Safety Tip written for Countyline Publications and printed in Wisconsin and Illinois Biker Information Guide – fourth quarter 2009 by Bill Gade, Tour on 2 In the last two issues we discussed eating right and riding yourself into riding shape.  In this article we will talk about getting your motorcycle into riding shape to fit your anatomy. Motorcycles are designed based on an “average body size” or body type. They take into account your ability to reach the foot and hand controls and sit comfortably in the saddle for many miles. This works fine if your body size meets the “average body size” your motorcycle was designed to meet.  Being over 6’ tall I have to change the seat, foot and hand controls for me to ride comfortably.  I always change my seats to a “tall boy seat” which  raises me up and moves me back.  I also use a gel pad to give me extra height and extra comfort.  Some people need to lower their seat because they are “vertically challenged”.  There are manufacturers that make seats, which are lower and move you forward.  Buy and install a seat that meets your specific needs. The hand controls present a different challenge, but most handlebars have some ability to be adjusted.  Ask your dealer to adjust your handlebars including the angle of the brake and clutch levers.  I know many riders that complain of hand pain or numbness, but that can be corrected with proper handlebar adjustment or in some cases a new set of handlebars.  Foot controls cannot be adjusted so they will need be changed with extended length levers.  You may find by changing the seat makes your foot controls are in a more comfortable position. So consider changing your seat first before you make changes to your foot controls. The final part of getting your motorcycle into riding shape is the suspension.   Most motorcycles have adjustable suspensions.  You will need to adjust your motorcycle’s suspension per the specifications recommended by the manufacturer.  My motorcycles have air shocks and are adjusted by adding or removing air.   Riding solo, with a passenger or with luggage all have different suspension settings.  Do not wait until you are fully loaded and have a passenger to find out that you have overloaded your suspension.  Not only will it give you an uncomfortable ride but also it could create serious handling problems. Follow your manufacturer’s recommendations but experiment, within those recommendations, to find what works best for you.  Making these changes to make your motorcycle fit you and you will be able to ride longer and more safely! Ride Safe, Bill Gade
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