1. Proper ADV Body Position with Adjusted Controls
Many advanced riders may say, “here we go again,” but proper body position needs to be unconscious, and that begins with the endless practice of the basics.
So first things first. Where do you put yourself on the bike? Unlike street riding, with ADV riding, you will often find yourself going back and forth between sitting on the seat and standing on the pegs. You’ll be moving around a lot because where you put your weight is important. But for starters, you stand when you’re off-road, sit when you’re on-road.
While sitting, use the balls of your feet on the pegs. While standing, more of the middle of the foot so you can shift and control the rear brake while using all of your balance.
In simplest form, while steering, push the bike away from you when you’re trying to turn in the dirt while keeping your body straight up and not leaning into the turn. This keeps the weight distributed and allows the tires to bite into the dirt (read more about ADV motorcycle tire selection here.).
On the road, you generally want to tip your body mass into the turn (opposite from dirt riding) to help the motorcycle steer. This keeps more of the tire on the pavement, keeping the motorcycle planted.
Some riders get too caught up in proper positioning to the point they forget other fundamentals like properly adjusted controls. For example, you can be a master of using your body mass, either sitting or standing, to steer, but if your levers are nowhere near your fingers, you will get into trouble if you need to use them.
The point is to place your levers and bars within easy (and natural) reach of your fingers so you can work the controls and control the handlebar—and thus the motorcycle—when needed. If your arms tire while standing, your levers are likely not adjusted properly.
You are also likely putting too much weight on your arms and not using your feet to keep your balance and body planted.
And learn to use two or three fingers on the clutch and brake levers—any more and you’ll not be able to keep control of the motorcycle if the bars are under hard braking or acceleration.
Also, don’t our body type will determine exactly where to sit on the bike, but generally speaking, the natural shape of the bike will likely put you near the front of the tank. I was trained to have at least all four fingers (with gloves on) separating me from the gas tank.
Don’t forget the motorcycle manufacturers experiment with different seat and tank shapes to get the rider in a good position for the bike’s intended purpose, so sitting up close with the levers properly situated should put you in the driver’s seat once you get moving.