What Are Forward Controls On a Motorcycle? Pros & Cons

man in black jacket riding black cruiser motorcycle

There are many different types of motorcycles out there. Some are more powerful than others. Some are more comfortable than others. But no matter what kind of motorcycle you ride, it’s always fun to be on one. And when you’re on a bike, you get to enjoy all the benefits of riding a motorcycle. You get to feel the wind in your hair, look around and see everything that’s going on around you, and hear the sound of the engine and the road beneath you. But that freedom comes with a price: you have to be careful and know what you are doing.

Being careful is being experienced and knowledgeable about the motorcycle itself. Part of what you need to understand is forward controls on a motorcycle. That’s what this post is about. We’ll talk about how forward controls make a bike safer, and we’ll share a few tips and tricks to help you ride a motorcycle with confidence.

What are forward controls on a motorcycle?

The shifting and rear braking is mainly controlled by the rider’s foot. These controls are placed directly under the rider’s seat on most motorcycles. Although this position puts the rider upright and vertical, his knees are bent. This is fine on short city rides; however, this position is VERY uncomfortable and tiring on long rides. 

Forward Controls is an installation that extends the bike’s controls forward from the stock position. This allows the rider to extend the legs while still reaching the controls, resulting in a more comfortable and relaxing ride. 

How are forward controls installed?

Adding forward controls to a motorcycle isn’t that hard. However, it will depend on the bike and the kit you purchased. If you ask me, I highly recommend the bolt-on kits that are very easy to install. This kit simply extends the levers and pedals, and you just bolt them on the original mounts. Then, the stock components are placed at the front (the other end of the extension), effectively becoming the “forward control.” However, suppose there are no available kits for your bike brand and model. In that case, you will need the help of a professional mechanic to install the forward controls for you. 

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Why the need for forward controls?

If you’re about to head out on a long-distance trip, check if you can relocate the handlebar and shift/brake lever assembly. This could increase comfort while you’re riding and improve safety as well.

A comfortable control position is determined by the body position and the position of the hands and feet relative to the handlebars. As such, a comfortable riding position can be different for each rider. However, you can’t go back once you find that right combination!

As mentioned earlier, having forward controls installed on your motorcycle is beneficial for long rides. Its main benefit is to give you a comfortable posture that allows you to extend your legs and still have the ability to shift gears and brake. What’s more, if you partner the forward controls with highway bar extensions, you end up with an even more comfortable long-distance ride.

Safety-wise, the forward controls are also beneficial. Using them helps you prevent fatigue and stiffness, allowing you to be on alert and responsive to any situation in front of you. Finally, suppose you’re a tall rider, and you’ll be riding a smaller bike. In that case, the forward controls allow you to adjust the ergonomics. 

Because motorcycling is a lifestyle, many manufacturers of aftermarket accessories now offer forward controls that provide a more comfortable riding position.

The best motorcycle forward controls improve rider comfort by providing the ability to assume a more relaxed, reclined position without sacrificing agility or control of the bike. They involve the removal of the stock brake pedal and gear shifter and replacing those components with new components that extend further forward.

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Installing forward controls on a motorcycle makes the rider look more laid back and makes the bike appear faster than if it were on regular two-wheels.

The disadvantage

When it comes to motorcycle riding, you have two options – comfort or control? 

When you have forward controls installed,  please note a learning curve as you need to adjust to the new position. Turning, stopping, and starting can be a little scary at first, but you’ll get used to it in time. Some bikers swear that using forward controls changes the whole feel of riding and makes turns feel very different. After installing the forward control mechanism, it’s best not to take your bike on a long ride until you are accustomed to the new riding position.

Are forward controls advisable?

One of the main reasons you might consider getting forward controls is if you’re a tall rider and your motorcycle doesn’t have enough legroom. Having forward controls will allow you to adjust the handlebars’ position to let you sit higher and more comfortably. 

Then, the ergonomics will be perfect for your riding style when you have forward controls installed.  And yes, you can adjust the handlebars to sit higher and more comfortably.

Conclusion

Whether you’re a tall rider or a shorter rider, forward controls are the way to go.  They allow you to have a comfortable riding position that can be adjusted as needed.  As such, forward controls will make your riding experience more enjoyable.

Where do you stand? Do you use forward controls? Why or why not? Share your comments below!

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Ride on!