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Older, but no wiser!
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
S'ok, it is not another "my bike is better than your bike thread"! ;)

I have found that my dodgy knees are slowly making motorcycling a pain, literally, and I am seriously considering how to deal with the problem.

What i found on the long drag up and down to Scotland last year on my Transalp was that having my lower leg tucked back in at around 90-100 degrees, ie: the normal seating position, is bad news. I have now fitted some highway pegs to the crash bars and will be giving them a proper try out shortly, the may work, but...

I reckon I need to have a seating position where the feet are more forward at about 45-50 degrees at the knee for comfort, or have a greater distance between the seat and pegs. I already have an Airhawk seat which adds a cm or two, but it ain't enough.

Any Vara and T'alp owner like to comment if the Vara has any more room than the alp??

The other alternative is a maxiScooter with a running board and the ability to really stretch out on a long journey. The Yam TMax looks interesting, the Gilera GP800 looks quick! I've not ridden either, but am going to have a look at a Honda 600 to have a sit on it and see how they feel :) A mate did suggest a cruiser, but I cannot really get excited by them.
 

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The vara is significantly roomier than the TA but the effect on the bend on your knees isn't that much if that's the problem. Your legs are still tucked up underneath you just not quite so much. The seat is wider and gives a feel of sitting in the bike rather than on top. Vara is definitely more comfortable but is heavier and feels it.


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Older, but no wiser!
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The vara is significantly roomier than the TA but the effect on the bend on your knees isn't that much if that's the problem. Your legs are still tucked up underneath you just not quite so much. The seat is wider and gives a feel of sitting in the bike rather than on top. Vara is definitely more comfortable but is heavier and feels it.
That was my recollection from riding Ian Wooley's bike 2-3 years ago for a jaunt out to Bridgnorth. For me, it really is the knee tuck issue.

Maybe I should get a motcrosser and hang the pegs really low down!
 

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I think you are destined for a cruiser then. :-(. Check out the new Triumph America. Lovely looking bike, or one of the Guzzi cruisers. Even nicer.


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Older, but no wiser!
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I think you are destined for a cruiser then. :-(. Check out the new Triumph America. Lovely looking bike, or one of the Guzzi cruisers. Even nicer.
Gotta admit, I am more likely to go for the sheer practicality of a big scooter as opposed to a cruiser and with a 600cc motor, it should go. I can see me doing 3-400miles in a day on one, but not on a cruiser somehow. But maybe I shouldn't be too keen to judge without having a go! :thumbup:
 

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Ridden for years
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When I get to the position of struggling with the weight or getting my leg over a standard bike, I will have no qualms about buying a maxi scooter.
They can range from a Burgman, which will still cruise at 80, right up to the Aprilia engined 800CC Gilera I think; as powerful as some sports bikes.
Strangely, years ago, I sat on a burgman and it strained my back, so I'd need to try some out.
Although they are older, BMW airheads, whilst heavy to push around, are low, good peg position and will go on for miles.
 

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I'm in a similar situation. I'm old and one of my knees becomes painful after a long ride. As you say, the reason is the angle at which one's legs are bent back. I'm 5' 8" and never ride dirt, road only.

I owned a Transalp for about a year from new and about three months ago I traded it for a new Varadero 1000, so I can compare them directly. The Vara has made little difference because although it's a bigger more planted bike to ride and in many ways more comfortable, (though the Alp was also a decently comfortable bike) the legs are still just as tucked back. I find I have to stick my legs out for a few seconds every now and then whilst on a longer trip but it's not the ideal solution and that then gives me cramp around the hips!

So I'd say that a Vara, although it's a better bike than an Alp for long journeys, almost certainly won't solve this particular problem for you.

Your own answer is the best one. Some method of permitting riding with your legs more stretched out such as the highway pegs you mention or a maxi scooter. Personally I dislike maxi scooters and much prefer cruisers out of the two but that's just my opinion. Either would likely provide the sort of riding position you are seeking. Cruisers though often require a sacrifice of performance and handling compared with other bikes, I've owned several over the years.
 

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Why not do as the HD guys, extend the whole pedal assembly forward (additional coupled set), probably some workshop that can fix that easily, or by all means yourself if you like. On the TA I think the jewels will hurt a bit more after that as you will slide to the tank. You loose a bit control by moving legs up and forward in my experience.
 

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one of the lost boys
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Steve, this may be daft but I'll say anyhow

my old trousers played havoc with my knees, in the end I took the pads out and could get an extra hour. The other thing was to fit bar displacers, bringing them back a bit. Its not by much but it means I sit in the seat and not right up against the tank. My knees still hurt a bit on the first few rides but I put that down to the wide tank and twisting my knee in to change gear.

This year touch wood I've had no problems and my first proper ride was for the Overlanders day so close to 900miles over the weekend but that was with new pants and pads are bigger and dont push my kneecap
 

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Older, but no wiser!
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Why not do as the HD guys, extend the whole pedal assembly forward (additional coupled set), probably some workshop that can fix that easily, or by all means yourself if you like. On the TA I think the jewels will hurt a bit more after that as you will slide to the tank. You loose a bit control by moving legs up and forward in my experience.
I will be able to report back as soon as I have time for a ride out (tomorrow I hope) and find out if the highway pegs help, or leave me with talking in a high voice! I have long ridden with my feet on the crashbars or on the rear pegs, to give some movement.
 

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Older, but no wiser!
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Steve, this may be daft but I'll say anyhow

my old trousers played havoc with my knees, in the end I took the pads out and could get an extra hour. The other thing was to fit bar displacers, bringing them back a bit. Its not by much but it means I sit in the seat and not right up against the tank. My knees still hurt a bit on the first few rides but I put that down to the wide tank and twisting my knee in to change gear.

Interestingly, i have done both of these mods! The bar riser was a real benefit I found and helped the back tons, someone here recommended it to a member for more relaxed riding. I really do not like knee pads except in my VERY baggy IXS waterproofs. Looking back over the years, I have always found them uncomfortable! :)
 

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Older, but no wiser!
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'm in a similar situation. I'm old and one of my knees becomes painful after a long ride. As you say, the reason is the angle at which one's legs are bent back. I'm 5' 8" and never ride dirt, road only.


So I'd say that a Vara, although it's a better bike than an Alp for long journeys, almost certainly won't solve this particular problem for you.

Your own answer is the best one. Some method of permitting riding with your legs more stretched out such as the highway pegs you mention or a maxi scooter. Personally I dislike maxi scooters and much prefer cruisers out of the two but that's just my opinion. Either would likely provide the sort of riding position you are seeking. Cruisers though often require a sacrifice of performance and handling compared with other bikes, I've owned several over the years.
:) Interesting you have the same issues, must be a "getting old" thing! Looking on some of the various web forums and reading why folks have moved to a maxiscoot, it is a high number who have knee issues! At least I am not alone :) Might go into the local dealers and see if i can scam a test ride on a cruiser, they are triumh dealers, so i can have a look at the America that Austin suggested ;)
 

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The Angry Pasty Muncher
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S'ok, it is not another "my bike is better than your bike thread"! ;)

I have found that my dodgy knees are slowly making motorcycling a pain, literally, and I am seriously considering how to deal with the problem.

What i found on the long drag up and down to Scotland last year on my Transalp was that having my lower leg tucked back in at around 90-100 degrees, ie: the normal seating position, is bad news. I have now fitted some highway pegs to the crash bars and will be giving them a proper try out shortly, the may work, but...

I reckon I need to have a seating position where the feet are more forward at about 45-50 degrees at the knee for comfort, or have a greater distance between the seat and pegs. I already have an Airhawk seat which adds a cm or two, but it ain't enough.

Any Vara and T'alp owner like to comment if the Vara has any more room than the alp??

The other alternative is a maxiScooter with a running board and the ability to really stretch out on a long journey. The Yam TMax looks interesting, the Gilera GP800 looks quick! I've not ridden either, but am going to have a look at a Honda 600 to have a sit on it and see how they feel :) A mate did suggest a cruiser, but I cannot really get excited by them.
I'm 5ft 8 and i find the riding positon almost perfrect for me, almost like a dressage rider for me it's a perpendicular line from hip to heel. Only time i've had knee ache was going down to spain and that was only because it was a long days riding sat in the seat for 8hrs or so. If it seating that wrong get an upholster to adjust your seat to suit you if you sit up a bit higher on th ebike you leg will drop lower to a more natural position. Theres no way i could go back to the riding positon of a sports / race bike that aint fum for me
 

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whys the rum always gone?
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Honda DN01



my pops is having the same problem he rode one of these and bloody loved it:thumbup:
 

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Strange after all the bikes I get through, the reason I keep migrating back towards an Alp is for the knee comfort issue after snapping my crciate and having surgery and the reason I sold the ol CB500 I bought was because 1 to 2 hours was all I could manage on it. The Alp is pretty much as roomy as it gets.. why not try having the seat made flat so you could move back also. either that or get a KTM Exc.. your ass will hurt so much you can forget about the knee !!!
 

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:) Interesting you have the same issues, must be a "getting old" thing! Looking on some of the various web forums and reading why folks have moved to a maxiscoot, it is a high number who have knee issues! At least I am not alone :) Might go into the local dealers and see if i can scam a test ride on a cruiser, they are triumh dealers, so i can have a look at the America that Austin suggested ;)
Oops I meant a Triumph thunderbird like this
http://assets1.triumphmotorcycles.c...gallery_image_Thunderbird_Storm_3_717x477.jpg


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The other alternative is a maxiScooter with a running board and the ability to really stretch out on a long journey. The Yam TMax looks interesting, the Gilera GP800 looks quick! I've not ridden either, but am going to have a look at a Honda 600 to have a sit on it and see how they feel :) A mate did suggest a cruiser, but I cannot really get excited by them.
I had a T-Max for several years before I bit the bullet and got my geared licence! They're a lot of fun and pretty comfortable (although the most comfortable seat ever was the Malaguti Madison I had before that lol). Pretty quick too though towards the end mine seemed to get hot when riding it at high motorway speeds for prolonged periods (could've been dirty radiator or running lean I guess). Oh and fit a bigger battery if you get one or it won't start a lot in the winter! I was sad to see mine go but I needed to give my feet something to do :toothy8: That and all the expensive plastics and metallic paint will get cracked and scratched to crap every time you drop it! The mirrors have a habit of snapping off too. :( Good times. ;)
 

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I rode the Thunderbird when it came out a while back, with a view to buying one. Fabulous bike if you like cruisers - and I do. Really powerful. And I like Triumphs as well, having owned two other models a few years ago, a Bonnie and a Trophy.

However the drawback for me with the TBird was that it was too much compensation for the bent legs/knee problem. It has forward controls but so far forward that with my height and leg length it was hopelessly uncomfortable to stretch the legs out permanently to operate the controls. You can get touring models with floorboards but the position of the controls doesn't change, or at least it didn't when I enquired a couple years ago.

I rode various Harleys for years and many come with, or have added later, forward controls. Horrible things because they force you to have your legs way out in front all the time. For me the perfect riding position was on the Harley Road King I owned like this:

http://www.harley-davidson.com/en_GB/Motorcycles/road-king-classic.html

Upright, legs at just the right knee angle, not forced back but equally not forced excessively forward either, feet resting on big floorboards, big screen. Totally natural position, like sitting in a chair.

Most comfortable bike I ever owned for long distance riding and I've owned a lot of different ones over many years. But as always there are downsides too. They're very heavy, expensive, require a great deal of regular cleaning and lack the power and handling of other bikes.

But taking everything into account, I'm generally happy with my new Vara though I haven't done a longer journey than 70m so far. Maybe I'll change my view following a much longer ride.
 
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