Feb 18, 2006

Glove-tight fit

Ever noticed that everything from the brake lever, clutch lever, handlebar, shift lever, brake pedal have adjustment nuts/bolts? They're there for a reason. They are not on the bike so they can be inexpensive replacements when you crash it. Or to make sure the service guys have stuff to do when the bikes comes into the shop. They exist so you can make the motorcycle fit you. Unfortunately, only a very tiny section of riders realise how crucial this is.

Allow me to point out some examples of how crucial this is: If I were to tell you that Valentino Rossi brushes the rear brakes while entering corners to stabilise the bike, wouldn't you want to try it? Yes, right? Now, If I told you that when a MotoGP (or World Superbikes or Dakar... any racer actually) first encounters a new bike, the first laps are used to setup the bike, not for power curves, suspension setting, but for ergonomics. That's right. Rossi spends the first few laps just ensuring that the levers are where he feels most comfortable with them. Once set, the mechanics will remember the settings, and keep them as they tune the motor, handling and other aspects of the race bike. So why don't you?

Take fifteen minutes to ride your new baby and feel the controls. Is the clutch lever too highset? Is the brake lever just so? Is the brake pedal too tall for you? Is the angle of the shifter right? Setup your bike. It will leave you ache and pain free, and allow you to concentrate on other things. Lord knows there's lot to take in while you're out there.

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