Motorcycle Ergonomics: Finding a Bike for Comfort and Convenience
18 Mar 2020
Motorcycles are an excellent alternative to cars and public transport. Bikes give you the flexibility to navigate around a traffic jam, making it a great way to get around. They are cheaper to maintain compared to a regular car and they also use less fuel.
Finding the perfect motorcycle for you takes an extensive amount of research and shopping. There are a variety of bikes for sale, from off-road farm quad bikes to laid back cruisers.
But have you ever sat on a motorcycle and felt that something wasn’t right?
It might be because of ergonomics.
Ergonomics is a discipline that combines engineering, physiology, psychology, and statistics to make sure that designs fit the abilities and strengths of people. It’s a study to understand how products, systems, and workplaces can be designed to be comfortable to the end user.
The term ergonomics is usually heard in the workplace, but it can also be applied to motorcycles. Riding a motorcycle is all about comfort and feel, and the lack of these factors can make your riding experience lesser than it should be.
An ill-fitting motorcycle has its dangers
Aside from the discomfort, an ill-fitting motorcycle increases your risk of accidents. Balance is essential when riding a motorcycle, so both of your feet have to be flat on the pedals. It’s dangerous when you’re riding on the tip of your toes.
An ill-fitting motorcycle also exposes you to musculoskeletal disorders like neck pain, low back pain, nerve compression, saddle sores and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Finding an ergonomic motorcycle
To find the right motorcycle, head to a dealer and try their models. Take note of these two elements when finding an ergonomic motorcycle:
The handlebars must be below your shoulder height and above the knees. Check if your elbows are at a severely bent angle when you reach for the handlebars, and check how your wrists feel when gripping them. Some handlebar types like clip-ons and ape hangers can be uncomfortable to the average rider.
Seats should be narrow toward the front and wide under the rider’s bottom. This allows the knees to tuck close to the gas tank and helps you keep your feet firm on the ground when you stop the motorcycle.
Sometimes, though, your preferred motorcycle may not give you the comfort you want. Luxury touring bikes have the most comfortable seats because riders spend a long time on the saddle. Most cruisers usually have a deep-dish bucket seat that provides support but allows only one seating position.
Your posture when riding a motorcycle
Aside from looking for an ergonomic motorcycle, pay attention to your posture when you’re seated on the bike.
The posture depends on the type of motorcycle. If you’re using touring motorcycles or dirt or dual-sport bikes, lean forward slightly or sit upright. This posture also applies to beginner riders. For cruiser drivers, keep your upper torso upright and extend your legs forward.
You want your motorcycle trips to be easy and comfortable, and ergonomics plays a part in making sure you’re comfortable on the bike. Pay attention to what feels right when testing motorcycles and make sure you’re sitting correctly before you head off.