How to make your bike more comfortable

Published: 02 July 2016

It’s possible to adjust your bike so it fits you like a Savile Row suit. Here’s how you do it quickly and cheaply

he guy in the picture above is the extreme case – he’s on a bike that’s way too small for him. However, a few of our tweaks can give him full control and reasonable comfort. Most riders choose something better suited to their build, but they too will benefit from some fiddling.

 

Fit a seat pad

Some manufacturers offer gel seats as an option, or you can buy aftermarket ones that strap on top. These help to spread your weight  – try www.motorcyclegelseatpads.co.uk. Alternatively there are air cushions that work in a similar way – try www.bykebitz.co.uk.

There are also specialists who will cut away your seat to give shorter riders a more secure footing or build seats up with gel inside for taller riders.


Raise or lower your seat

On some bikes you can pull out the rubber stops under the seat to lower it slightly. If you need to raise it try using larger stops from another bike (try your local breaker). 


Adjust the suspension

Get yourself to a specialist like MCT (www.mctsuspension.com) who will twist and twiddle to get your bike feeling more plush. Preload, rebound and compression adjusters can all have an effect on the quality of your ride. Or have a go yourself, ensuring you note what you did so you can revert to the previous settings.


Adjust your footrests and gear linkage

Aftermarket rearsets move your foot position higher for better ground clearance and some riders find this more comfortable. Others offer more than one position, allowing a more relaxed position too. Most gear levers have a rose-jointed rod between the lever and the gearbox. These can be undone and tailored to you. One of the rose joints will use a left-hand thread – be careful not to strip it.


Re-angle your brake pedal

Your rear brake lever can be adjusted a small amount by moving the arm up or down the brake cylinder threaded shaft. Check the brake isn’t binding on when you’re not pressing on the lever. And if your footrest rubbers are old or hard replace with new ones.

 

Fit adjustable clip-ons

If your bike has clip-ons they might offer adjustment, but most will have a locating lug to limit this. Aftermarket clip-ons offer more angles and some like Helibars (www.helibars.co.uk) can also give you more height.


Adjust the handlebars

If your bike has traditional handlebars then you should have some adjustment once you’ve loosened the top yoke clamps. Watch out for levers and hoses fouling on full lock.

 

Adjust your Levers for span

Most bikes offer lever span adjustment, so tailor them to your hands – an amazing number of riders don’t bother. If your bike doesn’t have any adjustment you can buy aftermarket levers – try www.harris-performance.com. If your clutch is cable operated make sure there’s 2-5mm of free play.

 

Adjust your lever angle

Most sportsbikes have their levers in a position that’s perfect if you spend your whole time riding in a racing crouch. Most of us don’t, so loosen the pinch bolts on the lever clamp, sit on the bike and tighten them in a better positon for you. Make sure once you’ve moved them that you can move the steering from left to right without fouling.

 

Fit a taller screen

There are dozens of different styles of screen so try to work out which one is best for you before you spend any money. Tape some cardboard to your standard screen to see how much bigger you’d like your screen to be.

Words Matt Hill  Photo John Noble