I love riding dirt. You’re out in nature, you’re drifting corners, and you’re less likely to die from someone texting or blowing through a stop sign. But I always run into issues with a motorcycle’s ergonomics whenever I take out an adventure or dirt bike and transition from pavement to dirt. And what I’m talking about is bar height. 

What works for pavement, i.e. lower, more comfortable bar height, doesn’t work for off-road riding. Adventure bikes and dirt bikes do an all right job with offering bars from the factory that can twist upward slightly to give you OK ergonomics, but the adjustments are only minor and you need an Allen wrench to make the change. And while there are plenty of aftermarket bars that raise the bars even further and make standing easier, they’re static and make pavement riding trash. 

There’s just no good solution for the rider who wants a comfortable height for sitting while on the road, while a high-up, standing height on dirt. Well, actually, there is. And for some unknown reason to science, it isn’t on a motorcycle. It’s on a Ski-Doo snowmobile. 

Ski-Doo riser

I was just at the launch of Ski-Doo’s new sled launch in Yellowstone—a lot more on that coming soon—but as I was gearing up to head out, my eye caught a display sitting in the corner of the room. The display was a buck of the snowmobile’s cockpit layout and designed to help new riders learn the controls of a snowmobile. But what immediately struck me was the display’s riser. Connecting the bars to the steering column wasn’t a single piece of machined aluminum, but rather a multi-point adjustable riser. 

All I could utter was a Keanu “Whoa.”

Ski-Doo’s riser called the Forward Adjustable Riser is a simple mechanism comprising two pivot points and a pull tab detent system, and introduced by Ski-Doo all the way back in 2017. Essentially, you have four heights to choose from, the lowest setting being best suited for long hauls while sitting, with the highest being perfect for when you’re standing up on the sled and leaning far forward to keep all of its torque in check hitting technical terrain. The middle two are there so a rider can toggle between each to better suit their height or if you have different people riding the same sled. 

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Ski-Doo riser
Ski-Doo riser
Ski-Doo Adjustable Riser

Ben Dann

I couldn’t wait to try it out and after a day riding trails, it works so seamlessly and so good that when I finally hopped off the sled, I asked, “Why the hell isn’t this on every adventure motorcycle?” 

The day’s trails were full of sitting and standing sections of snow, so I got to try the riser’s settings numerous times throughout the day. Sitting was made easier and my arms stayed fresh as a daisy in the low positions, while when we got onto it, the high settings made standing a breeze. My riding group also switched between riders and at 6’4”, I was the tallest person out there, but no one had issues because of the riser adjustability. Everyone could sit. Everyone could stand. It was perfect. 

Now, this sort of thing has been tried before. RA’s managing editor Janaki informed me about Convertibars, which she bought and didn’t exactly enjoy... The basic premise is the same, i.e. adjustable bar height, but the action and implementation are very different in that you have to, again, have an Allen wrench on you, and then still change our your controls. You, theoretically, wouldn’t have to do that with Ski-Doo’s, and the actual mechanism of changing the bar height is literally just a pull tab adjustment away. 

Ski-Doo riser

Ben Dann

Suffice it to say, I have to figure out a way of testing this theory. I know I can just buy the adjustable riser from Ski-Doo. It’s also not that expensive—$140 at the time of writing compared to Convertibar’s nearly $400—considering what a wild difference it could make for an adventure motorcycle or dirt bike. And according to Ski-Doo, they should fit, as "It fits 7/8 inch bars in both upper and lower clamps—standard motorcycle bar diameter," according to one of the company's reps.

Buying an adventure bike might make the endeavor slightly more expensive, but maybe a kind motorcycle company wants to let me play Doctor Frankenstein with one of their bikes? Anyone, anyone? Bueller? 

But, honestly, why hasn’t the motorcycling world caught onto this design? It solves a problem that’s plagued the world for years, i.e. changing ergonomics between on-road pavement pounding and dirt-flinging off-roading. This could make riding both so much easier. 

I’m really hoping that Can-Am, Ski-Doo’s BRP sibling, sees this story and takes this earnest idea to heart because, I don’t know if you’ve heard or not, but it has a couple of off-road electric motorcycles coming soon. Bikes we're beyond stoked to ride. But adding this little part would be huge. If the company doesn't, I might just have to buy one and do something cool that could change off-road riding forever.

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