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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey guys,

I just got back to work from my first "long distance" trip of about 100 miles. My commute every day is typically about 15 miles each way and this is the first time I took my 800 out on a bit of a trip. I just wanted to write down some of the lessons I learned and some of the things I wish I did differently:


  1. Your ass is going to hurt. This is the biggest one. I didn't anticipate having so much butt pain after only about two hours. I found myself shifting around quite a bit - posture is more important than you might give it credit for as far as alleviating this is concerned. Move your butt around and get off the hot spots. I'm hoping this becomes something that goes away over time, but reading around a bit it sounds like everyone has some issues with this. Just be conscious of it.
  2. Ear plugs. Engine vibration on a highway feels high initially, but mellows out after a long period of time. Regardless of that, though, the buzzing will get to you and your ears will ring after a while (and you'll feel like you're vibrating when you're off the bike) - ear plugs (or ear-fitting headphones) seem like a must.
  3. Highway bars. You may have a position you're used to keeping your feet in when you're frequently stopping and going. I found that on my 800 that position wasn't comfortable over a long period of time. One of my next investments is going to be a set of Cobra highway bars - not only does it seem safer if you go down, but it'll give you a bit more diversity in where you can sit your feet and you'll feel less cramped.
  4. Highway speeds will chill you out quite a bit. I'm an ATGATT guy, but if you're not and you don't have a jacket and plan on going a long distance at speed, you might regret it.
  5. Bring sunglasses, the sun's a bitch. So's the headache when you stare into it for an hour.
  6. If you're riding in the morning or when it's cooler and have a full-face helmet, make sure you have a fog strategy. Apparently I'm a heavy breather - my mask was fogging up all the time, so I kept having to open it up despite having the vents open. Either have a good fog-proofing strategy or be prepared to squint into the wind.
  7. You know that wave that everyone does? Yeah, your arm has more drag than you think - be careful the first time you do that at speed.
  8. Loosen up that grip. You might not realize it, but as a newer rider you're probably way too tense. I thought I was riding perfectly normally until about 40 minutes in when my fingers started to ache - I realized I had a death grip on the throttle while maintaining speed. Be more mindful of your body and loosen up - sit with a little better posture, breathe a bit, lower the shoulders, bring your neck back to stretch out those cervical muscles that are probably screwed because of your phone and computer, and loosen up your grip. You're gonna have a bad time if you're just a giant muscle knot riding a bike after an hour.

From one newish biker to another, I hope this helps you avoid the mistakes I made.
 

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If your butt hurts that bad after two hours you need a different seat. The stock seat on the Classic models, 1500 and 800 at least, are notoriously bad for butt stingers. I used to be 280 pounds (since down to 220) and I couldn't ride more than 30-40 minutes before I'd have to stand up on the floorboards or just pull over and get off. I went to a Harley dealer and they had a "tester" bike where they could quickly swap out seats and handlebars and such to see if the changes helped. They put a Mustang Wide Touring seat on a Road King it and I fell in love. I have made 3 trips from North Idaho to San Diego and back, two trips all over Montana, a trip to Yellowstone, the Tetons and Hell's Canyon, two trips to the Oregon Coast and three trips into Canada, all the way up to Edmonton. And that seat for me is heaven. On one of my California trips, I rode from Reno NV to Coeur d Alene, ID in one long day and about the only thing that didn't hurt after 16.5 hours in the saddle was my rear end.
 

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Highway riding sucks for your back end. I find that I can do 1-1.5 hours on any of my bikes, tops, on the highway. Now, throw that same bike through some corners at speed (not aggressive speed or very fast, just quick I guess - I am NOT a fast rider), and that time stretches to 4+ hours with ease. The trick is in shifting your weight and moving your butt around when you corner. Offload some weight, move your torso, those things really help alleviate butt pain.

-John
 

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I just rode my bike around Lake Ontario. 11 days of camping sleeping on the ground and 8-10 hours each day in the saddle for 580 miles.

Oh, that was on a bicycle, LOL.

Motorcycle, no problem when you're use to sitting on a bicycle for 6-11 days.

Actually, my Nomad came with a wider Mustang seat. I haven't gotten many rides in from rain in the spring and first of summer, then concentrating on the bicycle ride left little time on the Nomad. I only have around 800 miles on it thus far and bought it in April.

Sadly it just doesn't fit me and the roads I ride. It's pretty top heavy, and the bars are out of my reach, so it's the back and shoulders that limit me as I'm reaching and not relaxed back on the backrest of the comfy Mustang seat. I still am getting use to it with my limited miles and first time on a bike since the early 2000's when I had just a little 450 pounder back then. I don't do much open road cruising, most of the roads I'm on are narrower sharper cornered side roads between the bigger state roads and I feel like the bike is always one step ahead of me and I'm putting too much concentration on the turns and such.

I want to think a set of pullback risers would help in every way, but still think the bike is too uncomfortably big for what I want to do and how and where I want to ride.
 

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I just rode my bike around Lake Ontario. 11 days of camping sleeping on the ground and 8-10 hours each day in the saddle for 580 miles.

Oh, that was on a bicycle, LOL.

Motorcycle, no problem when you're use to sitting on a bicycle for 6-11 days.

Actually, my Nomad came with a wider Mustang seat. I haven't gotten many rides in from rain in the spring and first of summer, then concentrating on the bicycle ride left little time on the Nomad. I only have around 800 miles on it thus far and bought it in April.

Sadly it just doesn't fit me and the roads I ride. It's pretty top heavy, and the bars are out of my reach, so it's the back and shoulders that limit me as I'm reaching and not relaxed back on the backrest of the comfy Mustang seat. I still am getting use to it with my limited miles and first time on a bike since the early 2000's when I had just a little 450 pounder back then. I don't do much open road cruising, most of the roads I'm on are narrower sharper cornered side roads between the bigger state roads and I feel like the bike is always one step ahead of me and I'm putting too much concentration on the turns and such.

I want to think a set of pullback risers would help in every way, but still think the bike is too uncomfortably big for what I want to do and how and where I want to ride.
That's great insight! I have a Corbin seat for my Vaquero, but don't use it because the stock bars were too far forward, and the stretch hurt my back after 45 mins or so. Now I have Baron Miter bars on it (slight pullback and rise, narrower too) so I may try that seat again.

You've got the right idea for where to start, but I don't know of a way to fix the top-heavy feeling. I'd try new tires and more seat time. I know that when I go from my Vaquero to my KZ, the ride just seems easier - 300lbs lighter and narrower bars make a big difference. I think it could partially be a "getting used to it" thing. My buddy has a Road Glide Ultra, and he just BOMBS down back roads. When we ride, he'll follow me, occasionally dropping back up to a quarter mile, and a few seconds later he's right on my tail.

-John
 

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One thing I noticed when I put the Mustang seat on my classic is the seat height dropped about an inch or two. Which is good for me, because even though I'm 6-4, I'm built like a gorilla with 37" long sleeves and 32" inseam. I suppose other aftermarket seats might be the same way.
 
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