Sportbike Distance Riding
Yesterday was probably the fifth or sixth time I've done 300+ miles in a day on my 2005 R6. Make no mistake; it's not meant to be ridden those distances. My hands, arms, knees and butt (in that order) are definitely in pain by the end. For those of you who are thinking about getting a true sportbike and enduring days like these once in a while, here are some survival tips. Not that I think I'm an expert after going those distances just a handful of times, but I thought I'd share what I've done right (and wrong) so maybe someone can at least avoid the same mistakes I've made.
- Stop often to stretch and rest. The riding position on a true sportbike is uncompromising. It's hard on your hands, arms, knees, butt and back. I know I've ridden too long between breaks when everything hurts and my hands and feet are buzzing from the vibration.
- If you're riding in remote or rural areas, plan your gas stops smartly. True sportbikes have crappy gas range. I can push it to about 120 miles for the type of riding I do but that's about it.
- Grip the gas tank with your knees when you can. That will alleviate some pressure from your hands and arms.
- Hit the weights. Staying in shape's a good idea for sportbike riders anyway, but keeping your upper body strong helps even more. This is even more critical at the track; it's like doing a tough push-up every time you're hard on the brakes.
- Get a tank bag, tail bag or backpack to carry some essentials. Some essentials I bring are water, tire pressure gauge, electrical tape, ear plugs, extra contact lenses, extra layer of clothing if it gets cold, camera and some other random bits.