Kawasaki Motorcycle Forums banner
1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
408 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone here use their 500R (or other sport bike) for long range riding? I use my bike for a lot of local riding, but I'm also looking forward to some multi-day road trips. So far, I've only had the chance to take 2 road trips of about 180-200 miles total. So, I'm still working out comfort / ergonomics issues.

My riding gear consists of an HJC full-face helmet, Joe Rocket Phoenix pants, and JR Alter Ego jacket. I purchased a Küryakyn Universal Throttle Boss to keep my hand from cramping. I also got a pair of gel-seat bicycling shorts to stave off saddle soreness. (I know that there are some nice aftermarket saddles out there, but are any of them waterproof like the stock saddle?) Finally, I've discovered that a long sleeve T-shirt, made out of a "wicking" fabric like Coolmax and worn under my riding jacket, helps keep me comfortable and keep the jacket from sticking to my skin on hot days.

Anyway, I'd love to hear what any of you have done to make long range sport bike riding more comfortable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,384 Posts
The best advice I can give you for extended rides is to move in your saddle - forward, backwards up, down and side to side. I always try to plan some extra stops in on longer riders just in case and break up the time in the saddle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,384 Posts
Oh, the other thing is to work up to the longer rides to get used to it as well!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
412 Posts
Middles of July I took a 518-mile trip on mine. Loved every minute of it. Did not start to get sore until about the last 50 miles. Legs and shoulders were all though. Never got saddle sore and back never bothered me. Legs just got stiff and neck where shoulder meet got sore, but I had a slipped disc at the base of my neck from a wreck a couple of years ago, so that is nothing new to me. All in all I think the 500 does very nice on long rides.

Joe
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
629 Posts
I rode long distance on my GPz750 and Seca 400 and loved it. I'd recommend taking extra socks 'cause it's nice to give your toes some breathing room after a long ride. Also, watch your liquid intake. I sat in stop & go traffic for 3 hours once (90°F) and just about gave myself heat stroke. :twisted:

My favourite ride is from the 401 to Highway 45 and 7 through Hastings, Baltimore, Norwood, Havelock and on to Ottawa, Ontario. Great scenery, lots of twisties. 6 hours.
:D :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
222 Posts
I can't give you any pointers particular to a sport bike -- I've taken an 1820 miler (Denver-Vegas-Salt Lake City-Denver) and a 1490 miler (Denver-Lovington, NM (home town of Brian Urlacher of the Chicago Bears) - Denver) on a VN800, and a 910 miler (Denver - Albuquerque - Denver) on my VN900 -- all solo -- but many of the most important things are probably the same. A case in point is 1Adam12's suggestion to move around in your saddle. I laughed when I read his suggestion because I, out of need, found myself doing exactly that on the 1820 miler -- not from planning. Took that trip before I put the Mustang seat on the 800 and after the first 100 miles was doing exactly what he descibed -- moving forward, back, forward, back, side, back, forward, the other side, forward...... I was constantly moving in the saddle for the other 1720 miles and stopping to walk around (and hydrate (per forest 1000)/dehydrate (per bladder demands)) about every 100. I ordered myself the Mustang the day I got back!

I think the most important advise I can give it is, "Enjoy and don't hurry!" Service your bike before the trip -- oil, filter, air filter, lube chain, plugs, timing, etc. Plan your trip, but don't use the plan as if it were set in concrete. I set up my rides for around 350 to 450 miles a day. That gives me slack to handle most of the unexpected -- too much rain; lightning,; bike problems; extended time with friends along the way; great photo chances; side trips, either interesting or required, discovered on the trip. Those intervals also anticipate doing all my riding in daylight though the "unexpected" had me riding in the dark more than rarely.

To make the unplanned night riding safer, I added a light bar up front (feel it also makes me more visible to oncoming traffic in daylight) and swapped all my bulbs for brighter ones. I also added reflective tape to my helmet, jacket, and the bike. Reflectively Yours has all types and colors of reflective tape for those purposes. They have sew-on and iron-on tape which I used on the jacket; thin strips which I used on the helmet; special, thin, flexible tape to put on your rims; and "Stealth" tape which I put on my hard bags. The Stealth tape is one color during daylight and reflects bright white when headlights hit it at night. I used their black Stealth on my black bags and it's virtually invisible during the day, but really does shine at night!! The rim tape I use is silver and is invisible on my chrome rims in daylight, but really make the bike visible from the sides at night. They don't have the special rim tape in other colors, but from my experience with their other strips on my helmet, I'm sure with patience, you can put any of their colored strips on your rims, matching the color of the rims. I also used their thin, silver tape on the edges of my floorboards on the 900. I'm planning to modify the 900 so the rear turn signals burn legally all the time and also act as added brake lights. That means they have to be red, at least while running and braking.

Taking my plan, I make advance reservations at the planned intervals. This avoids running around from place to place, in an overflowing vacation spot, trying to find lodging. I haven't yet had to cancel and pay a penalty, but the reservations have caused most, if not all, of the unplanned night riding I've done. All-in-all, I've found having the reservations more of a benefit than detriment.

I clean my helmet and visor each night and wash and check the windshield, tires, and bike each morning -- the bugs come off easier when fresh! One such morning check found the lightbar and headlight not working. Finding that out as it got dark, in the middle of a desert or on a twisting mountain rode wouldn't have been fun! Took a 30-mile unplanned side trip to a dealer who found the light bar my shop had wired into the headlight circuit had blown the fuse after about 1000 miles. They put in the next bigger fuse and had no more such problems after that. Also asked them to check the drive chain for lubing (same 1000 miles on the chain which I had lubed before I started the trip), but after checking, they said the paraffin-type lube my shop used would be good for the rest of the trip.

Since my long rides are in summer, I, of course, dress in warm weather gear -- mesh fabric jacket; ventilated gloves; and a light, moisture wicking, long sleeved shirt like you mentioned. I even pack an evaporative vest which was very effective the one time I used it on a 114 degree day, coming back from Vegas. I also pack cold weather gloves and liners, a wind/waterproof liner for the jacket, a skiing balaclava which fits comfortably under my helmet, and a microfiber vest. These were lifesavers on my September ride back from Albuquerque when I ran into wet, early winter-like temperatures in the mountains. I also carry raingear, but have never used it. I've been through long, drenching rains on almost every trip, but have been more than comfortable, behind the windshield, with my jacket, jacket liner, full helmet, chaps, and Gore-Tex boots. I wear DragginJeans which are Kevlar-lined with hard armored knees. Lately, though not Kevlar-lined or armored, I've seen Gore-Tex jeans in catalogs like Cabela's.

I carry a Playmate cooler on my luggage rack with water, sodas, and snacks. It's refreshing to drink and snack during those, "shake things down," breaks every 100 miles or so.

I also carry a cellphone; a versatile version of Leatherman; a multi-bit screwdriver; a Diamond tool which combines an adjustable wrench, pliers, and screwdriver; and my AAA card. Before the trip, check with your cellphone company on your phone's service on the trip. My trip to Vegas had a lot of digital dead spots through Utah. Since the phone I was using was only digital, I reactived my old tri-mode phone for that trip.

Make sure you know how far the next gas station is and how much fuel you have when you're about to pass one. They're few and far between in a lot of the Western states. I installed a 2.5 gallon auxiliary fuel tank on my 800. That gave me a calculated "safe" range of around 240 miles, but I still ran out of gas at 216 miles (by then I had the Mustang and didn't need the stops every 100 miles) one time because of a lot of hills and headwinds. Thank goodness for the cellphone and AAA card. Haven't yet installed an auxiliary on the 900. The FI (pressurized fuel line) makes piping one in more difficult, but I'm thinking about how I might do it without punching into the fuel tank.

Make sure everything, you don't have on your person, is either out-of-sight or even better, locked, when you take a filling station or dining break. We need to help keep honest people, honest! I learned that lesson the hard way, many years ago, when my wife and I, traveling by car, stopped at a filling station in Wichita Falls, TX. We, young and unthinking, both went to the bathrooms at the same time and left the car unlocked. About 50 miles down the road, we found someone had lifted her purse out of the car while we were in the bathrooms!

There's probably a lot more I could pass on if I think a little more, but this is already getting too long.

Parting words -- don't hurry, be safe, and enjoy!! AND DON'T FORGET YOUR CAMERA (and extra socks and shorts)!!!
 

·
IBA#34418
Joined
·
6,332 Posts
hharada gave you about the best advise you will be able to get! I have a 900LT and did my first long rides this past summer.

The only thing I will do different this year than last is NOT make the hotel reservations in advance. I found that to be causing me a little stress of worrying about getting there instead of enjoying the ride. I also found that it kept me from making side trips of things I found intersting because I was too worried about making it to the next hotel. He does make a valid point. If you are going to be in a high touristy area on a busy day then you may want to make advanced reservations!

Other than that I think his last line really sums it up well!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,924 Posts
If he hasn't figured it out in >3 yrs, he's never gonna. Check out the original post dates.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
222 Posts
Yes, I saw the old posting date. The thread cropped up at the bottom of another thread I was looking at (in the Cruiser section). Curious, I clicked and when I saw very little tips given, decided to punch out a "few" thinking they might help someone else.

Following up on pat0021, I agree that reservations can cause some stress which could be avoided without. On my Lovington trip, late at night and in rain, I was cussing myself for having made reservations in a spot on the map called Tucumcari, NM. That was the trip I ran out of gas and waited for AAA to bring me some, prior to Tucumcari. But in NM, after passing a real small spot, some 90 miles back, there was nothing left but Tucumcari anyway!!!

My thoughts softened somewhat in the morning, however, after sleeping in a nice bed and having the included, hot breakfast buffet, at one of the nicer, most popular inns in the town. I probably wouldn't have been able to get a room there, that late, on a night not good for driving, much less biking. I, fact, probably wouldn't have found it without the reservations. When checking in, they even suggested I park the bike under their front awning to let it dry off!!

If you don't make reservations, at least check out the lodging possibilities (including amenities and locations), at your planned intervals, during your planning stage. There's little worse than staying up the night chasing bedbugs and cockroaches (on one of my non-biking trips).

AND ABOVE ALL, SALUTE THOSE VETS!!!!
 

·
Alien Test Subject
Joined
·
3,515 Posts
I can't give you any bike-specific suggestions, since my ol' ZX-10 already makes a good sport-touring platform. But it can be done on almost any bike if you plan correctly. You just have to know you and your bikes comfort zone and limitations.

First thing you'll need to consider is what type of trip are you making.Will you be gone a full week, or just overnight? Will there be a lot of highway involved, or primarilly backroads? Are you trying to get somewhere at a specific time, or just out touring? All these will dictate what/how much gear you need to pack, your route, and the amount of saddletime and length of rest stops you need to take.

Packing
When packing, no matter how much your taking, let the bike carry as much of the load as possible. You may have a backpack that you love, and can carry a Wal-Mart load of stuff, but carrying it on your back all day will double your fatigue. A tank-bag and soft saddlebags will allow the bike to carry the weight, and keep it off your shoulders. Just an over-nighter to a freinds place? All you really need is socks, undies, and a spare t-shirt tucked into a tank-bag, and your good to go. Heck, with a big enough tank-bag (like my Givi), I can go a full weakend, and still have the essentials I need to feel human, while having room for a few other neccesities (camera, tools, rain gear, etc..). For longer, or more involved/active trips, the addidion of saddlebags might be neccesary. What you can carry is only limited by the size of the bags you buy. If you don't have bags, or want to invest in them, look into a tail-bag, or find a decent, nylon duffle-type bag. The size you would use as a carry-on for flying. You probably already have a couple floating around. Just load it, strap it down to the back seat, and off you go.

Pack only what you need for the trip. Traveling light is the essence of motorcycle touring (unless you're on a Wing!). If your riding boots are comfortable enough for walking around in, do you really need that extra pair of shoes? How many days are you comfortable wearing the same pair of jeans? That same sweatshirt thats keeping you warm today - guess what - it'll keep you just as warm tomorrow! Obviously, you don't want to smell like a goat, but if you'r gone long enough, laundry-mats can be found all over the US!! It's more important to have room for your rain gear, spare gloves, and facesheild, than it is to take that $150 pair of sneaker.

Comfort - you and the bike
Before you start your trip, it's a good idea to know your confort levels. Obviosly, there is no way to truely know how comfortable you are on a 1500 mile trip until you actually do it, but you can get a feel for it before the time comes. A week or two before, do a couple of "test" rides.

You may be perfectly comfortable doing 70mph on the highway on your 10 mile daily commute, but what about after 150 miles? Take an afternoon, get on the highway, and go out 40 or 50 miles, turn around, and come back home. Are you comfortable with the wind buffeting after an hour at speed? Did other traffic push you around too much? What spots on your body got sore and cramped? Were you able to change you body position enough to help alleviate some of this? These are important things to know. No matter how well you plan a trip, inevitably, you'll almost always have some stints on the super-slab. The highway is actually one of the most fatiguing places to ride, with buffeting, wind noise, and the constant drone of the road, all while sitting in the same position on the bike. At least on back roads, your working the bike, constantly changing RPMs, gears, and body position. So while you may be doing more work, your brain is constantly stimulated.

Take a similar length trip, or longer, on backroads. Notice how all the same things feel. And how long before you feel like taking a break.

At least once before a trip, load up the bike with similar gear to what you'll take with you, and go for a 10 mile ride. Notice how the additional weight affects the bikes handling. Are you comfortable with the additional weight? Is it evenly balanced? Does any of the luggage press against you uncomfortably? It's better to know now, and be able to make adjustments, then get 300 miles from home, only to find out that the exhaust is melting your saddle bags, or the tail-pack is pressing against your spine.

Stock seats can be notoriously uncomfortable after a few hours. A Corbin is a good investment if your willing to spend the money. If not, something like an AirHawk seat cushoin will help alot. Or find a peice of sheepskin, and strap it to your seat. Anything you do to make your saddle mor comfortable, will add to the distance you can go in one day.

Some other comfort notes to consider. Earplugs can make a world of differance on highway stints. The eliminate a lot of wind noise, thereby lessening fatigue. If you comfortable listening to music on the bike, an iPod/MP3 player can make life on the road a bit more pleasent. But remember, it may not be legal, and the music you listen to can affect your rythm and pace.

Route/time planning
Ussually when we travel by bike, we are basically vacationing to some degree or another. Generally speaking, it's not normally something we do when we need to be "time-sensitive" (though it does happen periodically). Best thing you can do, is keep as open of a timeframe as possible, as well as keeping your route "loose." But do have a general plan in mind, set some basic goals, and most importantly, let someone know your intentions, just in case something goes wrong!!

If you know you can be in Podunk in four hours, plan for six. This does a few things. It gives you time to take extended breaks if needed, allows for wrong turns and getting lost, and lets you change your route if the map shows a really twisty road, or the worlds largest ball of twine that you just MUST go see. And when you get to Podunk, call someone and let them know your alive.

Know how far your bike can go on gas. If you get 150 miles, start looking for gas at 120 - not when you hit reserve! Nothings worse than running out of gas somwhere with no cell-phone coverage. Trust me, I know!! Use your fuel stops to their full advantage. It's the perfect time to stretch your legs, get something to drink, check your map, etc.. Make every 2nd fuel stop a 'mandatory' breather. Even if you think you feel fine.

Most highways have a secondary route that roughly parallels it. If you have a long highway stint, use these to your advantage. Go 50 miles on the highway, get off, and follow the 'feeder' for awhile, and repeat the cycle for a bit. It'll keep you much fresher than droning down the superslab for endless hours. It has the added bonus, of giving you more interesting places to eat, sight-see, or what ever.

A loose route will allow you to see places you might not think of. When you get fuel at the little gas station in the middle of nowhere, ask the cashier if there is a nicer road over to Podunk, or if ther is a large ball of twine somewhere close. On a trip to Lancaster, PA once, I met a couple of riders who invited me to tag along with them. They were headed to the same general area, but had a vastly differant route, that I would have never considered. And it was a much better ride!

The essentials
There are some things you just don't leave home without on a bike trip. Be it two days, or two weeks, some things just MUST be packed.

Now a days, the cell-phone is top of that list. It's your life-line to civilization should something go wrong. I know we used to make trips without them, but for the life I've me, I don't know how!

Rain gear is also very high on the list. For obvious reasons. Keep it stashed in a place readily accessable in a hurry. Nothings worse than having to dig for it in the bottom of a bag, in a torential downpour, while you, and the rest of your gear get soaking wet!

A small, but well thought out, tool kit. You won't need to swap out pistons (hopefully) on a trip, but you want to have the right tools to do emergancy repairs on the side of the road to your bike. What tools do you need to get to the battery? Or adjust the chain? Change the oil? Switch out a burnt-out light? My bike, for example, can be almost completely torn down with 2 allen keys, a 12 and 14mm wrench, and a Phillips head screwdriver. So I keep two of each in my kit, along with some other basics. Like a good multi-tool, spark-plug wrench, some zip-ties, a shop rag, etc.. And don't forget a tire patching kit of some sort. A plug-tool, tire plugs, and a CO2 kit take minimal space, and will get most flat tires up and running until you can get to a shop to have it replaced.

I also keep some spares in my tool kit. Nothing major or bulky, but again, enough to get you going again. Two or three fairing screws, exta bulbs for both the headlight and signals, electrical tape and a lenth of wire, and a spare bungee or two. Just enough to get you down the road to where you can get it fixed properly.

I always keep a spare pair of gloves in my tank-bag. Even when I'm just running around town. Lose one? Got an extra pair. The rain clears up? Got a dry pair. I wear sunglasses in the helmet all the time, even on grey days, but when it gets dark, I have clears at the ready. That way, I can still ride with the facesheild open for ventilation. And wind-pants and extra, light layers. Kept close to the top, so I can adjust what I'm wearing when it gets colder or warmer as the day goes along.




It's a little long winded, but I hope it helps. Again, alot of what I listed will vary based on the length and purpose of the trip. The most important thing, is use common sense, and don't try to over do it. If you feel weary, pull over. If you overpacked, UPS stuff home.

Most importantly, enjoy the experiance of traveling by bike!!!!!!
 

·
Alien Test Subject
Joined
·
3,515 Posts
Ha! Just noticed the age of the thread myself - after doing all that typing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,118 Posts
If he hasn't figured it out in >3 yrs, he's never gonna. Check out the original post dates.....
That's just **** funny... I got caught out again myself!

This has got to be some kind of record...

Actually may I propose to the mods an official "old thread resurrection record" sticky?

I'll do the hard work this first time round:

Current official "old thread resurrection" record holder: hharada
Record: thread resurrected 3 years, 2 months, 24 days after last post of thread
Date set: 20th December, 2007

And if we take into consideration how much the poster writes in resurrecting an old thread... no one ain't ever going to beat this guy :lol:
 

·
Life Begins at 200 mph
Joined
·
1,387 Posts
I know a lot of the iron butt riders I ride with use Biker shorts under their clothing. They wear that instead of underwear and it helps tremendously reguardless if you slide in your seat since the padding stays in the same place due to it being built into the shorts. You can pick them up cheap. They work well with Jeans to full leathers.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top