Thursday, May 12, 2016
3 things that can improve your motorcycle ride
When I got my motorcycle from Senior (Dad), it was set up for him. To tell the truth, except for knowing that because I have my Mother's hips I could not ride a Sportster, I had no knowledge that a bike could be fitted to you much less any idea of how to do it, and more importantly how easy it was.
Having designed all types of gear over the years, I know that the most important thing in regards to comfort is understanding how whatever you are using comes in contact with your body. In the case of a motorcycle, that means your ass, hands, and feet. Sadly enough, today I am not going to talk about ass, but rather hands and feet.
Hands- when I got my bike, it had a set of beach bars on it. They looked nice, but sometimes aesthetics can be the adversary of comfort. Dad liked to reach out a little bit. Me, with torn up shoulders, not so much. My overall vision for how I wanted to fit on the bike was that of me sitting comfortably in an expensive, wing back leather chair at a cigar shop.
Sometimes, depending on the style of the handlebar, such as the Big Johnsons that adorn my bike now, you can simply loosen up a few bolts and move them forward or backward to your liking. This was not an option with the beach bars. Basically, this puts my arms in about the same position while riding that they would be sitting in that wing back chair. It took some tweaking back and forth with some test rides, but now they are set just right. If you are experiencing tension or pain in your neck, shoulders, and arms while riding, even if you are chalking it up to an injury, try moving your bars first. If you can't, think about getting some that offer more adjustment.
Feet- we will cover both the shifter and brake sides here. First, the brake side. I have stubby fat legs, and when I got the bike I felt like every time I went to put my foot on the brake I kind of had to hike it up bringing my ass off the seat a bit. One of the most important things when it comes down to repetitive human movement is economy of motion. This means the less complicated and shorter the movement, the faster and more intuitive that motion will become. This is sort of important when it comes to brakes. I found my solution...an extended brake pedal. Beyond oil changes, that was also my first venture into wrenching on my own bike, or anything for that matter. See, Senior was an industrial mechanic and boiler man for 43 years. Being born with minimal mechanical aptitude, meant that over the years I got a lot of tools thrown at me. But after watching some Youtube vids and acquiring the new brake pedal, I was on my way. It took me about 20-30 minutes, but in that time I realized that I was capable of more than I thought. It would be hard for me to express in words how much this changed my riding experience. The next time Senior visited and saw my shiny new brake pedal he decided to order one for himself. Ok, let's talk about the shifter next.
Hell, after I was done with the handlebars and brake pedal I was hard at work looking for more stuff to adjust. Wasn't long before I found it, the toe shifter. Now I don't know if Senior was wearing Mickey Mouse boots or clown shoes, but that bad boy was up high. I darn near had to pick up my entire foot up off the floor board to shift. Well low and behold, there is a screw underneath there so you can adjust that up and down too. I lowered it to accommodate the bulkiest boots I own. Don't make the mistake of adjusting it when you are wearing your best cowboy boots only to find out that your work boots now won't fit under there.
Well there you have it, three simple, and relatively cheap ways to increase the comfort of your motorcycle ride. Because when you are comfortable, you are not distracted.
Please share your comments below or on Facebook. Because we all know a little, we can all learn a lot.