Advanced Riding Techniques Blog

Advanced Riding Techniques in Cape Town, South Africa | Learn to ride a motorbike with advanced driving skills.

You put your left leg in.....Riding Position and where you put your feet!

More thought is given to choosing motorcycle boots (not that you shouldn’t apply a lot of thought to protective clothing..) than most riders give to using their lower limbs while riding. I wonder how many of those riders also give thought to using body weight on the pegs to make the motorcycle respond to those inputs.

Think about the fact that when you lift your backside off the seat, your weight is transferred lower on the bike, down to the pegs.  Now lean to one side or the other, like a skier, and you can help the bike lean, or you can make it that much more difficult.  Sit back down, and the effective centre of gravity feels higher.

Where you place your feet determines what they can do, and how quickly.

On a cruiser, if your feet are flat on the floorboards, you create a delay if you need to get back to the brake or the gear-lever.  On other types of bike, are your feet ready to shift or brake, or do you need to move them first to a position where they can function? 85-90 % of riders I see would have to move their feet to get them in an operating position..

Ideally, your bike should be set up so that your feet are where they need to be to function, quickly and efficiently. This not only means where they need to be to shift and brake, but in a perfect world, you should be able to weigh them by merely standing up. If your weight is centred so that you can easily stand on the pegs without shifting your weight, you would be in a great position to control the motorcycle.  In practice, this can’t happen on a sportsbike where your feet are behind you, or on a cruiser, where your feet are in front of you.  Watch a trials rider or any off-road rider sometime.  They are routinely balanced on their feet, and they spend most of the time standing on the pegs.  This affords great control.

There are limits to what you can do to correct inherent balance issues on your bike but that doesn’t mean you can’t practice different positioning until you find what works for you. Be prepared to get out some tools and adjust what you can.  Riders who ride toes down are not only positioned poorly to control the motorcycle, but there are instances where such riders actually catch their toes and receive injuries, or even crash.

Being positioned to use the back brake is important for low speed riding, and in panic braking, where you want to balance the brakes without locking up. I personally ride with my feet hovering over the rear brake and my other foot over the gear-lever, ready to gear down.

Being a good rider means paying attention to a lot of things.  A little thought and incorporating your foot position and peg weighting into your practice will make it easier to incorporate these things instinctively and naturally.  At a minimum, notice where your feet are when riding, and what you have to do to get them in position to work controls or weight one or both pegs.

Mark

I have been riding all size motorcycles for over 30 years. I am lucky to have both Sport & Trail bikes to ride. The experiences gained on the road, track and trail have given me a great number of pointers and a unique perspective on safety and fun at the same time. I am originally from the UK, where I perfected my proficiencies with Royal Automobile Club and Advanced Motorcycling Association training, but currently based near Durbanville, Western Cape.

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