Maximising Motorcycle Ergonomics for a Comfortable Ride
A vital component to enjoying your motorcycle is feeling comfortable when using it. Sitting in what feels like an awkward position for long periods can dampen any motorcycle trip and can also lead to musculoskeletal problems such as back ache.
Motorcycle ergonomics is a topic that doesn’t get as much attention as it should, but it is something every rider should pay attention to. Small tweaks can have a significant impact on the overall comfort when riding your bike. This can be the difference between feeling discomfort and pain after a long ride or feeling completely fine. For anyone who loves to put in the hours on their bike, this is a game-changer.
Taking the time to make your motorcycle more ergonomic can also improve the overall safety of your bike. A more ergonomic bike means you should be able to reach the brakes comfortably, without over-stretching, reach the floor without leaning too much, as well as a whole host of subtle reactions that can all contribute to having better control over your bike. This helps reduce the risk of road accidents.
Motorcycle comfort and ergonomics is very much a personal process, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all blueprint that every manufacturer can follow to create “ergonomic” bikes. Considerations such as the height of the rider, the length of their legs and arms, to name but a few, all impact the ergonomics of the bike. This means that what works for one person, may not for someone else.
In this article, we outline some common features of motorcycles that can be tweaked and optimised to improve the ergonomics of your ride.
Tips for Improving the Ergonomics of Your Bike
The Bike Itself
The best place to start when thinking about the comfort of a bike is the bike itself! There are fundamental differences between styles of motorcycles, from a cruiser to a sports bike, and this will impact how you are positioned on the bike.
If this is your first bike, you may want to visit a showroom and sit on different styles and gain an understanding of the differences between them.
A cruiser, for example, encourages a more relaxed and upright position, whilst a sports bike, encourages the rider to lean forward for better aerodynamics.
We recently wrote a whole blog on optimising your handlebars, which highlighted the benefits of understanding the different types available.
Handlebars come in different shapes and with varying degrees of pullback. This impacts how you hold the bars and subsequently the position of your shoulders and arms.
For safety and ergonomics, it’s important you aren’t overreaching to pull the brakes or turn the handlebars. You want to feel comfortable at all times.
You can also adjust the grip and levers. Some people prefer a thicker grip, likely a preference for those with bigger hands.
The seat is worth looking at if you think your motorbike isn’t very comfortable. Worn seats may not offer the same kind of support as new seats.
Seats come in all sorts of sizes and shapes, so you can find one that best suits your preferences.
You may want to consider the type of journeys you are likely to go on when choosing a seat. The best seat for a bike predominantly used to nip around town a few times a week may be very different to that of a bike used on long adventurous journeys that involve long hours sat down at a time.
If you are particularly tall or short, you may want to look at adjusting foot controls. Again, you don’t want to be over-reaching for them in an emergency.
Even height can’t fully indicate the best position for foot controls. Some people may have longer legs, or even a longer tibia, that may impact the best way to approach foot controls.
Riders want to feel comfortable and able to react to an emergency at all times.
Even by following all the steps above, if you adopt a slouched position, it wouldn’t be a surprise if you experience back ache the next day.
Doing regular exercises and stretches that encourage better posture can also be worthwhile. On long journeys, this could be something worth doing at break stops. Adding in a few shoulder and lower back stretches could make all the difference in how you feel for the next stage of your journey.
Your posture should also match the type of bike you have.
The overall health of your motorbike should also be a consideration when thinking about ergonomics. Poor motorbike performance can require more effort and strength to control, which over long periods can quickly add up and create aches and pains.
If your seat isn’t attached properly, or the handlebars are coming loose, the handling can be greatly impacted.
Learn More About Venhill
Here at Venhill, we have a whole host of motorbike products to help you get more from your bike.
We make pattern cables and hydraulic lines for modern and classic motorbikes (both on and off-road), quads, cars and karts, alongside control cables for industrial applications. Our goal is to combat common cable problems like catching, wear, stretching and also bowing, bursting, leaking and other issues found with hydraulic hoses.
Venhill hoses and cables are the choice of many motorcycle racers, from club level to world champions in motocross and speedway, and we ship our products to customers all over the world.
As well as brake lines and cables, we also offer various components to help with all sorts of motorcycle requirements including stock tools and controls.
Browse our online shop or visit our custom line builder page for more bespoke options.