Fitness and Sportbike Riding

Sportbikes in Connection with Strength and Fitness


“That can’t be comfortable”, “You really have to drive it leaned over like that?”, “I sold my sportbike because it hurt my back too much”, “I can’t ride those things for more than twenty minutes”.  Everyone who owns, has owned, or just may be associated with the sportbike community has either met somebody, or has been the person to say something like the quotes above to someone else in the community.  Yes it’s true, unfortunately owning and riding a sportbike comes with a certain level of discomfort compared to non-sporty motorcycles.  However, sportbikes, superbikes, and supersports are meant for just that: sport.  To be involved with sports or to use their equipment (which these motorcycles fall under the category of) requires a certain level of fitness and conditioning to do it well.  And so the physical effect on a sportbike is in line with the effects of playing a demanding sport after a long absence from exercise or other physical activity.  You’re going to be sore, you’re going to be tired, and you’re probably going to be winded.  Take Brian Van, the face of for example; yes he’ll be humble by always referring to himself as “mildly athletic”, but let’s be honest, Van is a muscled, in shape, fit guy.  You don’t have to be the next Rambo, or even be like Van to be able to operate a sportbike more comfortably.  Here are a few tips on how to do it better:

  1. Know your form.

Too many people who ride on the streets are becoming sore and tired in places they shouldn’t be because of poor riding technique and body positioning.  The only places that should be sore on a rider who’s doing it properly are the legs and the back.  For starters, grip the gas tank with your legs.  Really put pressure on both sides, don’t just idly lean them there. Having a good base at your legs will allow your back to more properly and easily take over to handle your body weight, which will take weight off of your hands, wrists, and arms.


  1. Weight the pegs.

Some people have trouble with sportbike riding positions specifically when leaning into corners. That is a time when people will put even more unnecessary weight down on their hands and wrists, trying to power their way through a turn.  Putting more body weight on the inside peg leaning into a corner is a technique that racers use, but is also quite handy out on the streets.  With more weight going down onto the turning side of the bike, it is easier to throw into a lean; this means that it takes less force from your upper body on the controls to make the bike turn the amount that you need it to.  You will also feel more fluid and less like you’re brute-forcing yourself through traffic.


  1. Be more active!

You all saw this one coming since the intro.  In my opinion, gym workouts are the best way to build up to comfortably handling a sportbike; after all it is how I got myself to better handle my CBR.  To specifically workout to get better at dealing with sportbike street riding, focus on your back and leg exercises. You should have noticed by now that those two muscle groups are key.  This fitness tip is constantly cliché and in almost every article on how to do anything better ever for good reason.  Get to a gym.  And if you can’t get to a gym, simply don’t be lazy. Anything physical can help, but remember that it does take time. Even something as simple as riding your sportbike more often and longer can help you slowly build the muscles that you need and get more used to it.  If all else fails, riding more, to me, is the second best way to build your riding muscles for obvious reasons, with them being all you’re using.  Using my tips alone, you’re probably not going to be ready to cross the country on a sportbike, but at least you won’t be in misery simply going half an hour to the store and back.


Chad McGuigan


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