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Old 11-10-2012, 01:41 PM   #1
Zanotti OP
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Forward Controls vs Feet Under You

I recently rode a Harley Softail Slim ( ) and really liked the overall bike.

The big change for me was using forward controls vs having my feet under me. I have ridden standard bikes for 30 years and wonder how long it would take to get used to forward controls.

Does anyone regularly switch betweeen these two types of controls and get used to it quickly?
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Old 11-10-2012, 01:54 PM   #2
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Ow,ow, getting a cramp in my leg.
Better stand up,woops Forward controls....drat! :)
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Old 11-10-2012, 02:02 PM   #3
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I will never own another feet forward bike.

With the Slim your biggest concern should be that the bike only has 24 degrees of lean available and a SOFT suspension so you now need to pay attention to the corner speed signs.

Edit: This does not mean the FLS is a bad bike... but it does take more discipline to ride well.
“Watch out for everything bigger than you, they have the "right of weight"

DAKEZ screwed with this post 11-10-2012 at 08:35 PM
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Old 11-10-2012, 02:38 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Zanotti View Post
Does anyone regularly switch betweeen these two types of controls and get used to it quickly?
To actually answer your question:
I don't get used to it quickly. It's a muscle memory thing for me. I need almost a week to get used to a feet forward bike because a lot of my learned responses to traffic situations involve peg use. Same for regular riding skills involving curves.

I'd have to have a feet forward bike and nothing else, or not have one at all. I don't care for them at all.
So there I was walking into a biker bar in Chattanooga with liberty spikes on my head and a drag queen beside me... - bcurvin
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Old 11-10-2012, 02:45 PM   #5
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I switch between the bikes in my sig all the time with no issues. The Eliminator has the most forward pegs, the Guzzi slightly less so. I do tend to use the passenger pegs in longer sections of highway though.
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Old 11-10-2012, 03:21 PM   #6
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Switching back and forth several times a week between a Wide glide with forward extensions no less (long legs) and a Ducati E900 was mentally ratteling. The FXDXT I recently parted with had the pegs in a comfy place (mid glide)for riding, but when it came to the stop light the pegs were just in the way, not far enough up or back to keep from trippin on them when you put your foot down, never did get used to that really.
After years of switchin bikes up the GS'es, Tiger's, KTM 950 and E900 soon felt like they had rear sets and forward control bikes like I was sittin on the ground. At any rate the forward control bikes sit you on your ass cheeks, the trallies on your taint.
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Old 11-10-2012, 03:51 PM   #7
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You might miss the pegs a couple of times in the first few week, but once you get used to knowing where they are you switch between bikes very easily, unless you dont ride one for ages.

Once going it is the same difference as riding two different feet underneath bikes.
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Old 11-10-2012, 04:00 PM   #8
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Homo sapiens, out on the steppes and in the mountains, didn't have foot-forward controls on their wild horses.

Our ancestors didn't hunt mammoths sitting back on their asses.

We were hunched, ready, willing ourselves into battle.

What was the question again?
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Old 11-10-2012, 04:11 PM   #9
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Feet forward puts ALL YOUR WEIGHT on your ass, totures your lumbar region. Pegs under you helps support your weight with you big leg muscles. Forward controls are a hold over from the Easy Rider days... a fad the MoCo and others are trying to keep alive. For a cruiser, the holy grail is the "kitchen chair", knees at 90 degrees. Highway pegs are usefull for stretching the knees occasionally. (NOT for continual use on city streets where the brake is 1.5 seconds away)

This is me, 34 years ago, it hurts just to look at the picture now. I will NEVER, EVER ride a bike with forward controls again.
Too much is just barely enough.....
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Old 11-10-2012, 04:14 PM   #10
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Can't stand feet forward personally.
Did ACS Civilian Moto Course and rented one of their KZ1000P's and it was almost a deal breaker for me. I couldn't stand the floorboards. Foot and arm was cramped as well by the end of the 8 hours with those high angled toward me bars. I was so glad to get back on the Multistrada. But the nice thing was doing all those drills on a 600lb, super wide, super long wheel base bike then getting on my Multistrada made everything feel so easy!
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Old 11-10-2012, 05:57 PM   #11
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You do get used to it and the more you trade back and forth, the faster that happens. I commute on a GSXR and then spend the weekend and long trips on a Kawsaki VN1700 Voyager.

The Voyager has more of a feet mid-forward, rather than a full forward, but it does change the way you ride. It's funny the poster above talked about a KZ1000P. That's the first feet forward bike I ever rode and while it felt really odd at first, I adapted and reached a point where I could easily scrape boards at both low and high speeds. It is amazing at parking lot speeds.

The Voyager is a big, heavy tourer, but is easy to handle at moderate speeds and drags boards staying ahead of the typical cruisers but falls behind when chasing the sport bikes.
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Old 11-10-2012, 10:06 PM   #12
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When I started riding Harley touring bikes, I couldn't stand the foot positioning. And they're much less "foot forward" than the Slim. I'd spent my life riding standard/sport/dirtbike position. I felt unnnatural, and I kept missing shifts.

That said, after a few weeks, the position grew on me. I have highway pegs on my Road glide...and that's waaaay foot forward, and I put my feet up there almost immediately when I go for a ride. I only put my feet on the floorboards to shift...or use my back brake.

Except for: Rough roads, or dirt,, and when I really want to move thorugh the corners. Then I revert back to feet right under me, moving all around the seat and, ahem, trying to get my knee out there (silly, yes, on a Road Glide).

But for most riding, the foot forward position is kinda a gas. It helps immensely to have a back rest. Then you can push against it while riding and give your butt a rest.

Is it natural? I dunno. It's a lot like driving a car. Not like riding a horse. Not at all like making babies with the missus.

One last thing: the heel toe shifter bugged me, until I broke my toe during a trip. I couldn't hardly touch the shifter with out toe pain...but smacking on the heel shifter: Genius!

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Old 11-11-2012, 02:00 AM   #13
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If you want the Slim, buy it. You won't KNOW until you own one and ride one. I had 5 bikes with forwards-never again. That was then....................
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:30 AM   #14
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Had forwards on my last cruiser and liked them. That being said, having had lower back issues for many years now, they really wreaked havoc on it and I got rid of the was just a bit small for me for the standard setup. My current bike has standard set-up with a heel-toe shifter and I really like it.....rarely use the toe. I like the solid, sure feeling of the gear change with the heel. Side benefit, your boots look nicer for longer.........yeah, yeah...I know.
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Old 11-11-2012, 05:31 AM   #15
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My softail had foreword controls, sold it a few years ago, and my Sportster had forewords but I switched them out for mids. Also, my KLR has highway pegs that are in a comparable spot to where the Sportster forewords were. I reach for the brake sometimes on that one.

Anyways, I somewhat like the forewords. Just cruising around on backroads they are very comfortable to me. Not exactly a 'natural' position, but still comfortable. The problems for me occur on the highway.

For the Softail, that's what will concern you more:

When I rode the Softail on it's one and only trip I was getting a bit beat up from them. For one the wind was pushing my feet off the pegs at 70+ mph, and two the wind was following my legs up and hitting me in the chin. I had a windshield on at that point, rest of the bike stock.

When riding on the highway with no windshield it pushes your upper body back, and you rely on your arms to hold you up.

More weight on your butt, with no relief in sight.

For my Sportster I switched them to mids, for a combination of weight on my butt and for feet blowing off the pegs on the highway. Worth mentioning is that if I couldn't have switched them for free I wouldn't have done it, it didn't bother me much. I plan on buying highway pegs one day, and they will mount roughly in the same spot the old pegs were.

Deal breaker? Nope. Not for me. I sold the softail to buy a Road King. I wanted a more long-haul capable bike, and the foreword controls vs. floorboards were just one piece of the puzzle. My main reasons were luggage ability and ride quality. My softail was lowered with a springer front end, not exactly the best long haul bike. The ex and I spent a week touring New York area on it, I was pretty sick of seeing the bike by the time we got back.
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