Learn how to sit on your bike

18 03 2009

Few, if any of us, were taught how to sit on a motorcycle. Or much of anything for that matter. As a result, we just go with what our bodies learned (squatting if we grew up in Asia, “sitting up straight” if we grew up here in the big PX) or what the motorcycle designers had in mind.
If you spend any time at all around motorcycles you can intuit what the designers had in mind for your body by looking at the placement of the controls (and I include the seat in this list).

* Sport Bikes want your weight forward (load the front wheel) and your butt off the saddle so you can move laterally on the saddle. So that’s how they’re set-up: pegs high, bars (clip-ons) low
* Sport-Touring, Standards, and Touring bikes all have in mind the “sit up and beg” riding posture. The details of control placement are different but in general, you look in profile like you’re reaching for the mashed potatoes. Your weight tends to be on your butt, or more specifically the base of your spine via your hips.
* Cruisers promote anything from a “sit up and beg” to “sit back and relax” riding position with hands placed anywhere from here to there . . . same with your feet.
* Dirt bikes and big Trailees have in mind that you’ll spend more or all your time on your feet and the bars, in particular, are place accordingly.

If you have any desire to ride for more than a couple of hours on any of the many Sport-Touring or Standard bikes that are popular with us “mid-life” riders, it’s time you actually learned how to sit properly if you hope to survive in style. Towards that, you may have run across this thread elsewhere. If not, you’re in luck. riding position.

The keynotes to “the” Riding Position are:

* Bend at the HIPS, not waist
* Maintain a SLIGHT arch to the back, not allowing it ever to “curve”
* Move the butt AFT so the weight is OVER YOUR FEET.
* Apply pressure to the feet, using the THIGH muscles, so you are sitting “lightly”
* ELBOWS BENT, now DROP the hands to the bars.

One needs to move fore and aft on the seat to make ALL those things happen. Except for the Hip Bend, they are NOT Absolutes, but rather RANGES. Move about until you can see ALL of them are happening to some extent — and NO weight is being placed on the handlebars.

Do this when the bike is STATIONARY. Sit on the stopped bike. TAKE TIME TO do this. PRACTICE. LEARN.

In fact, one must TEACH their own body. This is called TRAINING. You’ll notice all GOOD training is done by ABSTRACT EXERCISES, not “just running off to the playing field and doing what you HEARD.”

LEARN to press down with the feet. Then, when riding, CHECK that’s what you are actually doing. You SHOULD be able to lift your butt off the seat at a milisecond’s notice: As when knowingly approaching a severe bump in the road.

LEARN to bend at the hips. Do it BOTH ways, and show YOURSELF that you CAN operate the body differently. BE WILLING to touch that frigging gas tank. SOME people are incredibly fearful of touching a gas tank — It’s almost laughable. WHO SAID you shouldn’t touch the gas tank? (Afraid of scratches? Poo, poo. Get some clear tank protector.) Better to think “The gas tank is my FRIEND.” It WILL be some day when you are six hundred miles into your ride and still two hundred miles from your destination. OR, while you are LEARNING to ride this bike and may be only an hour or so into your ride. Your body is NOT YET… TRAINED to operate that way.

FLOP YOUR ELBOWS. PROVE you have your weight supported, mostly by your feet, and by your butt. Do it while riding too. Even after 25,000 miles on an RS I STILL end up leaning onto the bars somewhat and need to readjust my position.

Practice this. It works.