View Full Version : Touring Question
7th December 2004, 16:58
I'm loosly planning a trip to visit a friend that moved out to Kansas, and I live in upstate New York. I have alot of family and friends along the way, so there are pleny of stops. But some of the legs might have to be as many as 8 hours long. Is this too long to ride continuously? I have 1 2004 1200. I can usually do very long distances in a car no problem (I've done 8 hours straight more than once, with only a 30 minute stop to eat, pee, and gas up). What do you think?
7th December 2004, 17:04
I have done 300 miles in one day but did not take enough breaks. I would recommend a 15 minute break every 100 miles.
7th December 2004, 17:05
My longest day was 900 mi in 11 hours, Vegas to San Jose. I honestly don't think I could have got up the next day and rode again. Try and pace yourself. On the way back you can sprint cause your movin towards home and rest.
On that trip I wasn't diligent about shifting positions, kinda hunkered down and went for it. When I got home my back was in knots. When I went to Laughlin I made sure I changed hands often, (not just when it hurt) and moved around as much as I could, it made a difference.
7th December 2004, 17:06
umm I think that was 600 mi, sorry
7th December 2004, 17:15
The Question has been asked before and most agree. Frequent rest stops and stretch breaks can extend a days total mileage. Have water and snacks handy. Don't forget to eyeball the Bike and check fluids and tire pressure. I saw a sheeps skin wool pad for the seat...Looked good for longer rides.
You might feel like a wuss but a back brace can help also. Gott'a have tools, fresh plugs and a cell phone....etc.
Just my $.02 worth
:smoke ... -----> Makes the scenery more interesting
7th December 2004, 18:14
I agree with jimbo about the backbrace especially. When I do long trips I always tie down my stuff to the passenger seat in such away that I can lean against it while I'm riding. It really makes a huge difference to the distance that I can travel if my lower back is supported. Don't forget your sporty has a limited range with the smaller tank compared to the bikes set up for touring. Your butt will usually last as long as the tank. I always took a break for a while at every fill up it helped.
7th December 2004, 18:43
The one thing that I've found for my comfort level is that, riding style and conditions dependant, it isn't the miles in the saddle but the time in the saddle. The longest I've spent in my saddle so far is about 12 hours, but my scooter is set up almost exactly the way that I want it for comfort. I have a Mustang seat, ape hangers, an engine guard with highway pegs on it and a T-Bag to lean back against. When I was done with those 12 hours I honestly was not sore in the least bit...I was wet (150 miles of the ride was in rain), but not sore.
I'd say that the biggest thing to REALLY pay attention to on the road is your physical and mental state. If you find yourself daydreaming or it starts to feel good to blink your eyes then GET OFF OF THE ROAD...that way you can come back and tell us how your trip went. :clap
Good luck with your trip and make sure to update us!
7th December 2004, 18:47
I just ordered the HD Sportster touring seat with the drivers back rest on it, talked to a few people who had and said it was great. I have a 03 883 sportster and put over 6000 miles this summer on it, plan on a lot more in 05 and longer trips. Will let you know how the seat works out.
7th December 2004, 19:10
You HAVE to do these things no matter how strange they look to most people -- When I was 30 my girlfiend and I took off for six weeks one summer to circumnavigate the United States in a 100 hp 1500 pound airplane -- now I'm old and I find that most people my age have never had an adventure in thier lives -- I have stories and a smile and a certain amount of wisdom and self confidence that is gained from pushing the envelope -- they are just old, I have a brand new Sportster -- and they are just getting older. Have fun on your trip!! You will find it is more fun to live reality TV than watch it.
7th December 2004, 19:52
Right on exboyracer!
7th December 2004, 19:59
I have a Windshield and a Sundowner seat and it is very comfy for longer trips.
7th December 2004, 21:18
You didn't say whether you had an aftermarket seat or a windshield. With the stock set up, I wouldn't last 45 minutes. But, with a good seat and a stop every hour, going all day is not a problem. Have fun. Time your trip right and you can visit the meeting in the middle this summer, June 10-12. All sportsters, at the sportster factory.
7th December 2004, 21:46
Fatigue will always be an issue with any long ride regardless of the bike you are riding. I have an 04 XL1200R that I have set up for doing these type runs. I found the stock gearing to be high so I changed the transmission output sprocket to the 28 tooth 883 unit. At present, the bike is 100 rpm shy of the 3,300 rpm max torque when I am going 70 mph on the highway in 5th gear. The new gearing has given the bike much better roll off power and I can now cruise as low as 2,100 rpm if necessary. The bike will average roughly 60 mpg on the road while running between 65 and 70 on a steady cruise.
Typically I will ride an hour and stop for about 15 minutes to stretch and grab some coffee. Then, back on the road for another hour, which lets the coffee settle down to the point I have to take a leak again. In any case, I'm just out for a cruise with no real desire to set any records. If the typical day gets me 300 or 500 miles then so be it because the single most important thing for me to remember is the safety of myself and the bike so riding fatigued is not an option.
7th December 2004, 21:54
A lot of people have said it already, but can't be stressed enough. Main thing is to get off for a few minutes every 100 miles. Get a tank of gas and a soda or coffee every time you stop, hit the mens(ladies) room, look at your map, chat a little with the people at the gas station, clean the bugs off yer glasses, etc. Then hop back on for another 100 miles.
7th December 2004, 22:42
The reserve on my 1200R (small capacity tank) has to kick in about 90-110mi, depending on speed, hills, load, etc. I use that as a signal to find fuel, stretch, clean up pieces and parts, and have been able to 250-300 mi without much fatigue. I agree that periodic breaks keep you more attentive and probably safer. Plus it's just great fun to chat up the folks at a rest stop who always admire (and envy?) the ride... Also fun to connect with other riders and tell tall tales over a short break. This IS supposed to be fun and enjoyable!!!
7th December 2004, 23:17
Hey Shark, I ride my 04 R model pretty hard and like you have the small tank however, if I was hitting reserve at 110 -120 miles on the odometer, I would be looking for a problem. I was out on Veterans Day for a ride up PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) on the southern California coast and went 150 miles without hitting reserve or even coming near it. Last week with myself (185 lbs.) and my wife (130 lbs.) up we went 97.3 miles on 1.7 gallons of gas for 57.2 mpg and this is pretty much normal. By myself, I have hit almost 62 mpg and this is cruising between 65 and 75 mph. I have a friend with an 05 1200C and his mileage is pretty close to that of my own. When I am on the road I usually start looking to fill up around 140 miles regardless if I am solo or 2 up. Typically I will be around 125 miles on a fill up if I am solely riding in town with traffic..............
8th December 2004, 15:50
I have the stock seat, but I have done a 6 hour day (with stops) without any major discomfort. A windshield is out of the question...I bought a Sportster, not a Buick.
As far as breaks go, I usually go about 100 miles before it's time for gas. I'm sure I would almost unconsciencely stop and sit for a while, so long as some of the locals don't threaten my hippie bike ridin' ass. As far as getting as getting over 60 mpg on a 1200 sportster, I just can't buy it. I have never gotten close to that, and a stock bike is only rated 52 mpg on the highway at more reasonable speeds. My dealer told me I would probalby get around 35 mpg with the mods I have, but I've gotten 40 mpg consistantly. My bike was dynotuned and runs perfectly, so it's not running rich by any means. Anyways, 100 miles is a good point for rest stops, so I don't mind. Thanks for the advise guys, and I'll be sure to let you know how it goes.
I'll have to make an effort to get the meet at the Factory in June.
8th December 2004, 16:19
have the stock seat, but I have done a 6 hour day (with stops) without any major discomfort. A windshield is out of the question...I bought a Sportster, not a Buick.
Ahh to be young again. Even though I also bought a Sporty (not a Buick) the removable winshield I have has been a blessing on long rides. I'm noty saying you should get one but once you try it ther isn't any going back.
8th December 2004, 16:33
I think I know that, and that's why i won't get one. Maybe when I'm older....haha
8th December 2004, 16:47
Enjoy it while you can. And make sure you take that trip
8th December 2004, 20:56
On the highway, try putting your feet on the passenger pegs and canting your torso slightly forward. That works for me. Last year I did 1,100 miles in 22 hours (continuous, just gas & food stops) and I wasn't that sore when I got home.
I think that the main fatigue point is the hands. If you're leaning forward a little, you can loosen your grip on the bars and let the wind hold you up.
If you're sitting straight up, your body catches the wind like a sail instead of slicing thru it like a knife.
Only mods to my bike were: Mustang seat, Throttle Rocker, highway pegs (that never were used on that trip), and passenger pegs. No windshield.
As always, what works for me may not work for you. YMMV. :tour
9th December 2004, 03:26
:hmmm Your still a young fella too don't forget.
9th December 2004, 06:43
Over the years I've owned quite a few different bikes and done a fair amount of long distance touring. among them have been a Suzuki Cavalcade, Electra Glide, Honda GL1500 and a BMW R1150GS. Every one of them was capable of delivering a fine, comfortable ride but then again I've also done some pretty long rides on a Ducati 900SS and the single longest day I've ever put in was on my '01 FXD, about 16 hours and just over 750 miles.
The common thread in all of it is that I've worked up in my riding to where my average day is about 400-500 miles. I've figured out what equipment works for me to make the ride more enjoyable, often its small things like good earplugs and chapstick.
There is no reason that you cannot tour any motorcycle, there may be an element of scaling back your expectations a bit depending on the bike, but this is highly dependent on the rider. My wife went with me on one tour, when I rode my Ducati and she rode her '81 Kawasaki 440ltd. We were gone for a week, just over 1600 miles and averaged around 300 miles a day. Before that her average ride was probably less than 150 miles. She did well and I don't think it ever occured to her that she wasn't riding a 'touring' bike.
I think if you have any doubts it would be nice if you can do a few shake down rides that involve the approximate mileage you intend to cover on a daily basis, just so you can see how your gear and your body works out for you. Make adjustments as needed so that you will have fun, you don't want it to be the Bataan death march after all.
A couple of things that have worked well for me: 1. I like either a backrest or a product called Back-a-line (I believe) its sort of like a kidney belt but better designed than most. I got it from cyclegadgets.com . 2. If its hot weather especially, stay away from caffeine but stop and drink water regularly, you can dehydrate very quickly on a bike, the airflow over you tends to evaporate your perspiration so quickly that it can't do its job of cooling your body. 3. Similar vein, choose your riding gear carefully, I like textile stuff that is fairly waterproof but with lots of vents, partly because the versatility allows me to not have to carry an extra rain suit. I also tend towards electric jacket liners and a couple of pairs of gloves, one light,one for cold and wet. 4. Setting up the bikes ergos is big, a good seat, comfortable riding position is a must, on a HD I like highway pegs and mid mount controls, the standard bars that came on my fxd (similar to 1200R) were well shaped but needed to come back further courtesy of dog leg risers.
9th December 2004, 16:45
I thinking more and more that is might have a good possibility of happening. Everyone in here is telling me that I shoudln't have any problems so long as I prepare accordingly. I have done a few long days, but my concern was that they were just days, and I didn't have to get back on it and ride again tomorrow. But I may not have to even do that, as I could stay for a day at the places I'll be stopping (maybe get a free meal out of the grandparents...).
9th December 2004, 17:15
as joe said about dehydration drink water , lots of it . and don't forget the sun , you'll never know that it fryed you to a crisp till you get off and then its too late , if your riding sleaveless use sunblock , the stronger the better
9th December 2004, 17:29
Long trips are ment to be enjoyed. Don't push youself and take a break when you feel like it. The trip isn't an endurance test but a holiday.
10th December 2004, 01:38
One other thing on those long trips, never pass a urinal and never trust a fart
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