Originally posted by jstrain
I have been wondering about some sportbike questions, and hopefully all of you experienced riders will have some answers.
After about 30 minutes on the bike, my lower back really starts bothering me. I am sure this is because of the somewhat hunched over position the bikes put you in. I also really start to feel it across my shoulders and the top of my back. Is this something that a sport bike riding position would help to alleviate? After sitting on one at my local dealer, I realized that they are not nearly as uncomfortable as I used to think. Does that riding position become uncomfortable as the day wears on?
In all honesty, there are two things that will help you with this problem:
1) Ride all the time and get your muscles used to the position.
2) Do some weight lifting to strengthen those muscles.
The problem is that you're using those muscles in ways they aren't used to. Either repetition and/or lifting will help smooth this out. The reality is that you will never be as comfortable on a sportbike as on a cruiser, they aren't made with that in mind.
On my bike, I get very uncomfortable after a few hours of riding. I'm hunched over, squeezed onto this machine and there's only so much I can do while moving to alleviate this. Like I said before, the more frequently I ride, the less pain I feel.
This brings me to another question. If I were to go to a sportbike, do I go small or big? I am a decent sized guy, about 6'2'' and 220lbs. I am not looking for earth moving speed or anything like that, just enough to keep me amused. Will a small 600 class sportbike give me enough power (keep in mind I would be switching from a cruiser), or do I need something like 1000ccs. Again, not having ridden a sportbike, I'm not sure of their seat of the pants power output.
A "small 600cc" bike is pushing 100 hp. A bigger motorcycle is pushing out far more than that, they just ride differently. Since comfort seems like your biggest worry, sit on as many different makes and models as you can and choose the one that feels best. At 5,000 miles I don't consider you a noob, so chances are good you wouldn't abuse the power of an open classer.
That being said, go with the bike that fits you best. People can argue 1/4 mile times and seat-to-handlebar distance in mm all they want but for street purposes it should be about which one you like best and is the best for you.
This however leads to one more question. One thing I love about a cruiser position is the ability to stretch my (somewhat long) legs out. If I find that a 600 has enough power for me, will it be phsically to small for someone my size? What do you guys do to stretch your legs out on longer rides?
It depends on the year, make and model of the bike which is comfortable. It sounds like you want something a little less intense than say... a GSXR 1000. Not that you asked, but maybe look at a YZF600 or a mid-1990's YZF750, Katana, Bandit... all sportbikes though not as race oriented as an R6, GSXR 750, ZX12R...
To stretch out, I'll either take my feet off the pegs and let them dangle, stand up for a little while, or just stop. My range is short, 100-120 miles so that's a good interval for me to "unfold."
I hope some of this helps.