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Fit And Finish


Jaybird180
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Everyone knows that “just right” feeling when they sit on the right bike. When I bought my Honda, I sat on several machines and compared the contact points and how they seemed to fit my preference. In another thread, we discussed how locking-in adds necessary stability. I often wonder about the engineers’ intent when they factor ergonomics in design and why the brands are so different. There also seems to be commonality in that brand regardless of size of machine or over several years (generations).

 

How important do you feel that having the good fit on X brand motorcycle is to your riding? What do you look for in describing a good fit?

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Being a rider who's only gone one down up front on my bike, I'm all about riding styles and comfort in riding for improvement.

 

That being said, I'm not picky. I want to be able to lock into the tank without straining, including plenty of overhang, a rough seat to not slide me around, well placed clutch and brake levers, conveniently placed shifter, and I think stomp grip is my favorite upgrade on any bike I've ridden.

 

I've only sat on an RC-8, but would LOVE to get that thing on a track. It's like they took my dimensions and build a bike.

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Very important. I am much more comfortable and relaxed on my '08 CBR600 than I was on my '03 CBR954. The biggest difference between the two is that the 600 is a lot more narrow. That alone put me in a much better position (able to lock in better, move from side to side easier). I know they are the same brand, but you get the idea.

 

I look for seat height, seat position, seat-to-handlebar distance, footpeg placement, and width/tank configuration. Things like rear sets, clip-ons, levers, etc can help with minor adjustments, but if the overall "fit" is not in the ballpark, then I will definitely not be able to ride as well.

 

Riding the BMW S1000RR at CSS last year was a real eye opener. It "fit" me very well, and made me realize what I was missing (so to speak) in my 954. Thats why I sold it and picked up the 600. I am a lot faster on the 600.

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Personally, I strongly dislike narrow bikes, especially narrow fuel tanks. A nicely shaped fuel tank for me is about the width of the front of a typical office chair where it meets my knees, but narrowing towards my chrotch. So, a tank that widens to about 50 cm where my knees are is about right. Having a fuel tank narrower than the pegs is the pits.

 

I also like the old sit-up-and-beg seating postion, although with the pegs a little less rearward than the old Brit bike style, but with lots of leg room - no more than 90 degree bend. So a tall-ish, wide handlebar like a Superbike style suits me fine. Levers etc. can always be adjusted to suit.

 

I understand that my preferences are little suitable for track riding, but it is very sensible if you want to ride for long distances in comfort :D

 

Like it was said before me, I quickly discover if a riding position feels right or not. However, and this came as a surprise many years back, a riding position that feels very relaxed and right immediately can become a chore over distance and cause cramps and discomfort. Also, a position that feels a bit awkward can feel awkward all day without actually causing serious discomfort. The ability to move around is important, as is a good seat and compliant suspension. Engine vibrations tingling hands to sleep is also really bad. So for me, in order to be able to ride long days, avoiding tingling hands followed by a sore rump and then muscle cramps are the 3 most important aspects of how well I find a bike. But that takes a bit of time to discover, quite often.

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Not to beat a dead horse on this, but my opinion on fit has changed with the tank pads. I liked the older style Stomp Grip the most, it was the easiest to hold on to.

 

CF

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How important is it to have a good fit? Probably depends on how willing you are to change and adapt your style to a different bike. (Not talking about simple ergonomic things like levers and footpegs, they're all adjustable anyway. But things like tank/seat shape, seat/handlebar/footpeg distance, etc.) It may be 'easier' to ride a certain bike because you don't have to change very much of what you're doing, but you could still have a perfectly acceptable body position on a very different bike, just that it may feel strange to you because it's something you're not used to.

 

Reminds me of when I first got my motard, I'd been used to sportsbikes only - suddenly I effectively had no fuel tank to push my knees into for grip, not really anything on there to hang on with so I had to use the handlebars to hold myself up when braking. Now that took some getting used to... but now it's just 2nd nature. I have even swapped between the two at my favourite mountain spot and while it definitely shows up the difference between the bikes I didn't feel uncomfortable at all.

 

The reason I mention that is just to say that if you're able to be adaptable it will definitely stand you in good stead. It also just feels good when you know that you can hop on any bike and you won't be worried or unduly concerned about riding a 'strange bike'.

 

Maybe an equally important question to consider is how adaptable you are to a particular bike?

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