Leveling up: tips that will make you a better rider instantly. Part 1

Hi there! You might be asking yourself, but Bella, how can something instantly improve my riding? Skills take months and years to develop, and it's not something that these "tips" will achieve.

Well, you're right, but with these few things in place, your motorcycling career can proceed much more smoothly, you see, learning to draw takes years, but if you have a pencil sharpener on hand, your progress will be so much quicker and your life so much easier. Does this make sense? 

I hope it does, because here come super pro tips that will make leveling up as a rider much better. Also, maybe you're not a novice, but have found your way to work around these issues, well this might be the right article for you! 

 So, before we jump in, if there's one point I wish you to take away from this, it's this:

Adjust the bike to YOU. Motorcycles are manufactured to a standard, and this standard is some kind of statistical model of an average human. Now, since actual humans vary widely, a motorcycle tuned for everybody is a motorcycle tuned for nobody. That's why the first thing to do, before going out and buying expensive mods, is to tune the bike to your needs. Maybe these parts that you think need replacing merely need some adjustment.

Tip n. 1: handlebars and levers.

Many a biker has struggled with numb hands and achey fingers, as well as a general discomfort because of the brake and clutch lever position. It's a very simple fix to a very annoying problem. More often than not the levers are positioned in an awkward angle that forces you to bend upward at the wrist in order to reach the lever. By simply loosening the bolts on the lever assembly, you'll be able to tilt the entire thing forward, this creating a single line from your shoulders to your fingertips. This will alleviate any strain and will make numb hands a thing of the past.
By the way, if you have small hands, like me, you might want to consider swapping your stock levers with aftermarket ones, like the ones in the photo. The angle which these levers have makes it easier to apply force.

  #protip:

If you have clipon style handlebars, you might benefit from opening up the angle between the bars a little bit. This will provide more leverage when steering and will make the arm position a bit more natural. 

If you have a standard handlebar, you may want to tilt it towards you a little bit and see if the position becomes more comfortable. There's a lot of trial and error involved in this, but don't get discouraged, it's worth to set up your bike for yourself. 

Also, always remember to check for clearances and tighten the bolts when you're finished! 

Tip n. 2: footpegs and rearsets

While we're on the subject of adjusting the Motorcycle to you, we need to go over the foot peg part as well. Many people, especially vertically challenged people such as myself, have a hard time making progress with stock pegs. The pegs are positioned in a relatively standard position, that is comfortable for most people in daily use. But if you have sporty aspirations, the comfy low stock position may be hindering your progress.  

Sv 650 suzuki woman motorcyclist

When shifting weight (and butt) from one side of the bike to the other, you need to have enough bend in your knees in order to be able to lift yourself up from the seat ever so slightly. Also, being able to still reach the outside peg while hanging off the bike is quite crucial. 

I've struggled with this issue a lot until I got me some rearsets (like these), and it made a huge difference, especially as I was starting out. 

If a full set of rearsets is out of budget, see if you can find adapter plates, called "risers", these should do the trick in a pinch.  Also, be sure to check the frame attachment. Some bikes have multiple attachment holes for the foot peg assembly.

 

With these first couple of tips you should be well on your way towards adjusting the bike to your body and riding style. At the highest levels, motorcycle personalizations become bespoke parts, manufactured specifically to fit the rider’s style and physique, in order to provide the rider with the means to go as fast as possible. This is what happens in places such as MotoGp, but it doesn’t mean that us, mere mortals, can’t benefit greatly from a similar approach. I hope you’ve enjoyed this one, because next up we’re going to be covering the basics of suspension. Subscribe down below to get a notification when the next chapter is up!

- Bella.