There’s nothing I like more than modifying a motorcycle, and sometimes the most important modifications you can make are the ones that make your bike fit you specifically. Riding a really great bike can be an uncomfortable experience if it doesn’t fit you correctly. Reaching for handlebars can fatigue your back, stretching too far for foot controls can make you feel like you don't have control of the bike or just generally being bunched up on a bike can create a less than enjoyable experience. Not to worry, there are multiple ways to solve these problems, so let’s step through a few options on how to to tailor your motorcycle to you.

One thing I want to mention before we talk about how to modify the feel of the bars is control of the motorcycle. Just because the bars, foot controls or suspension “feels” more comfortable to you doesn’t mean the bike will handle better. Handlebars are a prime example. Road racers use a clip-on style handlebar set-up that for most people would be uncomfortable but it’s the best handling option. Conversely, a set of apehangers may feel comfy but will cost you a bit of control in the twisties.

Seat

This is probably the easiest thing you can do to change how your bike feels. For shorter folks a thinner seat can move you closer to the ground and a seat with a bump towards the back can push you farther forward in the saddle keeping you closer to the controls. On the other hand, for taller people a more elongated seat can allow you to stretch out a bit and keep you from feeling cramped up.

Handlebars

This is the first mod many people do to make their bike more comfortable and with good reason, it works. A taller or shorter bar is a great way to adjust not only how far you have to reach for the controls but also allows you to adjust height. Picking a bar can be difficult though, especially without 10 or 12 sets of them in front of you to try. But there’s an easy hack you can do to get the feel of what you like and find out if you need longer cables. All you need is a piece of wire and this video right here. Another way to adjust your bars without actually having to swap them out is with a riser change. You can raise, lower or move your bars back by swapping out risers.

Foot Controls

For shorter folks a set of forward controls can leave you reaching for them all the time, especially at highway speeds. An easy fix is a set of mid-controls. It will move your pegs back and underneath you where you can reach them. Taller riders may want a bit more room to stretch out so forward controls will relax your legs a bit. And if that’s not enough, forward control extension kits are available for you really long-legged riders. Sport bikers can add a set of adjustable rearsets to give themselves some options as well.

Forward controls give riders a bit more room to stretch out. 

Suspension

You can throw shorter shocks on a bike or maybe a lowering kit and even lower the front end to get you closer to the ground if you are having troubles touching. Taller shocks will obviously raise the bike up if you are feeling cramped up, but make sure you consider ground clearance and handling when making these choices. Lowering the bike will give it a rad slammed look but will adversely affect handling. Personally being 5’6” I don’t always touch the ground easily at stops but would rather have a better handling machine when going down the road.

Modifying your machine to fit not only your personality but fit you physically can drastically change your riding experience and overall opinion of a bike. If you are a bit uncomfortable on a motorcycle don’t count it out because with a few adjustments, you can make it better suited to you.