View Full Version : Feet forward or feet back?

08-09-2010, 03:17 PM
and yet another motorcycle thread.

Throwing dirt bikes out the window, cause they are more of feet everywhere, which do you prefer, feet forward or feet back?


P.I. Stazzer-Newt
08-09-2010, 03:38 PM
Two to four inches behind the nose of the saddle - you should be able to stand up without changing the pressure on the hands.

One alternative, little explored.


Keith Wilson
08-09-2010, 03:49 PM
PISN has it exactly right. I'm not young and flexible enough to ride modern hard-core sport bikes comfortably, but 2" behind the front edge of the seat is about perfect. And none of this absurd fetish for low seat height either; people haven't gotten any shorter, and your legs have to go somewhere,.

Cuyahoga Chuck
08-09-2010, 04:07 PM
If you pay attention to how dirt bikers control their machines you will note.
They are ALWAYS able to go to a standing crouch position when doing difficult manuevers.
When ALL your weight is on the pegs your C/G is lowest and your control greatest.
The highly imitated "sit up and beg" position with feet and arms forward and most of your weight on your a** gives you almost no chance of regaining control once you lose it. Once the rider gets up on the pegs he can move his body in various directions to apply his weight where it is needed most or bail out if that is all that's available.
And the common posture of riding in traffic with the braking foot far forward on a crash bar is a sure guarantee you will crash because you can't get to the rear brake in time.

08-09-2010, 04:08 PM
Have no experience on a crotch rocket but they don't look comfortable.

Keith Wilson
08-09-2010, 04:16 PM
but they don't look comfortable.They're not unless you're 19, and maybe not even then. The pegs are very high for ground clearance in corners, which means your legs are all scrunched up. Comfort isn't the point.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
08-09-2010, 04:19 PM
Have you seen what happens to the poor passenger?

Stan D
08-09-2010, 07:18 PM
You forgot the one in between. "Feet directly underneath", as in just a plain old motorcycle. Not a cruiser, and not a sportbike.

The Bigfella
08-09-2010, 07:52 PM
My bike in Vietnam was a PITA when it came to footpeg location. Because of the terrain we covered, there was a fair bit of feet off the pegs action. I got whacked on the back of the leg by the footpeg twice.... damn near enough to break a leg. It also happened on the bitumen... I lost front end traction four times one morning - no mud involved.

Yes... a bigger bike with better footpeg location would have been lovely.... and I did get my motorcycling boots out of my pack the day after this...


08-09-2010, 08:11 PM
You forgot the one in between. "Feet directly underneath", as in just a plain old motorcycle. Not a cruiser, and not a sportbike.

That's about me ,I try to imitate a bag of spuds .

Michael D. Storey
08-09-2010, 08:15 PM
I will confess that I do not have the attention span to be a serious, safe rider. I am the part owner of a small collection of old bikes, but never a rider. Not too fond of horses, either. There are other kinds of riding that I have been called 'most proficient for extended durations', however.

Y Bar Ranch
08-09-2010, 08:50 PM
When ALL your weight is on the pegs your C/G is lowest...

I like everything you wrote, but that sentence above does not compute.

Uncle Duke
08-09-2010, 09:03 PM
"Cruiser style" - pegs forward - allows bees to fly up your pant legs.
'nough said...

08-09-2010, 09:08 PM
At first i thought this was some strange sex thread but i was going with Sissy either way

Stan D
08-09-2010, 09:41 PM
A friend put it best, referring to Sport Bikes. And I'll clean it up for y'all.

"Anyone who rides one o' them crotch rockets looks like a dog pooping razor blades".

Keith Wilson
08-09-2010, 10:03 PM
Here it is, the perfect riding position, or pretty close. The handlebars are a little too high and far back, but that's a matter of personal preference, and of what speed you'll be riding most of the time. Her boots are a little over the top.


It's closer to "feet back", although not as nearly as extreme as a modern sport bike, which is very nearly a road race bike with lights.

08-10-2010, 07:45 AM
You forgot the one in between. "Feet directly underneath", as in just a plain old motorcycle. Not a cruiser, and not a sportbike.

Stan I didn't really forget. I see two distinctive type of riders. You have your cruisers and you have your sporty types. Cruisers are typically what I call feet forward.

I tell you, I was kinda suprised about the results here. I figured that it would be more feet forward.


Andrew Craig-Bennett
08-10-2010, 07:55 AM
That may be because several Englishmen responded - "feet forward" is to us unknowe. ;)

I have messed about with motorbikes since I was 16 and I have never owned a bike with a riding position other than the one illustrated in Keith's picture (I agree with him about the handlebars)

08-10-2010, 09:51 AM
Feet forward, feet back. Pshaw. Safety first is the #1 concern.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
08-10-2010, 11:00 AM
That may be because several Englishmen responded - "feet forward" is to us unknowe. ;)...

You never met Royce Creasey?

Or ridden a "Ner-A-Car"? - I tried one around one of the early proposals for a part one test course - absolute hoot.

Cuyahoga Chuck
08-10-2010, 12:27 PM

I like everything you wrote, but that sentence above does not compute.

Sorry Mikey but I ain't given physics lessons. But I guarantee you what I said works. It's used by all successful dirt riders no matter what their specialty. And a certain amount of the techniques work on pavement as well.
Long ago I rode a 100 cc KTM street bike to work each day. I rode when all the other bikers had put their toys away for the winter. One night I came out of the plant at midnight and we had had an ice storm. I wasn't able to collar a ride home before the lot emptied. So what I did was reduce the air pressure in my tires, dirtbike style, fired the bike, stood on the pegs, dirtbike style, and drove six miles home with the bike in third gear noodling along at about 8-10 MPH. I had made about 4 miles when I had to get on a main drag to pass over an interstate highway. The crown of the road was so severe the bike went sideways and I fell. A car going the other way saw me go down and tried to make a u-turn to help me. He skidded a bit got his front wheels against the curb and became stuck crossways in the road. I got up, straightened my handlebars and rode away, dirtbike style, standing on the pegs in third gear at about 8-10 MPH.
Here's a video of some youngsters riding 125s in an observed trial. Notice how they can slowly pick their way along an obsticle covered path by standing and using careful body, throttle and brake control. Among professionals it necessary to be able to bring the bike to a complete halt without touching the ground just using body movements for balance. Of course, you have to be standing to do it.

08-10-2010, 02:11 PM
I'm going to say that the young lady's handlebars are just about perfect, since she's turning the wheel towards the camera. I suspect those are not boots, but a pair of jeans worn under a Little Black Dress.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
08-10-2010, 02:26 PM
.... Among professionals it necessary to be able to bring the bike to a complete halt without touching the ground just using body movements for balance. Of course, you have to be standing to do it.

Long long time ago I was a member of a motorcycle club - we organised an open day at the local high school and invited; anyone with a bike, anyone who had ever ridden a bike, anyone who liked or disliked bikes, some local police - and the chief instructor from Lothian and Borders police traffic division...

Outrageous lies were swapped, people tried doing silly things on sillier bikes (see "Ner-A-Car" story elsewhere) and we ran a "Try It" for the public.

Just get the public to ride 100 yards and stop. - we had a 50cc bike and you get the victim to slowly open the throttle so that as they start the bike comes straight towards you - walk backwards and if you need to stop them, catch the front brake and clutch together - undignified but effective.

Little lass of perhaps eight to ten showed up and said "Can I try"..
Its an open day - what's to lose?

She climbs on, gentl opens the throttle - feeds in the clutch and moves off..
I walk backwards
I walk backwards some more....

"Now - to stop - ease back on the throttle, pull in the clutch and gently squeeze the front brake".

And that's exactly what she did! - none of this putting the feet down nonsense - just stopped, both feet on the pegs and bum on the saddle.

Daughter of Chief instructor of......

08-10-2010, 05:15 PM
I agree with Keith, feet under so one can stand up when needed or slide back and crouch over the tank when needed. Having ones feet forward like a barcolounger looks like a great way to give up control of the bike.

08-11-2010, 08:55 AM
I've always said and thougt that the best way to learn how to ride a street bike is to start in the dirt.


08-12-2010, 03:52 AM
You are not alone in that Chad, back in the early seventies the successful 'American Invasion' into the roadracing scene was often attributed to the racing series ( I've forgotten its name) in the USA that hosted races on unsealed flat tracks as well as sealed road circuits.

The skill of feeding power into a back wheel that doesnt have total traction is still seen today on road circuits.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
08-12-2010, 04:31 AM
But surely every nation represented here has Speedway?

08-12-2010, 04:59 AM
I like to have my feet under me ,I like to be able to stand up and ease my bum as it slowly numbs ,on slow twisty or slippery surfaces my trail bike riding experiences come back and I stand .I can't do either with my feet forward or aft .

Andrew Craig-Bennett
08-12-2010, 05:03 AM
I did ride a feet forward bike once and being someone with a basically lazy approach to motor cycling I was looking forward to it until I tried it, whereupon I immediately thought "This is horrible!"

08-13-2010, 12:36 AM
But surely every nation represented here has speedway

True, but there is very little crossover with roadracing. (At least here in NZ)

American flat trackers run on longer circuits and are a hell of a lot faster than the speedway bikes we have here.

08-13-2010, 01:29 AM
^ cough. Here there was "longtrack", still very popular esp in the old eastern Europe. Also speedway (short track) bikes are single gear , limiting top speed somewhat.

08-13-2010, 10:40 PM
My Triumph had forward controls, standard chopper stuff. I honestly hated it. I can only see it being comfortable on a bike with a really cushy suspension, mine was a rigid. Not only did my back take most of the bumps in the road but if I hit something serious enough to bounce me on the saddle I had to struggle to keep my feet in place. I'd much rather have a bike where if the going was bumpy I could just raise up on the pegs some.

08-13-2010, 11:38 PM
She's a lot more sensibly dressed than a couple I saw this morning in thongs /flip flops ,shorts and tee shirts .I't mid winter here and life is hell !

08-14-2010, 12:21 AM
Feet back, preferably on rearsets. Flat bars, MAYBE clubmans.

Feet forward is just too low rent for me, but hey- as Dennis Miller used to say when he was funny, it's just my opinion, and I may be wrong.

08-14-2010, 03:14 AM
My old driving instructor also teaches bikes. It's definitely feet back. She has one hell of a time trying to tell them that ape hangers belong in the movies and in real life you lean forward with your feet back and stay in control of the bike at all times. Me, I'm too much of a sissy to ride.

08-14-2010, 03:15 PM
The photo appears to be of the punk-pop singer Pink.

Keith Wilson
08-15-2010, 06:49 AM
The photo appears to be of the punk-pop singer Pink.It is. I picked it just to show the riding position, but my daughter pointed out who it was. She has good taste in bikes.

08-16-2010, 08:08 AM
Mike I think that learning to ride in the dirt teaches you more about how to handle a bike than learning first on the street. Sure street riding and dirt riding are two different anaimals, but you really learn more about a bike and what you can and can't do in the dirt.


P.I. Stazzer-Newt
08-16-2010, 12:40 PM
....but you really learn more about a bike and what you can and can't do in the dirt.


And, furthernore, almost all off-road accidents are survivable.

08-16-2010, 01:10 PM
Yeah but you will hurt in the morning.


ps I love dirt bikes but I might have to leave that to the younger crowd with the quicker recorvery time.

08-17-2010, 12:39 PM
Depends if I'm hitting a driver or a wedge.

08-17-2010, 02:57 PM
Demonstrating exactly how little I've ridden motorcycles, is there any reason (other than increased cost) that they could not have both (or all three) sets of footholds?

08-17-2010, 03:07 PM
Also the set of the bars would have to be differfent.


08-17-2010, 03:40 PM
I had remembered the brake and shift thing, but thought there might be some simple linkage where you could have multiple inputs. The seat and handlebar, though, would be much more difficult. Thank you.

08-17-2010, 04:43 PM
I always think the cruiser style makes the rider look like a stretched out wind sock.

I had a Suzuki RGV250M, proper little race replica job, and it was fairly horrible. The riding position wasn't its main problem though, it was more the highly strung motor, 10,000 rpm and lots of clutch slip to pull away without bogging down. The Yamaha RD350 I had before was much nicer, until it got munted by a myopic driver. True the power-valve motor was way more flexible, 100cc extra with the same overall power meant more low down but it could still get it on if you wanted it to. But the riding position was also really nice, slightly rear-set pegs and and clip-on style handlebars that started well above the top yoke (triple-clamp).