Best posture for long rides - Kawasaki Versys Forum
 
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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Best posture for long rides

I have always wanted to do some motorcycle traveling and now that I have the V I can do it. But I find that my back aches after an hour or so in the saddle. I have a long upper body and I tend to slouch when riding. If I sit bolt upright it helps the back but feels unnatural and too tall in the saddle.

I can do 2 and 3 hour bicycle rides, no problem. On the bicycle I am leaning forward quit a bit so my back naturally stays straight. But on the V I am sitting straight up.

Any advise on correct riding posture to avoid back aches will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance
Brian
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 10:34 PM
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I found that wearing a Back-A-Line helped me.

http://www.backaline.com/
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 11:48 PM
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100 people will give you 100 answers. Afraid to say, but this is just something you have to learn the hard way.


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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 02:13 AM
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Leaning forward against the wind helps relaxing your back. However, I haven't found out how to this on the V yet. Maybe I'll try a lower handlebar riser to get more forward lean.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 07:27 AM
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Is it your upper back or lower back?
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 07:29 AM
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There's some minor adjustment to be had by rotating the bar forward a bit. This is on my to-try list; it's been suggested that you mark the original position somehow first. Raising your forks a few mm may also be an option. I also second Ziggy's torso support idea. If some combination of these three don't work, a flatter bar might do the trick. I was about to suggest a raised seat, but if you feel too high already, that's probably not the best way to go.

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 07:42 AM
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Try using a kidney belt. Using them for long ride. No pains at the end of the day.

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 08:21 AM
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Depending a rider body geometry he/she may have to play with bar adjustment/risers and pedal position. Generally the spine should have a natural S shape to it and all forward lean (not much if any on a Versys) should come from bending only at the hips and not from the spine it self. Can you touch your toes without bending the upper back? Tight or short hamstring muscles that prevent upper body rotation at the hip joint will cause any needed forward lean to come from bending the spine and thus losing the S shape and cause unstacking of the vertebrae. This basic graphic shows proper sitting posture. Then any needed forward lean would then comes from bending at the hip and not the spine itself. This issue is why I will don't use HW pegs. It can rotate the lower spine back and cause slouching. And why people may be uncomfortable in sport bike position because they lack hamstring flexibility. Causing all forward lean to come from the spine and not hips. So in summary, bike fixed point geometry, hamstring flexibility, upright natural posture, bending only at the hips. If you don't have good posture to start, waist belts hold you in the bad posture.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 08:47 AM
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I do a combination of 3 things which work for me:
1) Make sure your relationship between the grips, footpegs and seat are comfortable.
2) I wear a motocross kidney belt for longer trips.
3) Change postions fairly often: forward, back, upright, slight slouch, stand up once in awhile. Some aftermarket seat makers say to change positions often too.

That's what I did on last summer's 3,000 mile multi day trip and it worked for me.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 08:54 AM
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Given what you do on bicycle rides, I’d guess that there’s probably nothing inherently wrong with your back... and since I’ve rarely seen the issue brought up in conjunction with the V’s riding position, it may just be that your muscles aren’t used to being in that exact pose (and unlike the bicycle, you’re not moving around & flexing them).

I’d give your body some time to get used to it and during the process (and even afterwards) shift your position in the saddle a bit (slide a little forward & back), stand up on the pegs periodically and if it starts to feel achy, get off and do a couple of stretches...

FWIW, When I went from my other bike’s cruiser’ish position to the V, my shoulder muscles would cramp up after a while... but within a week or so that went away and I hadn’t even thought about it up until this very moment.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 12:58 PM
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+ 1 on changing positions often. And it helps to change position before you feel stiff or uncomforable.

Also, rotating the bars forward somewhat forces/allows me to change to several different position often. Also lowered the pegs, which helps.

Lots of excercise and stretching when not riding helps too. Shrugs with free weights, hamstring stretches, torso strengthening exercises, etc.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 01:10 PM
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I've also got a long torso. My natural inclination is to slouch, but I lean slightly forward, and try to keep my back more or less in a straight line. That position keeps my spine from "buckling" when I hit bumps. Other than that, I try to stop often, (every hour or two at the most), get off the bike, and stretch/walk around a little. Part of it seems to be conditioning, in that when I'm on longer rides, I seem to develop some immunity to the ravages I'll feel if I'm only going out for a day or two.

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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 01:54 PM
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I've been having the same issue lately. I did a 225 mile ride yesterday and bought a weight lifting belt at Walmart right before we left. It helped a ton over the ride along with concentrating on not slouching and not rolling my shoulders forward. Also standing up here and there along with trying to lean forward at the hips not the pelvis.
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 02:35 PM
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Something else to do: loosen up your grip on the bars. The bike is going where physics tells it to go, modified by your inputs of course, but you don't need to clasp onto the bars as though the bike will otherwise fly out of control. Losing the death grip will take a load off your shoulders, arms and neck.

Also, stop and take a break often. It doesn't have to be long. Get off the bike and walk around, stretch a bit, smell the roses and then carry on. The time to rest is before you feel tired.


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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 02:51 PM
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someone mentioned it earlier, maybe in a different thread.... but mountain biking position is very crucial and is somewhat similar. I go one 3 hour rides all the time and my butt isnt hurting that much. Mostly because my weight is distributed from three points of contact, my feet, my arse, and my wrists.

Thus, i am thinking getting a flatter handlebar and rox risers to move the bars forward will create just enough forward lean for me to put a little more on my arms. I am 6ft and I barely lean forward at all right now.

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post #16 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 10:06 PM
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I got an airhawk butt pad that helped a lot with the back pain. Butt welcomed it too. I guess it cut away some of the vibes from tbe seat going through my tail bone to my lower back. Also the air pad keep moving so sligthly all the time therefore avoiding a single position for long.
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post #17 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
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Those are some great ideas guys...just what I was looking for. I have a weight lifting belt so maybe I'll try that on the weekend.

Also I have a back raise machine that I should use more often that would strengthen my back.

You read about some of the epic rides other V owner do and you want to get in on some of that. I think I need to work up to it with progressively longer distances.


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post #18 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 10:18 PM
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It also helps to stretch out on the bike now & then...
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post #19 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-13-2011, 01:42 PM
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I ride 3-4 times a week on a road bike (bicycle) for 40-50 miles each. My back also would start to get tired riding the Versys for more than an hour.

Here's my fix.

1) Stop every hour or two. Lunch, breakfast, gas, rode-side marker, etc.

2) Change positions. A lot. I have 4.
a) normal
b) feet on passenger pegs, lean forward behind windshield
c) feet on front pegs that I added
d) standing...any bump in the road is a good excuse to stand for a bit

Finally....and the real answer. I have a "bungee on" seat bag that I put on for every ride over an hour in length. On one side (which I make forward) it has a small expanda-pocket. I stuff the sucker full of socks and/or a couple of t-shirts. The pocket thus ends up touching my lower back. The support this provides is excellent!(quoting Mr. Burns from the Simpsons).

I've ridden as much as 8 hours in a day and the back was not a problem (any more than the fact that I was tired all round).

I do have a tail-case and that may help support the bungee on bag. But I think it would work w/o it. If any of the back brace things work, something to support the small of your back is probably the real answer.

RR
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