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How To Fit Your Bike – Adventure Motorcycle Ergonomics

How To Fit Your Bike – Adventure Motorcycle Ergonomics

there are catalogs and websites full of
parts for your bike with risers and custom levers and seats of different
sizes and Heights and configurations all to make that bike custom to you having
that bike properly fitted does make a difference in performance control and
comfort I’m going to show you how to properly fit your bike adventure bikes
are configured for the street when they come from the dealer so we need to set
them up so we can use them off-road and on the street and when I set them up
I always start right at the foundation a bike setup for the street will put the
shift lever equal to the top of the foot peg the problem with the adventure bike
is we have large off-road boots that are difficult to get underneath the lever so
the first thing we need to do is adjust this up so we can get underneath it when
we’re standing and then when we’re riding we need to downshift so we can
just tap the top of the lever there’s two basic configurations this one here
set on splines and there’s a pinch bolt right at the bottom so I’m gonna remove
that pinch bolt shift the lever up one spline and that’ll give us just enough
height once I have this off I’m just gonna shift it just so slightly this way
once it goes back on … means that now from this position it’s much easier for me to
get underneath it and I can still get up on top of the lever this is the halfway
point between off-road and on-road don’t forget to put your pinch bolt back in
this is a very common fine-tune adjustment these nuts here or Jam nuts
one is going to be a standard thread one will be a reverse to adjust the lever
here simply turn this adjuster raise it to the position that fits you
on the other side of the bike you’ll seldom find adjustments for the rear
brake but if you do you want to raise that lever so it’s the same height as
the top of your foot peg if you’re not able to adjust the actual lever you may
be able to find an aftermarket component that puts a step or raises the height of
the brake pedal to be the same height as the top of the foot peg so this bike has
a two step so I can catch one edge for the road and I can catch the higher step
when I’m offroad . While the handlebars are set up ideal for the street my shoulders
are relaxed my elbows are down and I have this natural downward slant to the
handlebars so my wrists are nice and relaxed the problem with this for
adventure riding is when I stand up and forward on the bike now I’ve got a kink
in my wrist and my shoulders end up in front of the handlebars which means I
don’t have a good relaxed position offroad so we need to make an adjustment
rotating these handlebars just far enough forward to get them in front of
my shoulders typically the handlebars have four bolts that clamp them down and
hold them in position what we ended up doing is loosening up two or four of
those well rotate the handlebars forward so your hands don’t end up angled so
much that they’re they’re twisted you’re looking until they just kind of level
off when you’re standing the handlebars should be just slightly forward of your
shoulders when sitting the handlebars will be a slightly farther reach which
is still feel pretty natural on the wrist angle once you find that position
tighten those bolts back down the next step is getting the levers at
the right angle in an ideal situation when your hands on the handlebars and
you extend your fingers out they should land directly on top of the lever in
this case because I rotated the handlebars up I get a very significant
kink in my wrist and it bends down for offroad
when you’re standing position and you extend those fingers
they’ll also end up on top of the levers to set this properly you split the
difference just like the handlebars this is set up
with a pinch bolt setup loosen up the pinch bolt rotate the controls and you
from a sitting position you should be able to reach out and just have the very
slight angle on the hand to test that it’s correct stand up and you should
also end up with a slight bend at the wrist from the standing position if it
ends up very kinked in either direction split the difference between the two
once you find the ideal position lock it back down setting the engagement zone
properly means that you can disengage the clutch completely when you pull it
in with two fingers and it pinches up against the two fingers around the
handlebars when we’re riding off-road we want to be using two fingers on the
clutch two fingers around the bars so if we hit a root or a log or some kind of
movement on the road it can’t jump out of our hands that’s why we’re not using
four fingers as soon as you start to ease that clutch into the engagement
area it should come coming to engagement right as it comes off the fingers so you
don’t want to have a lot of travel before that clutch starts to engage this
bike has an adjustable lever and all you have to do is spin this lever to the
number that you like so that the engagement zone is set in the correct
position you’ll do the same thing with the brake you’ll want to set that
adjustments that you can use full brakes with just two fingers the final
adjustments going to be free play on the throttle from the factory they put
roughly ten to fifteen millimeters of free play which means there’s movement
in that throttle before it actually engages power
you want to dial all of that out so that has as close to zero as possible
this throttle has zero free point there’s no movement before powering
gauges they all have a fine-tune adjustment up near the throttle itself
somewhere and you’ll dial that out until the free plays out it’s important to
make sure that it’s not gonna bind before you go ride have the motorcycle
running in neutral and turn the handlebars all the way left and all the
way to the right to make sure it doesn’t rev if the bike starts to rev you need
to put more FreePlay back into the throttle like I said you want to get as
close to zero as possible but not where it revs when the handlebars turn the
purpose of having zero FreePlay means that you have fine motor control when
you’re off road and you’re not trying to take slack out and guess when you’re
gonna have power you’re not gonna run out of power before it hits all the way
to the stop it only takes a few minutes to get your bike set upright and if
you’ve never done this before just make marks so if you don’t like what you did
you can go right back to where it was set up however sometimes the factory
settings don’t give you enough adjustment to optimise it for you if
you’re over 6 foot maybe you’ll need risers you can play around with those if
you’re maybe a little short of stature or the bikes a little too tall then you
might be able just to either put shorter shocks on it or just drop the preload on
both sides to drop your actual total ride height that could be helpful
there’s seats you can change so you can put a taller seat on that way it takes
less energy to move from a sitting position to a standing position or put a
lower seat on it just so you can reach the ground when your bike is
ergonomically adjusted it’ll be more comfortable and you’ll be in better

100 comments on “How To Fit Your Bike – Adventure Motorcycle Ergonomics

  1. I recognized the versys shifter… So given that you have one at hand, how did you raise the handlebar angle on the versys? It looks like my handguards will hit the console (before steering lock).

  2. Great video, lots of information for a newbie. Is there a chance you can do a video on basic maintenance and what to look for on a pre-trip before riding your bike? Looking forward to your next video.

  3. You ended the video tips list with « setting the preload to the lowest to lower the bike ». Well, I’m tall enough to not be doing that woth my bike but this has been sort of a debate between us friends. I argue that suspension preload adjustement is for seeting the bike to the rider’s weight, not for simply lowering a bike. The bike’s suspension can start responding badly to the road and can become dangereous to ride. My friends say I worry too much and that it doesn’t really matter. Can you shed some light on the matter? Can setting the suspension incorrectly « just to lower the bike » affect the way damping and traveling behave? I thought I knew, but now I’m a bit confused.

    Great video as always though. Thx!

  4. Very insightful, I would like to know please, zero slack on the throttle is also ideal for on-road riding? i'm 5' 9" with boots hardly reach the ground 140lbs wet i ride a F800GSA can I lower it in any way? shocks maybe? again thanks for all the light you share.

  5. MOTOREK thanks for your videos, every your video is like christmas eve for us, could you make it more often?

  6. All very helpful and critical to good control…BUT – did you torque those torx down to the manufacturer’s specifications?? : )

  7. Cool video, I will check these things out on my bike. Do you have suggestions or a video for suspension adjustments? I'm still at factory settings but I keep thinking about fiddling with all the knobs.

  8. Great video, kinda seems like my comments on your uturn video a couple days ago were a bit of an inspiration. Keep doing what your doing, love someone giving actual advice on the most practical bikes to actually ride….

  9. Super super good video! I love seeing you ride in areas I’m familiar with. Fantastic videography, and editing. Good information. Thanks!!

  10. Good tip turning the handlebars side to side after adjusting throttle free-play, but it would have been great if you'd mentioned to check that the throttle snaps closed as well. I've adjusted a couple of bikes where the engine didn't rev when turning the bars, but the throttle wouldn't close on its own. For a new rider, or a rider new to making adjustments, this could potentially cause a big problem on the road/trail.

  11. What a brilliant set of videos. Super informative, educational, to the point and not so long that I get bored (like so MANY other channels). Thanks Bret, excellent work

  12. One of the things I learned years ago about riding off road was to ride with your elbows up when seated, gives more control over the front end.

    If you have the bars too high that makes it almost impossible, makes it better when standing I guess but people spend more time sitting than standing especially on road.

    Guess it is all a compromise.

  13. I have a nerve inside my right shoulder blade that becomes painful after an hour of riding. I am riding a GS 1200 and it has risers from PO. I often wonder if the risers were removed would my pain be less likely. Maybe my hands are to high. I am only 5' 4" tall so may be my hands are higher that n should be. Sure would like to ride all day without this pain. What do yo think?

  14. Great Stuff. I got short legs so did a low seat and put lower foot levers, same brand your running. I dont use bar risers as I'm short. Too may guys and gals put bar riser on and upset the balance of the bike.

  15. Your vids are chock full of useful information; thanks for making them. On a separate note….where can I get a hat like the one you're wearing?

  16. Great vid. It always amazes me that most have no clue they can actually adjust their controls. Buy it, ride it, bitch about it online. Please do a video on what you wear next to your skin. SO many noobs and vets buy $$$ new saddles because their stock seat isn't "comfy" yet they wear bulky COTTON whitey tighteys or similar that create HOT spots. Get a pair of thin microfiber briefs, ride and assess…before you spend $$$ on new pieces for the bike. If you have a crease in a ski sock it will hurt until you remedy it…same goes for your ass.

  17. Love your videos and find them really informative and devoid of bull! Just received two stickers from you, thanks for that. Here's one of my videos.

    Check the others on my channel if you get a chance.

  18. Great stuff. I took up my free play on the throttle today and then went and rode some sand. What a diffeerence in throttle control! It helps my arm and elbow posture and flattens out my wrist. Thanks. You have really helped me a lot.

  19. great videos guys!!
    I just found out about this youtube channel through a friend of mine and I instantly subscribed it.
    although I consider myself to have some basic techniques, it's always good to review them as well as learning new ones!
    here is our latest Adv Ride in Portugal:
    many puddles… lots of mud… stuff that I didn't even know that I nor my bike could overcome!!
    cheers mate!!

  20. Hey, nice advice you are sharing here.
    What about the colors of your GS?
    Is this a kit to enhance?
    If so, who sels this?

  21. I like the blue levers. The stock S10 handlebar is uncomfortable at any angle. Looking to replace it with a pro-taper bar so that the handles are flatter and not angled backwards.

  22. Excellent video!!! I am REALLY impressed with your channel! Question: what brand is your gear shift lever or was it OEM? Thanks!

  23. recognized the versys shifter… So given that you have one at hand, how did you raise the handlebar angle on the versys? It looks like my handguards will hit the console (before steering lock).


  24. Hi Bret, thanks so much for the videos, I watched them all in 2 days. I bought a 2017 GS, not the Adventure and am really looking forward to learning how to take it off road as well as practicing the on road or parking lot exercises. My question is, when you talk about using 2 fingers on the brake and clutch for a bit more finesse, do you always use that, even on the road and coming to a stop? It seems like at a full stop I might not be disengaging the clutch fully. Is it true that you can really feather the clutch on these bikes without damaging it or putting extra wear and tear? I really wish you taught some classes closer to Los Angeles. The local ones seem to be quite expensive where as yours seem more reasonable. Plus I like your positive explanation and love of riding these and willingness to teach people from the ground up. Thanks again for the great work.

  25. I always thought manufacturers knew how to setup everything right at the factory. After watching this video, I realised that everyone is built differently and I went straight to my toolbox. Now my GS is so much more comfortable while riding standing up and sitting down. Thank you!

  26. Why do Americans pronounce lever differently from the word fever.? English do it too. They pronounce Greenwich differently to the colour green

  27. Great video, this video made me to check up the gearshift lever on my Yamaha ST and it`s now adjusted to my driving

  28. Great job Bret on another super detailed vid. Been learning so much from you. I'm 6'0 and I get these random pains on upper right shoulder, do you think this could be due to throttle or brake angle? Maybe bars are too far away? I purchased ROX Pivoting Bar Risers 2" for my BMW GS 1200 (2016), will this help? Also read many comments about whether I need to adjust my cables or not once risers installed, will this needed for this GS model? Thanks!

  29. Just found your videoas, am a F800 GS man, and only started on it last year, so these videos are extra cool and informative for me, quick question, do you have a video, that you look into sag, and how to set that up?

  30. I am used to let a little play on the gas, just to avoid that an unexpected movement makes me accelerate against my will. I see now it´s a bad idea

  31. Ya gotta wonder how many $30 000 + ADV bikes have been sold without adjusting to accommodate the rider’s needs and wants. Or for that matter, adjusting the foot controls to accommodate new riding boots. Now . . . how about those suspension settings?

  32. why a 1200 gs ? why not a 800 gs if you really want to go offroad isnt that more manageable ? yet still carry everything you want ?

  33. The best adventure videos on Youtube. I have a question, IO recently changes from touring to adventure and bought a Versys 300x, I changed the stock tires to new Shimko 705 and now at speeds over 100ks the bikes feel like it weaves, I have also checked the front and rear alignment and all is OK, the dealer has no clue, would you have a suggestion as to why? your input is appreciated,

  34. What do you suggest for the bars causing a numbness in the palm of the hands? I have grab on’s and don’t like them at all. I was thinking about Rox Anti Vib risers. I took my Mita’s off which helped, but it still has some humm in the grips. I have been riding for many years and this is the first time I have run into this problem even though I have heard of it. I have a Yamaha Super Tenere. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

  35. Do you have a video that discusses the limitations of “big” adventure bikes? I’m an experienced rider on dirt bikes and mountain bikes. But I really don’t want to tear up my big adventure bike trying and failing at more extreme terrain. Mainly the issues are weight related along with tire type, for the terrain ridden. I saw you at an event recently where they had a 5 ft tall woman ride a big GS over an obstacle course. She had practiced many times earlier, and of course, the motorcycle wasn’t her own. She completed the course easily. But most “real folks “ don’t practice on someone else’s dime. We need to somewhat protect our investment. I felt “marketed too” having ridden from Kansas to Washington. I never saw a single GS 1250 out on any intermediate trail that I rode. But there sure were a lot there…. camping.

  36. Thank you, ive had so many arguments with fellow bikers about the throttle play, im like you in that i want a little play as possible, yet many ive spoken to have said thats wrong and you SHOULD have atleast 10mm travel, even the bike shop i take it to constantly put play back in saying it needs it for the MOT, yet i dont get any revving when full locking left/right, i hate that guessing when the bikes going to rev

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