Top Tips for Achieving a Good Riding Position

When you buy a motorcycle, it’s all too easy to get carried away with how shiny it is, what speed it will do and how cool you’re going to look riding it.

In all the excitement it’s also very easy to overlook the actual riding ergonomics of the bike too.

These are very important and can affect the way you operate your motorcycle safely. Remember, every bike on the showroom floor has been mass-produced so that means the riding position is at best an average. So here, we’re going to look at the important points to look for.

good riding position

Good Riding Position: Foot Position

It’s not compulsory to be able to get both feet on the floor, just sensible. But what’s more important is that your feet rest on the pegs just in front of the heel and should easily come to rest over the rear brake and gear lever. They should also be roughly in line with your butt.

In a seated position, you should be leaning slightly forward and your hands need to be resting on the handlebars rather than taking your weight. Your eyes and head should be facing forward.  Arms need to be slightly bent at the elbow and shoulders relaxed. With knees taking up a natural position close to the gas tank.

There should be no one part of your bike taking the bulk of your weight and your core muscles should be the ones keeping you in place.  This is obviously the ideal position and one that will present the least problems for riding any distance.

Good Riding Position: Aerodynamics

Race reps and café racers may look cool, but they’re mimicking a style primarily meant for racing. The laws of aerodynamics demand, that you be able to tuck yourself in and have as much ground clearance as possible.

But the next time you see someone on a Ducati Panigale or Yamaha R1 trickling through the city just look at how cramped they look. And how much weight is on their wrists, without the benefit of a 100mph wind to take the weight.

Cruiser riders don’t fair much better. It may look like they’re sitting at home with their feet up as they amble along the highway. But with legs stretched out on forward controls, all the body weight rests on the butt and with bars approaching an apehanger will put added pressure on the lower back.

The good thing is though, if there’s any part of your motorcycle that doesn’t feel quite right you can change it. Bars too low? Then get some risers or choose a different shape.

Good Riding Position: Riding Position

Kits are available to lower  footrests and regardless of what bike you ride, if you can’t find a custom seat, you can have your own seat reshaped and reupholstered. There really is no need to suffer an uncomfortable riding position.

A good riding position will also have a huge effect on how your bike handles. If you feel comfortable, secure and in control in the saddle. You are free to concentrate on the traffic, potential hazards and lining up corners correctly.

And talking of cornering, this is the one aspect of motorcycle riding that most people say they would like to improve on. So if you’re not  scraping your footpegs like a pro, let’s take a look why.

As you enter a bend any sudden feelings of anxiety are transmitted directly to your bike. You’ll put the handlebars in a death grip, your legs and ass will tense and your breathing will instantly become erratic.

Good Riding Position:  Balance

Instincts will tell you to snap the throttle shut or worse still, grab at the front brake. All of which alters the balance of the bike. Putting you on a potential collision course with whatever it is you’re staring at in the apex of the bend.

The basic principles of cornering are simple, look where you’re going and go where you’re looking. That means don’t focus on the middle of the bend otherwise that’s exactly where you’ll end up.

So let’s say you’re coming towards a left-hander, what do you do?

Brake and down shift before you start to turn, once into the bend, your right foot should be putting pressure on the footrest. At the same time, your left-hand puts gentle pressure on the bar to push it away from you.  Your ass should be off the seat to left side and your body needs to be leaning further into the bend than the bike.

This is counter steering and by leaning your weight to one side of the bike, you’re lessening the lean angle so as to allow the tire to corner with as much grip as possible.

Correct riding position, makes you feel comfortable and secure and is at the basis of all good riding technique. So get comfortable, keep practicing and make your riding that much more enjoyable.