Whats the Most Comfortable Position for Foot Controls?

Behind the knees, underneath them, or forward?

most comfortable foot control position

Dear WRN,
Hoping you can help me. I would really like to know how, in the real world of achy legs and feet and being over 40 what the best foot control position is for comfort: having the foot pegs behind the knees, right under your knees, or having the legs extended forward? For example, is there an advantage to having the foot pegs back so far, behind the knees?

Mj Allen
Sarasota, Florida

Please respond in the comments below.

32 thoughts on Whats the Most Comfortable Position for Foot Controls?

  1. I’m 61, 5 feet 1 inch, and have been riding for 45 years. Currently I own a Harley-Davidson Sportster 883 Superlow with mid-controls. At one point I had the Yamaha V Sstar 650 Custom with forward controls. What I found was that having my feet stretched out created stress on my lower back as it felt like I always had a curved back. With my feet below me I feel more balanced, a straight back, and am able to rise up in case of a severe bump. It’s also easier to glide through turns by applying pressure on the peg. It’s a personal choice.I am new to this site and am enjoying the many articles. I have spread the word to two other women currently taking their riding course.

  2. I am in my 40s and ride a Yamaha R3 sportbike.I had a compression fracture in my spine from a horseback riding accident years ago. I am most comfortable with my feet underneath me on my sportbike. I spent most of my life riding horses (dressage and jumping), so I’m more comfortable having the pegs on the ball of my feet and my feet underneath my center of gravity. This position provides shock absorption as well for my back. I never have a problem with my footpegs, but maybe because my bike is relatively narrow.

  3. I have a Triumph America with floorboards and they are comfortable but my feet tend to go to sleep. I also ride a Moto Guzzi Breva 1100 with mid pegs with knees forward and that is the most comfortable position I have found. My over-50 knees tend to start aching on long trips but with the Guzzi I can move them around more than with the floorboards. Plus more control for me. Good Luck finding the right one.

  4. I think it all totally depends on you, your body, and your comfort. I am 57 years old and find the forward controls on my Harley-Davidson Fat Boy to be awesome for comfort. I’d previously only ridden bikes with mid controls. I don’t think I could take that any more!But yeah, I’m nearly certain I could never do the controls that sit behind you. My body just won’t contort that way comfortably, and I can’t see my ol’ bod being able to ride very far at all with rear controls. Love my forwards!

  5. My first bike had forward controls and I found it to be a comfortable ride, but once I rode one with center controls I felt like I was a lot more stable and in control. So in my opinion it depends on what kind of comfort your looking for. I got rid of the bike with forward controls and now am riding one with center controls. I plan to put highway pegs on mine for the long rides so I can stretch out if needed.

  6. I’m 5 feet 7 inches and I actually prefer my feet behind me and body slightly forwards, as in a sport bike position. I can feel the what the front is doing better that way and do not have to worry about being thrown backwards if I accelerate hard. My road bike is a bit more upright but my track bike is a standard sport bike setup. I have had knee surgery on my left knee as well but it doesn’t hinder my riding. I’ve tried feet in front and I just never felt in great control and did not like being thrown back on acceleration. I also found it harder on my back, oddly enough.

  7. Hi MJ,As a 43-year-old female rider, riding a Suzuki super bike I find having my feet behind my knee much more comfortable. I used to ride a cruiser, but suffered terribly with cramps in my groin.

  8. I like them a little in front of me. That way you don’t get cramped. You can stretch a bit, flex. Very comfortable.

  9. I’m in my early 40s and have had ACL reconstruction done on both knees. I’m 5 fee 7 inches and ride a Kawasaki Vulcan Classic 900. I find my legs are most comfortable with feet extended just under my foot controls. I think my legs would be more than a 90-degree angle. I find I very rarely use my highway pegs and don’t feel the need to move feet around on my floorboards even on day long rides when in this position. Comfort may be very individual but when you mentioned age and knees thought I may be of some help?

  10. Hello, I am a 5-foot-1-inch 62-year-old lady rider of many mid-shift bikes, and have been using forward controls for the past three years. There is no going back for me after being able to stretch and move my foot position. For me it’s a much more comfortable ride.

  11. When I first started riding, mids were most comfortable for getting used to starting and stopping. Now that I have some time in the saddle, I prefer forwards.

  12. I have a 2014 Harley-Davidson 883 Sportster. It came with mids and I did not like it at all so I purchased forward controls with a 2-inch reduced reach kit and am loving it!I’m a 5 foot 4 inch woman rider.

  13. I’m almost 63, 5 feet 5 inches tall, but with long legs for my height. I have a type of arthritis that makes my legs hurt if they’re bent back for long, so pegs in back are out for me. I ride a Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail and I love the footboards. I can shift my foot position on them, plus I have highway pegs on the engine guards. With these, I can rest my heels on the floorboards and have my toes on the pegs for a mid-stretch. Or I place the entire foot on the highway pegs for more stretch. I ride long distances and find that changing foot position, plus getting off every 150 miles or so, is best for me.

  14. I prefer floorboards. It allows you to move your feet. You can go a little forward, a little backward, in the middle, whatever works. I find it’s best to move them around on long rides.

  15. I have always had sportbikes or sport tourers except for a brief stint with a Yamaha Star Stryker. I found the forward controls nice for comfort, but the maneuverability of the bike left a lot to be desired. I am currently on a BMW K1300GT which has the controls below the seat with a slight knee bend. I find that if I need to stretch I can stand up on the pegs and give myself a break. I am however considering a new R1200RT that has an even more relaxed riding position due to my 50-year-old knees.I have a 32-inch inseam which is great for being able to flat-foot a bike but leaves me with some knee bend. It is hard finding that perfect comfortable bike that lets me whip around the curves like I am used to doing.

  16. Comfort or safety, I believe you have more control if you can lift your butt off of the seat when needed. I have found that mid-controls are the safest. There are many different positions you can hang your feet off of on the mid controls. You can also throw your feet on to the back pegs if you want to and also add pegs to your engine guards, but the mid controls allows you to stand up if needed to lift off your seat also.

  17. I’m over 40, and do three-digit-mile rides regularly. I think it’s important to have options with foot placement. And generally that’s only available with floorboards. (Though I’ve seen taller folks able to reach passenger pegs behind them if they lean forward on their tank). You can extend your feet forward to stretch your legs out. You can place them towards the back of the boards, with a bigger knee bend Or you can place each leg in different spots, one front, one back. The point being the more positions you can place your feet, the better. Especially when doing long distance rides. f you plan to do short trips, then foot pegs in front or below your knees would be fine. But once you start doing long distance rides, your legs will be screaming for floorboards. Having the footpegs behind the knees only work for riders who have sportbikes as it places you in the “natural” forward leaning position to be more streamlined.

  18. Standard seating position, with the controls directly under you. Only seating position I like, for visibility, and comfort. I’m 50 years old, and 5 feet 5 inches tall. I drive a 1973 Honda CB450.

  19. I have a Dyna Low Rider and it has mid controls, not quite underneath but not a full stretch. I also have pegs on my engine guard that allow me to stretch and change positions when on a long ride. For me it’s the best of all worlds!

  20. I’m only 5 feet 2 inches. I find it better to be able to have the ability to have the option of pegs behind and forward. I’m 50 and the ability for several safe positions really help.

  21. I ride a Honda Shadow with my legs forward. Seems to help me ride with better posture.

  22. I’m 5 feet 7 inches. I have had ACL reconstruction done on both knees. I drive a Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic. I love the floorboards. It gives me the freedom of different positions. Very rarely do I use my highway pegs as my knees do not get uncomfortable enough to need them. Unless I was somehow rich enough to have a sleeker city bike I would never go back to pegs.

  23. I’m 5 feet 1 inches and 52 year olds. I prefer floorboards. Most comfy for my feet. Everyone is different, depending on preference, bike.

  24. I’m short and love having floorboards and use a heel toe shifter. Great for long rides.

  25. Mid 40s and 5 feet 10 inches. I have HD Sportster with forward controls. Very comfy once you get used to them.

  26. I prefer forward controls because I have bursitis in both hips due to an injury while I was in the Army. I also ride a trike to the same reason. My hips just can’t take the strain. Much more comfortable for me and I can continue riding!

  27. I am 57. When I had footpegs I tried the regular way and with extenders and found either way was still uncomfortable. Then I rode with the footboards and found it a lot more comfortable and the arthritis in my knees don’t act up at all like they did with the pegs.

  28. As a male (over 40) with short legs and different model bikes, it depends on the ride for the day/week/trip. Most city/town or short local riding, mid-sets are pretty good overall. But many women ride the cruisers so just having these “more” forward pegs makes it hard to get a second place to move the foot/leg while riding. Floorboards helps but the issue becomes feet on ground problem as the boards are wider. Same goes for big touring bikes (HD, Gold Wing, etc.). As one becomes a better rider… you realize where you can add “extra pegs” or not or if it’s easy to add as well. It’s an “experience” issue mostly.

  29. 5 feet 8 inches here and I ride a HD Street Glide. I prefer stretched out and I even put a solo seat on mine so I could sit back a bit further for the full stretch. Sometimes I ride with the solo seat and sometimes with the stock seat with a back rest (which feels like it puts my knees at more of a 90-degree bend). I prefer to be stretched out and if I use the stock seat, I use my highway pegs much more often, especially for longer rides, to stretch out my legs.

  30. I am 4 feet 11 inches and am over 40. I originally owned a Harley-Davidson Sportster with midframe footpegs. It got uncomfortable if you are on a longer ride (even for someone with short legs). I now ride a Harley Freewheeler with midframe floorboards but I can stretch my legs out. It’s a matter of preference but definitely on longer rides, I prefer my legs stretched instead of underneath me.

  31. I’m 5 feet 5 inches, 40 years old, and both of my knees have seen better days. Before I bought my Victory Octane I tried different motorcycles with different footpeg positions. I feel more comfortable with the pegs forward, with my legs stretched out with a slight bend in the knee. I don’t know if the pegs being behind the knees is beneficial except for the sportbikes when you lean forward. I think it really depends on the person what is comfortable. Also many bikes have reduced reach pegs or reduced reach seats that help if you have shorter legs. Just get out there and sit on every kind of bike before you buy.

  32. Hi MJ, I’m short legged and cannot use forward controls. My 883 has the controls straight underneath, not behind or forward. I’m most comfortable that way. I guess it depends on how long your legs are!

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