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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Got into a bit of a debate last night with a cruiser riding friend on what makes for the best long distance comfort. My bike certainly could use a better seat for distance riding, but I never really seemed to find forward controls all that comfortable, or a tank I can't hold onto with my knees. So I thought I'd take a survey: When it comes to long distance rides, what is it most important for your bike to have? What have you found to be the most painful?

I think that so far in my limited experience, the most comfortable riding position I've had was my CX500's combination of a pretty good seat, mid controls that didn't fold up my legs but could let me grab the tank with my knees or stand on the pegs, and bars that had me leaned forward a bit.
 

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Matt, I think every rider will have different needs, but I agree with you that a "standard" riding position, with a bit of forward lean, is the best way to go overall. I ride a 599 myself, and despite quite a bit of sneering from the so called experts in the Long Distance crowd, I find it a very comfortable and suitable Iron Butt bike. I've done a couple SS 1000s and a Bun burner as well, with no problems, on a stock bike. (Well a stock seat at least! I've farkled it to the max . . . ) ;)
 

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Matt, when I got into LD riding I had a Shadow Spirit 1100. After a few big mile trips I started looking for a better mount. The feet forward pegs didn't cut it for me. I started checking and went with the standard at the time (ST1100 w/Corbin seat)for the reasons you mentioned. After 80K in two years on her I realized I really just needed a bike that allowed me to move around some.

I like big bikes foe mile munching but tried many different models from the Valkyrie Tourer to the VFR (my wife did her first ss1000 on the VFR) and a few in between. My Road King w/Corbin saddle allows me to stretch out, feet forward for awhile or put my feet back on the passenger pegs, knees hugging the tank, leaned slightly forward or even that happy middle ground with my toes on the back of the floorboard sitting straight up in a more standard position.

After seeing folks like you and sachi doing big rides on bikes w/out fairings or windshields or other things I considered vital I feel like a wimp though. :p

jm2cw

DT
 

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I ride a 599 myself, and despite quite a bit of sneering from the so called experts in the Long Distance crowd, I find it a very comfortable and suitable Iron Butt bike.
sachi, remember that guy a few years back who did the Rally on that little german two-stroke? A Zundapp I think it was. Now that guy deservered the crosseyed looks! You're on a big bike next to him. :D
 

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:lol: Yeah, I do remember that! It's all fun, isn't it?

Derrick, like I said, everyone has different needs. I tried bikes with fairings and on all of them, the turbulence above the still air pocket hit my helmet. So my head would get buffeted around, and it was incredibly noisy. I hated it. On a naked bike, I would be in clean air. I'd just lean a bit forward and let the air hold me up. Quiet, relaxing, and easy. Obviously, it works for me.

That Road King of yours is (IMHO) a standard bike with a cruiser look. It's a great LD bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
After seeing folks like you and sachi doing big rides on bikes w/out fairings or windshields or other things I considered vital I feel like a wimp though. :p

jm2cw

DT
Well, so far my idea of a big ride is when I get stuck in traffic and my 40 mile commute stretches into two hours. :) I've been thinking about longer rides but would like to do a bit to improve its comfort first. I've already moved the bars up using a set of flipped-over bar caps as cheap bar risers, and I'm now trying to figure out what to do for a seat as there aren't any aftermarket ones for it.

And for the record, I never rode the CX without a fairing, although the later one didn't really do much. It had a Windjammer on it that I later replaced with a cafe racer fairing.

Being able to move around is definitely a plus - the flat saddle on the CX let me slide back, but the GS500F has a stepped seat that holds me almost in one place.
 

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You can take your seat to any seat shop -- even a marine seat shop -- and ask that shop to adjust the seat in some way. I took a look at a pic of your bike though - it doesn't look like the seat is that cramped. Why do you think you need to scootch backwards more? Because the rear is wider?

I redid the seat on a 1984 Guzzi V-65SP, which was about as comfortable as a 2x6, by asking the shop to add foam wings to the sides so that the seat became wider as it went back. The shop also cut off the top layer of the original foam and replaced it with dual density foam. Much more supportive and much more comfortable! The total price about 15 years ago was about 150 bucks, and well worth it. I rode that bike everywhere in good comfort.
 

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I just did 12 consecutive hours, followed by 7 consecutive hours, followed by 8 consecutive hours on a Tuono with the stock seat still in place. The thing that made that trip livable was the Airhawk cushion I bought about 3 days earlier. It took a couple of hundred miles to get it dialed in just right but once I adjusted it to my narrow butt and my typical long trip riding position it was a real a$$ saver.
 

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The other nice thing about that airhawk cushion on the Tuono is the distance it puts between your hips and the pegs. That bike has a brutally tight leg position that has caused me a charlie-horse-like sensation in my hip joints on colder rides. And in case you're wondering, I'd rather suffer through that sensation than even think about giving up that bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You can take your seat to any seat shop -- even a marine seat shop -- and ask that shop to adjust the seat in some way. I took a look at a pic of your bike though - it doesn't look like the seat is that cramped. Why do you think you need to scootch backwards more? Because the rear is wider?
There's two reasons I tend to move around on the seat. One, I'm 6'2", and my legs get a little cramped. The saddlebags make it hard for me to move my feet to the passenger pegs.

Also, I just don't like sitting in one place for too long as the seat just gets uncomfortable. I had thought that the foam was too hard, but now I'm starting to think the real problem is it's soft enough to put my butt on the seat pan. I've been thinking about having the seat modified, and the idea about stuffing it with dual density foam sounds like a great idea.
 

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Ok, Moore, this is a family forum. Language such as "putting the bike on a trailer" is foul and demeaning and I don't want to hear it any more. Now go wash your keyboard our with soap and apologize to the rabble.
 

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Most of my long distance riding has been, believe it or not, on dual-sport bikes. I toured all over Europe in the 90's on a Yamaha XT600. I found the riding positon perfect for just about anything.

I think the "standard" or "dirt bike" positions are best for me. Of course, YMMV.
 

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I'd like to make a formal apology for my insensitive, ill-conceived attempt at humor. Trailer jokes aren't any better than fart jokes; they just scrape the bottom of the barrel and appeal to the immature an unsophisticated. Hey, know how you tell a rich ******* from a poor *******? The rich one has two bikes that don't run on the trailer!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Humph. A trip in a Hummer doesn't sound all that comfortable these days. My wallet hurts just thinking about it.

Pplassm, I believe it. I'm thinking of getting a KLR650 as my next bike. It would be so funny to take that on a long distance with my cruiser friend and his buddies on Harleys - seeing a sport bike with a bunch of cruisers isn't too strange, but an overgrown dirt bike heading down the highway in a group ride would definitely raise a few eyebrows. Which is why I'm even more tempted to get one.
 

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Comfort

Like just about everybody else has said, what makes one comfortable is different for everybody. On my BMWs and Harleys over the years, I have actually preferred the stock seat to the high dollar replacements. Some bikes I've had had seats like the V65 back in the posts, like riding on lumber (a particular R65 comes to mind really fast), not a thing you can do but get the foam redone or get a new seat. Being locked into a single riding position is, well a pain in the arse...moving around (feet and butt) seem to make all the difference in the world to me...Keep in mind that I ride ~30K a year, so probably have a rather calloused a$$...

BigJames
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Looks like the admins are doing a message board flood. :)

Like just about everybody else has said, what makes one comfortable is different for everybody. On my BMWs and Harleys over the years, I have actually preferred the stock seat to the high dollar replacements. Some bikes I've had had seats like the V65 back in the posts, like riding on lumber (a particular R65 comes to mind really fast), not a thing you can do but get the foam redone or get a new seat. Being locked into a single riding position is, well a pain in the arse...moving around (feet and butt) seem to make all the difference in the world to me...Keep in mind that I ride ~30K a year, so probably have a rather calloused a$$...

BigJames
You certainly sound like an expert in putting a lot of miles on. What sort of foam redoing do you typically have done when you need it?

That is good to hear that stock seats don't always suck...
 
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