Let's talk FOOTPEGS!
Have you ever considered that changing your motorcycle pegs may drastically change how you ride?
It's not wrong to assume that changing footpegs is not a top priority in the extensive to-do list most of us have for our bikes, but considering they have such a significant impact on our off-road riding, is that mindset correct?
We need to accept that there is a slim chance that our new bike pegs are the correct ones for us, so I would say that as a riding community, we need to adjust our view of things.
So, acknowledging the importance that footpegs have in our riding, today we will be diving deeper into their world, and give you some food for thought about the piece of metal that helps us stand when riding.
DIFFERENT PEGS, DIFFERENT GOALS
It may seem redundant to say that different pegs are meant for different uses, but with so many riders assuming their stock pegs are perfect, this topic needs to be addressed.
If you have ever looked at an adv bike, I'm sure you are familiar with the kind of pegs that come stock on the vast majority of offers in the market.
We are usually greeted with a slim in width and length peg, generally with a rubber mount that may or not be detachable, and of dubious comfort, both when standing and sitting.
Reference: Image from webbikeworld.com
Considering we are talking about bikes that can perform on and off-road, the idea of a hybrid peg is excellent. Still, it's rare to find a rider that religiously removes and installs the rubber attachment as the terrain changes, thus eliminating the pegs hydridness.
So, if no one does it, and if riding with stock pegs off-road can be described by a myriad of words, none of them good, the answer becomes clear, its time to upgrade, but to what?
As stated before, different pegs have different goals, so assuming a pivoting peg will be the same as a rally peg, is pure folly.
Wider pegs, longer pegs, pegs that are angled, pegs that have a hump in the middle, or even custom made pegs are available. If some are more suited to race, others are intended solely to compensate for riding handicaps or body size limitations.
This tells us that what is right for your riding friends, is most likely not suited for you.
This being, and in a similar fashion to any modification you intend to do to your bike, there are two questions you need to ask yourself, why am I doing this mod, and what am I looking to achieve with it.
Reference: image from blackdogcw.com showing some different peg options
WHY YOU SHOULD CHANGE PEGS
Stylistic choices aside, there are three main reasons why riders should change pegs, and although reasons may differ from rider to rider, a combination of them is also possible.
- To improve grip/maneuverability.
- To improve handling/weight distribution.
- To improve comfort/ergonomics.
When it comes to off-road, grip on the pegs is vital if you want a fighting chance of spending more time riding, as opposed to figure-skating on top of your pegs, especially when conditions get slippery.
That is the main reason why removing the rubber when offroading is a must, and why all dedicated off-road pegs have either spikes, serrated teeth, stubs, or any other variation that will promote a more sustainable connection between your boot and the peg.
The more aggressive the pegs grip, the more often you will need to re-sole your boots, and the least you should ride around with anything other than pure off-road soles.
Reference: Image from adventuremotorcycle.com
If you are looking to improve your comfort/ergonomics or your handling/weight distribution, you will be working around a slightly different principle. One that says that pegs can not only be replaced but also moved around.
Reference: Image from advrider.com and modified by BN for this article
But why would you want to move your pegs to a different location?
Moving your pegs will effectively change your center of gravity when standing up, and that can be a plus, both when racing, as well as when cruising around on the weekends with your friends. In the same way, a different peg position can drastically change how fast you can stand or how stable you are once you are up.
We all get different feedbacks from our bikes, so little tweaks like peg placement can play a huge roll in your confidence and comfort, with physics backing it up.
At this point, it's important to say that for the most part, these adjustments are small, usually between 0,5 to 1cm, for most cases, going up to 2cm or slightly more in others.
But how much should you move yours?
It depends. If we consider that a lower peg may result in your feet smacking against every little rock on the trail, or that a higher placement may make you feel like a pretzel, one should thread lightly and plan beforehand.
Having a clear plan with defined goals will be critical to a good result.
IMPROVE COMFORT AND ERGONOMICS
Unless we are talking about racing, bikes are designed with a specific kind of rider in mind, and that has nothing to do with riding skill, but with rider size.
This means that a 2.00m rider and a 1.70m rider sitting on the same stock bike will have very different comfort levels.
Cramped legs, different foot sizes clashing with the ability to shift or brake, or having the knees outside the designated tank area when standing are some of the most common problems found, and that can be fixed by moving the pegs to a different spot.
I remember a conversation years ago about a rider with one leg shorter than the other that had its right and left pegs at different heights, so thinking outside the box to make your bike comfortable for you is encouraged.
Changing the peg placement can also have benefits in your ability to move from the seating to the standing position faster, so considering how comfortable you are within your riding style should also be taken into account.
Needless to say, if you change the placement of your pegs to solve any of these issues, you may need to revisit your riser choices, and potentially your brake and shifter positions as well.
In summary, don't stop yourself from buying the bike of your dreams because you didn't feel comfortable during the test rides.
Make a plan, consider outcomes, and verify if changing the pegs can make an otherwise unrideable bike a pleasure to ride.