It’s a common belief that to go for long hauls a sportbike isn’t the best option. The standard concept that big cruisers and luxury touring bikes are more adept at swallowing highway miles isn’t necessarily fact however, and there is a way to make a sportbike a sound touring bike or even a cross-country sightseer. It’s all in the mods.
Regardless of the bike your body will argue after a handful of hours in the saddle. Be it a Goldwing or a GSX-R there will be aches and pains—just in different places. But when the road opens up or gets twisty you’ll be glad you have the performance to exploit it.
BAR RISERS/SOFT GRIPS
The wrists and hands are the first places a sportbike rider’s body begins to ache, but in raising the bars and swapping to soft grips the pressure is relieved. The bar angle can also be adjusted to best suit your stature.
Sportbike seats are designed with minimal foam, but an easy fix is with an upgrade to a softer seat (better style is a bonus).
Saddlemen / $259.95
There’s barely enough storage space on most sportbikes for the insurance card, but soft luggage can accommodate plenty of items without getting in the way. Saddlebags and a tank bag can provide enough storage for a weeklong trip (if you pack light).
Silverstone Saddlebags / $169.95
Windblast is a major issue for all riders—regardless of the bike, we all want less. A good helmet will only go so far because the stock windscreen tends to channel wind directly into the rider’s chest unless fully tucked. Aftermarket screens come in larger sizes and flow air over the rider instead of into them, reducing fatigue and general annoyance.
Zero Gravity / $94.95
Aftermarket rearsets aren’t just for more ground clearance at the racetrack. Certain brands allow the rider to place the foot position considerably lower than stock, allowing for more legroom and fewer aching knees over the long haul. This versatile upgrade looks great and serves a purpose you’ll be thankful for.
Vortex / $418.95
Ever notice how the right hand goes numb but the left is fine? It would be nice to let go of the throttle occasionally to get the blood flowing, and with a cruise control setup your right side will be as comfortable as the left.
Throttlemeister / $137
While the bike can easily be made more comfortable, the mind needs a little relief as well. OK, so jamming out with headphones while riding under severe conditions isn’t a great idea, but it makes perfect sense when flying down those lonely stretches of highway. A GPS certainly doesn’t hurt either to locate gas stations, restaurants or tourist attractions. And don’t forget to stash a water bottle filled with fuel—just in case.