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Jaybird180

Better Body Position for Steering

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One of the things that I continue to work on is effective steering. My confession is that I don't Quicksteer well enough. Leading up to that is that my body position doesn't lend itself very well to being in-line with the plane of rotation of the bars.

My new bike's clip-ons are pretty low and being a tall guy, I have to sit mostly to the back of the seat or hunch over significantly to get in-line to steer rather than push down on the bars (bad). Sitting that far aft of the CoG comes with another compromise in how aggressive I can get on the gas, considering that I don't have wheelie control on my analog literbike AND the fact that with a brand new chain & sprockets my wheel base is in factory specs, which is wee bit shorter than it has ever been during my short ownership.

I'm considering a set of bar risers that will bring the clip-ons higher. I've read good reviews on the Apex brand that gives a 2" increase and I'm thinking long and hard about making the change- it will also require a change to the hydraulic lines. Their 3" kit will require a change to the throttle cable and probably anything higher will require a change to the upper fairing.

My thoughts are that it would be a good ergonomic mod for me however I'm thinking about how it will affect my steering. I can't think of any cons to making the change other than the expense of new hydraulic lines- which I was thinking about doing anyhow- but they must be cut to spec given the need for another 2 (or 3) inches.

OTOH, perhaps there's something that's been overlooked in my steering technique itself. Scooting back was the solution provided at my days at the school and I'm not sure but I'm leaning toward  it being a possible contributor to my back pain, the onset of which came with it's own cornering challenges.

Scratching for ideas and a solution here.

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MOTORRAD tested a ZX-7R (so a long time ago) stock and with 4 inch riser. Eveybody went significantly faster through the slalom tests with the taller bars. The less experienced riders gained more than the experienced racer. After doing a ton of laps, pushing himself to his limits, the racer finally managed to set the fastest time around the race track with the stock bars - it was a pride thing for him - but it took a lot more effort to ride with the lower handlebars.

Take a look at the handlebars used in the early Superbikes AMA days. Pretty tall and especially wide to gain leverage. Now look at the handlebars of Kenny Schwantz' RG500. That's a bike only 285 lb light, yet Kevin still had wide and tall bars compared to most of his competitors. 

In my humble opinion, you would love moving the handlebars up.

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What are the designers trying to achieve with low bars?

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When I shop for clothes I always have to take into account my requirement for long sleeves. Couple that with a torso thats taller than average and it's a non-aerodynamic recipe. It's one of the fun things about engineering- making wise compromises.

I would just like to be able to get through a full track session at 80%+ without cramping.

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On my last 2 rides something became apparent to me in that I'm doing something odd with the right side of my body. My fist is clenched pretty tightly and my right arm gets fatigued. I'm thinking this is a cause-effect loop and directly contributing to my back pain. When I notice it, I can tell myself to relax. Will attention on relaxing my grip and right arm solve the problem?

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I thought of this when I saw your post... Dave Moss comes out with some very insightful comments every now and then: 

Take particular note of your clip on angle as well as the position relative to the forks. To me moving the clip ons 30mm in front of the forks is a fairly radical setup, but what I take away from this is that the riders comfort and ergonomic fit is the highest priority. Move the controls to wherever you need them, the bike is always going to steer better for you if you can use the controls more effectively. 

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Thanks for this. IIRC my stock clip-ons have 3 positions. I just may give the further out position a try before plonking down cash for the risers.

This part was very interesting

We use out hands and wrists constantly so getting the cockpit comfortable is critical and remember,

it is not a set and forget topic!

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Hi, 

New here so hope this isn't too old to give a thought to, or perhaps you have the issue sorted out by now.

I have a similar problem with quick steering as well as riding a bike being very good at finding old injuries, however my issue is more due to seat shape not allowing me to move back so feel a bit 'stuck' in place. (older sports naked!)

One of the things I did to alleviate back complaints was to consciously bring my elbows in.  Obviously, effective steering is taught to us by being horizontally parallel to the ground but when I am in this position it niggles in places.  I am naturally tight across the chest so by squeezing my shoulder blades/opening up my collarbones it allows the elbows to come in, and are then actually below the horizontal - which means I can come up slightly into a more comfortable position.  Think a boxer in the 'guard' position, with hands covering the head and elbows tight, protecting the torso is the way I visualise it. 

I do have to make an effort to think about it when I'm riding but definitely works for me. But, different bike, different physiology but just thought I'd share...

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I did get the Apex risers and it wasn’t a panacea. Unfortunately weather hasn’t permitted me to ride the bike after a long winter makeover evolution.

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