Nothing ruins a good day of riding like pulling up with back aches and upper body stiffness. If this happens to you regularly, the fix might be as simple as assuming a proper motorcycle riding position.
As you'll see below, there are plenty of ways to put your ass in the seat. So refresh yourself on the proper techniques and hopefully, it can save your back in the long run.
THE STANDARD POSITION
The standard riding position is sitting with your back upright. It's the most neutral riding position, neither leaning forward nor leaning back. Your shoulders should be squared above your hips and pushed slightly back, which relieves discomfort in the neck and upper back area.
Keep your arms extended but not hyperextended, and your elbows slightly bent. Your knees should rest against the tank with your legs at a 90-degree angle. If you spend long hours at a desk, this posture should be very familiar.
Great for posture
Suitable for comfort over long rides
Easy to manoeuvre
Not as aggressive
THE CRUISER/RELAXED POSITION
The cruiser position is all about comfort, confidence, and relaxation. Your back should be straight or slightly reclined, using the special footrests of cruiser bikes to allow yourself to keep your legs forward.
The cruiser position lets your feet support the rest of your body. You'll still need to keep your back straight, with the shoulders in line with your hips, but it won't be as much stress on your torso because of the lower body support.
Relaxed and comfortable
Good for long rides
Hard to manoeuvre
Not as aerodynamic
THE SPORTS POSITION
If you're all about speed then this is the one for you. It helps keep you aerodynamic and reduces wind resistance so you can clock in some seriously fast rides.
Lean your upper body forward so your shoulder are in front of your hips. Your stomach rests on the tank, allowing you to bend your elbows and relax your arms. Your feet rest on the footpegs and are positioned behind your knees.
This is not a position that should be adopted all the time. It's known to create back and neck issues, so save this one for the track.
Better control for high-speed riding
Less wind resistance
Known to cause back and neck pain
Tiring for long rides
Harder to manoeuvre
MOTORCYCLE RIDING POSITION BEST TIPS
Hopefully, you've settled on the best riding position, but putting these into practise is a different beast. Use these tips below to keep your posture in line every time you ride
BE MINDFUL OF YOUR BACK
You've only got one back so take care of it! Long hours in the seat can be harmful without using the correct motorcycle riding position, so keep straight if you want to save those back muscles.
The whole idea is to have a bit of fun, so have a safe and enjoyable ride but try not to be too rigid. Take the time to stretch yourself out whenever you hit a red light. Maybe even put your feet on the ground and shake your arms out, or anywhere else that feels stiff.
CHECK YOUR MOTORCYCLE SETTINGS
The pain you might be feeling could have nothing to do with your sitting position at all. It could just be the way you've got the seat, the footrests, or the handlebars. Check that everything is matched to fit your body because everyone has their own proportions and it's important to stay comfortable.
ALWAYS PRACTICE GOOD POSTURE
Not to sound like your mum, but posture really does matter. Spending long periods of time in a slouched position can have nasty consequences in your day-to-day life. Think about how you sit when watching tv or at work. These muscles need to take care of you on the bike, so take care of them as well.
Riding Different Types of Bikes the Right Way
Different types of bikes have their own design characteristics and will be more suited to certain riding positions. If you own more than one bike, consider changing things up depending on the model you go with on the given day.
The sports position is your go-to whenever you hop on a sports bike. This involves being slightly leaned forward with your weight centred over the handlebars for more stability and control.
Just keep in mind that this position is known to cause back and neck pain when used for long periods of time.
As the name suggests, go with the standard riding position for a standard motorcycle. You'll want to keep your back straight and legs at 90 degrees, just like if you're sitting at a desk. Keep your elbows extended but with your arms slightly bent so they're not too rigid.
Use the standard/upright riding position for adventure riding. This will give you a clear view of the road ahead and any upcoming obstacles.
Again, the standard riding position is best for touring bikes. Since they're designed to be driven for long distances, this will keep you comfortable, your back straight, and provides good visibility.
Cruisers are best suited for the cruiser/relaxed position. It's in the name after all. This position will let you kick back and stay comfy during those chill rides.
If you ride a bike with some monster ape hanger handlebars, stick to the standard riding position. Ape hangers are designed to be high and require the rider to reach up to grip them. The upright riding position allows you to comfortably reach the handlebars and maintain control of the bike.
The downside is that this riding position may not be suitable for high-speed riding, as it's less aerodynamic. Adjust the riding position as necessary to ensure comfort and safety while riding.
The standard or upright position will give you the best stability and control for off-road riding.