Adjusting Your Riding Style
When changing the style of motorcycle you are riding, what is the most important adjustment to make? Should your riding style change?
A rider needs to make adjustments anytime he or she straddles an unfamiliar motorcycle, even for one in the same category.
The adjustments relate to such factors as the bike’s riding position (seat height and relationship between seat, footrests, and handlebars),dimensional characteristics (weight,wheelbase,steering head angle, center of gravity, tire size and tire profile), responsiveness of controls (throttle,clutch friction zone and brake pressure), and power – to – weight ratio.
Sport bikes are at one end of the spectrum, with lighter weight, shorter wheelbases, steering head angles closer to vertical, and quicker – revving engines, and they generally provide higher levels of responsiveness to throttle, brake, and handlebar input. This means you may need to be softer with your inputs until you have accumulated some miles manipulating the controls.
Safety tip: While in neutral, get a feel for how much throttle twist is needed to raise engine speed.
Comfort tip: Avoid supporting all your weight on your wrists and engage your core abdominal and back muscles instead. Keep your head and eyes up to help fight fatigue and improve visual assessment of the riding environment.
Larger cruiser models are at the other end of the spectrum, due to their heavier weight, longer wheelbases, steering head angles farther from vertical, and slower revving engines. They typically provide greater straight – line stability with more steering effort required for directional changes.
Safety tip: Consider the turning radius for slow. tight turns and U – turns.
Giving you an extra free tip here. Learning how to feather your clutch on any bike you will then be able to do any slow tight turn with ease.
Comfort tip: You might need time to get accustomed to the leaned – back, feet forward, arms – raised position.
Adventure – type bikes are fairly close to their standard/naked cousins in terms of riding style, but with your knees more forward and your mid – section closer to the fuel tank. This position brings your elbows up for quicker control and helps when transferring weight to the footrests in counter – weighted turns in the dirt or on tight roads.
Bottom line: Take your time to become familiar with a different bike. You want your control operation to be solid so you and your bike can bond for a safe, comfortable time together.
National Road Captain