Sunday, December 18, 2005


I spent the first twenty years of my riding career on Campaigner, a BMW R80St. It was originally what was referred to as a "standard" bike, for its upright riding posture—neither slouched like a cruiser nor leaning forward like a sportsbike. After a few years, I installed shorter ("Europa") handlebars which produced a more forward-leaning riding posture—I wanted to emulate the unbeatably cool style of the R90s or R100s.

I always scoffed at the bent-forward, straight armed posture of the sportbike riders, trying to imagine the wrist stress, backaches and hand-numbness that must accompany such a riding position.

So then a couple of years ago I went out and, sure enough, bought a sportbike—Beast, a 2003 BMW R1100sa. (At least for BMW it's a sportbike; some folks still scoff at the idea.) Well guess what—I'm a convert.

Lots of riders have asked me about the riding posture. What's surprising is that not only does Beast have a fairly typical sport-bike riding setup, but I took advantage of the one adjustment BMW allows it's 1100s owners to make. I actually lowered the clip-on handlebars to below the tripleclamp instead of above the triple clamp as they come from the factory, dropping them another inch or two.

What's most amazing to me is how comfortable it is. Many years ago, I used to own a "Balans" chair—one of those wacky kneeling chairs from Scandinavia. It was always my favorite office chair, and I never had any back problems while using it.

Riding Beast is way more comfortable than sitting in the office chair I currently have at work—not to mention way more fun and intellectually stimulating. Unfortunately, the noises I have to make at the office apparently disturb my cube-farm mates, so I have to keep it down.


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