Anyone here ride motorcycles?

I’m not into Harleys, though. Especially now with every accountant, lawyer, and hardware clerk riding them :) I’m a Japanese mororcycle rider, mostly Suzuki. I had a Suzuki GT380 when I was 16 (that’s back in 1975, wow, where did that 30 years go?!). Well, just got another one off of ebay, same year and color (right). It doesn’t have the power of my 1100 (left) but there’s no mistaking that two-stroke ring-ding-ding sound and the whisps of blue smoke coming from the pipes.

And this sucker doesn’t have an electric starter–it’s kick start only. Talk about old school, yo!

Yeah, I ride—and that Suzuki of yours is beautiful! I’d love to have an old school bike like that to mess around with.

I have a very modest 1994 Yamaha Seca II 600—keep dreaming of upgrading to a bigger, cruiser style bike, but I actually love the upright stance of this one. I’d post a pic here if I wasn’t so lazy. But–I’m lazy.

Keep the rubber side down, etc etc…

I’m also a big enthusiast–riding for 20 years if you count mopeds (16 if you only count motorcycles), and sold my last car 13 years ago. I’d love to get a version of my first bike (a 1975 Yamaha 750), just for the nostalgia. That’s a great idea (and your Suzy looks like a blast).

Currently riding a 2002 BMW R1150RT, which I am totally in love with. My old 1997 Kawasaki Concours is still sitting in the garage.

I’ve been carless for about 4 years now. After I got my motorcycle license in '98 and 2 motorcycles in '99, I drove my car so rarely that it wasn’t worth it to keep it (registration, insurance, regular maintenance) so I gave it away. Nowadays I’m commuting 40 miles round-trip on the DC beltway on my '98 Honda VFR800.

I had my license for less than a year when I went on a cross-country motorcycle tour (7000 miles in 4 weeks) in the summer of 99 on a '91 Honda Nighthawk 750.

I’ve been commuting from Berkeley to SF for a couple years now on my bike, and love it every single day–well, except for those days when I almost get hit. I only drive at all now when with wife and kid. All solo travel is done on the motorcycle.

I had my license for less than a year when I went on a cross-country motorcycle tour (7000 miles in 4 weeks) in the summer of 99 on a '91 Honda Nighthawk 750.

Very cool. That’s an ongoing fantasy of mine. So the 750 was big enough for that trip, huh? I keep wondering how far I can push my 600…

I took my Yamaha 750 from upstate New York to Dallas, and back, twice. I prefer doing long jaunts on a more tour-oriented bike (like my R1150RT), but you can definitely do it even on a standard streetbike. Especially if you can get an aftermarket larger fairing, bags, and throttle lock. Highway pegs are nice, too, although I’m not sure a Seca has anywhere you could mount them. Motorcycle touring is one of the funnest things you can do without taking off your underwear or breaking the law, so I recommend anyone who’s interested in it (and has some riding experience) give it a try at least once.

Squirrel wins!$287

Vaguely relevant to topic, as I just tripped over the link today…

I never felt limited by the 750. There are definitely some recommended accessories, like Rywill mentioned. I would suggest a windscreen and a throttle lock at least. But it’s certainly possible without them (I had neither on my trip), just more uncomfortable. I did the tour with my friend who was on a '85 Honda Shadow 500, also without a windscreen or throttle lock. We had to make gas stops about every 120 miles because of his 2.5 gallon gas tank, but it was a good idea anyway to stretch and get some water at those intervals.

The worst part was the stretch from the Grand Canyon to Los Angeles, in late June. Extremely hot, long, boring highways. Then again my battery did die when we left Las Vegas, so my buddy had to push-start me away from every gas stop until I got a replacement in Boulder.

A couple of years ago I went from DC to Texas and back in 8 days – 2 days driving down, 4 days playing games with my brother, 2 days driving back, 3000 miles almost exactly. That was on my VFR though, which is a sport-tourer that has great wind protection.

Yeah, my feeling about touring is that you can basically do it on almost any bike, but you’ll make a lot faster progress the more touring-oriented your bike is. You might do 350-400 miles a day on a buzzy, 500-cc naked bike with no throttle lock, but you could do twice that on a good sport-tourer or touring bike with appropriate accessories.

Another recommended accessory: MP3 player and earbud headphones.

A throttle lock is basically a “cruise control”, right? This is just to give your wrist a rest? Bags I know I am pretty sure I can get. Do you guys actually have any specific recommendations for bags, btw? I’m thinking of getting my feet wet on the touring thing with a short tour, like up or down the California coast here for a couple nights.

I can only get about 125 miles on my tank, too, but I gotta stop every hour or two anyway. The few long rides I’ve been on have proven to me that I do not, in fact, have an Ass of Stone.

Yeah. It actually physically locks the throttle open when you set it, so unlike electronic cruise control (like what you have in a car), you get constant power, rather than constant speed. That means the bike slows down going uphill and speeds up going downhill. But it’s still great. My first long trip I didn’t have one, and I ended up soaking my forearm in hot water on the last couple of nights. A throttle lock will probably run you $20-30, totally worth it IMO.

I haven’t bought aftermarket bags since I had that Yamaha, but what I will say is: don’t skimp too much. I did with my first set of bags, and the leaked from day one and ended up tearing apart after like a year. If you’re only going to use them for occasional tours, fine (just make sure you plastic wrap the stuff inside in case it rains). But if you’re going to use them regularly, invest in something good.

I have an aftermarket top-box for my RT, made by Givi, and it’s been awesome. No complaints at all. I think they make bags that work on lots of different bikes, but they’re kind of expensive, and they’re hard-sided bags. You might want to go with soft throw-over style if you’re just going to use them occasionally.

And if you end up going down the coast, instead of up, and you think you’re going to make it to LA, PM me and I’ll send you info on some great rides around here.

She’s a beauty, Z. Have fun!

I have a full set of Givi hard bags for my Nighthawk. They are really nice but they could be overkill if you’re just dabbling. A simpler and cheaper solution would be a ?tail bag?, which just straps down behind you on the seat of the bike, where a passenger would sit. I bet you could probably find one that converts to a backpack for off-bike excursions.

Check out the Aerostich catalogue – I’ve bought way too much stuff there (courier bag, ortlieb backpack, combat touring boots). The Roadcrafter suits are awesome, too. I don’t have one but I know about 6 people who do.

Hmm, I spelled catalog the British way for no particular reason, weird. Anyway, I wanted to add that the Chase Harper stuff is kind of cheap but acceptable. I have a tankbag from RKA which I really like.

Doesn’t that get rather cold for a few months?

Cool–thanks for the tips, Rywill and Trey. I definitely don’t think I need hard bags–I’ll just be dabbling for sure. So I’m thinking either soft saddlebags or a tail bag. I checked out that Aerostitch catalog and saw some cool stuff—but I think I should probably go to a local shop and just check this stuff out in person to see what works best…

And, man, that Aerostitch catalog is dangerous. I saw like a million things I could buy there…

So I’m going through their various accessories (great site, thanks for the link–I didn’t realize they did more than riding suits), looking at communications gear (my old stuff is crap) and various other stuff, and I come across the following:


I would think a modern 600 would be a fine choice for long distance riding. I’ve ridden on trips of 1400 miles on a 500 before. I find the main characteristics a bike needs to be a good long distance platform are:

Overall size and seating ergonomics-is the bike large enough and the seating position comfortable for 2 hours at a time? Sportbikes, fun that they are, don’t work for me, at least for over 300 miles.

Vibration: most bikes from the 1980’s on are pretty smooth. V-4s are the best, by far, IME. I used to own a 1200cc V-4 Suzuki, spent 21 days touring Mexico, Arizona, California, Colorado; camping and taking my time.

Power: a given for anything newer than 1979 and 500cc and up. A 600 or 750 have more than enough oomph to keep up with 70mph traffic. Hell, they have more power than my 1000cc bike I owned in 1979.

Vital accessories:

some kind of windshield. I swear by National Cycle, they have the PlexiFairing, it can removed and installed without tools in 30 seconds. Anything to keep the windblast off of you will make touring a breeze (cough, cough).

Throttle lock/cruise control: yeah, NEP makes the standard, I use a Vista Cruise on my 1100G. It allows you to relax your throttle hand whenever you want.

Doesn’t that get rather cold for a few months?[/quote]
Yeah I’ve ridden when the temperature is in the teens. I’m widely regarded to be a crazy person, though. I use heated gloves, windproof outer gear, and lots of fleece layering.

Until recently, I was a rider. Unfortunately, I had to sell my Yamaha XT350 as it was falling apart, and wouldn’t have passed inspection if I tried to get my full-on Motorcycle liesence with it.

I guess I’m gonna have to bite the bullet and take that Saturday class where they teach you everythign from the ground up and make you take the test at the end of the day.

I rode for the first time this weekend- I’m still learning cool stuff!
I’m totally hooked. I rode a Kawasaki Vulcan 750, which seems like a low, wide bike, but I don’t know a thing about them yet.
I signed up for the all-day motorcycle class today & plan to get a bike of my own once I, uh, tell the wife that I rode a motorcycle.

Is it better to seek permission or ask forgiveness?

(Yes, that’s rhetorical :))