Why is it that every niche, sport, or hobby needs its own terminology?
This can be one of the most confusing things to a beginner or even someone who is just curious about a new hobby let alone motorcycles.
Truth be told I myself have trouble keeping up with all the terminology and I’ve been at this for over 20 years. In this article, I will explain the different types of foot controls and the terminology that goes along with them.
What are motorcycle highway bars?
Motorcycle highway bars are footpegs and pieces mounted near the front of the bike that allows the rider to stretch their legs and rest them. This helps the rider avoid leg cramps and feel more comfortable on those long highway rides.
They are called motorcycle highway bars because it is on the highway that the demands of riding (switching gears and braking) are kept to a minimum allowing you the best opportunity to use them.
The construction, shape, size, mounting position, etc are all factors that should be considered when deciding if highway bars are right for you.
What is the purpose of highway bars on a motorcycle?
The purpose of highway bars on a motorcycle is to allow the rider to be more comfortable on long highway drives.
This is accomplished by giving the rider another place to rest their feet allowing the rider to stretch out their legs helping avoid leg cramps and feel more comfortable while highway driving.
The majority of motorcycle highway bars are dual-purpose meaning they perform 2 functions instead of 1 and some are even multi-purpose adding to the perceived value.
They can double as crash bars that help avoid damage to components if the motorcycle is laid down on its side and/or mounting locations for motorcycle forward controls which we will discuss next.
What are motorcycle forward controls?
Forward controls on a motorcycle are gear shifter and brake pedal that are located in the front of a motorcycle.
Motorcycle forward controls are either an extension of mid controls to the motorcycle highway bars or the installation of new controls on the highway bars that replace the mid controls entirely.
They are referred to as motorcycle forward controls because they are mounted near the front of the motorcycle.
Extending mid controls to the motorcycle highway bars allows you to switch gears or operate the rear brake while using the highway bars and also being able to use the mid controls when appropriate.
Replacing the mid controls with motorcycle forward controls can be advantageous if you mostly ride on the highway allowing you to remove parts that you wouldn’t use anyway.
Many custom motorcycles such as those seen on tv only come with motorcycle forward controls because they want to achieve that stretched-out look chopper look.
What is the purpose of forward controls on a motorcycle?
The purpose of forward controls on a motorcycle is to either add to the functionality or aid in comfort while highway riding.
Forward controls that are extensions of the mid controls give a motorcycle more functionality as you can use whatever controls you choose for a given situation and allows you to quickly change between the 2.
Replacing mid controls with forward ones is mainly done on custom motorcycles and lends itself to that extended look most choppers are after.
What are mid controls on a motorcycle?
Mid controls on a motorcycle are gear shifter and brake pedal that are located in the middle of a motorcycle.
This helps maintain control and stability while riding in most situations. It serves as a balance between motorcycle forward and rear controls and is a big factor in the design of a motorcycle.
Most motorcycles today come mid controls because of this and are part of the ergonomics of the motorcycle.
What is the purpose of mid controls on a motorcycle?
The purpose of mid controls on a motorcycle is to allow the rider to change gears and/or apply the rear brakes in the most efficient and comfortable manner for the widest range of riding conditions.
Although mid controls may not be the most comfortable on the highway they are much better suited for situations that involve acceleration and deceleration such as those faced in traffic.
They also help keep the weight of the rider evenly distributed throughout the motorcycle increasing safety and performance.
What are rear controls on a motorcycle?
Rear controls on a motorcycle are gear shifter and brake pedal that are located in the rear of a motorcycle.
Rear controls allow a rider to lay face down on the motorcycle decreasing wind resistance, allow the rider to distribute their weight to the front or rear, or more control when up on one wheel when performing a wheelie.
These are mainly used in specific situations such as drag racing and stunt riding, therefore rarely used on the road.
What is the purpose of rear controls on a motorcycle?
The purpose of rear controls on a motorcycle is to allow the rider to change gears and/or apply the rear brakes while laying on top of the motorcycle.
This is especially important for drag racers as it allows the rider to be as close to the motorcycle as possible decreasing air resistance while at the same time lets the rider shift their weight to either the front or rear tires without physically moving.
Keeping the front tire on the ground is one of the biggest challenges of drag racing a motorcycle. Another challenge is stopping the rear tire from spinning out when changing gears.
Rear controls can definitely help in this regard and can also help stunt riders keep the front tire off the ground longer and more efficiently.
They do this by allowing the rider to switch gears and brake while performing the wheelie.
Where a rider places their feet on a motorcycle has a big impact on stability, comfort, and practicality. For this reason, every rider should know what positions are available to them and when to use each one.
Having read this article you now know the different types of foot controls and what they are used for.
Best of all is you will know what motorcycle highway bars are and also what front, mid, and rear controls next time they come up.