Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Grip strength and top boxes

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by industriald, Apr 29, 2014.

  1. Hello,

    I'm Ash, just started riding after passing my Q-ride a few weeks ago. Got me a nice little Honda CB500F to ride, it's great.

    First - I am going to want a top box for the bike, but I am a big guy and can't see any way of getting my leg over the bike. Is there something I'm missing? Or a particular technique I've missed?

    Second - I am finding I am getting a lot of pain in my hands to the point that it is reducing my grip strength. I don't think it's a matter of conditioning, I used to get it when working in electrical insulating gloves - almost got so bad that I would drop the tool I was holding. I don't know if it is a medical thing or not, or maybe everyone gets it?

    Anyway, thank you for reading, and I look forward to reading your replies.


  2. I have the Ventura Soft top box on my Fireblade but I have the box at the rear of the mounting and not towards the front as recommended.
    Possibly your gloves may be too tight or you may need bar risers to take some weight off your hands.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Hi Ash.

    Dunno if it accounts for your hand pain, but..... it's pretty near standard for new riders to start out gripping the bars far too tightly.

    After a wee while, you may find that you can relax the "death grip" on the bars and the problem may just go away.

    I used to get a similar hand pain when working with anything to do with live electricity or climbing up masts of a yacht......... in my case, it was just terror.

    As for getting on and off the bike with a top box, you can just lift up your leg and slide it over the top of the seat. No rule sez you have to theatrically swing your leg over the back.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Hi Ash
    I agree with CC in the death grip, give it some time and you'll start loosening up. If your anything like me you might be a bit short in getting a leg straight over the seat, try standing on the foot peg and then swing your leg over. Works for me anyway.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. I've had quite a few top-boxes, some of them huge, and I'm a decent size. I've never really had a problem getting my leg over (oo-er missus :D) and haven't really analysed the mechanics of it. With the box mounted well back, a slight flex of the knee gets your foot past it. On a related note, it's worth getting one that's big enough to hold a full-face lid, has a reasonably robust locking mechansm (though don't rely on this too much) and can be detached from its mounts and carried around like a suitcase. All are useful features on a bike used as serious transport.

    As for the hand thing, whilst I can't offer a medical opinion on your history, any existing problem may be being exacerbated by the death-grip of the new rider. That's not a dig at you. Everybody does it at first and needs to make a conscious effort to relax at regular intervals.

    Another contributing factor may be poorly adjusted levers. They need to be set on the bars so that, in your normal riding posture, with your fingers extended and resting on top of the levers, your wrists are, more or less, straight. Some people like their levers lower than this, depending on hand size and shape, but higher will certainly lead to discomfort at the very least.

    I also agree that you might need higher bars to take some weight off your wrists. I'm not familiar with the riding position of the CB500 but, IMHO, many bikes have bars that are too low for many riders in many circumstances, a view backed up by a thriving aftermarket in risers, heli-bars and whatnot.

    Finally, if things don't ease fairly quickly, you might want to get yourself checked out for carpal tunnel problems, especially if you have any family history of thyroid trouble.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. G'day Ash

    I'm not big, but I have a top box and can swing my old and relatively inflexible leg across the bike OK. If I carry anything substantial—like a duffel bag—in front of it, I can't swing my leg over and have to do as CarzyCam suggested and slide it over. If you're tall (which I'm not) that shouldn't be a problem.

    Can't add to the wisdom on sore hands.

    Enjoy the ride.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Wow, thanks to all for your replies. I do catch myself gripping the bars too hard, but I am getting better at it the more confident I get. I do have history of it though which suggests a visit to the doc may be in order.

    I am tall but overweight, hence the lack of flexibility. I think if I lay on the tank I can get my leg over no worries. Will have to try some more.

    Okay, thanks guys, really appreciate it. I'll be round here for a while :)
  8. Are you gripping the tank properly with your legs? Try leaning down until your arms are horisontal, this might reduce the weigjt you put on your hands. Elbows should be bent
  9. Unless you have carpal tunnel syndrome (common with electricians), either your motorcycle gloves are too small, or it's conditioning. If the problem doesn't go away with time then try some pussy grips (about $20) they slide over your factory grips and make the bar fatter.

    My top box never comes off my bike, you get used to getting on and off the bike with a top box, again, it's practice and conditioning.
  10. First. I've never had a problem with luggage. Bend your knee, push the knee over the front of the seat and drop your foot to the footpeg.

    Second. Most likely gripping too hard. Also if you are tall, the ergos might not be quite right.
    The back of your hand should form a straight line with your forearm when your fingers are resting on the levers.
    Many manufacturers tend to set the levers a bit high.
    Possibility of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. CTS has many causes including leprosy and syphilis (this is true).
  11. I am 6 foot tall Ash, I had a hornet 900 with a big arsed top box when I got lazy which was alot, as someone previously suggested, stand on the left foot peg, this gets your arse off the ground, then you can swing your leg easily!! try it, and yes the side stand will [should] take your weight easily
  12. I can add to the recommendation of Hepco & Becker luggage. I had one of their detachable boxes on my late, lamented R1100 and, as well as being lovely and solid to use, it survived the crash which wrote the bike off. Impressive given that it first prevented me from going through the windscreen of the ute which shunted me and then bounced down the road for 80 metres after detaching from the bike. I've still got it. A few scrapes are the only sign. Lid, locking mechanisms and seals are all still perfect.
  13. ^^^ This. I used to be 35 odd kilos heavier than I am now so flexibility was an issue. Try standing on the left peg when you mount, lean WELL forward over the tank and bars and bend your knee so your foot can slide across in front of the box. It gets easier with practice.

    Despite being lighter I still mount the Z from the pegs bc it's just easier, with or without the Ventura bag on. I can mount the ZZR from the ground, even with the big arse top box on - which would have been pretty much impossible a year ago.
  14. I second bending your knee, top box, panniers and sometimes a roll bag on the pillion seat.

    Sometimes after a long ride and my joints are stiff i do the standing on the pegs to get off.
  15. I've got a CB500F, and an Rjays 39L top box. It's mounted on standard Honda mounts that you get (they replace the passenger grab bars.

    Now, I'm well overweight, and certainly not as flexible as some the whippets but haven't had any major problem throwing a leg over.

    The Rjays is cheap and cheerful (if not somewhat ugly) and as a commuter, I've not had any problems with it's sturdiness or with water ingress over the past 12 months.

    For your hand pain, the CB500F is a relatively relaxed riding position, but you still lean forward a bit. I agree with other posts, as a new rider you're probably holding on tighter than you need to, have stiff arms, and aren't gripping the tank with your legs and supporting your upper body with you core. As you practice more it should sort itself out.
  16. This is a great video demonstrating how to mount a bike with a top box
    • Funny Funny x 1
  17. I know your pain my friend...
    As others have said, your gloves could be a touch small - but don't go out and buy new gloves, if they are leather they will stretch. Particularly in this wet weather. I always buy smaller than I need gloves and stretch them out to fit me perfectly. You can speed this process up by wetting them, rolling them up into a little bundle and strapping them over night that way.

    Another bad habit I had when learning was I was very tense, straight arms not loose, pressure on wrists and hands. This is bad.
    Try leaning forwards a bit more, so your back is taking some of the weight, then bend your elbows and relax your arms. This definitely helped me in the beginning.

    Last one, when you use the clutch, actively think about how you are pulling it. Make sure ALL 4 fingers are on it and you are using all fingers to spread the load. In the beginning, while I had all 4 fingers on the clutch, I wasn't using them all, I would pull with just 2 or 3 fingers. Using all 4 helped to stop the pain too.

    - Stretch/wear in your gloves
    - Relax your arms
    - Use ALL your fingers to pull the clutch
  18. I'm short, on a tallish bike and have a fairly large top box but never have any trouble getting on the bike so my guess is something is wrong.

    You should not be trying to get your leg over the top box, so whether or not one is there shouldn't matter. The top box should be aft of the pillion seat and when you mount the bike your foot should stay forward of that so all you need to clear is the seat. If you are not flexible enough to do this from a normal standing position,, try bending forward over the tank more and this will usually let you lift your leg higher. If all else fails see if you can stand on the peg without tipping the bike over ( depends on the relative position of the side stand to the centre of gravity with you standing on the peg). If you don't tip the bike try mounting from the peg.

    Unless you have an underlying medical condition, I am tipping that sore hands will come from holding the bars too tightly. Bars are steering devices, not handles to hold you on the bike. The only time I grip the bars is in mid winter when I am trying to suck as much warmth out of the heated grips as possible and basically that does affect me too. The rest of the time I probably only have my hands resting lightly on the grips.

    As well as causing your hands to become tired and ache, gripping the bars tightly will also affect throttle control, since when you grip tightly your entire arm locks up and reduce your ability to make fine hand adjustments. The same applies to steering which is why new riders who tense up in strong winds find that the effects of the wind get worse.

    So try to relax your grip and if you feel yourself gripping tightly try to do a few chicken wing flaps to force yourself to relax.
  19. Just don't flap too hard in case you become airborne! :happy:
    • Like Like x 1