If you have a desk job, you know how important it is to have a comfortable chair and a desk with all your accoutrements close at hand: computer, stapler, tape dispenser, “TPS reports,” everything is positioned for quick access.
Motorcycle racers are like that, too. Their office – in the saddle of their motorcycle – is configured to maximize their efficiency, keep them comfortable, and most importantly, win races.
Defending MotoAmerica Motul Superbike Champion Toni Elias’ office is set up a little bit differently than most riders because Elias himself is set up a little bit differently than most riders. He is smaller in stature, and a Superbike is decidedly at the large end of the racebike scale, not to mention being hella-powerful. Under acceleration, especially coming out of corners, the bike wants to practically tear the rider’s arms out of their sockets and pull their bodies straight off the back of the motorcycle. In turn, that rearward change in weight balance causes the bike to wheelie and, even with electronic lift control, power overcomes intervention to loft the front wheel.
To combat the effect, a lot of riders – and especially Elias – have a large, neoprene pad attached to the back of their seat, which keeps them pushed forward and as close to being over the front wheel as they can get. Elias’ rear seat pad is a very prominent feature in his office.
“Since coming to America in 2016 to race for Yoshimura Suzuki, I have always used the seat pad on my Superbike,” Elias said. “I am small, and the Superbike is big, big bike. The pad keeps me in perfect position, and I am comfortable.”
A less prominent feature, but just as purposeful in Elias’ office, are his handlebars. With the seat pad pushing him forward in the saddle, his arms are able to more easily reach the bars. And, since leverage is so critical, especially to a smaller rider like Elias, his clip-ons are almost at a 90-degree angle from the sides of his bike. While the majority of racers prefer their handlebars to be swept back similar to the way most streetbike handlebars are situated, Elias’ steering setup is reminiscent of a Texas longhorn, or more appropriate for his Spanish heritage, a bull in the plaza de toros.
So, you could say that, when Elias is aboard his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 and sitting in his office, he has the bull by the horns.