Road Trip on a Crotch Rocket
I wanted to ask all of you experienced motorcycle riders out there if it would be both safe, and comfortable, to ride for stretches of 6 hours or so on a motorcycle. Plan on buying a sports bike in the next two weeks. Thanks for any info and tips.
Safe maybe, but not comfortable. There's a reason most riders buy big cruisers for such trips! I ride a mid-sized Kawasaki sport-touring bike -- a ZR7S. In the past I have owned different mid-sized Japanese motorcycles (from 360cc up to 750 cc, and one Harley (an XL1200C). I've been a motorcyclist since I was 14 -- and I'm 50 now. None of those bikes have been very comfortable for more than 2 hours at a stretch. Not even the Sportster.
The only way I can ride longer distances is to make frequent stops. Even then, it gets painful after awhile! For example, in a couple of weeks I 'll ride from Phoenix to Las Vegas (about a 5 hour trip). I'll stop for at least an hour in the middle somewhere (probably Kingman), and a couple of other times for shorter periods, as well.
That said, the more you ride, the better it gets. Certain parts of your anatomy get tougher over time, if you get my drift. One antidote is your friendly little Advil capsule -- take a couple before you leave and more when the directions say you can. Or if you're into "natural medicines," there's a homeopathic remedy called Arnica that may help you stop "muscle" soreness. Also, moving your feet back and forth between the pegs can change the geometry a little and help you stretch in different directions. You can stand up on the pegs to stretch also, when things start getting stiff.
Be sure to wear protective clothing -- it's smart no matter where you ride -- but even more important out of town. You'll understand the first time a great big fat June Bug smacks your shin or your knuckles at 70 mph (or even worse, a bumble bee or wasp). That hurts like hell, and blue jeans don't protect much. Wear sunscreen. And yes, these are all mistakes I have made.
So why do we ride? Because we LIKE it.
More good ideas
The last poster is a resident motorcycle safety expert and some more tips are online <a href = "http://www.roadtripamerica.com/DefensiveDriving/Rule08.htm">here</a>.
Thanks for the tips. A little discomfort will not deter me very much. The freedom associated with motorcycles has been a dream of mine for a while now. I am a very safety concious driver as it is, so that wont be much of a factor. Ill just be sure to bring plenty of advil. I was told to start off with a 600cc sports bike to learn the ropes, then upgrade from there. Most of the sports bikes I see for sale have 15 thousand miles or less. How many miles do bikes normally get before the engine needs to be majorly overhauled? Again thanks for the tips and the information. Im getting more and more excited with each day.
You sound like a natural-born iron-butt rider! The odds are dismal for motorcyclists -- but they can be beaten. If you take a look at the other defensive driving tips on this site -- they are especially important for a rider. Don't ride aggressively, and keep plenty of space around you. To keep from being a tar-baby, you need to be way ahead of yourself and your motorcycle all the time. So my best advice is don't use much of the bike's power -- keep it under control and don't push it. I highly recommend the Motorcycle Safety Course (you can find them under Motorcycle Safety Foundation on the Web). They can teach you the basics -- then it's up to you to go out and practice. I wish you many happy road-years and bugs on your teeth! Bob
I forgot to address that part. In the old days, my lighter weight motorcycles sometimes needed major work at 35-40,000 miles. I understand the big V-Twins can still sometimes need major work (top overhaul, for example) at that mileage. More modern bikes, especially liquid cooled ones, can go much much longer if they are not abused and are well-maintained. Keep fresh oil in it and don't run her at high RPMs and you can make a huge difference in how long it lasts. This has been my experience, but it may not be typical -- check out the rider's forum at about.com/motorcycles or others like it -- and get some advice from many different riders and you'll get a better picture on this. Keep in mind it'll start a big argument though, and people will start telling you what bike not to buy... :)
Thanks Bob.. I appreciate all the helpful tips, they will deffinately come in handy.. Just cant wait to get out on the road, after my safety course, of course.. Will have right around 3 grand soon.. how much of a sports bike could that buy me? Also how much is insurance? I hear its really cheap for liability only, really expensive for full coverage.. thanks again
You're welcome. I'm not sure about the used market -- it'll vary by location and time of year even. Take a look at your local Auto Trader (or other trade publication, whatever they have for bikes in your area). You'll get an idea from that, and from the newspaper. Also check out any dealers in your area that sell used. I'd think you could find something decent in that price range.
My son and I (we share ownership of a ZR7S) have full coverage insurance (100/300/100) with both collision and comp, and each of us pays about $60 to $70 per month. Mine is a bit cheaper than his of course, since he's under 25. Neither of us have anything on our driving records. That cost will vary tremendously by location as well, so shop around in your area. Progressive is a good company, if they offer coverage in your state. Or Geico.
I actually had one last question concerning bikes. I have looked through many sellers descriptions and noticed that a lot of people are selling their bikes because someone stole them and messed them up in one way or another. How safe are bikes, where should I not go with one, and what can I do to prevent it from being stolen? Kind of has me leery now, I dont live in the nices neighborhood. I have had my car broken into about 4 times over the past 5 years in front of my own house. Plus Im worried about taking the bike out to Dallas, enter a store, and come out to find it missing. Maybe I just worry too much :)
It's a risk
They do get stolen, as well as vandalized. I have had the mirrors stolen from one machine, and had a bike taken right out of the front yard in an otherwise "quiet" neighborhood a few years ago. It's very easy for a determined thief to just pick up a bike and carry it off. I knew one guy that had his chained with very heavy-weight chain, to a fence in a guarded lot, and the bad guys STILL carried it away.
I carry insurance to cover such a loss. I lock the bike up out of sight whenver I can -- in my garage, or in the upper floors of the parking garage at work. I lock the forks whenever I leave it parked anywhere -- and I try to leave it parked whenever possible in places where there is lots of foot traffic. Lots of folks have audible alarms on them (I don't, but not because they are not a good idea).