Kidney Belt for Road Riders?

by: MCg

Motorcycle Kidney BeltWANT TO STAY IN THE SADDLE LONGER AND MORE COMFORTABLY?

Add a kidney belt to your road-riding apparel.

My first kidney belt supported my guts and lower back in the 70’s during a tremendous amount of dirt bike riding. Man, do those things make offroad moto-life more enjoyable.

At some point after I started riding the pavement, I brought along the same kidney belt and found that I could ride much longer and with less fatigue whenever I wore the thing. 30 years later it is still a staple in my riding arsenal.

Basically, the belt keeps your innards from shaking around and it also supports your lower back. When I put mine on, I typically pull in my gut, tighten the wide kidney belt, and lock the hook and loop (Velcro) fasteners.

There are many choices of kidney belts, including varying degrees of additional back protection, and of course different sizes. Even though there is a greater selection of these belts available, compared to the 70’s, I’ve never found one as good as my first one. Nowadays, the majority of kidney belts are secured via hook and loop fasteners. But I find they wear out after about a year or so of heavy use and the fastening system can then detach by itself while riding.

My first one had metal hooks and metal fasteners that offered a variety of positions for different waist sizes. Like the modern versions, this one also included some elastic fabric so the belt would give a little as you straddled your seat, and because of the metal hooks and metal fasteners back then, the snug fit just wouldn’t detach.

The earlier one also had stainless steel strips, ensconced in rubber for back support. You can find that on some of the modern ones, but the fastening system will not last as long. Regardless, I wouldn’t go for a longer ride without one!

You should be able to buy one from any motorcycle accessories dealer, although more often than not, they will be with the dirt bike apparel.

Do you have a favorite kind of motorcycle kidney belt?

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25 Responses to “Kidney Belt for Road Riders?”
  1. SD says:

    When I was in my teens, racing MX and jumping for $. At local fairs and race tracks I did some stunt jumping. I always wore an elastic belt with hooks in front and on either side in the back a diagonal, flat metal bar to add stiffness. I raced in eastern Washington in the high desert and the heat never really bothered me. I’d wear it over a t-shirt,, between the t-shirt and the elastic material,, it seemed to breathe a bit. I never noticed any extra heat due to the belt,, and typically it was near or above 100f. Now I’m 57 and ride on the street. A typical ride for me is 500 miles a day. I stop every 2 hours for gas and when I stop, I get gas and then will walk around for 5 minutes,, then stretch a bit, and resume riding. I found a belt like my old one and experimented a bit. In my opinion,, I can ride approx 150 miles farther on average,, when I wear it. Not for muscle support as some people seem to use them for,, but it reduces fatigue by reducing vibrations going thru my body and core. Less fatigue means safer riding and more enjoyable riding. From now on I will be wearing it. NOT in place of muscle strength,, but like a runner wrapping ankles or tennis player wrapping a wrist,, for compression. It holds the vital body parts in place and reduces fatigue. I think it also improves my posture by reminding me to sit straight.

  2. David says:

    I have worn one, off and on, since starting riding over 30 years ago, so I started very young on using one, just a simple semi-soft panel with two 3″ wide Velcro elastic fasteners to secure it.

    I think one respondent here nailed it as far as my experience goes – I do think that the riding position, the triangle, matters. I have noticed that the more “passive” the riding position, e.g. a very straight up-and-down cruiser or touring bike, the greater my want for one at the end of a long ride.

    Generally, I usually have ridden entire fuel tanks before stopping, three hours minimum at a time when touring. With a rather large BMW tank, you go quite a way. I think that a slightly canted forward sport touring position gives your inner thighs a chance to help spread the your weight out on the seat rather than all of it being on one’s sit bones, that being leaned forward slightly over the handlebars is less fatiguing as the wind takes off much weight off one’s hands, shoulders, and neck, and I find my spine in pretty good alignment for all day comfort this way.

    I am blessed though. After having been in two major rear-end car accidents, first of which totaled my car, my neck gives me much more problem than my lumbar spine. If anything is going to be stiff, especially after a few days on the road, it is this.

    As I age, perhaps I’ll have to revisit this issue, but for now at over 50, it’s all “good.”

  3. Jim Craig says:

    I’m beginning to think I have the hardest ass going. I ride for two hours straight, 14 to 16 hours a day on a trip. No kidney belt, no leather underwear. Not boasting, just sayin’.

  4. Bob Cooper says:

    A lot of for and against’s here… each has it’s own merit.

    I had to give up riding many times during my life but kept coming back. No matter what bike I rode, my weak spine would give out after a while and I’d be on the slab for another disc operation (I’ve had 5 so far). It made no difference how fit my core was, my spine just couldn’t take it.

    Since 2008, Wearing a weightlifters belt only while riding has stopped this problem completely – I am back pain free.

  5. MR> Doug says:

    Right-on, MR. Bill, My Dr. says the same thing. Get rid of that belt, your better off without it.

  6. Jimbo says:

    It’s not the back that needs help. It is the butt. No matter what seat I use I’m good for about an hour and a half.

  7. Wayne says:

    I’m 68 years old. Work out frequently but have a bad back top to bottom & side to side. I’ve given up damn near everything in my life that I enjoy but riding isn’t one of them. To this end I purchase a Back A Line belt which I love and has added to comfort and range. It has a built in lumbar support, wide velcro main belt in conjunction with a back up belt. ‘works great have had no problems in two years and it’s reasonably priced. Check it out at http://www.backaline.com. I am not connected to this company in any way other than a happy consumer!!

  8. John M says:

    I use a KoolBak kidney belt when riding my GS on longer, more rough terrain rides. For a typical 200 mile ride on pavement, no worries, but going 200 on gravel and dirt roads across the upper peninsula of michigan is a different story. I agree with those who say build a stronger core and use better posture. I also feel like when I have gone down, a little extra back support helps to protect me. So you may say, don’t wear gear – just drive more safely – but I prefer the protection. As to heat – I’ve worn it on some pretty hot days – doesn’t seem to make things a lot worse – maybe that’s why they named it what they did. Enjoy every ride.

  9. MrBill says:

    I remember those belts that were out a few years ago that people were wearing a various jobs. I don’t see them any more.

    I have a disc out of place in my back and my Doctor said to steer clear of the waist belts because they make you dependent on them instead of helping to build up your back muscles.

    I’ve never tried a belt but I make an effort to sit up straight when I ride and that seems to help,

    I live in an area where we get a lot of snow in the Winter so I don’t ride much in cold weather and I’d hate to have something like a wide belt on me in hot weather when I ride most.

    As for dirt bikes, I ride half standing up a lot more than I do sitting down. That seems to throw my weight onto my legs instead of into my back when the terrain is rough. I don’t do jumps while sitting at all.

  10. Kevin Brown says:

    I am 60yrs of age and have been riding since my high school days. (Sport bikes)
    Most jackets today are adjustable for comfort and support and should be worn close and tight but there is no substitute for physical fitness. You ride a bike – get fit, and lift weights and it is far more enjoyable and less taxing.

  11. Tom says:

    I have suffered from low back injury most of my adult life and finally had surgery which has given me a great deal of relief.
    I would be very cautious about wearing a belt. I was taught in a stint of a week in hospital that the belts cause one to rely on the belt to support one’s back rather than developing the proper posture and core strength to support your back.
    There is no doubt that a belt works for athletes in off road competition but it is not a substitute for improving your posture and physical condition.

  12. tinman says:

    One of the best thing I found to use as a kidney belt is a back support device like the ones used by warehouse workers to help support the back while lifting. They are made of a lighter material ,breathe better and are less expensive.

  13. bikerkash says:

    If your an off road rider it should be something you always use, I always did, however if your a street rider, unless you have an exstreamly bad back, why would you wear one. I’m over 70, have always had back issues, ride over 20k per year, have rode all my life and do not use one. I think a lot has to do with the seat and your position on the bike. I ride an FJR, ride up to 400 miles per day and lucky enough to not have issue in that regard.

  14. jude says:

    Any info on the best leather kidney belt on the market ?

  15. Mavilach says:

    I use a Fox dirt bike kidney belt for my touring and it feels great. I would higly recomend whenever your are riding for more of an hour or so.

  16. G Rueger says:

    I also ride with a kidney belt and find it adds support to the back. But for even more comfort, after the ride a couple of belts to the liver work well too. ;-)

  17. Joe says:

    I ride a GoldWing and it rode fine then I had the Traxxion suspension put on it and what a difference, but for the unexpected bumps and hole the kidney belt sounds like a good idea.

  18. Chris Beatty says:

    How about this: When your older (like me at 69), you’ll want to get off the bike almost once an hour to take a leak or a fanny break or to get some water. I don’t consider the ride to be an endurance contest and after all, it’s the ride, not the destination.

  19. McConn says:

    Kidney belts can be uncomfortable in hot/humid weather. The question then becomes how much the comfort it offers in terms of being able to ride longer is offset by the temperature. I guess that would vary from person to person.

  20. Vince Black says:

    So, how comfortable are they during really hot, humid weather? I rode down from Toronto during early July and the dashboard thermometer read 103. Seems all that belt would do would be to make you sweat all the more. Thoughts?

  21. Dale Attaway says:

    I started using a kidney belt a couple years ago. One of the best things I ever did to increase my comfort level on longer rides.

  22. gary amsler says:

    I purchassed a leather “lifting” belt for my kidney belt. Ido not use it around town, but on rides over 30 minutes I strap it on. Makes a world of difference!!

  23. Xi says:

    Thanks for your suggestion. Will try a kidney belt.

  24. KS says:

    I use a leather lifting belt made by Schiek. It has a two-prong buckle with the holes about an inch apart so it is very adjustable and will not release while riding. However, it does not provide the custom fit that a velcro closure would. The front is almost as wide as the back so it provides support both in the front and back of the torso. The belt also provides plenty of padding all around and is very comfortable. I live in the South and do not find it to be anymore uncomfortable on hot days than fabric type belts. I do not wear the bbelt unless I am going on a long ride, but would not do such a ride without it.

  25. SG says:

    I’m not a dirt rider, but I was introduced to kidney belts for street riding and I wear one most of the time.

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