Will I fit this motorcycle? The web helps you with Motorcycle Ergonomics…
by Mark DT
I had to laugh when I checked out this Wikipedia Entry. It shows the average height of men and women from all around the world. In my home country of Canada, I am the exact average male height of 5 feet 9 inches or 1.751m. The USA stats are close to Canada’s at 5 feet 9.5 inches for all male adults., The United Kingdom, France, Switzerland and Australia are at the same height average for all men as Canada at 5 feet 9 Inches. The Danes are really tall at an average 6 feet in height while the Mexicans are shorter at around 5 feet five inches.
Why are these stats relevant? Because I’m always surprised how some bikes can fit like a glove, and many others are so uncomfortable given that I am at a height that is by definition very average.
Now I have a personal preference for taller bikes. Of the three that I’ve owned, two were a challenge to flat foot when stopped. My first motorcycle, a Kawasaki Vulcan Cruiser was dead easy to flat foot. It was also very cramped and not great for me for longer rides. My next Kawasaki was a Versys. It was tall, and initially that was a little bit intimidating. However, the bike was exceptionally well balanced, and was easier to maneuver at low speeds than my previous cruiser which I could flat foot. I now ride a Triumph Tiger 1050SE which is tall like the Versys, but shares its excellent low speed mannerisms. The only time that either of these bikes have given me stress with the extra height is when they have been panic stopped. All the sudden I wished my legs were an inch or two longer, however I’ve been fortunate and have never dropped a motorcycle. I also ride my wife’s Kawasaki Ninja 250R from time to time and find it fairly comfortable. It is a sportier riding position but definitely is more cramped when compared to the much taller Tiger.
When reading on bikes you often may wonder how will this bike fit me? There is an excellent free online tool available to check out that will let you get a quick idea before taking that first visit to the dealer.
http://cycle-ergo.com/ is a fantastic tool/website to get a sense of how any manufacturer’s motorcycle will fit you. Remember though that even if a bike may not look like it fits you now, there are always “farkles” available to make any ride fit you better. Whether it is bar risers, a lowering link, or even a custom seat, (see the links at the bottom of this article) there are many ways to make motorcycles more comfortable. Cycle-Ergo.com also doesn’t factor in rider weight. A heavy rider may find that he can flat foot a bike that a rider of the exact same height and inseam but is twenty kilos lighter cannot. Always try before you buy.
What I found helpful when using the website is enter a couple of bikes you’ve ridden and know well. Establish a baseline for how much forward lean and knee angle that works and doesn’t work for you. Then remember these figures as you try fitting yourself on the latest Ducati Panigale. Hey, a guy can dream can’t he?
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