rear sets

Woodcraft Yamaha R6 Rearsets
This is a guest post by Eric Wood who owns Woodcraft Technologies.

When Woodcraft was founded in 1996, the very first product that we offered was a set of rearsets for a Kawasaki ZX7.  Although this was a popular model back then, the real reason that we started with this bike is that I had been riding ZX7’s for several years and needed something for my own bike.  Unlike today, there were very few choices for rearsets back then.  The only options that I could find were too expensive and many of them were quite fragile.  In spite of this, my biggest concern was that even if I found one that I liked I would never be able to find a spare piece if I crashed (which I did a lot more of back then).  These were all issues that needed to be addressed.

The real reasons that I was motivated to find rearsets back then were very much the same as they are today.  I had been racing for many years on stock rearsets, and as tires were getting better the lean angles were getting higher.  This led to the destruction of several pairs of road race boots and an occasional bleeding pinkie toe.  It got bad enough that I started cutting up old face shields into little rectangles and duct taping on a fresh “toe slider” before every race… I knew that there had to be a better way.

OEM Rearset Weaknesses

I also noticed that the stock folding footpegs had a couple weaknesses.  First, they did not offer very good grip.  The condition of the end of the footpeg seemed to have the biggest effect on the ability to hold the riders foot in place, and we would use that information when we designed our own pegs.  As my riding progressed, I learned to use my legs as my primary means to move on the motorcycle.  This effort would often cause the pegs to fold up at inopportune times and would slow me down (the ZX7 was heavy and required a lot of effort to turn).

The last weakness of the stock rearsets was the complete lack of crash protection.  Even with folding pegs, the cast bracketswould easily snap.  The pegs were so long that even when they were folded they had considerable leverage to break the bracket if they caught on anything while sliding.  As for protecting the motorcycle, we found in a static test that when we leaned the bike all the way over to the ground the pegs were always the first to touch.  However, once they folded up it was my very expensive Muzzy titanium exhaust on one side and my polished swingarm on the other that took the brunt of the abuse.  Not good.

With all this in mind we set off to design a set of rearsets that would have proper ground clearance, superior grip and improved durability when compared to the stock units.  The first consideration was material.  Billet aluminum is readily available, has an excellent strength to weight ratio and was the obvious choice for a place to start.  After considerable research we narrowed our choices down to 2 alloys, 6061 and 7075.  The 7075 alloy had a higher tensile strength and was our material of choice until further study revealed a couple key flaws.  First, 7075 is not considered to be weldable while 6061 is quite easily repaired in this fashion.  For racers who needed to make emergency repairs, this was an important factor.  Second, 6061 Aluminum can be bent considerably and remain structurally intact but when 7075 bends it tends to crack.  We knew that no matter how well the rearset was designed, a single piece of Aluminum was not going to be able to take the force of a 400lb motorcycle slamming to the ground without yielding a little bit.  In the end, 6061 was the obvious choice.

Design Considerations

When looking at footpeg design, Woodcraft considered the use of several different solid mount pegs as well as folding versions.  The pegs need to be light, able to withstand a crash and provide both good grip and feedback.  Our track experience led us to consider several different factors in the design.

First, active riders use their legs when moving on the bike and can cause folding pegs to flip up inadvertently.  This factor alone was a major strike against folding pegs.  Second, folding pegs provide no protection for critical (and more expensive) parts of the motorcycle.  Through stress analysis we found that if the rearset bracket is made robustly enough it will be able to survive through many common crashes, even when attached to a solid footpeg.  We considered foot size, ground clearance and bracket bending leverage when looking at peg length.  If the solid footpeg was made shorter than the OEM units then it would not only have more ground clearance but it would also have less leverage to bend the rearset bracket.  They only needed to be wide enough for riders to comfortably secure their feet.

The next design considerations were shape, surface finish and attachment method of the peg.  After looking at both flat and round pegs, Woodcraft went with a round footpeg because it was both easy to manufacture and provided the best strength at the lowest weight.  In an effort to create grip Woodcraft incorporated a raised lip on the end of all of our footpegs and gave both the main surface and the lip an aggressive knurled finish.  When considering the attachment method there were two main choices.  We could either use a through bolt from the back side of the bracket into the peg or we could create a solid round section on the peg that slid into the bracket and was secured with a pinch bolt.  The factory Ducati rearsets of this day were set up with the pinch bolt, and we had noticed that when they were crashed hard that the bracket would often twist considerably and bend beyond repair.  We concluded that the strongest and most cost effective method was to through bolt the footpeg.

The last design consideration for our rearsets was perhaps the most important.  We knew that no matter how we designed these kits that racers were going to fall and break them.  However, in most cases the pedals are the most common thing that breaks.  A rider can get through on a slightly bent rearset bracket or a ground down peg, but if the shift pedal breaks it’s game over.  Most rearset manufacturers make their own shift and brake pedals that are unique to their kits.  So, if you ride a GSXR and use Brand “X” rearsets and break your shift pedal, someone needs to have a Brand “X” spare lever or you’re sunk.

Universal Peg Attachment

Most pegs in the 90’s had the pedals mounted right on them and therefore need to be unique for every model.  Having your own special pedals as a manufacturer would be convenient because it allows you the luxury of having a universal footpeg.  However, footpegs tend to be pretty tough and are not usually what breaks – the pedals do.  On all of our early rearsets (and many of our latest models), we made the decision to make our rearsets accept stock shift and brake pedals whenever possible.  Although this made for several challenges when doing our individual designs, the results were that riders could always have easy access to spares since most everyone has stock pedals around.

Next time we’ll talk about some of the more technical aspects of rearset design and we will explore the R6 rearsets in particular. If anyone has any questions/feedback on this or any other design topic, feel free to email us at