If you’re riding a motorcycle, then it stands to reason that you would like to be comfortable upon it and thus will enjoy the ride even more, however there are many riders out there who will hop onto their bikes and be instantly under pressure or will be feeling the effects within a few miles.
The best riding position is actually not preset as it is determined by relationship between the dimensions of the rider and that of the bike itself. The position of the footpegs, the seat height, width, padding depth…the position and width of the handlebars or the action of the suspension is only really half of the story.
What many riders fail to recognise is the ultimate necessity for a rider to be able to fit the bike upon which they are riding and or modify the motorcycle in some fashion so that the fit is better.
Sometimes footpegs can be adjusted or alternatives sought that will change the foot position, which in turn alters leg angles and extensions which ultimately affect hips and spinal column too. Who would have thought that your foot position can actually negatively affect your back or your neck?
The same can be said of handlebars too. Are they within easy reach or are they too close to the body. Is your riding position more upright or is it more prone…and if it is the latter, then is the rest of the body positioned in such a manner that would act to support that prone position.
Whilst a prone riding position may be optimal for high speed, reduced drag coefficients and lowered centre of mass, it actually isn’t the best position for comfort and long distance riding either on roads but favours better on smooth tracks.
A more upright riding position has the opposite affect and in general terms is more conducive to long term riding in comfort and with less aches and pains too.
I have enjoyed endurance riding in the past and I would research this topic a lot given the motorcycles I had at the time. A trip long distance 24hr trip on a sports bike isn’t going to be as comfortable as on a touring bike, however there is no guarantee that any bike will enable a pain free long distance journey.
Since moving to a more upright riding position and making small adjustments in how I ride but also how I measure up to the bike, my riding has become so much more comfortable which has the added benefit of enabling me to focus on the ride more and for longer too.
Whenever I decide it’s time for a different bike, I usually go and try out a range of bikes to see if I like them but also as important is to see if I fit them or if they can be modified sufficiently for that to be the case. I know there are some bikes out there which I really like but I also know that after a few miles riding they wouldn’t be right for me either.
I suppose it really depends on what you will be using your motorcycle of choice for? Will it be for general commuting and shorter distances or will you be doing repeated longer journeys too. If shorter distances are the norm, then you may forego the ultimate comfort in favour of style and your overall preference, but if distance is the major factor, then you may need to factor for this in your decision making.
Many years ago when I rode as a courier, I started out on a sports bike and sometimes on my Suzuki GS750 too. I looked around at other couriers at the time and many were not riding sporty flash bikes but rather more mundane mile munchers or the era like the Kawasaki GT 550 or GT750. Actually for many years these were my ideal courier bike…reliable, good riding position, shaft drive and nimble through traffic too.
At an early road riding age I noticed that full time bikers were not riding bikes to look good on but rather were riding bikes that had function over form. They rode bikes that were suited to what they were required to do and would cherish the no nonsense riding that the job would demand. Could you ever imagine doing that job on a custom bike or a sports replica bike for any true length of time or long distances?
Whilst I have ridden many kinds of bikes I have always known that for longer distances and longer times in the saddle, a more comfortable ride is what I’m really looking for and which will allow me concentrate better too. Just as when riding in the winter, it’s important to wear the correct type of clothing or waterproofs because being cold and wet is not good for concentration especially when there is an alternative of being warm…ish and dry…ish, on the bike.
In an ideal world we would all have a stable of bikes that would suit every riding journey and occasion. I would love a custom bar hopper but I know I would probably get less than a 1000miles on it per year. I know I would love another sports bike to take to the track or go to race days…but it would be the same issue. I know I would like a Harley but I wonder about the long distance comfort over and above the comfort that I get from the Triumph I already ride.
In truth I, like many riders, would love to have that ‘every’ bike but they simply do not exist…so we go for something that usually ticks most of the boxes. I want mine to be both on and off road capable, good on the traffic filled streets but flawless on the open road. I want at hop on/hop off bike thats good to pop out at night with but I also want the long distance endurance capable machine that I know I can rely upon.
Yes, I know I ask too much!
I am currently into my last year of my Triumph before I finally decide what bike I shall have next. These ponderings I am having now are mostly to do with the criteria I have already set out but I cannot ignore the overall aesthetics and whether it will turn heads too. I know I need to have some kind of practical bike for my needs but I also know that it might be better to go back to a small stable of bikes that do each function really well too.
Whatever I decide, I know that comfort on any of the bikes will be of the utmost importance…I will let you know how comfortable I am with my decision once it has been made.