May 16, 2007

Be Natural: Riding Positions

Next time you're lying in bed watching TV (or whatever), notice how you have consciously or unconsciously arranged your constituent parts. And after a few days, notice the arrangement when you're vegetating in front of the telly again. You will probably find that the arrangement is more or less consistent. From which I would conclude that there is a certain position that we're naturally comfortable in.

What I'm getting to is that this whole arrangement business applies to motorcycles as well. Your realising which form you take to could actually lead you to a motorcycle that suits you better. For instance, if I were to come across a motorcyclist who rides a normal street bike, but is perpetually resting his feet on the crash guard, I would be very surprised he didn't find greater comfort in the saddle of a cruiser (obviously, there are more factors which will determine the cruiser thing...).

I, for instance, invariable find myself tucking my feet up on the pegs, riding with the balls of my feet on the pegs. My long distance, commuting and track riding position is the same – hunched over the handlebars, forearms exactly horizontal, thighs tightly clamped to the tank, elbows in – sportbike. My big mile riding days (upto 350 km a day), hours at the track, office-home rides are all conducted from this near-foetal, very purposeful riding position. And the only time I entirely fail to achieve that I'm-a-meatball-in-kit position is when I'm forced into riding a cruiser (Enticer, Enhancer, Avenger et al) or a scooter. Even on a Blaze, I will eventually find me feet behind the vertical line through my butt in corners...

This thought chain started with an email on the BajajPulsar list about whether rearset pegs (TVS Apache RTR 160 being the latest to sport them) are all-day comfortable. The answer, I think, depends on what position you ride in.

However, there is strong evidence that rearset pegs do work in long distance mode as well. Check out all touring machines (cruisers excepted). They will either have straight down pegs (Gold Wing types) or have them slightly rearset (Pan Euro types). Sport tourers (VFR800, FJR1300, 'Busa) have properly rearset pegs, but set lower overall than full-on sportbikes.

Oh... I'm so tempted to make all the 'rearset' into links to my blog... MegaloMe.... resist... resist...
Photo courtesy: Freeman G/KTM

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