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What Really Matters About Body Position When Riding a Motorcycle

What Really Matters About Body Position When Riding a Motorcycle - Motorcycle Magazine - Racext 1

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What Really Matters About Body Position When Riding a Motorcycle

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If you are looking for high quality products for your car or motorbike, look no further. We are sure you will find the perfect product for you at Racext. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or requests. We are here to help you make your vehicle perfect.I recently watched a YouTube video of a motorcyclist taking a turn on Mulholland Highway in Southern California. The question posed was: why did the rider crash?

Over 100 comments filled the section, with a large percentage attributing the crash to the rider’s body position. For a trained rider, the real reason was clear: the rider leaned the bike, began to apply throttle, and continued leaning more while adding more throttle. This is a straightforward way to crash, often referred to as “adding throttle while leaning.” The rider’s body position was mostly neutral, neither hanging off nor counter-leaning.

There seems to be an obsession with body position that dominates the attention of many novice motorcyclists. It’s not hard to imagine why. It’s the most visible aspect and quite captivating, especially when watching a high-level MotoGP rider. Many beginners in the sportbike arena mistake “good body position” for “hanging off a lot.” Why? Because Marc Márquez does it, and he’s incredibly fast, duh!

But where does body position really fall in the hierarchy of essential rider skills? Before we can evaluate, we need a clear statement on the objective of body positioning. Such a statement should be applicable to any bike, rider, and riding style.

The Starting Point: The Goal of Body Position

Keith Code states: “The goal of body positioning is harmony with the bike, freedom of movement on it, precision control over it, with the least effort necessary.”

Many variables influence good body positioning. Often overlooked is how one’s riding gear fits. Some gear is comfortable in a neutral position but hinders a rider from hanging off. A rider’s stature relative to the bike is another factor, not to mention the type of bike. Injuries, aches, and resulting limited movement are another obstacle for some. With these and other variables, it always helps to bring things back to the basics: does your body position put you in harmony with the bike, with freedom of movement, precision control, and the least effort necessary?

Today’s riders look for a silver bullet: a pill, a tip, that video, that quote from Rossi that will make them better. At our school, we’ve compiled a list of 58 different elements for body positioning. When all 58 are executed correctly, it seems optimal. The problem is, most riders are correctly doing more than half the list, but which ones vary uniquely. That’s where a good mentor, coach, or trained eyes can clear a lot of fog. Simply emulating a high-level rider may not always be the ticket to the first step of rider improvement.

Returning to the earlier question: where does body positioning fall in the hierarchy of essential rider skills? A difficult question due to the variables. However, starting with a rider in a neutral position, I’d say the following elements should be good before trying to model a MotoGP rider’s position: when to open/apply throttle in a turn, how to apply/release brakes, how to steer efficiently/precisely, how to choose a line in a corner, where and when to look in a turn, and when to relax the arms.

So What’s My Point?

There are key basics that many overlook which, until resolved, permanently hinder any real or lasting improvement. Don’t get me wrong, hanging off can provide huge advantages, especially on a sportbike on track, and at our school, we dedicate a considerable percentage of our time and efforts to body positioning. For some, hanging off can be a complete game-changer. But it’s a “first things first” situation. For example, can the rider consistently hit an apex? If not, fix that before moving on.

This is where the Dunning-Kruger effect comes in: it’s a cognitive bias where people with low ability at a task overestimate their ability. Telling a rider they need to refine basics like lines, brakes, or throttle can be met with irritation or even resentment. It often takes a gray-bearded veteran, on a sport-touring bike, sitting upright, blowing past a fully-equipped novice on the latest exotic machinery for them to stop and consider that something might be missing in the basics department.

In any case, when considering your body position, remember the key elements that truly matter: harmony, freedom of movement, precision control, and minimal effort necessary.

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What Really Matters About Body Position When Riding a Motorcycle

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