Many motorcyclists boil the sit/stand dilemma down to a simple solution: sit on the road, stand on the trail. While that approach favors simplicity, it doesn’t hold up in every situation. We’ve all stood on our pegs when facing speed bumps or deep potholes. Similarly, most off-road riders rest in the saddle for long stretches on the trail.

With the exceptions to the rules firmly established, it’s easy to understand not only when to stand but also why to stand. Moto-centric YouTube channel FortNine has garnered over 1.5 million subscribers by dissecting such common conundrums. Its mix of science-based insight and light-hearted humor makes the channel the perfect platform to redefine the sit/stand paradigm.

In the simplest language possible, we stand up to better absorb tough terrain. Whether that bump you encounter is paved or unpaved, the bike still transfers the energy directly through the rider (when sitting in the saddle). Many off-road instructors direct riders to stand on the pegs in such situations, with slightly bent knees acting as secondary suspension.

That position not only stops the chassis from sending the resulting shock through the rider’s spine but also leverages the rider’s legs to cushion the blow. However, extended periods spent standing on the pegs can also accelerate rider fatigue. For that reason, off-roaders don’t miss an opportunity to plop in the saddle whenever appropriate.

As long as riders don’t take on rock gardens, whoops, or deep ruts glued to the seat, they should be able to minimize the ensuing catapult effect. Ryan FortNine happily demonstrates those consequences, with large dirt bumps nearly ejecting the YouTube host on several occasions.

The video ultimately promotes the addition of twin pegs, so riders can distribute their weight across a larger platform. While that suggestion certainly encourages longer stints out of the saddle, dual-sport and adventure riders can still get the job done without such luxuries. As long as you’re standing for the bumpy bits—on- or off-road—your loose limbs should help dissipate the momentum coursing through the motorcycle.

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