How To Stay Comfortable On Long Motorcycle Rides

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Category: How To

5. Alter Your Ergonomics and Aerodynamics
Any stock motorcycle should only be considered an ergonomic starting point. This is as true for a Gold Wing as it is for an R6 track bike. You can achieve a surprising level of custom fit simply by rotating bars forward and backwards and levers up and down. Going further, you can fit different bars, different foot pegs and modify the seat to the taller, shorter, thinner, wider or to provide more padding or support.

The same goes for aerodynamics. A screen that works for one person, might create terminal vibration for another, seemingly identical rider. You can shim screen bolts, chop them down or purchase taller screens to tailor aerodynamics to your personal needs.

Find yourself on the road and in urgent need of a quick, easy ergonomic fix? Don’t be afraid to experiment. Duct tape, cardboard and spare clothing can be used to conjure up all sorts of comfort aids in a pinch.

6. Avoid Monkey Butt
Get a sweaty butt and you could experience chafing, or worse. This is what those skeepskin seat covers you see on GSs and Gold Wings are intended to prevent; they do so by helping air circulate around your backside. Duct taping a folded up towel to your seat can achieve a similar effect for free. Talcum powder applied to your nether regions is a good idea too.

7. Keep Your Hands Warm
Craig Vetter invented the original bar muffs by duct taping a sleeping bag to the front of his motorcycle. Having your fingers pointing into the wind for long periods, even in good gloves, just has a way of creating cold hands. Bark Busters and heated grips help, but in a pinch you can stick chemical hand warmers in your gloves, wear nitrile medical gloves underneath or fashion makeshift mittens from other clothing.

BMW F 800 GS
The F 800 GS's seat is so poor, I stood most of the way from New York to Labrador and back.

8. Move Around
No matter how comfortable your bike may seem, sitting in one position for hours at a time is going to lead to sore-butt-itis. So move around. Be safe and don’t do this in places where you may need to make emergency evasive maneuvers, but long trips frequently see us sitting on the pillion seat, putting our feet on cylinder heads or other protruding parts or just standing up. The latter can help stretch your leg muscles and return blood flow to your back, feet and legs. Just be careful not to inadvertently tweak the throttle, foot controls or nudge the bars off course when you’re doing so. The gyroscopic force of the spinning wheels makes motorcycles extremely stable at highway speeds though, you can use that to your advantage.

9. Take A Break
There’s nothing wrong with just pulling over and taking a break. Go sit inside somewhere warm if it’s cold outside or cool if it’s hot. Drink some liquids; take your concentration away from riding and just chill out. The mental recuperation from even a short break might just be what you need to get home.

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