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First Long Ride Report


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I took my first long-distance (for me) ride from Trussville, Alabama to Danville, Kentucky-about 830 miles roundtrip according to my odometer {which translated from the German, could be as much as 875 miles}. I have been planning this for several weeks, and have prepared as much as possible by completing my recent 30K svc in April, new front and rear Roadsmarts, new BMW "comfort" seat-right, rainsuit-motoport from cycle gear (you get what you pay for-$49.00). Farkles I still need: taller windscreen, Throttlemeister, something in the way of a more comfortable seat, either a sheepskin pad or another seat. The "comfort" seat was much better than stock, but I still was not comfortable for much of the trip. I took the interstate all the way since I had to be somewhere and didn't have time to amble about on backroads. That being said, I-75 from Chattanooga through Knoxville to Danville is a great road for a slab. I have about 24K miles on a motorcycle, so although this was not my first time on the interstate, it was the first ride of longer than 150 miles.


When I left Trussville (just northeast of Bham) I headed out on I-59 toward Chattanooga. There was virtually no traffic, and it was a delightful ride. Just before I crossed over into Georgia, the clouds were looking ominous and I thought it might be time to test out the rainsuit. I chanced it by going a few miles, then started getting rain right at an exit with a truckstop. I stopped and had lunch then donned the raingear. I had been shadowing a group of three cruiser riders for a few miles and we all stopped together. They were heading to ride the dragon coming from south Alabama and Florida. These guys had been riding since about 4am and still had another 150 miles or so to get to Pigeon Forge. They were my heroes because my butt was already hurting with only 100 miles on it for the day. Anyway, I donned the raingear and headed toward Chattanooga. The rainsuit was fairly effective in all areas except the crotch. After a few miles, everything was dry except down there. I still don't know how water was getting in. It rained all the way through Tennessee, so I had the rainsuit on for about 180 miles. The Roadsmarts seemed to handle the rain well, the front tire only had about 100 miles on it when I hit the rain. I encountered several other bikers mainly on Goldwings and other cruisers. The rainsuits of choice I noticed were Frogg Toggs for the cruiser riders-Do these work better than a one piece rainsuit? I met up with a Goldwing rider who was coming from Georgia and heading to Indianapolis. He had a 2007 Goldwing with an airbag with 39K on the clock. He was retired and taking it easy-very nice man. When I crossed into Kentucky, the sun came out and I encountered several bikers along the way to Danville, most of whom wore no helmets-idiots. Every time I go there, I'm always amazed at how many riders to not wear not just helmets, but any gear at all. I usually see more than one case of a man and his child riding a cruiser with no protective gear. I can at least see what might make a grown man want to ride around with not gear (although I'm an ATGATT guy), but to not provide this for your kids riding along with you is criminal. Kentucky needs to fix this. Made it to Danville ok just in time to beat a line of strong thunderstorms that happened all night.


It was a great ride there and back. I have a few observations:

1. Need a better seating system. I don't understand how BMW can design such a damn fine motorcycle with no real comfortable way to sit on it for long distances. They make a bike that will go half a million miles or more, without allowing for someone to actually ride it.


2. Need a better rainsuit. I can't figure out why mine leaked, but I'll take any advice anyone has about better gear.


3. I hate trucks, although I didn't feel as crowded by them as I have in the past, but I wish we Americans could mandate that any truck going over 100 miles be transported intermodally on a rail-car. Rail transport seems to be much more efficient for these things and that would free them up from our roads.


4. This motorcycle is made for eating miles from a mechanical standpoint. I love the way it runs, and it seems to run better the more miles I put on it. I only wish I could ride it in more comfort. Later in my life, I can see an LT in my future for trips like this.


5. My BMW tankbag straps are losing their integrity and crumbling. Does anyone know if there are aftermarket straps for this bag? Everything else about the bag is great, but the straps are disintegrating.



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Glad you enjoyed your ride!


he rainsuits of choice I noticed were Frogg Toggs for the cruiser riders-Do these work better than a one piece rainsuit?


No, but Frogg Togs are cheap. I liked mine at first, and for out west here they are probably adequate since we usually don't see much rain. We just ride through the afternoon storms mostly. By rain I mean the kind of thing where it is coming down for hours. I have had my Frogg Togs on in rain a few times (once in the east coast, and once in TX). They really don't stay all that dry. I mostly use them in cold weather as an added wind layer, which they are better at than nothing... if it gets really cold you can feel the air coming in in places.


My biggest concern with them is that they are dark.... hmmmmm... when it's raining hard is when I think I'd like more visibility, not less.


They are cheap and ok. They've served me adequately for about two years now, but I had been thinking of upgrading. YMMV.



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BMW "Comfort Seat..." that's a laugh...go get yourself a Russell Day Long and ride happy-I don't think you need an LT to be comfortable, set up, your RT is wonderful. YMMV


Steve in So Cal

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Don't hate or regret... such a waste of emotional energy.


On trucks, common sense says that everything you consume, except air, was transported to you via truck. And about rail vs. trucks, are you sure that the rail lines have sufficient capacity and facilities to accommodate short hop hauls? Consider that the train network operates in serial mode whereas trucking network operates in parallel.


There are many things that irritate me and I wish could change. But, often after breaking down the issue and examining the parts I realize that society pretty much does the best it can with what it has.




3. I hate trucks, although I didn't feel as crowded by them as I have in the past, but I wish we Americans could mandate that any truck going over 100 miles be transported intermodally on a rail-car. Rail transport seems to be much more efficient for these things and that would free them up from our roads.

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I can't tell if you're a long time rider or not, but I believe your arse will "toughen up" after riding that bike a little more. It takes me a while to get used to a new bike and/or seat, but usually adapt after a few thousand miles. My butt now doesn't start complaining until about 5-6 hours in the saddle.


On the rain suit I cannot help you. I wear an old Walls brand rain suit I got when I was with the PD and it works pretty well. On my RT there is so much "stuff" around my crotch that I don't think the rain ever gets in the area. Things like tank bags, etc. Do you keep your knees fairly snuff against the bike? That would help if you are not. The place I tend to get wet is around the neck......mainly because the Walls rain suit was not designed for motorcycle use. For that reason I often substitute my Killy jacket for the Walls jacket, but I still use the Walls rain pants.


What do you use on your hands in the rain? That used to me my major complaint for rain riding, but I now have a pair of neoprene gloves I put on when it start raining. I did not enjoy the feeling of wearing wet leather! :Cool:

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When it comes to raingear there are as many opinions as there are responses. Living in the Northwest, where it doesn't really get "hot" but does get wet, I like the Firstgear Textile Jacket and Textile Overpants. The pants have a one-piece flap under the fly zipper so any water that might accumulate in the crotch area cannot get through to you. I've worn this gear around the Olympic Peninsula through continuous rain and stayed dry.


+1 to what Deek said about toughening up the posterior. Before buying another saddle perhaps try changing your sitting position; raise/lower the saddle or, peg lowering kit or, barbacks. Changing the pressure point, even a little bit, could make all the difference in the world.

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To Mark and everyone who like me want a cheaper solution to a $700 seat - try a 'beadrider'. I've been using one for more than a year. With highway pegs and a backrest, I believe it is as comfortable as any custom seat.

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