Most of us have learned motorcycling with the help of friends and relatives and while the correlation between clutch, gear, accelerator and brake are taught with utmost importance, very few, if any will realize that it all begins with how one sits on the motorcycle. Sitting on a motorcycle means to actually get the correct riding position. Different motorcycles demand a different riding position. A proper riding position will offer you direct control over the motorcycle.
With the changing styles, there are some basics that you need to know to have the most effective and comfortable ride on your bike. Here’s what you need to keep in mind when sitting on a bike.
The purpose of sitting is to lock-in on your bike in a stable position, so that you can steer, accelerate and brake effortlessly. Your weight needs to be on your feet to keep you planted on the bike, while your arms should be free and not doing the balancing task. You should be able to move from the hips and not the waist instead. You should be able to get up slightly on your seat while riding, thus with your weight focused on your feet.
To get the most favourable seating position, put your bike on the main stand and stand on the foot pegs. Where ever you sit on the seat is usually the best position for you on the bike. While doing so, you need to make sure that you can change gears and brake easily. Obviously with cruisers it is a little different, as the foot pegs are in front. If you can reach up to the foot pegs and are able to change gears and brake without difficulty, it will tell you if you have the correct seating posture. Remember to keep your back arched and not curved to ensure minimal strain on it.
Your elbows should be at or slightly below the level of the handle bars, being parallel to the ground or bent a little upward. Do not put your weight on your arms when riding. Many times, you tend to sit tall and focus all your weight on the arms, locking them. Your arms should be capable of wobbling and should be able to smoothly steer your motorcycle by simply pushing it left or right without having to struggle with balancing the bike.
If you have been newly introduced to motorcycles or are preparing for a longer period of rides, you need to understand the kind of motorcycle you will be riding.
Sports bikes are designed to go faster and the rider needs a more aerodynamic seating position to avoid drag and is the only way to lock-in on a sports bike and steer quickly. They need you to be leaning forward on the bike, thus keeping your weight forward on the front wheel. Thus the foot pegs are designed to be high and handle bars low.
When you consider Cruiser bikes, the position automatically becomes more upright and relaxed. The design itself is to make you feel relaxed for the long rides. The foot pegs are designed in front of the seat and you have to stretch your legs without putting much strain to get there. The handle bars as well are big and wide for the rider to have a relaxed position without locking his elbows during long rides.
Standard bikes, Sports-tourers or commuter bikes have the sit up and beg riding posture. Here the riding position is having an upright stance with the legs being bent at a 90 degree angle. If you look clearly, it seems like sitting on a chair. The idea is to focus all the weight on butt and using your hands to steer the bike as effortlessly as possible; with the back being little arched.
Riding a bike is a skill that can only be developed with practice. You need to understand the dynamics of your bike before starting your ride. It takes a lot more concentration and lots and lots of practice to stay planted on the bike. Be aware of your body and the riding position even during the ride. If you don’t feel right, take a break and re-adjust yourself. Experiment with your riding position, till you find it right. Once you know the bike, emergency manoeuvres will be easy and the journey will be a breeze. Even experienced riders keep learning from every ride and incorporate changes to get the best seating position and enjoy the ride to the fullest.