Ergonomics on two-wheels: Where are we heading? – Part 1

I am a motorcyclist. Thus, it came to no surprise that I did my postgraduate on just about that – aside from of course; giving me a good excuse in convincing my Mother to purchase for me a 500cc hotrod (“research investment” was the term I’d use). However, back then – in 2011 and all the way after a year of my graduation, 2015; there is very little – I would say, interest, in regards to ergonomics on two-wheels. 

When I did my research on motorcycle ergonomics, the feedback I’ve gotten, even from well-respected academician wasn’t really – delightful. I was told that motorcycles are for the poor and downright not ergonomic to be used as transportation; so my study was practically useless. I wasn’t sure in regards to the actual intention behind the feedback that I’ve gotten from the said academician, was the particular individual was just trying to be rather provocative in nature just to test on my standings? Or was he really that close-minded? 

Till this very day, I don’t know the actual reason. In fact, in this stage of my life, I have little concern on the actual reason behind the strange behavior of the particular academician. Just that sometimes, the memory on that particular event did bugs me since it did change my perspective on the acceptance level of ergonomics on two-wheels – even among wise academicians.

Generally, ergonomics on two-wheels is rather a no man’s land. It is a dead zone. There are extremely limited research publications on this particular niche. Even if there are, the research scopes will either be on anthropometry or WBV exposures. Publications on motorcycles are mostly, yes, you’ve guess it: accidents and safety. Granted however, it had been more than a year or so since my last outing in looking for research journal. Not a good thing, I know. I dare say that there should at least some growth on the publications; I may dwell into the matter later. Previously, I wasn’t keen on investigating the matter because I was basically learning the ropes on my new teaching post and focusing on the task I am handed with. In addition, due to some cause of event – though an understatement; motorcycle ergonomics had left a very distasteful flavor at the root of my tongue and mind. Thus, I wasn’t really interested on what was going on in regards to niche; until recently.

A few days ago, very generous colleague had share information that her Husband, upon purchasing a new bicycle was provided with ergonomic adjustment service. I knew that such service is provided – in fact it was documented e.g. Henri H. C. M. Christiaans and Angus Bremner (1998). In this particular study, a bicycle simulator was used to test on several ergonomic fit and retailers were indeed thrilled with the simulator and would like to purchase it. The simulator could be utilize by potential customer in finding for the right bicycle that suits them best or having the capacity to adjust the vehicle to fit them best. So, the information given by my colleague was not really groundbreaking. But, the attention to details in regards to the ergonomic adjustments and fit provided by the retailer are absolutely revolutionary and tears-of-joy-inducing, well, at least to an enthusiast such as me. 

I would like to give a full review on the system or any other similar systems that are used by retailers in providing the ergonomic adjustment/fit to their potential customer. However, prior to that, I would like to first conduct a field study. I would like to visit the retailer and see the service first-hand in order to ensure that I will provide the accurate information, so, will be back with the article soon.

Dr. Muhammad Izzat Nor Ma’arof
Senior Lecturer, Mechanical Engineering Department,
Faculty of Engineering and Quantity Surveying,
Persiaran Perdana BBN, Putra Nilai, 71800 Nilai, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia
INTI International University.
Mobile: +6013-636 8691

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