Browse Publications Technical Papers 2007-01-0438

Commonality and Differences between Cruiser, Sport, and Touring Motorcycles: An Ergonomics Study 2007-01-0438

This paper presents results of two surveys, namely, a photographic measurements survey and a rider survey, conducted to determine how the type and origin of a motorcycle related to motorcycle dimensions, rider characteristics, seating posture, and motorcycle controls and displays.
In the photographic survey, 12 most popular motorcycles covering three types (cruiser, sport, and touring) and three origins (Europe, Asia and North America) were measured from photographs taken in a standardized procedure with and without a rider. The data showed that the Asian and North American cruisers were very similar in all dimensions. These include seat height, seat to handlebar location, seat to foot rest location, foot rest size, and handgrip stance. This resulted in similar rider posture. North American sport motorcycles were more like cruisers than the Asian and European sport motorcycles. The North American sport motorcycle had a lower seat and higher handgrips resulting in a more vertical rider back angle. Touring motorcycles in Asia and Europe were similar; however, they vary greatly from the North American touring motorcycle because they were based off the sport motorcycle architecture rather than a cruiser. As a result, the handlebars are lower and further from the seat and the foot rests are further back. The spatial relationships between the seat, hand grips, foot controls/rest and ground showed that the rider in a sport motorcycle leans forward at torso angle of about 65 degrees from the horizontal as compared to the cruisers that have the torso angle of about 85 degrees. The mean seat height from the ground was shortest for the cruisers (68.2 cm) and tallest for the sports. The European motorcycles offered the most features that were adjustable.
Ninety-six experienced motorcycle riders answered questions on riding comfort, ease of use of hand and foot controls and displays, and protective gear. Rider size, age, and riding experience data were also gathered. The survey also revealed that everyone was, for the most part, satisfied with their motorcycles. They felt that the seat, foot rest, brake, shifter, and handlebars positions were “just right.” They also stated that windshield height was just right, headlight illumination was acceptable, and gauges and tell-tale warning indicator lamps were “just right” for size, brightness, and location. About 38% of riders felt that the distance between the rear view mirrors was too small and the riders experienced difficulty in viewing directly behind the motorcycle.


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