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Old 12th July 2014, 19:54   #1
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Default On Ergonomics & Motorcycles

Wanted to share a few thoughts and invite other's views and opinion on a comfortable sitting posture for all kinds of bikes. Personally speaking, I've been having trouble finding the right riding posture on my beloved CBR250R. Though its been touted to be one of the best bikes when it comes to the riding posture - not too agressive, not too cruiser-ish, I've been unlucky to find the right posture yet, even after 3 years of owning it . Have always been troubled with a lower back ache after riding it for more than an hour. Request the experts out there to shed some light and help me out of this predicament, which has reached a level where I'm thinking of letting my baby ceeber go

Mods - kindly merge it with an already existing thread if there exists any on the same topic. I did a search but could not find any specific thread.
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Old 13th July 2014, 11:33   #2
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Default re: On Ergonomics & Motorcycles

CBR250 undoubtedly is a bike which should be undoubtedly really hard to part with.

We would require to know your height first to give a proper opinion.

Also, details on whether your ride of over 1 hour is at a stretch/parts, city/highway/combined, etc. might be useful to give insights.
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Old 13th July 2014, 17:36   #3
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Yes, thats important, I'm 5'7" and weigh 65 kgs. My daily ride is mostly to office and back which is 27kms one way. I ride through some heavy traffic areas and some 6 kms of highway road.
I have tried sitting all the way back touching the back seat part and also tried all the way to the front and at times sitting in between, have almost covered the entire length of the seat but still didn't find the right spot.
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Old 13th July 2014, 17:43   #4
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Default re: On Ergonomics & Motorcycles

I think you should carefully introspect your sitting posture and a few things on your bike here. Since you have not provided details of your height etc, some general stuff that can help you are below.

1. Arm/Elbow: Your arm should never be straight while you hold the handle but should be bent by a few degrees. In other words, arm should be parallel to your thigh. Your body weight should be equally balanced between your lower back and your arm and shouldn't be too much on either.

2. Upper Body: In continuation of the above, your back should neither be too straight not be completely bent. Also, any additional weight on your back/shoulders will directly affect your lower back. The pain on your shoulders will radiate to your back and your arms.

3. Lower body: You will instinctively sit towards the front of the seat the shorter you are. If you are strict Indian average height (Read 5'7"), generally the latter half of the seat (but not the back most corner) is preferred. In addition, we generally tend to hold the tank cheeks very tightly with increase in speed of the bike. Don't do this. Relax and let the body free. Just hold your knees touching the tank cheeks.

3. Suspension: The suspension can be tuned to be softer if it is too stiff. When it is too stiff, the ill effect of all the undulations/potholes on the road will be directly transferred to your back resulting in pain.

Finally, depending on whether you are riding on a highway or in city traffic, there will have to be a natural change in your riding posture. Try putting a tail bag on your rear seat on one of your highway rides and rest your back against it when you are cruising on that boring straight highway. You will know what I mean.

Last but not the least, keeping yourself fit, running, floor exercises and lower back strengthening exercises are a must for a biker in my opinion. Also, keeping your body hydrated and stretching during breaks help when on marathon rides!

All the best!
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Old 14th July 2014, 06:19   #5
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Default re: On Ergonomics & Motorcycles

Had a mild back pain last Thursday & yesterday rode back from Goa to Madras - Back pain gone

I feel the back pain is about to start again - Damn!! It's Monday morning

Rather than giving a lot of theories, all I would say is...if you're over weight for your height, then please bring it down, it helps more than anything. It helps even if you were to ride a Goldwing

Last edited by GTO : 28th July 2014 at 17:09. Reason: Corrected to Madras - Goa - Madras
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Old 14th July 2014, 16:24   #6
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Default Re: On Ergonomics & Motorcycles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Added_flavor View Post
I think you should carefully introspect your sitting posture and a few things on your bike here. Since you have not provided details of your height etc, some general stuff that can help you are below.
Thanks a lot for that detailed explanation Added_flavour, will keep these in mind, next time I get onto my bike. Also, you missed seeing my second post where I had mentioned my height (average) and weight. I guess, it should become my second nature to adjust my body on these lines whenever I sit on my bike or any bike for that matter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post

I feel the back pain is about to start again - Damn!! It's Monday morning

Rather than giving a lot of theories, all I would say is...if you're over weight for your height, then please bring it down, it helps more than anything. It helps even if you were to ride a Goldwing
Thanks aargee, at 65 kgs and 5'7", I think I'm quite ok . Its just that this back-pain demon kills the pleasure out of riding such otherwise beautiful bikes.
Off-topic, I've been following your various threads of your biking escapades and kind of feel no one else have driven and studied CBR as extensively as you have, ofcourse barring the Honda people
Congratulations.
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Old 14th July 2014, 18:11   #7
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Default Re: On Ergonomics & Motorcycles

Your fitness levels have a direct corelation with the amount of fun you have on the bike. Being the right weight is only the begining (as I have started to find out). You need a strong core, decent flexibility along with many other things.

Saw a couple of these videos on You Tube:





The second video is especially good. I intend to take up some (the ones that dont involve weights mostly) of these exercises to start with
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Old 14th July 2014, 19:14   #8
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Default Re: On Ergonomics & Motorcycles

Quote:
Have always been troubled with a lower back ache after riding it for more than an hour
My 2 cents. Lower back pain is mainly due to strain and weak muscle.
Secondly riding posture makes a huge impact.

Your spine has to be straight. Even in a crouched position the spine has to be straight.

This requires effort including bringing your chest forward.

The bike is positioned in such a way you appear to be bending forward. The fact is that as a rider you will have to create those right angles all the time. From hands to shoulders, shoulders to hip, hip to knees and knees to toes.

If you look very carefully good riding posture will mostly be around right angles. Everytime you shift any one of these you will start feeling some strain.

With weak muscle or tight back muscles you will start straining them.

Simple solutions:-

- Stretch your back everyday before and after your ride.
- Learn to change your spine position by keeping it straight while walking, sitting, sleeping etc. The spine being straight is a HABIT and not something you can do only while riding.
- Swimming helps straightening your spine for you will be maximum efficient while your spine is straight.
- Stretch every 100 kms of riding.
- Arms at 90deg bend helps relieve pressure on shoulders and spine.
- Even your feet position is critical.
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Old 15th July 2014, 00:02   #9
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Default Re: On Ergonomics & Motorcycles

Can you post a profile photo of you on the bike before we proceed? That will help folks diagnose your issue better.

IMHO, there is more here than meets the eye. There are so many overweight sedentary bikers I know who tour and definitely don't have serious back ache in just one hour of riding. Heck, when I had my first slip disc episode (have had three) - I could not drive any car (indica/alto) but I was supremely comfortable riding the pulsar, including through potholes and what not. Riding a bike was a painless activity for me.

I can confirm that I did not follow most of the advice on this thread and am none the worse for it.

My utterly unqualified opinion - You have some one element of your posture wrong which you need to fix. Most of the advice on this thread is pertinent and will definitely help you improve, but you need to be more perceptive of your body when the pain happens for any real improvement AND share a profile photo.
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Old 15th July 2014, 00:39   #10
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Default Re: On Ergonomics & Motorcycles

Quote:
Originally Posted by VWikram View Post
I've been unlucky to find the right posture yet, even after 3 years of owning it . Have always been troubled with a lower back ache after riding it for more than an hour.
Wrong posture or not an hour is too short a time to develop a back ache. I suspect your back doesn't like the slightly crouched riding position.

I'd recommend riding a bike with an upright posture (Dukes, bullets, Pulsar 150, etc) for a similar duration and see if that solves the problem.

If it does, and you still want to ride "sporty" bikes, you will have to get a back support. I'd recommend a full length back support/protector over the lumbar supports available in medical stores.

NB: As suggested in the above posts, first make sure your rear suspension isn't on a hard setting. Set it to the softest, ensure correct air pressure, and see if you still develop an ache.
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Old 15th July 2014, 08:28   #11
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Default Re: On Ergonomics & Motorcycles

Quote:
Originally Posted by VWikram View Post
Thanks aargee, at 65 kgs and 5'7", I think I'm quite ok . Its just that this back-pain demon kills the pleasure out of riding such otherwise beautiful bikes
Sounds good to me; Let me ask few more questions in simple yes/no type...
1. Do you ride atleast 5 times a week? If so how many Km do you put every week?

2. What's the longest distance you've done in 24 hours?

3. When riding even for 10 Km, do you shift your sitting posture to front (towards the fuel tank) & back (away from fuel tank, closer to rear seat)?

4. When riding for over 10+ Km, do you wear protective gloves?

5. If you wear protective gloves for over 10+ Km, does your palm become red in color?

6. Other than your back, do you feel pain in any other part of the body? Like wrist, palm, thighs, neck, biceps etc?

Quote:
Originally Posted by VWikram View Post
Off-topic, I've been following your...barring the Honda people
Congratulations.
Thank you for your kind words, I'm only learning & sharing what I've come across & I've got more than long way to go
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Old 15th July 2014, 11:57   #12
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Default Re: On Ergonomics & Motorcycles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Urban_Nomad View Post
Saw a couple of these videos on You Tube:

The second video is especially good. I intend to take up some (the ones that dont involve weights mostly) of these exercises to start with
Thank you for those videos Urban_Nomad, I'll see if I can practice some of them in the gym.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VW2010 View Post
My 2 cents. Lower back pain is mainly due to strain and weak muscle.
Secondly riding posture makes a huge impact.

Your spine has to be straight. Even in a crouched position the spine has to be straight.

This requires effort including bringing your chest forward.
Thank you VW2010, certainly not just 2 cents, worth a lot more

Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
Can you post a profile photo of you on the bike before we proceed? That will help folks diagnose your issue better....

My utterly unqualified opinion - You have some one element of your posture wrong which you need to fix. Most of the advice on this thread is pertinent and will definitely help you improve, but you need to be more perceptive of your body when the pain happens for any real improvement AND share a profile photo.
Don't have a proper pic on my bike yet, other than the 'hero hiralal' types . I'm working on it. Also, you're absolutely right, there is some element of my posture which I need to correct. Just need to figure out which.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bravo6 View Post
Wrong posture or not an hour is too short a time to develop a back ache. I suspect your back doesn't like the slightly crouched riding position.

I'd recommend riding a bike with an upright posture (Dukes, bullets, Pulsar 150, etc) for a similar duration and see if that solves the problem.

NB: As suggested in the above posts, first make sure your rear suspension isn't on a hard setting. Set it to the softest...
I never had a problem riding upright posture bikes like a P150. Never looked at the suspension setup though, will change it to the softest if it isn't already, then verify.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
Sounds good to me; Let me ask few more questions in simple yes/no type...
1. Do you ride atleast 5 times a week? If so how many Km do you put every week? - No

2. What's the longest distance you've done in 24 hours? - 100 kms approx

3. When riding even for 10 Km, do you shift your sitting posture to front (towards the fuel tank) & back (away from fuel tank, closer to rear seat)? - I generally tend to sit in the middle, not too upfront nor too laid back.

4. When riding for over 10+ Km, do you wear protective gloves? - Always do.

5. If you wear protective gloves for over 10+ Km, does your palm become red in color? - Nope

6. Other than your back, do you feel pain in any other part of the body? Like wrist, palm, thighs, neck, biceps etc? - Nope, its always the back, after an hour of riding.
Please find my answers inline aargee.

Last edited by moralfibre : 15th July 2014 at 14:21. Reason: Removing Youtube links from the quoted post.
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Old 15th July 2014, 13:06   #13
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Default Re: On Ergonomics & Motorcycles

Quote:
Originally Posted by VWikram View Post
Please find my answers inline aargee.
Ok, things are very simple here then; all you need is to spend more time on the saddle & I'm sure your body will learn without compromising on your back.

Please keep the tips provided here will be of great help. Also remember, not all the tips will help you, as you begin to spend more time with the motorcycle, you will eventually learn what works for you the best.

When I took the bike in June 2011, I had immense pain on both wrists, thighs & palm for couple of months considering the fact I did the run-in in 2.5 days. But eventually I got over & these days I get only back ache & mild bruise (due to sweat) under thighs below butt only on distances over 700+ Km with just fuel stops.

Do not worry over on your backache, the more you spend time on saddle, you will definitely get over the backache for sure. Enjoy riding
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Old 15th July 2014, 13:35   #14
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Default Re: On Ergonomics & Motorcycles

There are advice from some serious bikers here in this thread. Thanks to all. However, I would like to share my experience too.

My daily ride is about 20-22 kms, to and fro to work on a humble Honda Stunner. I am about 5'9" and weigh about 58 kgs. I ride at least 6 days a week. So, in a month, I do at least 500-550 kms. I have been doing this for the last 3.5 years now. I have now clocked about 23000 kms on my odo.

Last week, I decided to test my endurance on the saddle and went for a 920 kms trip on the same bike, with a bagpack. I think the regular daily runs have helped me a lot in the background.

During the ride, I did have a little stiff back, and just a small hint of pain. However, the pain was nothing to bother. The only slight issue that bothered me was the stiff back and a little of saddle sore. I used to change positions by shifting a little back and after some time moving a little forth and that helped a lot during the ride. No serious problems on my return trip too. I was very charged up and fresh when I returned home after covering 460 kms in a day with 2 breaks - one for breakfast and one for lunch, apart from mini-breaks for loo and water.

What I want to say is that I am not a gym goer, just a lean guy who is fit. Aargee has a lot of experience on the saddle and I second his opinion that probably you should spend a little more time riding. Do not get any after market seat-covers on the bike. They ruin the seating setting. Try to do some 100-150 kms day trips and slowly you will build the endurance. Riding safe is so much fun and don't let such things come into your way. You will definitely get better and start enjoying riding to far off places.

Edit PS: I think that sitting on the office chair for 9 straight hours also helps big time!

Regards,
Saket

Last edited by saket77 : 15th July 2014 at 13:40. Reason: Adding PS.
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Old 15th July 2014, 14:16   #15
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Default Re: On Ergonomics & Motorcycles

Honestly, I think it's ridiculous to require vital stats of someone, like weight, fitness, BP, birth sign etc to determine if he can enjoy a bike.

OP, this might be something you are not asking, but if you are suffering for 3 years, I'd say forget it. The bike is not your wife, to have to keep on adjusting yourself around her. Heck even marriages won't last if there were constant troubles for 3 years!

There was not much choice in the 2L bracket 3 years ago, but now with choice (and with hopefully deeper pockets), sell this one off and buy better bikes that don't require you to change your lifestyle etc. It's a commodity, not a life need that must be catered and served to. Remember your age is ticking on, and you are not gaining anything while keeping a bike that doesn't give you satisfaction in your terms. Move on, and get a better bike that enables to enjoy riding.
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