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RT Comfort Issue


Vrex

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I'm looking for suggestions about a specific comfort issue with my '02 R1150RT, which I've had for a few months now. (Back story: my previous ride was a Yamaha Virago cruiser, which I rode in reasonable comfort for years with the addition of a backrest for rides of any significant length.) The main issue on that bike was butt burn.

 

The RT of course has a much different seating position, which I like better in all respects but one. It feels quite natural and comfortable initially, but within an hour or so I begin to feel stiffness in a band across my high upper back and shoulders. This can be ameliorated to some degree by moving around on the bike, stretching, etc., but it's basically an increasing issue as the day progresses.

 

Possibly relevant details: I'm 6 feet tall on a good day, 52 years old, and the bike is stock.

 

I'm wondering if these facts would point to any specific modification to the bike that would likely be helpful. Has anyone else had the same problem? What did you try, and how well did it work? I'll appreciate any pointers.

 

Lee in Ky

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For what it's worth I had a severe, sharp pain in my right shoulder when I first got my r1100rt. Turns out the strong throttle return springs affected my shoulder and, to a lesser extent, my throttle hand. The pain was most noticeable in my shoulder, particularly in the shoulder blade are. Go figure. Cramp buster ($10) solved it for me.

 

Good luck.

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I too had a very strong ache across my back and shoulders the first few times I rode my RT. I had learned from my Yamaha Venture that I owned before purchasing my RT that if my handlebars were too far forward I would get this ache in that area. So, moving my handlebars back a little helped a lot. I purchased a set of bar risers for my RT and that took care of the problem. Also, I purchased a Backup backrest for the RT and found that sitting as far forward as possible helped relieve the strain across my back and in my right shoulder. A simple Throttlemaster /Throttle rest takes away whatever cramping you may get in your right hand/arm.

 

Hope this helps!

 

Terry cool.gif

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You are scrunching up your shoulder-neck-upper arm muscles. This is a automatic position we assume when threatened. All new bikers do it and the new bike position has you tensed up. Over time we get used to the constant near-death experience of motorcycling and can relax and lower our shoulders and be 'rubbery'. Try a counter-stretch of the cramped muscles by gently 'lifting' the handgrips to the sky(pressure on the thumbs). This will force your shoulders down. Also the RT seat assumes a front-down tilt in it's lowest position. Consider a higher position if your legs allow it.

wave.gif

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1)Bar backs help. 2) Seat jacks to raise the front of the seat about a half inch help. 3) Search this site for MYRP - Master Yoda Riding Position, and that really helps not only your back but also your riding skills. The RT riding position is far superior to your old cruiser's. You just need to adjust to it. Best of luck.

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ShovelStrokeEd

I happen to disagree on the bar backs thing unless your arms are so short as to force you into reaching for the bars. Even there, learning how to bend at the hips rather than the waist goes a long way towards fixing that problem.

 

I have not ridden an RT in a couple of years but I do remember a similar thing with mine. INHO, it has a great deal to do with the angle of the grips. They seem to force you, if your hands are to fully rest on the grips, to angle your elbows in which can cause tension in the girdle of muscles around your lower neck, upper shoulder area. A note on this, I am somewhat broad in the shoulders so it may not apply to those of you of more slender build.

 

Try, if you will, riding with just your thumb and first two fingers around the grip and letting your outer palm ride up over the outside of the grip. You will find you no longer have to bend your wrists, and, when they fatigue, tuck in your elbows. I have rotated the bars on all my bikes to make a flatter bar profile and it has helped me greatly in terms of long term comfort.

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I'm with Ed. At 6' you need bar backs like a hole in the head on an RT unless you've got unusually short arms.

 

Going from cruiser riding to ST riding, you'll need to adjust your approach and build some different muscles.

 

Look HERE to read a description of what has become known as the "Master Yoda Riding Position" on this DB. Not only will you, perhaps, solve your tense muscle problem, you'll increase your control of the bike and overall relaxation while riding.

 

Here's an excerpt from the above reference (credits to Dick Frantz) with the basic elements:

 

The keynotes to "the" Riding Position are:

Bend at the HIPS, not waist

Maintain a SLIGHT arch to the back, not allowing it ever to "curve"

Move the butt AFT so the weight is OVER YOUR FEET.

Apply pressure to the feet, using the THIGH muscles, so you are sitting "lightly"

ELBOWS BENT, now DROP the hands to the bars.

 

 

It took me about a month of real concentration to both develop the muscle memory to make this natural, and frankly (in my case) to build up the muscles in my lower back enough to "carry me" easily.

 

On my RT I can tell when I've regressed into my "cruiser slouch" because my upper back/neck starts to tense up, and I go stiff on the bars. This happens after winter layoff for me.

 

Best of luck . . .

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I second Scott's advice regarding Master Yoda's Riding Position (MYRP). It takes a while to develop the feel (and muscles), but once you do, things really fall into place. It's amazing what this can do for your riding comfort over a long time/distance.

 

When I'm on long rides and begin to feel neck/shoulder tension, wrist ache or butt burn, I usually find I've slipped into some sort of bad riding posture. Everything generally eases off when I get back into MYRP.

 

Regarding Ed's suggestion about adjusting your grip (a very good idea), getting a throttle rocker/wrist rest or whatever they're called might help you do that more comfortably and confidently. These devices help take away the feeling that you need to keep your entire hand around the throttle grip to maintain control. I had one with my old R11RT and loved it (but I like my cruise control better smile.gif).

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INHO, it has a great deal to do with the angle of the grips. They seem to force you, if your hands are to fully rest on the grips, to angle your elbows in which can cause tension in the girdle of muscles around your lower neck, upper shoulder area. A note on this, I am somewhat broad in the shoulders so it may not apply to those of you of more slender build.

 

Try, if you will, riding with just your thumb and first two fingers around the grip and letting your outer palm ride up over the outside of the grip. You will find you no longer have to bend your wrists, and, when they fatigue, tuck in your elbows. I have rotated the bars on all my bikes to make a flatter bar profile and it has helped me greatly in terms of long term comfort.

 

BINGO......that was my big problem when I got my RT.....If I actually grip the bars, my elbows are tucked way in at my sides and it kills after about 2-3 min. I'm 6'2" and have very broad shoulders. I usually just barely grip the bars with my thumb and pointer finger. I might try rotating the bars as you said. Its nice to know its not just me

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Jerry Johnston

I am 5' 11" and 68yrs old and felt the same as you when I first took even shorter rides. I tried bar backs (I have short arms) and it didn't do much for me so I sold them and continued with the stock setup. Eventually after a 3k trip I found I didn't have the problem and figure it was because I learned to relax more. I was used to a back rest also but don't think it work as well on an rt because the foot pegs aren't forward enough to let you lean back. A trottle lock will help you some as well as relaxing your grip.

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Bar backs worked for me!

 

Just added mine other day, and also swapping out Corbin for a Sargent, hoping that solves everything. Also added the floorboards for my wife (custom chrome ones $40) will post pics in another thread. Thought being 5'8" on these tall bikes.

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Back pressure can also cause the symptoms you are describing. If you typically are running with the windshield up, try lowering the windshield and see if there is a difference.

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I'm 6 ft tall and just a little younger than you -- I found that Suburban Machinery foot peg extenders helped me get more comfortable on my RT. Also, a Throttle Rocker is a very inexpensive accessory to help with the throttle hand cramping. wave.gif

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I tried barbacks for the same reason when I first bought the RT, and I still have them somewhere. I found that I was uncomfortable cornering with my arms pushed back toward me and took them off. I adjusted to the RT and no longer suffer any of those upper back/shoulder problems.

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