You may have been fascinated by seeing supersport motorcycles blazing through racetracks with their leaned-in riding position. That leaned-in riding position not only inspires confidence in the rider but allows for more control and faster lap times. How do two-wheeler manufacturers achieve this crouched riding position for their motorcycle catered to enthusiasts? Clip-on handlebars and rear-sets are two of the many enhancements which are used to achieve this goal. With a more focused riding position, these two seemingly small additions also bring more stability, better aerodynamics and superior handling to a motorcycle’s package. Let’s take a look at these two components individually and how they make a positive difference to the performance and aesthetical characteristics of a motorcycle.
Clip-on handlebars are a type of motorcycle handle which are mounted directly onto the front forks of the motorcycle instead of the conventional bolt-on triple tree method. However, there are many faux clip-on handles as well, which you may see in budget-oriented motorcycles. These clip-ons cannot be adjusted for a better riding position, and full-blown, high-performance motorcycles feature proper clip-ons. These true clip-ons can be adjusted in multiple ways. The rider can adjust the handle for the elevation and distance from their position. Here are some of the advantages of clip-on handlebars.
The beauty of clip-on handlebars is how easy it is to adjust them according to one’s needs. One can adjust the angle and distance, which helps in achieving the riding position that you prefer. Want a crouched-in position for track days? Go lower and farther. Want a relatively comfortable riding position for day to day rides? Bring it higher and closer. While the relative riding position is still generally crouched and committed with clip-ons, these handlebars do offer great adjustability, which conventional bars simply don’t.
Weight savings and better quality
Compared to the more mainstream handlebars, clip-on handlebars are lightweight, and this is crucial for performance motorcycles where saving weight is essential. They are generally made of higher-grade materials and go through more advanced manufacturing procedures to achieve the goal, making them a higher quality product than conventional handlebars.
Sportier, more committed riding position
Clip-on handlebars offer an aggressive riding position that a rider needs for sporty riding suited for spirited corner carving or track days. The crouched riding position distributes the rider’s weight evenly along the length of the motorcycle and enhances control. This riding position is more suited for leaning the motorcycle around corners, ensuring superior handling.
Easy to replace
Clip-on handles are made up of many smaller parts which can be sourced and replaced easily. In case of a crash, you may not need to replace the entire unit like conventional handlebars, making it easy to fix them.
Economical to procure
Clip-on handlebars are not too expensive to buy, thanks to their popularity. Many of the motorcycles with conventional handles are retrofitted with clip-on handlebars by their owners. A part of them can be replaced easily, making them even more cost-effective if frequent replacements are required.
Look at any race motorcycle, and more often than not, you will end up admiring its design and riding position. Clip-on handlebars help in achieving that visually appealing stance that is synonymous with high performance, supersport motorcycles. For anyone looking at a track-oriented race machine, clip-ons are a must-have element, both functionally and aesthetically.
Like clip-on handlebars, rear-sets are also known for being adjustable and offering a racier riding position with more control of the motorcycle. When installed on a conventional motorcycle, rear-sets replace many existing parts such as the pegs, the rear brake lever, the gear shifter, and the brackets, which ensure that they are fixed onto the frame. Track oriented, sporty motorcycles come equipped with rear-sets out of the box. While they may sound like an insignificant component at first, they can significantly enhance the corner-carving capability of a motorcycle. The advantages associated with rear sets are just too many to ignore if you want to go fast around a set of bends. Let’s take a look at how these small-looking metal pegs make a world of difference to a motorcycle’s capabilities.
More committed riding position
While the clip-ons help the rider achieve a committed, crouched riding position for the torso, rear-sets help enhance the crouched position for the lower part of the rider’s body. They facilitate a racier riding position, help distribute the weight evenly along with the motorcycle and make the motorcycle and rider slip through the air better.
Better lean angles
Compared to conventional footpegs, rear sets are placed higher up and towards the rear end of a motorcycle. While conventional footpegs tend to dig into the tar when a motorcycle is banked heavily, rear-sets, owing to their better clearance, allow for much greater lean angles, facilitating riders to go through corners faster.
Rear sets often come with adjustability, wherein the position of the footpeg itself or the position of the plate that holds the rear sets can be adjusted based on the rider’s preference. This allows for better suitability for a rider’s preferred riding position, facilitating better control around bends.
Better grip for boots
While some conventional footpegs also come with jagged top surfaces for better grip, rear sets come with sharp, high-grip teeth on top, or sometimes all around, to offer fantastic grip for the rider’s boot. This allows a rider to anchor himself on the motorcycle better, providing better control during hard cornering.
Sure, commuter oriented motorcycles offer a more comfortable riding position. However, talking specifically about sporty or track oriented motorcycles, a more customisable riding position suited to your body means that you’ll be less tired while riding the motorcycle after long track days.
Good support and base for your feet mean that you don’t need to adjust your riding position frequently on the move. This ensures that you focus more on your arms and hands and don’t bother much about your feet position.
Like clip-on handles, rear sets look much better on performance bikes, and they also declutter the frame by deleting the existing pegs and other parts. Rear sets with an aluminium finish are especially a treat to see on an aggressive motorcycle.