For every type of motorcycle on the road there’s a proper riding posture. How you ride is crucial to keeping you safe, maintaining control over your bike, and preventing injuries and discomfort. Due to poor posture, back issues have become more common for motorcyclists, including tension, strains, pulled muscles, and even serious spinal issues. Improper posture can also lead to pain in your arms, legs, neck, shoulders, and wrists.
There’s a correct sitting position for each type of motorcycle, which enables you to properly steer, keep clear vision on the road, brake, and keep balance on turns. Cycle Trader is covering a few essential riding postures for common types of motorcycles, plus how to adjust your bike seat to ensure you have the right fit for posture, comfort, and control.
Common Riding Postures
When you’re on a standard, dual-sport, or touring bike, you’ll want to remain in the Standard Position. Each of these motorcycles have upright seating positions with closer handlebars, and foot controls are typically right beneath the rider. This means you’re sitting upright, your back is straight, and your shoulders are aligned with your hips, which are angled slightly backwards. Your shoulders should be relaxed, avoiding hunching so you don’t strain your spine.
With cruiser bikes, you have longer handlebars and footpegs near the front of the motorcycle. While you ride, your legs will be ahead of you on the footpegs, so you have some flexibility, yet your back is still straight. Normally your legs will be slightly bent to reach your shift and brake levers while remaining completely balanced when handling turns and slow speeds. Your arms will be slightly bent and stretched out to comfortably reach the handlebars with your wrists remaining level.
The Sports Position is designated for Sport bikes. Riding this way can seem intimidating and feel awkward as your upper body is leaning forward and straight while your feet will be further back on the footpegs. However, you’ll have more control over your motorcycle at high speeds and sharp corners. Here you’ll lean with your chest while your shoulders are arched back, though not hunched. You’ll shift your body weight to your feet, preventing any stress or tension on your back. Your elbows should be bent with your wrists straight and arms relaxed.
Adjusting Your Bike Seat
Your seat height is key to correct posture, comfort, and control of your motorcycle. Additionally you’ll want to make sure you’re adjusting your handlebars and footrests to fit your body, as these adjustments vary for each rider based on height, weight, and arm and leg length.
With your seat height, you want to make sure both feet are touching the ground when stopped. Also, make sure your seat height isn’t too short, so you’re not cramped with poor posture. Some motorcycle brands have adjustable seats with two or three fixed positions for different heights. If your bike doesn’t have these options, you can have a custom seat factory designed by the motorcycle manufacturer or can replace the seat yourself by searching through a marketplace or with dealerships.
Another option to consider are minor modifications to your seat for height and comfort. The covering or padding on your seat can be removed to slightly lower the height, or conversely you can add padding to increase the height. The motorcycle’s suspension could also be raised or lowered for a seating adjustment, though it’s recommended to consult a professional when doing this. Adjustments, such as these, may reduce the benefits of a smooth suspension, making you feel more of the bumps in the road, in addition to creating discomfort due to stiff or awkward positioning on your bike.
Conclusion: While it’s a minor change to your motorcycle, adjusting your seat will provide you with better posture for a more comfortable, efficient, and joyful ride. Now that you have a better idea for proper riding posture, check out our article about more Bad Motorcycle Habits You Need to Break. And if you’re looking for your next motorcycle, browse all the bikes available for-sale nationwide at CycleTrader.com.