A Beginner's Guide for Motorcycle Ergonomics
People ride motorcycles for a variety of reasons. One is for transportation, such as when running errands, commuting, or as part of their job. Many prefer motorcycles because they are more manoeuvrable and occupy less parking space. Some also see them as a more economical option than other motor vehicles.
In other instances, some simply enjoy the ride as a leisure activity. Others ride for exercise or sport.
However, riding a motorcycle for a prolonged period can take a toll on the human body. Staying in the same riding position for a long time can lead to discomfort in different body parts. Moreover, if the placements of the bike's components are not conducive to rider comfort, it can lead to problems on longer trips.
Motorcycles do not provide a universal fit, meaning they have to be adjusted per individual rider's needs. If bike owners want to improve their riding experience, they must understand the basics of motorcycle ergonomics and modify their bikes for a more comfortable fit.
What is Ergonomics?
The term "ergonomics" is derived from two Greek words: "ergon", meaning work and "nomos", meaning laws. In general, ergonomics is the applied science concerned with how objects or things are designed and arranged to favour human comfortability and efficiency.
In the context of riding a motorcycle, ergonomics encompasses how a bike's different components are arranged to make the riding experience more comfortable and efficient.
Why is Motorcycle Ergonomics Important?
Motorcycle ergonomics is essential because it can help eliminate or reduce symptoms of discomfort that may lead to mobility problems. Without it, bodily pains from riding bikes can worsen over time, which can negatively impact not only the riding experience but other activities as well.
A motorcycle is considered a "constrained workstation" where there is little room to calibrate the rider's position. And the motorcyclist's posture while on the bike affects their different body parts.
Stress on the body happens when it can no longer adapt to the conditions it is exposed to. Like the way people develop physical stress with bad posture, lack of exercise, lifting objects incorrectly, prolonged time sitting on office chairs, and other activities, riding on a motorcycle for extended durations can also produce the same effects.
Determining Poor Motorcycle Ergonomics
There are several telltale signs of whether the bike has poor ergonomics. One of the most prominent indicators is backache. Motorcycle riders are relatively more prone to hazards related to sitting posture in comparison to car drivers. And the lack of back support or an ill-fitting seat can lead to pain in the lower back and central back area. The foot position and handlebar can also contribute to backaches.
When the handlebar is too far from the rider's reach, they can rapidly grow uncomfortable, and experience strains on the shoulders, arms, neck, and back. The motorcyclist can also experience trouble manoeuvring the bike, particularly in narrow spaces. Also, if the brake and clutch levers are too high or too low, it might require the rider to twist or lift their hand to reach them. This is not only uncomfortable but can also be dangerous as it can lead to them accelerating unintentionally.
Another indication of poor motorcycle ergonomics is a mismatched grip diameter. A grip that is not suited for the rider’s hand size can cause tired hands or fatigue.
In addition, a cramped position of the knees and tiptoeing are also indicative of riding discomfort. Not having enough room to stretch can place unnecessary strain on the knees, hips, back, and feet. On the other hand, the rider's inability to rest their feet flat on the ground can leave them with the feeling of having a lack of control over the motorcycle.
Ways to Improve Bike Riders' Positioning and Comfort
A popular and cost-effective way to make the bike's seat more comfortable is to install a seat cushion. It can help reduce numbness and pain in the lower back and other areas. These cushions are designed to make the seat softer and improve ventilation. The underside is made from non-slip material to keep the accessory in place.
Another way to improve riding comfort is to install handlebar risers or barbacks. These ergonomic accessories can help motorcyclists get the right fit if they experience difficulty reaching the handlebars. Risers and barbacks can raise the handlebar's height and relocate them to a comfortable distance from the rider. These accessories are available in bike-specific and generic versions.
Additionally, installing a throttle lock or cruise control can help motorbike riders prevent hand fatigue and reduce the likelihood of cramping during extended rides. From the name itself – throttle locks are a fitment that overrides the motorcycle throttle's return spring. A cruise control system on a motorbike allows riders to maintain a steady road speed for a comfortable ride over long distances. These ergonomic accessories can be weatherproof and wear-resistant to last through various environmental conditions.
Riders can also use mirror wideners/mirror extenders to increase their view range. This allows them to lessen head and eye movement to reduce rider fatigue. They can also view the traffic behind them better instead of seeing their shoulders in the mirror.
To improve the ergonomics of foot controls, motorcyclists can install adjustable foot pegs, brake pedal extensions, or gear levers according to their fit on the bike. These aftermarket ergonomic accessories can be adjusted to match the rider's ideal foot position. They can help reduce foot fatigue and muscle tension. They can also help minimize the tendency of the knees being in a cramped and too high position when riding.
Foam grip covers are also an inexpensive item that can greatly reduce hand discomfort and fatigue. They simply slip on over the original grips and offer several benefits. They are softer than the rubber grips and therefore more comfortable, and they absorb some of the vibrations that get transmitted to the hands. They also increase the diameter of the handgrip, which helps to reduce fatigue, particularly in the throttle hand.
Where to Get Reliable Motorcycle Ergonomic Accessories?
You can get top-notch motorcycle ergonomic accessories from reputable shops in Australia like Motorrad Garage.
Our company imports, distributes, and retails a broad selection of bike-specific motorcycle accessories for all riding enthusiasts. We have been operating since 2006, providing our valued customers with the highest-quality motorbike accessories available and the best possible shopping experience.
Visit our showrooms located at:
1/108 Welshpool Road, Welshpool WA 6106, just a short 10 minutes ride from the Perth CBD & Unit 1 Race Central 32-34 Peter Brock Drive, Eastern Creek NSW 2766
You can also call us on (02) 9748 3006 (Sydney) or (08) 9350 9052 (Perth) for personal assistance and to know more about our offers.
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