Comfort upgrades for long ride - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 07:35 AM Thread Starter
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Comfort upgrades for long ride

Good morning all. It's been a while since I've been on. I have so many interests that I get sidetracked.

Anyhow. I am in planning on doing Route 66 next year, East to West, and back again, solo riding. I am currently in the planning phase, and one of the things I am planning is making my bike more comfortable for me.

I am 6'2", 240lbs. My bike is a 2009 Vulcan 1700 Classic LT,all stock, with the addition of a backrest, engine guard, highway pegs, windshield bag and rear luggage rack.

I think my biggest hurdle is going to be the seat. On my previous bike, I had a Mustang seat. It made a difference, but not a big difference. So, I was wondering what those with my build are sporting on their bikes. I have one of those wood bead seat covers, and it does help a little, but I still get rather sore within an hour of riding.

I plan to stay at motels/hotels, so I won't be packing too heavy, as I do when I go camping, and I do have a tail bag. Between that and the saddle bags, I'll be good there. I already wear a modular helmet with flipdown shades. And, I already have my y rain gear, so I'm good there.

Any other comfort additions I can do on my bike?

Thanks for any advice, all

Dan
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 10:41 AM
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A drink holder. A GPS/phone holder (which, of course, requires the wiring setup for both).

A friend and I just exchanged e-mails and one topic we yakked about was seat comfort. Get some kind of butt pad, foam or whatever, because regardless of how comfortable the seat is, the time will come when you'll wish that you had an alternative thingy to sit on just so your tail will have a change-of-pace. Don't depend on layers of towels.

Have you got a small bag setup attached to your windshield? Think about that as you can put sunglasses, or whatever in that and be within easy reach. I carry some wet/dry erase pens with me as I tend to write notes to myself on the windshield. Ear plugs, gloves, a camera, etc can all fit in.

Bring some Rain-X made for plastic. The regular Rain-X does nothing on bike windshields.
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Chris Cochran
Retired USAF '74 to '95 AMMO
Engine guard with highway pegs
Luggage rack
GPS on RAM handlebar mount
MCCTs replaced ACCTs
Iridium plugs: DPR7EIX-9
Custom made seat (verrry comfortable)
LED turn signals with rear signals relocated
LED license plate holder
Hard mounted Viking saddlebags
Hard mounted fork tool bag (free from Viking)
LED running lights on custom light bar
National Cycles Low Boy Heavy Duty windshield
Home made lowers
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 10:55 AM
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I have a 1500 Classic. The seats on those things are brutal. I couldn't ride 30 miunutes without feeling like my rear end was on fire. I did theMustang Wide Turing seat and love it. I rode from Reno NV to Coeur d Alene, ID in one day, 850 miles, and my butt was about the only thing that wasn't sore. I'm 6-4 and at the time weighed 280 pounds. I'm down to 225 now and aiming for 215-220, and it's still comfortable.

Having said that, some guys just dont take to Mustangs. There is a lot of praise here for Saddleman and for Russel Daylong saddles. I don't see much for Corbin. I see a few for some custom makers too.

If you are crossing the Rockies, I'd suggest bringing warm clothes. I have been in some rain storms in July and August that were rain and snow mix, and in Yellowstone in June one year it was 27 degrees. I did not have any winter gear with me on that trip, and it was a miserable 5 hours until it warmed up to about 80 by the time I reached Jackson Hole.

be advised that out west, towns that show up on the map may not be towns at all, and will be wide spots in the road, often boarded up. I ran out of gas once in eastern Oregon because the map w showed two towns that were in fact ghost towns. Another time I rode 115 miles from the previous fill up only to find the only gas station for the next 30 miles was switching out all their pumps and couldn't sell gas. I found a local with a gas pump for their farm and they sold me some. It can be 125 miles between services or more, and in Nevada you might not see another car for two or three hours. I now carry two gallons of spare fuel with me, a one-gallon square jug in each saddlebag.

Another consideration is wind. I rode north in Nevada on 95 to Winnemucca and north from there to home. By the time I hit I-80 south of Winnemucca, the headwind had dropped my l mileage dow to 20-22 MPG. In California, the road between Barstow and Los Angeles (and in much of the southwest, really) can have some absolutely horrific winds. I friend of mine was riding an old 70s Honda CB 750 out there and the headwind gusted so hard it turned his bike into the shoulder and he could barely muster 25 MPH. I encountered side winds near Barstow that blew me into the other lane. Just keep your eye on the weather forecast and you'll be fine. Also in California, you can ride motorcycles in the HOV lane.

Stay hydrated and have fun!

Last edited by Patrick's1500; 06-20-2019 at 11:01 AM.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-20-2019, 01:50 PM
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If you aren't ready to shell out several hundred dollars for a comfort seat and rider backrest, you might want to try this:

https://www.wild-ass.com/

I got one while on a trip to S. Dakota last year. I also got a back brace there. Not one of those crappy things they sell in a drug store, but one made for working in, sold at hardware stores:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-Me...8607/202311445

The combo made a HUGE difference on the 1500 mile trip back home. I was much less tired and sore on the trip back as I was on the trip up.

Installed:
RAM mount for TomTom Rider 400 (with anti theft module)
6000k LED Headlight & Spots; Kisan Headlight Modulator (works with LEDs),
__Brake Light Modulator, LED License Plate Holder
Longer Kickstand
Dobeck EJK 3.0
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Chuckster BAK, Trailer Hitch and Cooler Rack
Wiring for Trailer
Ray's Throttle Mod
Things to do:
Drilling Baffle Plates (Maybe)
Paint HF Tag Along Trailer to Match Bike

LET'S RIDE
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 06:41 AM
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I've done numerous long distance rides (I only have 4 of the lower 48 states left to ride to) over the 6 past and current years and each year I find I didn't need to bring something. This year I did a 4,400 mile ride to Minnesota, Michigan and more. The point is to travel light. I pack 6 days worth of clothing plus what I start with, and do my wash every 6th day. That said, 6 days doesn't mean 6 of everything. Since they're going to get stinky anyway some clothes can be worn more than one day. IE: I only bring 1 extra pair of jeans, wearing them 3 days each. I also suggest a small fabric cooler and cold packs to store medicines and other things that might be affected by heat (deodorants will melt!). Also, any pills should be packed with cotton as I've had them disintegrate from the bike's vibration. My first trip of 1700 miles I had a large, expanded bag on my pillion with 2 additional large roll bags. Last year's trip to Maine and back, about 6,000 miles I only had a medium size bag on my pillion and a tail bag. A lighter bike was easier to handle, thus more comfortable. Also, some of the suggestions others have made should be considered.

I use an AirHawk on my OEM seat. It can be moved around a little to make for different seating positions. Well worth it. Your highway pegs are invaluable. A Cramp Buster on your throttle would be a great $10 investment. Traveling solo means you won't need to make reservations anywhere, so take your time and enjoy the ride!

Go for the ride!
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 07:11 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks all for the suggestions, and keep them coming. I am taking each and every one of them into consideration.

I guess I have added some of the suggestions already to my bike. I do have a windshield bag, which I do on very bike. Those things are great for quickly accessing ear plugs, EZpass, cigar, etc. I did also add a cup holder and I did install a USB charger, though not a cell phone holder. I just Chuck it in my windshield bag. I always try to unplug when I'm on a trip, but may consider a GPS.

The crampbuster is a good idea. I installed the Kuryakyn Iso grips on my bike and added the throttle boss, which was a great addition. Same idea, different product

Traveling light is always good. I tend to do that. When I go camping, I pack light and small, and my clothing will fit in one saddle bag. I do like the idea of six days of clothes and doing the laundry on that sixth change. That is something I will surely do. And the cold packs in a soft cooler. I've suffered the melted deodorant and n very even thought of that, so thanks.

As for the seat idea, I I'll check out the pads you have all suggested. Has anyone tried a custom made seat from Laam? I'm thinking about maybe having them make me just the front seat.

Thanks again all,
Dan
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-21-2019, 10:10 AM
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I have been retired 10 years and treasure my 2 week solo trips. Enjoy! Some random thoughts in no particular order...

1. Seat comfort. I had a Mustang on my last bike. Loved it. A Corbin on the bike prior. However with the Voyager, I am good for 400 mile days with just the addition of an Airhawk.
2, I have a backrest and love it.
3, Trunk and saddlebag inner bags are great....esp. the trunk one...for easy carrying into motels.
4. Five days of clean clothes. I carry a couple of laundry soap pads and dryer sheets in a ziplock along with several dollars worth of quarters.
5. I carry Plexus and microfiber cloth for windscreen cleaning. Bugs accumulate rapidly!
6. I do the high level route planning using the Honda Tripplanner (there are many out there)...https://tripplanner.honda.com/#/ . I will use interstate first day to get some distance and from there try to stick to Blue Highways.
7. I use Hotels.Com for lodging. I make reservations for the first day or two. And then I monitor weather etc and use their 800# to call for that night's reservation. Every 10 nights gets a free night.
8. I have plenty of room traveling solo on my Voyager. I got this dry bag at Walmart online and use ROK straps to hold it on the passenger seat. It will carry an extra helmet (I take a 1/2 helmet and a modular Shoei and wear what conditions dictate) https://www.walmart.com/ip/Ozark-Tra...saAns-EALw_wcB
9. I have a spare key well hid on the bike.
10. I stay in cheaper mom and pop motels for a couple of days and then spring for a night at like a Best Western or equivilent for hot breakfast, pool, hot tub, laundry.
11. Well before the trip , I actually plan 3 varied routes/locations and then monitor weather, forest fire smoke (a real concern in the west in summer!!) and as it gets close to departure, narrow down and make my route selection.
12. I am not afraid to radically change route if weather looks sketchy where I am heading.
13. In every small town there is a Dollar Store and you can get a lot of road needs at these stores.
14. I have one 'motel meal' ready if I get somewhere late and I am tired and there is not much in walking distance for dinner. Ramin, canned meat etc to microwave at motel.
15. I carry a very small 12 volt tire pump and check tires every 4th morning or so.
16. $10 a year towing option is good to have on my insurance.
17. I like to stop and smell the roses. After first day or two, I usually ride 200 to maybe 300 miles a day. Sometimes even less if I am in mountains and/or very scenic places.

That's what comes to mind off the top of my head. I am planning a long Sept trip now and am geeked up about it. The planning is almost as fun as the trip itself. Bottom line, take your time, get rest at night and have fun!

Bruce

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. HST

Last edited by auwing1978; 06-21-2019 at 10:16 AM. Reason: correct spelling
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 08:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrugerH View Post
Good morning all. It's been a while since I've been on. I have so many interests that I get sidetracked.

Anyhow. I am in planning on doing Route 66 next year, East to West, and back again, solo riding. I am currently in the planning phase, and one of the things I am planning is making my bike more comfortable for me.

I am 6'2", 240lbs. My bike is a 2009 Vulcan 1700 Classic LT,all stock, with the addition of a backrest, engine guard, highway pegs, windshield bag and rear luggage rack.

I think my biggest hurdle is going to be the seat. On my previous bike, I had a Mustang seat. It made a difference, but not a big difference. So, I was wondering what those with my build are sporting on their bikes. I have one of those wood bead seat covers, and it does help a little, but I still get rather sore within an hour of riding.

I plan to stay at motels/hotels, so I won't be packing too heavy, as I do when I go camping, and I do have a tail bag. Between that and the saddle bags, I'll be good there. I already wear a modular helmet with flipdown shades. And, I already have my y rain gear, so I'm good there.

Any other comfort additions I can do on my bike?

Thanks for any advice, all

Dan
I have used a Mustang, a custom-redone original, and an Ultimate. I am 6'1, 210, and have back issues. The Ultimate, IMHO, is far above anything else out there.

2008 VN900 Custom
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 11:32 AM
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If you don't want to bother with wiring up a USB plug to charge, you can use a power pack. As I do 500 mile bicycle tours, I have a power pack I use all week long. It's a little tough to wire up a charge plug to a bicycle. That's what I did yesterday, put the phone on my new bar mount and had one of my battery power packs in the windshield bag. Mine is only 5000 mAh, but that keeps the phone charged all day long with the screen on or can recharge the phone at least twice. I have 2 I carry when bicycle touring to keep my phone and camera charged for several days.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-25-2019, 02:20 PM
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I do a lot of out west riding and have a few suggestions...

Avoid driving into the sunsets or sunrises which can be brutal and dangerous. This means planning your trip a bit.

I bring a bottle of scotch or bourbon for an evening drink

I spend half of my time staying at airbnbs and the other half booking with Priceline (check out their "express deals" which save you 30-40%). With a wife on board, there is no room for camping equipment.

I navigate using my phone and a GPS (useful where there is no cell signal).

The dotted lines on printed maps are an indication of scenic beauty - fairly reliable.

Keep an eye on the tires which wear fast on hot roads.

Layers of clothing - the mountain passes in california did not open until June this year (snow/ice). Stunningly beautiful.

Extra sunglasses and lots of sunscreen

I developed shoulder pain on a recent long drive. After some reading, people offered advice on adjusting the handle bar position and learning not to use the "death grip" I am not an expert.

I wear my leather jacket even on a 100 degree day in Vegas - not fun but that is me.

I bought some strange gas on a recent trip when I thought it was my only option. Bike ran rough and I was glad to get it out of the bike.

Some western states offer alcohol-free gas; some do not

Buy an annual National Park pass if you are going to visit or just ride through more than 3 parks

I do not ride at night so summer hours provide a nice long day and a quick sleep. Late fall/ early winter gives you a shorter riding day and a lot of idle evening hours.

Have fun

Cass
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