Jimmy Lewis Off-Road Riding School

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Riding Tip: Proper Bike Setup

Jimmy Helps Bob With Bike Setup

Jimmy Lewis gives some advice on how the proper handlebar and lever position can help a rider be more comfortable.


“Is My Bike Set Up Properly?”

That is a tough question. In reality you are the only one who knows the answer. Our expertise and experience at JLR Off-Road can help, but in reality it is us asking you a series of questions to help you understand what will work for you. Making you the most comfortable on your machine. Here are some things to think about.

The most important factor is that all of the controls are functioning properly and in excellent mechanical condition. Having a sticky throttle or a clutch lever that is difficult to pull–maybe bent and not in line–is like putting a filter between you and your bike. Effectively adding a delay to what you want the bike to do and what it actually does (or how quickly it does it).  Then it is a matter of positioning the controls so that everything is where it should be. You do not want to be put in a awkward position to reach for any lever or pedal and you do not want to be bound-up, cramped or extended in getting at the clutch, brakes, shifting or even just reaching the handlebar or footpegs.  You should also be comfortable getting at the controls in both a relaxed and in an attack position.

Simple adjustments of the standard equipment, things like the angles and lever positions of the bar controls or the heights and positions of the shift and brake pedals can go a long ways. Then there are lots of options for moving the position of the handlebars and footpegs to make everything just perfect. Every adjustment of each component is intertwined so if you adjust one, likely the others are affected. Adjustments like these are especially useful for riders who are larger or smaller than the average sized male that most motorcycles are built for.

Taller or shorter seats and shortened or stiffened suspension work wonders for those outside the average range and in some cases completely change the riding experience, but start with the simple stuff first. And before you go and make any changes, remember how you ride and what types of riding you intend to do. For instance, you don’t ride with your feet on the ground so that position should be very insignificant when you make comfort decisions.