You are all geared up, you slot the key into ignition and straddle your steed. You push the starter button and hear the engine roar to life. One of life’s subtle joys! But as you roll onto the tarmac, have you ever wondered about your posture? How does your riding posture effect your riding or even your body? Read on.
The 3 most common catagories of riding postures with respect to bikes in our country today are:
The rider leans forward due to the high and rear-set foot pegs and the low set handle bars. This is a ‘track’ oriented posture and its benefits for long touring is debatable. These bikes usually are equipped with aerodynamic full fairings to cut air resistance and improve top end performance. At low speeds it can be uncomfortable as it shifts weight onto the wrists of the rider, thereby tiring him. It is not the easiest of positions to get used to and can be hard for the rider to look around and leg through traffic. The main advantage is the ease at which the body weight can be shifted thus enabling the rider to tackle corners properly. This posture provides a aggressive stance and helps you blend with the machine. The disadvantage obviously, it being less suitable for the touring types. Eg. Yamaha R15, Ducati 1198, BMW S1000RR etc.
The rider sits upright or leans forwards slightly and the foot pegs are below the rider and not rear-set. Most bikes which are meant for city use offer this kind of ergonomics. It provides good visibility in all directions and easier use of feet while moving through traffic. There is less or no weight on the wrists making it easy in city and touring conditions. Eg. Yamaha FZ-16, Karizma ZMR/ZMA, BMW GS1200R etc.
The rider sits upright or leaning slightly rearwards with his legs extended forward. The rider is seated comparatively lower than the other 2 types. The handle bars are high and wide. This style focalizes on comfortable riding and is best suited for touring. Short riders can find it a preferable choice. It compromises the quick direction changing capabilities of the motorcycle. This type of motorcycle would not be a machine of choice on a track but will be at ease on a highway. Eg. Avenger 220, Harley Iron 883 etc.
The motorcycle basically determines what type of riding position that you sit in, but there are of-course things that you can do to make your self more comfortable on the saddle.
It is provided to fit you onto the bike and lock you into a comfortable position from where you can accelerate, brake and steer. The right position is basically wherever you can sit and reach the pegs easily while still bending your knees slightly. Basically in a sport or a standard position, sitting at a spot from where you can grab the tank with your knees takes the weight away from your arms. This free up your arms for easy maneuvering.
2. Arm position
The most common folly amongst riders is sometimes they sit tall above the bars and hold the bars on a downward angle. In other words their arms are straight. The proper arm position for any bike involves having your elbows slightly bent and below the level of the handlebar, so that your forearm is parallel to the ground. This is the position in which you have the most control, and the least resistance, where the bars feel lightest and respond most accurately to your steering inputs.
You should be holding up your torso without putting any weight on the handlebars. It becomes really difficult to steer when you are holding onto the handlebars for support of your torso. Basically as explained, grab the tank with your thighs to free up your arms and have a straight back.
It is vital to have a good riding position as it offers a proper control of the bike. While maintaining the correct position you can maneuver the bike well and it becomes very flick-able! A true joy in every sense. Feel free to experiment with the above pointers in mind and realize your optimum position. Merge and become one with your ride!