which would weigh over a kilo, the weight would put a lot of pressure on your neck. This can be prevented by relaxing the spine as mentioned above. Vision is the most important attribute to riding a motorcycle. As they say “where you look is where you go” is apt to us. Subconsciously the body follows the mind and your mind follows your vision.
Stay tuned for the next edition, we will cover track riding in depth.