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What is your general physical condition/equipment/ride times?

  • I'm fit, and can ride all day on a rock for a seat

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I'm fit and can ride all day on a great bike with a great seat

    Votes: 25 39.7%
  • I'm fit and can ride for a while but then need a break

    Votes: 8 12.7%
  • I'm fit - are we there yet?

    Votes: 1 1.6%
  • I'm not fit, and can still ride all day on a rock for a seat

    Votes: 3 4.8%
  • I'm not fit and can ride all day on a great bike with a great seat

    Votes: 18 28.6%
  • I'm not fit and can ride for a while but then need a break

    Votes: 8 12.7%
  • I'm not fit - are we there yet?

    Votes: 0 0.0%

Long distance riding - body-type vs. equipment needs

8380 Views 42 Replies 29 Participants Last post by  StriderJim
The 1000-mile seat poll has me wondering a few things... I'm not a long distance rider and I always marvel at those whole claim to be able to ride all day long. While everyone is different, surely there must be some magic combination of body-type, physical conditioning, bike-type, and seat that makes some able to ride all day long. What is 'fit/unfit' in my poll? Only you can decide. Fit can be any combination of age and physical conditioning. You can be young and fit, you can be old and fit. You can be young and unfit, you can be old and unfit. It's all relative to whatever YOU think you are!

At 53, 5'8" and a weight varying between 220 and 250, I'm obviously not a great candidate for long distance riding. I'm unfit. Actually, I'm UN-fit! Despite the extra weight I am active and play competitive tennis so I'm not a slug on the couch either. But I'm only good for an hour and a half in the saddle regardless of what seat I have before I need a break. I've tried all big names, Corbin, Mustang, Le Pera (current), various stock seats (Hammock) along with gel pads, sheep-skin pads, Air Hawk pads, beads - you name it, but still I need a break to stretch.

My wife is 52, 5.4" and only weighs about 115 but she's even worse than me and needs a break at about an hour. In her defense she has bad hips from a lifetime of teaching ballet so it's less about her butt and more about the hips. But her butt does get sore as well.

Anyway, I thought I'd run a poll aimed at the longer(ish) distance guys to see not only what you are running for equipment, but what your body type, age, and general physical conditioning is. I assumed that a younger rider with an ideal body weight and great physical conditioning will be able to ride longer than an old fat guy that thinks beer is an actual food group!

So take the poll, please, but then post your general physical characteristics (if you don't mind), along with your equipment preferences that help you achieve your longest rides in the most comfort, including seats, bikes, clothes and any prep work before, during and after the ride like stretching, eating, drinking, etc. The terms in the poll are going to be relative (young/old, fit/unfit, long/short) and each person will have to decide what category they fall most into. Polls can be tricky to word.

So something like this (although I'm no long distance rider):

I'm 53, 5'8", 250, RGC CVO, Le Pera Maverick, good for an hour and a half non-stop riding then need a nice break then back in the saddle with each subsequent time being a factor of diminishing returns (less time each subsequent run).
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I'm game for this.

I'm 53, 6'0", and 280lb. I have a 2012 RGU with the stock seat. I have highway pegs mounted to the crash bars.

I have no problem riding until I need to fill up the tank again. (200 or so miles) then taking enough time to stretch and move before getting back on the bike to do it all over again. That's usually about 5 minutes, 10 minutes at the maximum.

I routinely make the trip from Sacramento, CA to Emmitt, ID. That's about 575 miles each way. It's a solo run and done in one leg each way. I only stop for food and fuel.
I'll play! I'm 54, 6'2" and just dropped 60 lbs from 280 to 220. Weight isn't the issue. 22 years and >10,000 of helicopter flight time is. A little arthritis in my lower back but with my 2013 Road Glide ultra, Heated OEM Hammock seat, and adjustable Kuryachen long rider pegs on the crash bar, I'm still good for 10-12 hour days. The Roadie has really extended my range and comfort. Tankful to tankful with a meal break every second fill up and minimal stretching, and I can go all day and night. The Gaads wind management and a 14" OEM windshield really help as well. Only thing I'm considering now are the Sancho wings to finish it off.
I'll be 56 next month, 5'7.5", 30" inseam I float between 190-200 depending on the year, I can ride pretty long last year we did a 900 mile day followed by a bunch of long days. Two years ago I started having shoulder issues that have since be traced to my neck, so it takes a lot of ibuprofen to keep me going but still manage. I can usually run tank to tank with a short break at the gas stop on my hammock seat.
I am 6'1", 235, Corbin Classic solo, 2012 CVO RG, I have highway pegs mounted to the crash bars.

No trouble riding tank to tank most trips. One thing I have learned is to stay away from fast food while riding longer distances. Eat healthy to stay awake. I may get a 5hr energy if I get a little tired but I try to stay away from too much sugar and starchy foods. I drink plenty of water to stay hydrated but I try and not over do it so I don't have to stop and pee every half hour.

I regularly go from Jacksonville, FL to Centre, AL to see my folks. 460mi each way.

Something came to mind a while back when I was reading a thread about someone wanting to know a good seat for the longer rides. When I was in my 20's I used to do a lot of long distance bicycling and a fair amount of mountain biking. When I first started I remember complaining to my friend that got me started that the little seat on this thing is killing me. He laughed and said that I was just "saddle sore" because I wasn't used to it. Well after a couple of weeks went by and my miles per week increased I never really got sore again until I would go for a new PR in distance.

I know that some seats work better than others for different people but I truely feel that the more you ride these things the less "saddle sore" you will get. Even now I ride a stiff Corbin Solo seat and have been on numerous long trip and felt fine. My buddy has the Hammock seat on his bike and whenever we switch I start to squirm after about 40-45 minutes. I am not saying the Hammock is worse than the Corbin, I'm saying that your butt gets used to what you ride. I would most likely be the same way if it were the other way around. Sorry for the long post but I just thought I would share.
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RGKen makes a good point, whenever I ride long distance I keep the food intake down, I eat trail mix and stuff like that and plenty of fluids. I had a Corbin on my RK and a plain stock seat on my last Ultra and its true that your butt just seems to get used to what your riding unless the seat is shot.
I regularly go from Jacksonville, FL to Centre, AL to see my folks. 460mi each way.
you pass within five miles or less of me when you do that , depending on which way you go ..

And Ken makes an excellent point with the seat , the more you ride , the better it gets , I'm 58 and run around 220-230 , and I use a stock batwing ultra seat , works great as is ..

Wifey is my weak link , she is good for about 100 miles , I can run tank to tank , but usually run between 125-180 miles and stop ..

Stay hydrated and don't each much , is about the only time I eat candy bars ..

I wouldn't worry about it too much. The seat poll doesn't do much good because everyone is different so just try to find a seat that works well for you and your wife. For what it is worth I use the HD leather low profile seat which works very well for me, but I don't ride two up much so it probably won't work good for the wife.
Most of us older people are not as fit as we would like to be, Father Time is not nice and he gives us lots of aches and pains.
You are only going to ride as long as it is comfortable for you and your wife (if she is with you) and it will depend on who needs a break first.
I can ride until it is time for some gas and I start looking for gas around 130 to 150 miles because I don't like running the tank too low and if you're not in a familiar area it is better to stop for gas sooner than later.
When you stop take as much time as you need, you're not on a iron butt run and if you are you're too old for those things anyways so stop. ;)
The main thing I found to have extended ride time for me is to have footpegs mounted to the crash bars so I can move my legs into multiple positions. I mount the footpegs lower on the crash bars so I can rest my toes on the pegs and my heels on the floorboards doing this give me 3 or 4 positions to move my legs too, your wife options are more limited. I also removed my heel shifter so I have more room on the floorboards.
In general a 250 to 400 mile days is good if you're on a road trip figuring in stops for scenery and fuel. There are times that I am on a mission (I just got done with one) and I have done 550 to 700 in a day depending on the roads, but I didn't have any time to stop and enjoy some sights and take some pics.
Bottom line is take your time and enjoy the ride, time flies by too fast anyways :eek:
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When I have a say, I ride tank to tank; roughly 220-240 miles between stops,; depending on station availability, of course. Unless there's a compelling reason to stick around, I'm back on the road in about 10-15 minutes. I'm not in a hurry; I just enjoy this type of riding. This is one reason few people like to ride with me. If you start your day with a full tank and refill three times, you can pretty much do a 1,000 mile day.

I have been in better shape than I am now, but I can still do a 1,000 mile day; just need a reason. Fitness really comes in handy when things go wrong and you need as much muscle as finesse to correct the situation.

My comfort mods include:
MadStad windscreen
Ultra seat modified by Astech Seats.
Ohlins Shocks
Wild-1 508 bars
Crash bar mounted highway pegs
1" floorboard extenders
Reda 1 Gal gas can
Driver backrest (I gave in at SWII)
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one more thing to consider if you're over 50 and doing more than one long day in a row. Increase your fiber intake! Be it salads, flax seed or the drinkable kind. a nice comfortable throne session every day sure beats the painful one 3-4 days later! May be a gross topic but those of us who know, don't want to EVER experience that again!
Ok, I'm 54, 5'8", 200lbs, pretty good shape. I can ride all day long, stop about once every 200 miles for gas and water both ways, lol. Also this may seem small, but I don't ride with a wallet in my rear pocket, it does make a difference. Mustang seat BTW.
Also this may seem small, but I don't ride with a wallet in my rear pocket, it does make a difference.
Take it from a Licensed Massage Therapist, not sitting on a wallet a makes a huge difference, especially for people who have sciatica issues.
you pass within five miles or less of me when you do that , depending on which way you go .. JtB
Unless I have to make up time, which is very rare, I usually get off the interstate in Tifton and go past Columbus and hit Hwy 431. Then just north of I-20 I cut over and catch Hwy 9. It's a little longer that way but when I take the bike that's the way I like it. :D

I may be taking the bike up that way next week when I go so I can break in the new motor. Just depends on if 2 of my kids want to go or not. I'll let you know and maybe we can meet up. If not this trip I know I will be that way again real soon.

I'm 61 years of age, 6'2", 220 lbs. I can ride all day and then some. I just rode 1037 miles in a little over 15 hours on Tuesday. Longest continuous ride was 1600+ miles in 22 hours. I take 600-800 mile day trips. I have done long rides on an RG Ultra, three different EG Ultras, a Heritage Classic and a Goldwing. All have had stock seats, but on occasion I've used a Gel Pad. Highway pegs and a backrest of some sort are a must. Hydration is key, also ear plugs, chap stick and sun screen. As some others do, I ride from one tank fill up to the next and seldom, if ever, stop in between. If you take a little break at each refueling stop, just enough time for a bottle of water, a snack and to use the restroom, you can ride very long distances, but you have to want to do it. I find long rides much more enjoyable alone or with one or two specific other riding buddies. Long trips with more riders than that usually do not go well. Everyone has different mileage capabilities, refueling stops, eating and lodging needs.
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67, 5'8", 150 lbs. I've done 5 documented Iron Butt rides. I can ride tank-to-tank. 600-mile days are typical. Comfort is the key to long distance riding and these are the things that you have to fix to get comfortable:
- Handle bars
- Seat
- Windshield
- Clothing

If any part of your body hurts, you'll be thinking about it and mental fatigue will set in.

I have Heritage +2 bars, a Signature Solo seat with backrest plus an Air Hawk Pad. I can just peek over the windshield. For cold weather I have a Gerbing jacket liner and for hot weather a cool vest. I wear a full face helmet, armored jacket, and kevlar jeans. The gear is for safety and to keep the sun off my skin. The gear also slows evaporation of sweat, so you stay hydrated longer. I use a Camelback to help stay hydrated.

My wife is normal size and can ride just as far as I can. Her bike is a Dyna Switchback. We made all the same modifications to make it fit her properly. The one thing she does differently is she wears deerskin gloves. They keep her hands from tingling.

I've ridden long distances with friends who thought 200 miles was a long day. They were surprised when they did 1000 miles. They also went out and got better equipment. Some things they bought before the ride, others they got after getting home.

The ONE item that has made the biggest difference for me is the Air Hawk pad.
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I'm 72 in pretty good shape. Usually ride 100-125, take a short break, then do the same for around 350 miles each day. This is usually my Sturgis routine. Have a 2015 RGS with a 2013 ultra seat.
I'm 51, 5'9" 180 and in really good shape fitness-wise. I do have a lot of aches and pains from years of sports and racing bikes. I can ride all day tank to tank for lots of days in a row. Used to do lots of 1000 mile days. I rarely do that anymore. I'm with ironmark life is too short. I like to take the road less travelled and stop check out the great things to be seen almost everywhere. That means 500 is usually about tops for me now. Stock ultra seat, backrest, highway pegs, madstad, 12" bars, beadrider, lots of Aleve or Advil.
Great responses so far. I've noticed some trends here and on some other seat-threads:

Highway pegs - the ability to move your legs around is key to allowing the blood to flow in areas that might not be getting it enough. There are highway pegs on my bike (were there when I bought) but they are too far away. I'm going to need to buy some extensions. The only problem I have with highway pegs is that I've had them before and I typically almost never use them because I don't generally ride long enough to need to use them.

Stock Ultra seats - seems like a lot of people that have the Ultra seats have kept and like them. This is something I've noticed quite a bit on other threads.

Great feedback on diet and hydration. Dialing in your bike ergonomically seems obvious to me and mine is definitely already there. Clothing is a good topic. I've seen a few other people mention ride-specific underwear for wicking away moisture. I'd like to hear what people have used in this regard. Two bikes ago I used to wear the lycra/spandex bicycle pants under my riding pants on long trips. This combo with some type of pad (Air Hawk, sheepskin, beads) on top of my Corbin gave me the best and longest comfort in the saddle.

Surprised no one has mentioned any sort of stretching routine yet as a pre-ride function. I don't do it, but I should!

Keep 'em coming. Great info.
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At 64 years old, 5' 10" and 250 lbs., I am in lousy shape. Arthritis and a replaced hip and knee has restricted my comfort. However, with my RGU, I can still crank off a 500 or more mile ride. Longest one day was 575. I like slow back roads, so long duration interstate runs don't excite me.
The bike has a Harley wind splitter screen, stock seat ( that I feel is very comfortable ) and pegs attached to the crash bars, that hardly ever get used.
Other then my old Heritage softail, the RGU is 2nd most comfortable bike I ever had just the way it is.
A backrest is handy when your butt starts to hurt. You can push yourself up on it to relieve pressure
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