My bike is taking me for a walk!

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by blewisemt, Jul 3, 2018.

  1. blewisemt

    blewisemt n00b

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2018
    Oddometer:
    2
    Location:
    Lewes, DE
    Hi all, I'm quite new to riding, and even less experienced on dirt, and I need some advice regarding body position while standing on the pegs.

    I'm very comfortable when cruising at a fixed speed or when under deceleration, but when I accelerate even gently, I feel like the bike is going to rip the bars out of my hands, and I have to hang on for dear life.

    Any tips for a new rider?
    #1
  2. White mt guy

    White mt guy Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,504
    Location:
    northeast
    Sounds like your bars are a bit to low. Bar risers may be in order.
    #2
  3. blewisemt

    blewisemt n00b

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2018
    Oddometer:
    2
    Location:
    Lewes, DE
    Already have them! I feel like it is a technique issue on my part, as the bikes last owner was 1) my size and build and 2) a skilled off-road rider and motor officer. (not to say his technique was flawless, but certainly way beyond mine)
    #3
  4. White mt guy

    White mt guy Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,504
    Location:
    northeast
    There are so many things it could be. You may have to adjust your stance while accelerating by bending your knees and lowering your center of gravity. Are your arms stiff? Relaxing a bit and not locking your elbows while leaning slightly forward will help to keep the bike from pushing you backwards. Shoulders should not be scrunched up, this is something I see new riders do way to much and most often they don't realize there doing it. Just relax and practice , feel the bike. There is of course, the possibly the bike is just to powerful for your level of riding.
    #4
  5. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    14,176
    Location:
    Delaware Ohio
    You need to do one thing - RIDE. Find out, put your self in different circumstances gradually. Ride up hills, down hills progressively larger, ride in rough terrain. Learn when the bike "tells" you to stand up and when to sit down. What you are feeling is exactly what you should be feeling. I stand up in a variety of ways. When accelerating I have to lean into it as I do it. When accelerating hard, I'm in a bit of a crouch. Risers are no value in either circumstance. Fact was my bike had Rox 2" risers, felt like I was riding with ape hangers. Took 'em off and sold them. Now its normal again. My brother also tried risers, because that was what everyone said the bike needed, and found they positioned him poorly. We both rode trials bikes so it's not like we are adverse to the concept, we just learned what we needed.

    How much riding did you do before sticking the risers on? It is entirely possible that they could be keeping you from having the ability to position yourself for accelerating while standing. Plus it is entirely possible you are finding out that you should be seated for the way you are accelerating. How do you learn? RIDE.

    The entire idea that off road riders should stand is just ridiculous. Ride the bike and figure out when you should stand and when you should sit. Watch others and discuss it on site, not in a forum. Watch races too. See when they're on the pegs and on the seat.
    #5
    bigdog99 likes this.
  6. windblown101

    windblown101 Long timer

    Joined:
    May 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4,013
    Location:
    Star Tannery, VA
    I used to get the same sensation while standing. To not feel like the bars are being ripped from your hands while standing you either need to lean your whole body further forward or you need to bend at your butt more, or both.

    As for bar height... higher bars make for a more upright stance which is fine for tooling around on gravel roads when your butt is sore but less than optimal for dealing with acceleration forces unless you lean your whole body way forward which can feel odd. Lower bars typically provide a better attack position while standing by allowing more bend at the butt which makes it easier to get your head over the bars. Not as easy to maintain for extended periods but gets your center of gravity lower, makes your whole body a better shock absorber, and gives you better positioning for accel/decel forces.

    I tend to rin small risers on most of my bikes. Typically an inch or less and tend to move the bars to the furthest fowards position if adjustsble. Im 6' w/34" inseam.

    However Im no offroad guru so take my advice with a healthy dose of salt.
    #6
  7. OhBoy

    OhBoy Got Out

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,626
    Location:
    Merrimack Valley, NH
    Waiting for the anti-bar riser Nazi to appear...
    #7
  8. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    14,176
    Location:
    Delaware Ohio
    Yeah... No, it isn't about being anti-bar risers. It's about finding what you need FIRST before BLINDLY following advice. This whole thing about telling people you've never seen, how to set up the seat/peg/bars relationship is wrong in so many ways. You have no clue what the rider's physique or riding style may be.

    My bike had 2" Rox on it when I got it. The guy I bought it from was about 5'5", the only bike he'd need bar risers for would be a CRF50! The one issue I do have with bar risers is the cost versus buying a set of ATV or hi-rise handlebars. A pair of steel ATV bars sell for around $30, good quality 2" risers are at least double that. Plus there is one more joint that can slip. Now if after spending enough saddle time a rider is really tall or a short rider maybe wants to get the bars back that is a point where risers make sense. But why layout $80 for risers before one even knows if they will benefit from them?

    A new rider should ride for a while and see what comes about. Heck the OP hasn't got enough time to realize if he is standing and accelerates he will have a tendency to fall back, holding on with his arms - giving the sensation of having the bars being pulled from his hands. Now how can you give any legit advice other that ride more and learn more? One question from me to any new rider on handlebar comfort would be "did you try rotating them forward or back?" Seems something that simple can set up the path to better skill and comfort. Try some things that cost nothing to start.

    Having "several miles" of off road time under my belt I have a good idea what works for me, as do others here for themselves. Will my set up work for everyone? I kinda doubt a 6'2" rider would find my set up right for them any more than I would their set up for me. Fact is when I bought the bike I figured I'd try it with the risers - imagine that, I actually rode the bike before making the choice - and found I was in too much of a "sit up and beg" position for any serious dirt riding, even when standing I had less feeling of control. Would be great if I spent the day standing prairie dog style riding down the road,

    [​IMG]

    but I don't do that. No way it was going to be reasonable for power sliding a corner for me. It was also too high for any sort of aggressive on the pegs riding for me. So off they came and I sold them. Odds are pretty good the buyer was taller, had a longer reach than I did and maybe didn't ride quite as aggressive. I also know that I like my bars rolled back a bit more than stock set up for off roading, but preferred my trials bars rotated a bit more forward than most.

    My set up isn't right for everyone so I'm not telling anyone to do what I do, just to try different settings, and above all, ride the bike for a few months before jumping into all kinds of changes done because "THEY say to do it". The rider should ask theirself who in the hell is THEY and how much are THEY like me? I set my bike up for me, not THEM. Why spend money on changes others made for their comfort when a rider has no idea what they need for comfort? Again, ride the bike, put on the miles off road, or wherever, and figure out what HE/SHE needs, not what YOU or I needed.
    #8
    bigdog99 likes this.
  9. aldend123

    aldend123 Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2011
    Oddometer:
    4,994
    Location:
    Bristol County MA
    Pinch with your knees. And learn to slip the clutch as you apply throttle. Also riding in higher gear can help. If you’re trying to ride off-road in 1st and not working the clutch it cann feel very herky-jerky. Eg don’t try to just let the clutch out completely and then ride around in first slowly.

    A big part at first is just being a noob getting used to the sensations and how to let your body react to it.
    #9
  10. BetterLateThanNever

    BetterLateThanNever Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,697
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I wonder if a Sertao is just a bit much bike for a novice in the dirt. Looking at the specs, the answer may be in your right wrist rather than your body position. 50hp/430lbs is more bike than I'd want to learn on, off-road.
    #10
  11. White mt guy

    White mt guy Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,504
    Location:
    northeast
    OP
    OP. This sound advice.
    #11
  12. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Scottsdale

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    11,994
    Location:
    Scottsdale Arizona
    I think the main thing about standing on the pegs is to be in a crouch with your legs bent in a competitive position like you would in most sports. You will be bent forward somewhat but pretty much ready to handle any upsetting of the motorcycle. After awhile you will get comfortable shifting gears and managing the brakes and throttle while standing. But it takes stamina and a lot of practice. When you get to be my age you won't stand much except for when challenging obstacles that take a lot of body movement and shock absorption. After all you stand with knees bent in a crouch to reduce the shock of obstacles to the total mass of bike and rider.

    If you are straight legged with knees locked and standing straight up, you are better off sitting on the seat. My two cents...
    #12
  13. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    14,176
    Location:
    Delaware Ohio
    I agree. That is the "handling" reason for standing. It is an aggressive pose as you describe. The other reasons are physical - farting, stretching out for a bit, airing out one's goodies and butt on a hot day, and dealing with a sore butt. It isn't some requirement when the road turns to dirt/gravel or you hit a trail. Then it is personal choice. When you get in rough terrain it becomes obvious when it is time to stand and have the aggressive position. As you said, prairie dog style ain't it.

    That is why one should not just jump on the bandwagon with everything one is told, without first taking plenty of time to make sure the recommended thing is actually needed. Wait and see. Try it out.
    #13
  14. CaptCapsize

    CaptCapsize Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    706
    Location:
    Corrales, New Mexico
    I suffer from the same feeling of having my weight thrown around with acceleration and deceleration. I ride a WR450 and it has a lot of low end hit. MY issue is poor throttle control. Acceleration throws me back and that adds a little whisky throttle; which makes it worse.

    So I installed a G2 Throttle Tamer and it made a huge difference. My low end throttle is now much easier to control. Another thing that helps is keeping two fingers on both the clutch and front brake. This helps the feel of the throttle because your hands are referenced to a fixed point (levers). Make sure your levers are adjusted to a point where they are comfortable both sitting and standing. I also rotated my bars forward a little which makes the grip angle when standing more comfortable. These little things really help, but there is no substitute for practice and experience,....which am working on!
    #14
  15. Roadracer_Al

    Roadracer_Al louder, louder, louder!

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,193
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    Fat old guy here... (OK, overweight, middle-aged & out of shape guy?)

    One real energy saving technique for riding standing up while being out of shape is to anticipate what you are telling your bike to do next. If going to accelerate, lean forward. If you're going to slow down, lean back. If you're going to go over bumps, get your knees unlocked (they never should be, but remember: fat & out of shape) so they can absorb bumps rather than hammering the first bump straight up through your meniscus and tendons.

    Making your body position transitions using the momentum from the previous motion saves a huge amount of effort. If you're transitioning to braking, just relax and you'll automatically move to the rear. Same with braking - resist the braking force right up until the last moment, then let it carry you forward in the instant prior to getting on the gas.

    Fighting against acceleration and braking is a losing proposition and you'll quickly wear yourself out. You have to ride pro-actively rather than reactively.
    #15
    Takataka, bobone and HBSURFDAD like this.
  16. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Bitch called me a feminist.

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    21,785
    Location:
    Nippon

    Get your body in on the act.

    The proper egronomic position for basically any motorcycle is with your lower arm parallel to the ground, start with that. You should NEVER be holding onto the bar to control your upper body, that is how you "whiskey throttle" i.e. throttle with bumps and a reactions to the chassis and when you get into +150hp monster-bikes it becomes a big frigging deal.

    Remember you should be able to control the machine with just a couple fngertips, as I was taught to treat the grip like you would a baby bird, hard enough to control it but not enough to hurt it.
    #16
  17. Frostback

    Frostback Frostback

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2007
    Oddometer:
    408
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Getting some seat support behind your ass and using your abs will go a long way toward cementing you to the bike and reducing the bicep challenge of hanging on. The bike will push you forward instead of pulling you forward. Relax some.

    Lee
    #17
  18. Caballoflaco

    Caballoflaco Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2013
    Oddometer:
    451
    Location:
    Dixie
    This is not how you stand up and ride:
    [​IMG]

    This is mo betta:

    [​IMG]
    #18
    dnrobertson and Vertical C like this.
  19. JETalmage

    JETalmage Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2014
    Oddometer:
    544
    Well, of course you do. When standing up, your own central mass (torso) is not effectively "staked" to the seat by your tailbone like the dead weight of so much over-stuffed luggage. Instead, it's being suspended by your flexing joints. So off course you feel a "tug" on your arms when you accelerate. You're supposed to. And yeah, acceleration feels different when standing than when sittiing, just like it does in the Atlanta airport train. But you're supposed to get used to it, anticipate it, and use the freedom of movement gained by standing to advantage.

    Now if you're saying the bike is unexpectedly accelerating, that's something else. The bike only accelerates in response to your input. Sitting or standing, it's still your hand on the throttle. If you're instinctively "tensing up" when you stand--manifested by locking your wrists, and thereby "grabbing" additional throttle when you don't mean to--that would likely, as you say, "feel like the bike is going to rip the bars out of my hands".

    Your signature tagline says "trails"; it doesn't say "...always looking for another merely unpaved dirt road."

    So consider: Why do you think off-road riders stand on the pegs in the first place? Obviously, it's not just to relieve the backside pain after 300 continuous miles of pavement travel (a perfectly valid reason to stand like the guys in the first photo in post #18, by the way). Nor is it to look cool to be assumed a "SERIOUS ADVENTURE RIDER" or a "MOTOCROSS LEGEND."

    Off-road, you stand on the pegs so that:
    • Your joints can serve as an additional "layer" of hinges and shock absorbers between the immovable earth and you. By getting up off the seat, the response of the bike's suspension is less inhibited by so much dead weight damping its movement. (As an aside: What do you call a hinge that is stuck? That's just a bracket. Bear that in mind whenever you hear the dubious advice to "hug the bike" with your legs, knees, or ankles.)
    • Control can be better maintained because every rapid-fire impact of the terrain is not so directly transmitted to jostle your head and its contents (eyes and brain). You are effectively afforded a "time cushion" to calmly react appropriately to conditions. "Appropriately" does not mean "all tensed up." Nor does it mean you have to be always aggressively crouched like a rabid attack dog just because you're butt's off the seat. It's not supposed to be a constant strain to ride standing. It should feel alert and ready, but still naturally comfortable; nimble and responsive.
    • You can stop being a mere passenger (AKA victim) and start being a participant in what's going on. This aspect is called "body English." Those joints and hinges of your body (ankles, calve muscles, knees, shoulders, elbows and wrists) are not just dumb rubbery attachments. They are interactive controls. They are themselves individually and collectively actuated by the ECU that resides between your ears. The program that ECU runs is called "Experience," and the programming language is called "Practice."
    But here's the thing: The first two of the above bullet points are generally applicable to any bike because they serve to isolating your body and brain from the jostle of the bike. The third (body English), however, is about using your body mass to actually affect the agility of the bike. Its effectiveness is inversely proportional to the weight and bulk of the bike, because as common sense and physics dictate, a given mass (your body) has more inertial influence on a smaller mass than on a much greater mass. That, in a nutshell, is why dirt bike design is all about minimizing weight.

    Reality is, a Sertao is an almost 400 friggin' pounds 650cc bike. That's not a lightweight dirt bike like an enduro bike, an MX bike, or a Trials bike. It's a dualsport bike, and a large heavy one. Dualsports are by definition intentionally designed as a practical compromise between on- and off-pavement use. What defines "practical" differs between riders. So the dualsport compromise is a range, not a mythical 50-50 balance.

    Generally speaking, as road-worthiness goes, 650cc is merely mid-size. It's kind of a practical minimum for Interstate highway use. But as the off-road spectrum goes, 650cc is needless overkill for power, and comes in at the heavy end extreme. That's not to say it's entirely unaffected by body English, but it's not the ideal kind of bike on which to interactively learn it and convert its principles to instinctive "muscle memory."

    My advice? Get a smaller, reasonably lightweight dirt bike (250 lb max) that you can "throw around" so you can experience the benefits of proper body English technique without beating yourself up by trying to manhandle a gorilla into performing ballet. You'll more quickly (and more safely) come to understand experientially why off-road riders stand on the pegs, and thereby "program your ECU" so that proper technique becomes second nature.

    JET
    #19
    Motor7 and windblown101 like this.
  20. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    14,176
    Location:
    Delaware Ohio
    Another thing that can help, use a Magura Duo 312 or 314. It has a double cam, one is around 1/4 pull the other is about 1/2 pull, really slows the opening for far better control. My old trials bike had a 1/2 pull throttle. Now I prefer the quicker pull, but I have throttle control ability on those bikes, heaven only knows with something like that WR or the like.


    Key thing, on that GS, I think that is how you need to do it. They aren't really ridden aggressively off the beaten path by the average GS or big adventure bike rider. The lighter dual sports and off roaders work best for the more aggressive rider. Two different worlds. I'd not tell some adventure rider to not use risers, I've not dealt with them nor do I ride like they do. Now on a dual sport I tell riders to try it out first, see if they really need the risers or higher bars - unless they're over 6' tall - give it at least a couple months, maybe 100 HOURS riding to develop skill and see about needs.
    #20