Tips for Long-Distance Harley-Davidson® Motorcycle Road Trips
Road trips are awesome when most things go right. There's nothing like spending hour after hour on your bike, seeing open road and rolling countryside as it rolls by, stopping to sample local flavors and sights. But no matter what your mode of transportation, long trips introduce the unexpected, and travelers inevitably face challenges. You're putting your stamina and riding skill to an endurance test, and your motorcycle as well. If you prepare your bike correctly for your long-distance road trip, you're in much better shape for any challenges you face.
Check Your Rubber
When you’re about to put a lot of miles on your bike, all the moving parts are going to get heated up and exposed to friction, vibration and debris for long periods without a break. Your whole bike needs a checkup, but start with the two contact points between you, your Harley® and the road.
If your tires are showing wear and they’re one of the things you’ve been meaning to get to, replace them. Even if it’s on your to-do list for the upcoming months, it’s better to replace them before a long trip than to try and get that last little bit of wear out of them.
Motorcycle tires are softer than car tires because they provide less gripping surface area, so they have to be. Hard or worn tires won’t grip the road as well, and you don’t want that problem while you’re hugging mountain curves or racing across beach sand. Here are a few guidelines for evaluating your tires:
- Check tread. You need 1/32’ to 2/32’ of depth at the middle of the tire (and everywhere else). We can check your depth for you.
- Examine the tire for cracking along the sidewalls, a worn out profile or uneven wear.
- Consider tire age. If the tires have been on your bike for more than 5 years, even if you don’t ride much, have them inspected by a pro. If they’re more than 10 years old, even if they look showroom new, replace them anyway.
Get a Pre-Trip Checkup
Make sure your bike is in tip top shape by doing the following:
- Change the oil and filter
- Check your motorcycle battery and charging conditions
- Perform a comprehensive brake system check
- Check fluids, adjusting as necessary
- Perform a leak check
It’s a long list, and a ton to think about when you’re planning a trip, but there’s literally a lot riding on it. We can take care of it for you with our Get Ready for Sturgis Promo, where you get the ultimate pre-trip checkup for only $299.
Pack Your Tool Kit
We carry all in one motorcycle tool kits that are easy to grab and go. If you’re already stocked up and you want to pack your own, here’s a list of the basics:
- A small flashlight and extra batteries
- A tire repair kit
- Battery cables
- Extra fuses and bulbs
- Basic hand tools like wrenches specific to your bike, screwdrivers and pliers
- A multi-purpose tool
- Zip ties, duct tape and electrical tape (for hoses and cables)
Clean Your Windshield
People miss this, then they end up peering through bug guts for the first couple hundred miles wishing they hadn’t. Note: our Get Ready for Sturgis Promo comes with a free bike watch.
Secure Luggage and Saddlebags
If you can’t get your suitcase or riding bag absolutely budge-proof, go buy more bungee cords. Whether your saddlebags come on and off or not, make sure they’re securely fastened to stay in the upright and locked position. Don’t tie or bungee anything in a position where it will block airflow.
Get Those Comfort Upgrades
So all the things that wear you out when you're riding your Harley® around Dallas will be amplified when you go on a long-distance trip and spend hours in the saddle. If you've been making a wish list of comfort upgrades, now is the time to buy/install them because they pay off big time on long rides. Plus, it's easier to find them close to home.
You'll find more selection and in-stock merchandise at our Dallas Harley® shop than you're going to out on the road when you're in between major metropolitan areas and fatigue sets in. You don't want to have to take a detour from your back roads and mountain rides to find a comfort seat just because your butt hurts so much you can't enjoy the trip without. Here are some of the most popular upgrades you might consider:
- The aforementioned comfort seat - If you're tall, we have a seat for that. If you're short, a seat can make a huge difference. Or, if you just need a little extra padding, we can help there too.
- A windshield - If you don't have one, it's not just the wind resistance that will wear you out on long trips. When big bugs repeatedly hit you at 70+ mph it stings like a....
- Communications upgrades - If you're riding with a partner or group, an in-helmet headset makes the trip way more fun, and also improves road safety.
- A platypus - Okay, this isn't a bike upgrade, but it is a big deal when it comes to improving comfort.
If you want to see your options, stop by our Allen Texas Harley dealership and talk to any associate. We can help you figure out what you need and what might be the best fit. To schedule your pre-trip road check, click here.
We'd also love to hear about your road trip plans. If you have questions about in-stock merchandise you can also give us a call or use the chat feature in the lower right corner of your screen.