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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone...I just bought my first Duc last week and its a 02 ST4S. I'm coming off of 10 years of riding a Honda Magna which is a cruiser style motorcycle.

So the riding position is all new to me and I want to develop good habits early rather then have to relearn them later. I've read an article by some guy named Frantz (I think) and he said to:
Bend at the hips not the waist
Slight arch to the back
butt aft so weight is on the feet
elbos bent and no weight on wrists.

My question is this....the only way I can get all the weight off my wrist is to slide as far forward til my....ahem...boys are right up on the tank and my stomach is touching the tank.

Is this correct?

This causes a few other things...it makes shifting a little awkward because my feet are now at a steeper angle. It also causes my knees to barely brush the fairing and my chin guard to block the gauges (somewhat). Because I am leaning forward should I arch my neck and keep my eyes level or basically face the gauges and look forward with my eyes.

Anyway, I know there's a lot of stuff there but I'm just trying to figure this out.
 

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I would ride it the way it was comfortable to me. I keep my back straight for the most part. My arms are usually straight and I usually sit back a bit. Racing is a different ball game but races don't last 8 hours.
 

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Mr Leakered
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+1 There are at least four different riding positions that I have found for my ST. I find myself preferring to ride near the tank with the other ergos set up to my liking.

Ride it how ever you feel comfortable. However, if taking the ST to the track, then concentrate on body positioning an all that. IMHO, this also applies to riding a Duc SBK on the street versus track also. Have a look at the Halls of Wisdom here (or Google) for a riding manifesto called The Pace. That is 90%, or more, of what a good riding strategy for the street should be.

Have a good one.
 

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The handle bars of the MY 02 are in a very low position and not adjustible like those of MY 04 and later model years. You may want to look into aftermarket handle bars such as Heli bars or bar risers. Put a few miles on the bike to sort out what works best for you in terms of riding comfort and performance.

One performance recommendation I make to all owners of the ST4s is to install a 42T or 43T rear sprocket if the bike still has the OEM 38T rear sprocket.

You may also want to buy a Back-A-Line and wear it until your back and abdominal muslces get used to the new riding position.
http://www.cyclegadgets.com/Products/product.asp?Item=BACKALINE
 

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The main reason you want no weight on your hands is for better control of steering inputs. If you are resting your upper body's weight on your hands, any sudden movements of your body *will* cause inadvertent steering inputs. This can be bad in situations where you need to stop or turn quickly. It's also one of the main things that cuases a lot of riders to think that the wind is pushing the bike around (really its the wind pushing the upper body around, and the upper body movement is moving the bars, but that's a digression).

To overcome this, you need to hold on to the bike with your legs and knees. This involves using your leg and back muscles to hold your upper body instead of your arms. Here's something you can try... put the bike on it's center stand with the engine off & climb aboard. Get in your ordinary riding position. Now... take your hands off the grips and hold them just an inch or so above the grips, suspended in air. Do this repeatedly for a while where you grab the grips, then remove your hands and hold them just above the grips. When you get to the point where your upper body isn't moving around to accomplish this, you'll be supporting your upper body with your back & legs.

You don't need to have your junk on the tank, and you don't need/want to be laying on the tank to do this. You can (and should) be light on the controls regardless of what body position you are in (or what bike you are on).

Cheers,
Richard S.
 

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The main reason you want no weight on your hands is for better control of steering inputs. If you are resting your upper body's weight on your hands, any sudden movements of your body *will* cause inadvertent steering inputs. This can be bad in situations where you need to stop or turn quickly. It's also one of the main things that cuases a lot of riders to think that the wind is pushing the bike around (really its the wind pushing the upper body around, and the upper body movement is moving the bars, but that's a digression).
I don't agree with that line of thinking. I don't put my full weight on the bars as that would get old in a hurry and usually the wind is taking some pressure off. I countersteer and that involves pushing down on the bars but even on the highway I may want to make a quick maneuver. I believe the bike is designed that way, the only way I could avoid no weight on the hands is if I sat on the tank or got some tall risers. A cruiser is set up differently though, which is why I don't have one.
 

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I'm with Richard.
I too found my 02 ST4S hard work initially until I was taught to use my legs as the main support.
I still have weight on my butt however by light knee pressure against the tank my upper body and arms are fairly weightless....I can ride for hours comfortably this way.There is very little weight on my wrists.The countersteering pressure needed is not down....its back and forward, and I find it much easier to do with no weight on the bars.

It seemed a bit awkward at first as I'd come from a Honda ST with a much more upright position.The knees and legs system gives me much more ability to relax the upper body and shift it to more comfortable angles.
I just found it much easier to adjust my posture than adjust the bike.

Colin.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
How close to the tank do you sit? I find that unless I'm right up against it then I put tremendous pressure on my wrists when I stop. However, if I am right up against it it gets really hot.

Can some of you veterans also tell me what you do with your neck/head position? If I keep my eyes dead level I can't see any of the gauges by just glancing down down with my eyes...I have to move the position of my head.
 

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Mr Leakered
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With my helmet looking forward, I can see the needles in my periferal vision. I do have to glance down to get precise numbers.

My butt dyno usually knows when I start to proceed south of 4k rpms on the road. There a bit more vibes and the throttle response starts to drop off.

Height, build, arm length, helment model, and controls will all affect this as you know.

Have a good one.
 

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Take a big breath and relax, no really I mean it. Relax while you are riding, try not to worry about the details and let your body find the most relaxing position for you. :)

I sit back as I am taller, I hold my body is in as neutral of position as is natural - just seems to go there. I am generally not heavy on the bars but when I am riding aggressively in twists and turns I lighten up even more. I find in addition to better handling and more precise control it also helps me to go with my bike rather than trying to make it turn. I always get the feeling on a cruiser you actually need to turn it, on a sport bike you go with it.

When I put on the brakes yes my weight shifts forward, I can balance some of that out and off the bars but regardless there is more of me on the bars.

Don't grab the bars with a death grip, hold them as softly as you can, in fact at times I have just my palms resting on the bars, thumb under lightly touching and my fingers extended and laying on top of the clutch and brake levers. Nice place to be as you are ready for just about anything and it is relaxing AND cooler in the summer.

As others have said higher bars and lower pegs might help. I have higher bars and recently I lowered the pegs, down and back a bit and I was amazed at how much better I felt riding.

If you are used to a cruiser then yes it will take time to adopt the new style and feel comfortable with it. Your neck muscles will have to get stronger, no question. I don't ride much in the winter and every spring I have go through the sore neck bit for a week until I'm in riding shape again.

WRT seeing the gauges - that might just be a result of not being completely comfortable with the bike yet. Give it time and see if it isn't easier to see the gauges, my guess is that you are sneaking a quick look, as you get more comfortable you should be able to casually look down and find them without a problem. The 1198 I recently rode made me feel the same way, felt like I was looking down and back to find the gauges but then that was a much more aggressive riding style than I am used to and I was a bit uncomfortable. How about the last new car you had or rental? I bet the gauges were hard to see on them as well until you got used to where to look.


Good luck!

Randy
 

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I believe you are "over thinking" the problem. Coming from the cruiser world, initially the riding position will be different; but as you continue to put miles on the bike, your body will adjust and you will find a position which is comfortable.
 

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the abdominals

Do not negate the use of your abdominal muscles in finding the comfort zone of your riding position. The abdominal muscles "hold you up" moreso than those muscle groups in your back. It is a matter of leverage, if you think about it. This will also release pressure off of the wrists and help keep the shoulders from rising and holding tension. I just returned to Wyoming from trip to Santa Fe. One long day each way, but very comfortable as long as the core muscles are supporting you. All back roads, relatively little slab. You can consciously work the abs as you ride until eventually the support becomes automatic. All of this is in relation to your body type and what is "comfortable", but with strong abdominal support the idea of "comfort" is perhaps more long-lasting and non tiring. Safe travels and enjoy the time.
 
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