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Old 01-21-2008, 02:44 PM
170 posts, read 940,105 times
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anyone here ever go on a cross country motorcycle trip??

East coast to the west coast? Or even to alaska??

what do you need for something like this?

If you dont have health insurance, can you get travel health insurance specifically for this?
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Old 01-21-2008, 03:59 PM
Location: Way on the outskirts of LA LA land.
3,040 posts, read 10,808,866 times
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I have several friends that have done long distance motorcycle trips. Some of them ride Harleys, but a few ride Gold Wings. You might want to check organizations like the "Harley Owner's Group" or the "Gold Wing Road Rider's Association." I know the G.W.R.R.A. hosts riding events all over the country, so they should be able to give you some insight into your questions. I'm not sure about the H.O.G., though they may do the same thing.

Good luck with your quest!
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Old 01-21-2008, 05:48 PM
11,369 posts, read 47,095,928 times
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Many times.

Started out on a 1966 Ducati 250 Mach 1, Denver to Southern California a few times round trip. Not the best way to travel the distance, but it's what I had then.

Moved up to 'Guzzi 750 Ambo's, did the Colorado to West Coast trip a bunch more times.

Traveled CA to FL (St Pete) a couple of times. Many 300-400 mile per day trips in the Rocky Mountain region.

The goose was good for comfort and fuel economy on a long ride packing camping gear and traveling clothes. I did one major trip on a G15CSR Matchless 750, and knew I'd never take that kind of bike out again for anything but a modest day trip; uncomfortable and not set up for baggage. Reliability was OK, but not inspiring after a shaft drive bike that was very consistent and easy to ride.

I've friends that do a Colorado to Alaska trip every other year. They grind out 600-700 mile days on Goldwings, staying in motels most nights, camping out the rest. After hearing their travel schedule, I'm not going with them. I want to enjoy the ride, not push so hard every day for miles. But they seem to do OK, even with the rain and adverse road conditions.

After having ridden light-midweight motorcycles for many years, I'd advise you to get a larger, touring oriented bike. Shaft drive eliminates a lot of roadside maintenance issues. So test drive the touring machines, sold and set up for that purpose. I think you'll find sport bikes, "boulevard cruisers", and the like not very comfortable for the long haul miles. Most of the major brands have decent reliability, so choose what suits you for the job ... not for day riding appeal; you're going to be living with your touring bike for a lot of miles and days and need durability and reliability, not a "show winner" bike.

You may find that 600-1000 cc's or so is adequate and a good combination of power/economy. You don't need 1.3-1.5 liter (or bigger) performance for a tourer, and you don't need the fuel economy penalty ... "performance" will be a secondary issue, especially when it comes to wearing out tires/brakes, and other consumables. For serious touring, you want the weight carrying capacity and structure to be comfortable; you may find a faired bike more to your liking than a "naked" tourer. (I ride "naked" bikes ....)

Modern day riding clothing and gear really helps. I started with a Belstaff "trialmaster" one piece suit, and had all the wind/rain protection I needed with layers of clothing on underneath. Went from that to a Belstaff two-piece suit ... easier to get on and layer up for cold weather, or to keep cooler in hot weater. The main concern is all weather capability and rider protection. The new goretex and ballistic fabric clothing makes life even easier, and cooler on hot days. Wind/waterproof boots and mittens are good to have .... A full faceshield helmet is essential.

I've not heard of any "travel health" insurance, but you might look into a "major medical" policy with a high deductible, just in case. Of course, your motorcycle insurance should have accident coverage.

I wouldn't set out on the road without some emergency tools and spares for common failures ... flat fix, fuel filter(s), light bulbs. For a really long trip, I carry spare cables for the throttle and clutch. Electrical tape and duct tape are handy for small repairs, too.

Since I prefer to camp, I pack two sleeping bags (for cold weather), a two-man backpack tent, one burner stove (either Coleman Peak one or a Butane stove), food, water, clothing, camping cookware, sunshower, and other small items to make camp life entertaining (camera, DVD player, etc.). It all fits into two soft sided bags tied onto pack racks on my 'goose, or into a tank bag. That leaves me more space for odds and ends on a top luggage rack, where I can bungee cord on "stuff" that I pick up along the way for my travels. You do want to have your luggage easily securable (locking hard bags) or readily removable to go with you when you have to leave the bike unattended, such as parked at a motel.

I think your mobile phone and an emergency roadside assistance program may be beneficial these days. At least you can get assistance lined up if you have a roadside emergency ... contact a dealer, etc.

Plan you day's riding for reasonable time on the road. Avoid traffic jams in big city areas ... that's time for you to be away from the area or taking a break.

Lastly, work on your tour riding skills. Safe motorcycling is an art form, and you need to have good riding skills as well as a good sense of traffic situations and road conditions that are not favorable to your survival ... an know how to deal with them. If you don't, you'll be learning on the road, which isn't the best time or place to find out about these problems. Consider a motorcycle riding class .... even if it's just a refresher for you.

Last edited by sunsprit; 01-21-2008 at 06:16 PM..
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Old 01-21-2008, 06:01 PM
170 posts, read 940,105 times
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How much maintenance is needed? Did you have to often stop and change tires or whatever on your trips to California?

so if you get into a motorcycle accident, your motorcycle insurance is suppost to cover the hospital bill?
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Old 01-21-2008, 07:58 PM
11,369 posts, read 47,095,928 times
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Originally Posted by windsurfingiskewl View Post
How much maintenance is needed? Did you have to often stop and change tires or whatever on your trips to California?

Depends a lot upon the bike you choose. Certain bikes aren't as reliable, some bikes "need" more tinkering and regular maintenance to keep them roadworthy. I rode old BMW R-60's (30 HP!!) and moved on to 750 Guzzi's (60HP), which aren't high HP bikes in today's world, so they're easy on the motors, transmissions, clutches, wheels, tires, suspension, etc, while still having sturdy electrical systems (for lights, starter, horn).

How you ride, what tires you choose for your bike, how much weight you put on it will all affect tire wear. Some highly rated tires for handling/traction may only give your touring bike rig 6-7,000 miles before wearing out. I've never had to "replace" tires on my road trips, but I've sure had to fix flats from picking up road debris; all my bikes are "tube" tires, so I carry a spare inner tube and get another as soon as possible after I replace it. One of the big factors of serious road riding is being able to do things like fix flats, replace cables, etc., while out on the road. That's one of my big objections to some of the big touring bikes these days ... big, expensive tires that are impossible to replace without having a motorcycle hoist and specialized tire changing machines. I can drop the wheels on my bikes right on the bike's stands (or by leaning the bike over on the center stand for the rear tire), and service the tires/tubes with small hand tools.

so if you get into a motorcycle accident, your motorcycle insurance is suppost to cover the hospital bill?[/quote]

Apparently, you've never owned/licensed a road motorcycle. Yes, you must have motorcycle insurance, and full loss coverage at that if you've financed the bike. You'll be getting accident and medical coverage for yourself; don't forget to add "guest passenger" medical coverage (it's generally an option, not standard coverage, for your passenger -- even if you don't intend to carry a passenger very frequently), and liability/uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Don't get the minimum coverage ... get the higher limits they offer as you may need it. Consult with an insurance agent who does motorcycles before you buy a bike ... you'll find differences depending upon the type/size of bike. Some companies that offer a minimum coverage will charge a flat rate basis depending upon CC size of your bike, but that's not the coverage you want as a high risk newbie.

Given that you're new to road motorcycling, I would not advise you to buy a large touring bike at this point, or to even undertake a major motorcycle tour. There's so much knowledge and skills you need to develop long before you set out safely on a trip like this. You need to have a lot of short runs under your belt to learn about bike handling, traffic, road, and weather as it relates to bike safety and survival. Most of this will be best learned on a mid-weight bike, not a major high horsepower big bike with lots of incredible performance at the twist of a wrist.

I'd urge you to take a motorcycle riding class (or two or three), and to try to hook up with some more experienced riding partners for lots of daytime rides before thinking about a tourer and long distances.

Road Safety is ... or should be ... your paramount goal. It takes lots of miles and education to learn about this, and it's far more important than learning how to ride a bike quickly around a track or in the dirt.
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Old 01-21-2008, 08:25 PM
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i actually have my license from taking a 3 day class. I dont have a bike now because i sold my old one. I have about 7,000 miles of riding under my belt. A couple 5 hour cruises in NY state/PA and local riding in NJ.

I know you need auto insurance to ride..
I was unsure if motorcycle insurance covers medical or if you had to rely on your health insurance. I always assumed that if you fell and broke a leg while riding, the motorcycle insurance would cover it but I was never sure about it.

About touring bikes, they seem Very expensive. The ones ive seen are up to $20,000 new. I'm not looking to cruise in luxurious comfort here, so i will probably buy a used cruiser.
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Old 01-23-2008, 09:59 AM
Location: Hougary, Texberta
9,023 posts, read 12,200,259 times
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I would suggest checking out some motorcycle specific forums. Check out the IBA for real long distance stuff, but their tips are worthwhile for anyone venturing out.

There are as many types of bike as there are cars. Find what you really want from a bike and go from there.
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