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Body Position - Bike Set Up

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Hi All,

Well, had the Gasser for a few months now, am riding it about twice a week and am loving it! Turns out the property I live on is a perfect trials training area.

Anyway, I'm starting to wonder a bit about body position. I feel like I'm a bit 'stooped over,' if you know what I mean. I'm 5' 10 and as such am not overly tall, but watching a lot of the videos online (Thanks 2Ply and Tony Bou - can that guy be that good???) I see they have a more upright position than I feel I do. Now that I'm doing reasonably well on this contraption I think I need to pay more attention to setting it up for me.

I'm considering some bar risers first. A friend I ride with is 6'2", she's an experienced rider of many years, and she has risers on her bike which I find feels a bit better - that it's a 2012 Raga has nothing to do with it I'm sure....:lol:

I've positioned the levers as suggested which is good, but there's just something about my standing position that feels a touch awkward, too heavy on the front.

Anyway, just thought I'd ask to see what everyone else is up to?

MD

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Some photos would help. Take a photo of your bike from the side with the front wheel straight ahead so that you are looking straight at the handle bar clamp.

Some photos or even better, a little video of you riding.. circles or turns and some up and down hill shots. Even if it's just on a short bank. An excellent example would have the video set on the side of a slope with you riding up and down that slope making turns at the top and bottom or even BEFORE reaching the top or bottom.

If most of your riding is just trail riding with both wheels almost always on the ground with logs no larger than 2/3 the height of your front tire, you could benefit from risers. But as you start riding more vertical stuff or jumping larger objects, taller bars will push you back and compromise your ability to pull up on the bars as you extend your legs for jumps and for traction tricks as Toni was doing in the video.

In that video, note how he appeared to squat, knees out wide and waist up close to the tank filler and then he would spring up while pulling on the bars. That spring up adds BITE to the rear tire for a big hit of power. Taller bars would be a problem in situations like that. Also fairly clear in that video is that his upper body is very close to being aligned with any trees. He doesn't hunch over nor lean back. It's all done with his legs.

If your upper body is not aligned with background trees, something is wrong with your leg suspension.. However, most of us can not and do not need to be in the attack position very long. During the times in between attacks, you'll need to rest your legs and that is when we straighten the legs, move our feet to the instep on the pegs and lean over the bars. The better your leg conditioning is, the less you'll need taller bars.

I've always wanted instantly adjustable bars that could pop up about 3 inches for the trail sections and then pop back down as I see some Trials Action coming up. Maybe I'll have to add that to my list of inventions like the compressed air starter.. Eh Laser? :lol:

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What your feeling is totally normal. I haven't seen a new rider yet (including myself)that didn't want taller bars or bar risers, guess that's why those are my best selling items.

Through trial and error I've learned that taller bars just mess up the handling of the bike. Yes it feels more comfortable for trail riding, but for trials riding your better off with low bars. I'm 6'-1" and I install S3 bars on my bikes which are lower than stock. At 6'-3" Cody Webb also runs the lower S3 bars.

Lower bars don't just help for obstacles. They also help the bike turn better.

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Thanks guys,

I'm actually riding it most as a trials bike than a trail bike, although I do get out for the odd trail ride, but it's mostly practicing trials maneuvers now.

I don't have any action photos or videos atm, I'll see if I can get one to show you what it looks like.

Riding the big bike as much as I do I guess I'm used to my positioning on it, and perhaps that's why the Gasser feels hunched, more leg bend could be the issue! I'm pretty fit, so it's not a worry, I just need to make myself do it. Back in my ski racing days, and later coaching, the use of video was new and quite shocking to most people who thought they were doing something... only to find out they were moving a fraction of what they thought! Could be the case for me.

I'll see if I can find a video from when I first got the bike in the next day or two.

Really enjoying the bike, and it's translating in a big way to the Ktm as well. I may have to look at a newer model next year..!

MD

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Found one from a couple months ago, just goofing around working on turns and such. I'm a bit better now, but am still having a hard time with the front plowing in very tight and slippery turns or falling to the inside(the first hard left in this video is similar). There's no ledges or vertical bits in this video as it was a while ago, but I'll try to get you some of those too, I have to make them first though.

MD

Click for video:

th_76b2f54e.jpg

Edited by MediumDriver

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As others have mentioned, new riders tend to like there bars higher and rotated back (towards the rider) too far. Levers too low are another common one.

In the video, It looks like the bars might be mounted in the "closer to the rider" position. I tend to like them in the forward orientation - but im 6"2. This lifts them up alittle as well.

The only real answer is to try it and see what you like. You might also tend to change the position around as you get better. (similar to gearing changes - the better you get, you tend to go taller) I dont think its one size fits all, but its not far off in terms of bar height. I like to ride other peoples bikes to get a feel of the trade offs if the opportunity arises.

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I have been wondering the same thing. Most of the time it feels like the bike needs taller bars but then sometimes it feels like they are perfect.... Like when riding up my stairs :lol: I dont mean to thread jack but hows do I look here with these pics? Any help is appreciated.

383368_10150387832716862_599506861_8801986_62321336_n.jpg

387496_10150387828251862_599506861_8801977_535902619_n.jpg

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FuzzyBock,

I don't have the time right now to get into the details, but your side photo will be great in pointing out some basic flaws. I'll copy it and add some lines to it that will give you a perfect comparison of where you are on the bike and where you SHOULD be. BTW, no need to pull the front up so high for those stairs but I'll be able to show more later after work.

As for the first photo, it looks a little tense for the situation.. I assume you are balancing? If so, you could stand a little taller and relaxed without so much knee flex as there is really nothing requiring the attack position. Now if you were balancing with a turned front wheel or making a turn, your knees should be a little further apart with the bike leaning against the inside leg and the outside one out a little with more weight on the outside. Move your boots out so that there is at least 1 inch between the frame and your boots. It will feel like you are obviously bow-legged and you'll think you look funny, but if you take a photo, you might find you look exactly like a Pro rider. :lol:

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No problem at all! Anyone riding up his front steps is welcome on my thread! LOL

But 2Ply has to look at my video first!

MD

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No problem at all! Anyone riding up his front steps is welcome on my thread! LOL

But 2Ply has to look at my video first!

MD

I did, and though there is something there that is not quite right, I can't pin point it to give a good answer.. Trying to find the correct words..

Now keep in mind that even one inch off form makes a big difference between an OK ride and a perfect one.

I need to look at it again which I will do when I doctor the photo.. :lol:

But first, I'm going to stop by the shop that does the work on my Vanagon and see if he can put it on the rack so that I can hook up my new Truck Air Horn!!!! :):cheers: And THEN, just let some guy start to pull out on me.. :smirk: We dry tested the horn and three of us went away with ringing ears :banghead:

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OK, FuzzyBock. And don't feel bad since ALL of us have gone through the same steps you are going through..

First of all, your feet are locked to the frame and that is why your boot soles are aligned with the bike and not with the Earth. This also can prevent you from getting your knees forward so that your body mass can be centered over the pegs and through the center of the Earth.

All of this results in your weight falling behind the foot pegs and also behind the rear tire resulting in a "sky-hook wheelie" :)

It's a natural habit to try and keep your hands out in front of you. This will also push your body back. If you are properly centered over the sweet spot, you could almost let go of the bars and still stay over the pegs. In your photo, if you let go, you would instantly fall off. Let your hands go where they need.. Sometimes they might even end up behind your pockets on big jumps.

Again, don't feel bad, I used to do the very same thing only worse!

Here is your photo with some line art to show you what I mean... and look for this stance in other top riders, but be careful of photos showing Champ Riders in the middle of a Splatter Jump.. They break the rules because they know how to end up back where they belong in an instant.

fuzzybock-stairs.jpg

Following are a few photos showing some of the key features of the steep climb... Note the sole of the boots, how forward the knees can go and where the rider's hands end up.

In this first one, the handle bars are actually in the way so he has to bend forward at the waist. But note the feet, the hands and draw a line through the foot pegs to his head.

Handlerashx2.jpg

Another less extreme... look how relaxed! YZ125 is one of our own TT Trials Forum members:

72960003.jpg

And Ryan young:

Again, soles of his boots, hands and head.

smallphoto5up.jpg

Me a few years ago: 1998

avatar1.jpg

And our own YZ125 again..... feet, hands and head.

Relaxed-n-centered.jpg

Burn these photos into your memory and then take another photo of yourself.. Once you start to catch on to just a few of the key fundamentals, it becomes so easy and FUN!! YZ125 started from scratch too and made fantastic progress in less than 2 years.

Now, this is only the up hill stance... the downhill one uses the same basics but it's more difficult because the bars are WAY out in front and low and difficult NOT to fall into them.

:lol:

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No problem at all! Anyone riding up his front steps is welcome on my thread! LOL

But 2Ply has to look at my video first!

MD

OK, looking again several times, though you show hints of allowing the boots to stay flat with the Earth, for the most part, they are fairly tight to the frame. Your arms are tight as if you are trying to hold the bike upright and you are turning with the handle bars.

On the up hill step, you did dip your toe a little to get to the front of the pegs for the short blip of power but most of the time your boots stay on the top of the pegs.

Basically, you appear stiff and tense with your knees staying the same distance apart. And that's natural for ALL of us starting out. This along with other factors is holding the bike straight up. Get used to opening your legs and then lay the bike INTO the inside leg while you step a little more on the outside peg..

Let's see if I have a few photos that show a relaxed, open leg turn with upright UPPER body. the knees should open and as the bike tips over, one knee and one elbow will be high while the inside pair will be low. I use photos that show the extreme to help get the point across.

First Photo:

One of my "Student" friends in a not so perfect turn. Looks good but it's flawed. Yet, you could ride this way for many years and still have fun..

Turn-study1a.jpg

We drew the red lines to show how the bike tips and how the grips end up at different elevations.. The bottom white line is from peg to peg.. the vertical line is the goal and is aligned with the trees in the background. the line from his head to the center of the pegs is back.

Now, with a little correction, a MUCH better turn.. watch where his left hand ends up:

Turn-study1b.jpg

Here he is again on a left turn, Leaning inside too much but look at his right boot, right knee and right elbow.. however, he's leaning in and has too much weight on the left peg. He made the turn but had to blast the throttle to catch his balance. In this case, he had the room and a slight berm to do that. In other turns with this flaw, the front tire plowed to the outside.. but still not bad... look how far apart the knees are. And note the center of his boot sole on the tip of the peg!! :lol:

Turn-study2a.jpg

And then there's me trying to be the example... Check where my left hand is!

Turn-study1c.jpg

And now a couple of my favorite classic turn photos. These ladies can kick my butt!! They are GOOD!! :banghead:

bildt-006.jpg

bildt-002.jpg

Now keep in mind that this is my observation.. Maybe some others can either agree or disagree with me.. or explain in a more meaningful way. I will not take offense. :)

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In this first one, the handle bars are actually in the way so he has to bend forward at the waist. But note the feet, the hands and draw a line through the foot pegs to his head.

Handlerashx2.jpg

I love this pic. I seem to remember stumbling into a series at one point but haven't been able to find it since. Do you have a link, or more pics?

Here's a recent pic of me. I'm still very much in the "doing it wrong" phase and I greatly appreciate the effort you put in to providing insight for us trials newbies. If only I could find the time to ride several hours a day to move more quickly. :lol:

newwindsor1.jpg

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2Ply,

Thanks again for the time you put in trying to let us understand what's required and how to learn it.

I feel stiff on the bike sometimes, something I never feel on the big bike... I'm just not sure how to totally relax just yet. I find my best riding happens about 10mins before I'm too tired to ride anymore... not surprising as it's probably my most relaxed.

If I'm reading you correctly, the soles of the boots should be horizontal as much as possible? That does make sense given the goal of being balanced on the bike regardless of the bike's position. There are some interesting comparisons there with aviation but I won't bore you with them.

Slowly I'm getting better at moving on the bike to look for that balanced position, but I do still tend to tense up rather quickly... it's something to work on for sure. I'll try to get another video later in the week, I'm not at home at the moment.

Thank you again for your time, it's invaluable to us newbies... lol

MD

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I love this pic. I seem to remember stumbling into a series at one point but haven't been able to find it since. Do you have a link, or more pics?

Here's a recent pic of me. I'm still very much in the "doing it wrong" phase and I greatly appreciate the effort you put in to providing insight for us trials newbies. If only I could find the time to ride several hours a day to move more quickly. :cheers:

newwindsor1.jpg

That's perfect form!! I'll keep that photo in my library :lol:

That wall photo is Christian Pfeifer. No sure if the spelling is correct, but he now rides in the street fighter stunts competitions and he's been one of the top contenders if not the winner before Taddy came along in the Erzberg Rodeo in Austria. I don't have his web page handy but I think it's easy to find.

The photo series of him riding that wall were hard to find, but there is a really good story that goes along with it. It took him several years to get up the nerve to ride it past one of the lower safety spots and it's an officially rated rock climbing face for climbers. Maybe it was hard to find because his ride was illegal? :banghead:

Can you imagine losing it on that face??!!!

Here is a different perspective:

Handlerashx8.jpg

Handlerashx5.jpg

1.jpg

And here he is at that safety spot... the point of no return! :)

Handlerashx6.jpg

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No problem at all! Anyone riding up his front steps is welcome on my thread! LOL

But 2Ply has to look at my video first!

MD

Sure thing! Theres enough 2PLY to go around :lol:

We dry tested the horn and three of us went away with ringing ears :)

HAHAHAHAHA Back in high school a buddy and I were wiring up an air horn in his truck and we accidently got the wires in the relay backwards... Well horn went off with us bending over the engine bay under the hood... Yup ears a ringing! :banghead:

Thanks 2PLY I appreciate the help!

The first pic I was stopped and balancing. The next move from that pic was a left turn so perhaps thats why I was in attack mode? Haha Ill have to get out and practice some more with boots away from frame and the legs bowed.

The stairs pic... Front end was very high cause once up the stairs, I was attempting to wheelie through my yard so thats why my ass was hanging back. Does the sweet spot change from climing a hill to a wheelie? When riding wheelies on my supermoto bike my ass is way back and arms more or less extended. To me its more comfortable and makes it easier to find the balance point on the big bike. Once it stops raining and the yard drys out Ill practice foot position and just climb steps minus wheelie and try and get a few more pics.

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Well, my positioning just got better. Went to buy some new boots, ended up with a 2010 Raga... funny how that happens?

Anyway, after a half hour on the bike I felt better than I do on the 2008, it seems to fit better, the bars were further forward and I found staying centered over the pegs to be easier. Yeah, yeah, I know - new bike syndrome.... I'll get out on it at home this afternoon and give a real test.

Thank 2ply, given me a lot to think about, the tip on moving boots out an inch from the frame paid instant dividend yesterday when testing the new bike. I think it was part of my "stiffness" problem, but just a part! More work to do yet.

MD

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Man, if I opened the box for my new boots and there was a 2010 RAGA I'd be pretty stoked, too!:lol::)

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Well,

I must say I'm impressed.

The 2010 Raga (2011 280 plus a Klien carb from what I gather) is a dream to ride. It makes everything a bit easier than the 2008 300 did. The balance is better, the brakes are better, the steering is better, and the whole package just makes me relax a whole lot better.... which is a good thing!

I went out on our property and played for an hour, balancing, wheelies, stoppies, and turns, followed by some double blips, zaps, and jumps. It's a confidence inspiring bike. All that said, I had all of 2Ply's adice from this thread in my head and what a difference in bike control! Feet in the proper position a bit further out than you do on the big bike, staying over the pegs, feet horizontal, pressuring that outside peg, the works. I honestly feel I made a bit of a breakthrough on this thing today, so thanks again!

The 280 still has plenty of jam, but not like the 300. It is smoother however which is nice. And those brakes.... yikes! I love them.

MD

Edited by MediumDriver

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