I have often been asked, what is the most comfortable seating on a motorbike or what is the difference between bike styles. Well it’s not as easy a question to answer as one would think and much of what we perceive, we have read or heard from other riders. Each and every rider will prefer what type bike they ride, which is why they ride it! 😉
On TWF, a motorcycle forum, I finally found some photos that pretty much sum it up the different riding styles, visually. This will help many sort out which bike is what!
Being the most neutral in body positioning, the standard keeps the rider in the most upright position with arms extended to the handlebars but with enough slack that the arms are relaxed. The knees should rest against the tank and are also bent at a height that is slightly lower than the hips. The feet will be resting on the pegs almost directly below the knees.
On this bike you will sit up higher and straighter than any other type motorcycle. From this position, you can easily stand up on the pegs to navigate any road surface. A standard bike usually has a fairly tall seat height, which makes it difficult for shorter riders, but you can usually have the bike lowered, somewhat without compromising the stability of the machine. Many motorcycles now have adjustable seats, to alter seat height without changing the ergos of the bike.
Examples of standard machines, include the BMW F650 GS, the Suzuki Bandit, the Buell Blast, the Honda Nighthawk, the Yamaha FZ1.
This bike is usually considered the most “kicked back” riding positioning. The body is somewhat reclined and the rider is almost perched on the tailbone. Arms are more extended in this position than in others, but the elbows should still be bent. The knees are also against the tank but the feet are extended a bit forward of the knees and rest on foot boards rather than pegs on many cruiser styled motorcycles.
Many riders find this style of bike a very comfortable ride or “cruise”, however be aware with the forward foot pegs, you are not easily able to stand without pulling weight onto the handgrips. Most cruiser bikes have a lower seat height, making this a very easy bike to “flat foot”, which is why so many women choose this machine.
Examples of cruisers are the Honda Rebel, most of the Harley Davidson models, the Yamaha Star vehicles, the Victory Kingpin.
A forward riding position leaning over the tank is demanded on the sport bike. The upper body sits forward of the hips. The stomach rests against the tank, requiring the abs and legs to support the weight of the upper torso. The arms are relaxed and elbows are bent. Knees are also bent and held against the tank, with feet resting on the footpegs in position behind the knees.
This riding style is aerodynamically superior to the other style machines, resulting in the least amount of wind resistance and the most aggressive attack on twisty roads, however for distance it is considered the least comfortable.
Examples of sport bikes are the Ducati Monster, many of the Kawasaki Ninjas sans the 650, the Suzuki GSXR.
My preference is the standard for my style of riding, and I have tried all three breeds of machine and enjoyed them all.
My friend Sarah rides a Suzuki SV1000S and rides it well. Sadly I don’t have a photo of her from the side, but you can still see the position of her knees and the angle of her back on this sportbike. Bravo, Sarah…nice lean angle.