Your bike is an extension of who you are. It should look good. You should look good riding it. It should sound good too, as it announces your presence. On top of that, it has to feel good. I’m sure you’ve sat on a bike and have felt that it just didn’t feel right… too high, too low, too wide, there are a lot of signs that a motorcycle isn’t for you. This guide explores how to choose the right motorcycle.
Normally when you hear the term “ergonomics” you think of office furniture, not motorcycles. However, the majority of bikers experience moderate to severe pain in several parts of their body while riding. Common complaints include upper body pain such as neck, shoulders arms and hands as well as core and lower body pain in the low back, butt and testicular torsion.
Technology is now able to help with these problems, through software that factors in the dimensions of the body and how it’s positioned on a type of bike. The software considers factors such as your hip angle (to demonstrate if you’re crouched and prevent back pain) or your knee angle (to prevent unnecessary strain on the knee). Your preferred seat height and more are also calculated to help find the right bike for you, or to make possible adjustments to your current bike.
THE RIGHT TYPE OF MOTORCYCLE
- STREET: These bikes are designed to be aerodynamic and allow for some corner cranking torque.
- CRUISER: Known for their low seat heights, we often say you sit in, rather than on a cruiser.These are a popular option for new riders.
- TOURING: Some will say these are the ultimate in comfort, as they’re designed to ride for long periods.Touring bikes are usually heavier and not recommended for new riders.
- TRIKE: An accommodating motorcycle that offers stability and is best suited for straight line touring, such as the freeway. The front end steering feels different for some riders, but everyone loves the solid axel and smooth ride.
ADJUSTING YOUR BIKE
Finding a motorcycle type (above) that you prefer is a great start, but your bike will likely require some adjustments to make it a perfect fit. The top adjustments you’ll want to consider:
- SUSPENSION: When I think about suspension, I think about off-road, motocross and dual-sport bikes. The rider sits higher to accommodate more suspension on these motorcycles. Their suspension is softer, which means it sags more under the rider’s weight. If you prefer one of these bikes you may be able to replace or modify the suspension system to fit your size.
- SEAT: The easiest way to change how you fit with a motorcycle is to change the seat. This is a great solution for Touring bikes or Cruisers, where the seats usually have a lot of padding.
HIDDEN DANGERS OF AN ILL-FITTING BIKE
Riding is all about balance. That’s why you never want to buy a motorcycle that’s too tall for you.When you sit on your bike, both feet should be flat on the ground. Look at it this way, you have more balance when standing on both feet flat than if you were standing on your tiptoes. The same goes with your bike; you can’t stop and hold up a motorcycle while on your tiptoes. Reaching too far for the hand and foot controls is risky as well and could cause skidding or tipping.
Take the time to find the right bike for you, if this is your first, you may want to consider buying used and making some of the adjustments we recommended above. You can also choose to rent a bike to see how it feels. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, here at Blackbridge Harley-Davidson we love to talk motorcycles and are happy to help as much as needed.