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How to Tame the Pacific Northwest.

6098 Views 13 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Baron650
ride what ya brung.

it rains more so get a little rain gear and invest in a gerbing vest.

when you're settled i can give you names of the best tuner/tire vendor and suspension guys in the area who will also know other street guys for you to know.

the best all around bike for anywhere is prolly the suzuki dl650, but who cares? you will see a little of everything

there are some great roads in that area. probably not as good as socal but way less crowded. PIR is a good but short race track and from what i can tell they have a thriving motorcycle community.

i live in in coeur d'alene idaho. it is dryer here but colder. we are about 300 miles away. we get to PIR regularly.

you can ride your snowboard, white water kayak and board sail all on the same day in hood river.

you should like portland it is a really interesting place. buy or borrow the book "fugitives and refugees" by chuck palahniuk and start having fun.


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I'm 130 miles north in Tacoma but our weather is similar to Portland's except for one thing. Due to cold air coming down the Columbia Gorge, Portland (especially its eastern suburbs) is prone to ice storms. There will be days when four wheel drive isn't safe, so keep that in mind. Apart from that if you have a good riding suit and electric vest, you should be good to ride all year long.
I actually live in Portland and I commute 15 miles each way. I drive a SV650- nothing added. I just drive much more reserved when it is wet. When it rains hard you have to worry about leaves and branches on trees, but I assume that is something everyone has to deal with. We have about one ice storm a year. The thing to worry about is the gravel laid out after the ice storm. It takes weeks before it is clear again, so ride VERY carefully then.

Good rides... well, if you want to go for a longer ride, head up the gorge and then tuck back on some back road there. For short area trips, explore Skyline BLVD area and out to the North Plains. There are some good curves in various spots and the traffic isn't bad if you go at the right time of day. Hope this is somewhat helpful.
Oh and before I forget. Buy a copy of Destination Highways for Washington. They haven't put out a version for Oregon yet, but from Portland you have a lot of great roads in Southwestern Washington to ride
Welcome to Portland! I'm an avid rider here, and I have a few suggestions for you when riding in the 'off' months. First, get a fog shield for your helmet. When riding in cooler, wet weather, it's a godsend. Second, have good rain gear handy - even if you simply store it in a tank bag or seat bag. Rain comes upon us somewhat unexpectedly from October through June, so having proper gear handy is always a plus. Finally, purchase quality Gore-Tex, lined, overpants and coat. Also, keep a dry towel handy to clear your facemask from time to time. RE: type of bike? Anything is fine. I ride a Triumph Sprint ST, and I love it. It's great for the longer distances and works well in the many curves we have here. From Portland, there are great rides to Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens, the Coast, and throughout the Columbia Gorge. Believe me when I say that you will NOT be disappointed with the many, many available rides. It's truly a biker's paradise. I hope this helps.
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I recently moved from Portland back to Texas and if there is one thing I learned while living in Oregon is to wear layers. The weather changes from place to place and can happen quick. If it is nice in Portland and you want to head for the coast or mountains, be prepared for rain and falling temps.

I saw other riders on dual purpose bikes more than anything else. Not a good area for the shiny chrome thing.

Have a blast as that area is really beautiful.
I live in Beaverton and commute to Portland year round - about 25 miles a day. I also do 100-300 mile rides on weekends out to the Gorge, the coast or Mount St. Helens. I ride a VFR 800. For me it is a nice balance between comformatable and sporty.

Layers are good here as we get wide temperature swings during the day - I frequently wear rain suits over mesh gear in the summer mornings, rain suit over perforated leather in spring and fall, and rain gear over textile in the winter

As well as the odd icy day, we are pronne to some heavy fog - sometimes below freezing in the winter. Most times I ride 4 out of 5 days in the winter.

Cheers.... Grif

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Thanks All

Keep he comments coming. it is helpful. i was thinking about getting an Aerostitch suit. Would that be a good buy, and a Suzuki V-Strom. Would that be a good choice?
I'll echo what everyone says and add that a bike with a good fairing is a help if you plan on riding much in the winter. I ride a Suzuki V-Strom on dry days, so that's a good choice if you don't plan to ride in a downpour. Something with some leg protection (I ride BMW R1100RS or Concours) when it's really wet and cold helps.

Most here don't ride during a downpour though, so the V-Strom is a good solution.
Not in Oregon but we get plenty of cool foggy mornings in NorCal... I'll toss in a plug for Fog City visor inserts.
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I live in Seattle. I have a one piece Aerostich AND a V-Strom. The combo makes for good all-weather riding. But in colder temps-below 40-a heated vest and heated grips make the difference between cold or comfy. Heated grips are an extra addition for the Strom. The Strom also usually needs a new windscreen to reduce buffeting and a power commander to get the fuel injection to work right. But really any bike is OK.
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I never use a rain suit just my 10 year old two piece Aerostich. I think the two piece is a little better at preventing crotch leak through that many Aerostich owners complain about. Also when the weather is a little nicer, I just use the top with a pair of the Aerostich Arborwear Jeans. The 'Stich is roomy enough to put an electric vest under which is important as it has no insulation of it's own.

I also have a 650 V-Strom that works very well in the city and the mountains. I have a taller windshield from Cee Baileys that I use in colder weather or for touring but use the stock shield in warmer weather. The Strom can be equiped with luggage racks and engine guards that you can order via
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I've had my 'stitch for 6 years, get one and you'll never regret it. The Strom 650 would be a great choice as well; you could explore the full range of roads in the area. The latest Road Runner Mag has a good real-world piece on riding in Oregon (lots of rain), the guy is on a 650. I've been riding here in Portland for 9 years and I'm still finding new MC Roads. Rob
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