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540 miles

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    540 miles

    This weekend I took the longest motorcycle ride I've ever taken. It was to my girlfriend's parents' place on Marco Island, 270 miles from my house.

    I did this to see if I could, and out of curiosity to see if my engine would destroy itself on the freeway like happened the last time I took a bike on the freeway for more than an hour.


    60 degrees at night at 80mph becomes damn cold on a bike after a while. Regular gloves aren't enough.

    Your hands will go numb on a Hawk. I was practicing my left hand throttle technique every 5-10 minutes the whole ride because my right hand kept going to sleep on me.

    You have to ride with your face down at gauge level to avoid the wind. This sucks. Sitting remotely upright puts you in a very pervasive wind blast you don't to be a party to. A fairing or windshield would have been very nice.

    It's a damn good thing I took an improvised toolkit, because I needed everything I brought.

    On the ride home my bike broke down twice. The first time was in thick I-75/4 interchange traffic because of a trailer accident. I saw this guy on a bike on the side of the road and stopped to help. He'd just dumped it after a cager told him to do a wheelie, and he did, lighting up the rear then grabbing traction, 12 o'clocking it by accident, and cracking the clutch cover. He was fine and just waiting for a truck to come get him.

    I went back to my bike, and it wouldn't start or even turn on any lights. That sucks. Ten minutes after jiggling wires I got it to light up. A few miles later, it died on me. Half an hour of tearing the bike apart electrically I found a loose wire just below and ahead of the starter solenoid.

    At this point I was late to be getting back to shoot a basketball game and had to go 90mph for an hour straight.

    This put the revs in the 6,300rpm range or so. By the time I got back, it had a light ticking sound coming from the front cylinder. That sucks ass, and is reminiscent of what happened the last time I rode on the freeway.

    '88 Hawk GT - back in the saddle
    '99 Suzuki GZ250 - the first

    '87 Suzuki GSXR1100/1207cc - traded to get my Hawk back

    I took the Bros last summer with temperature at almost 42 , for 520 km packed with luggage and the girlfriend from Athens to Ioannina and finally Corfu . Check google earth to see the route . The only stops I had to do was for petrol , ice cream and fast food .This year I 'm thinking of taking a boat to Italy , drive through and reach at some point France . Imagine a pic of the Bros under the Eiffel tower .

    Riding a 18 year old bike with more than 90000 km on it so far away from home can be risky but sometimes a bike worths it .

    (ex)spambot exterminator .
    BROS 400 owners :


      Hey Issac, greta of you to stop for that other rider. Too bad about your issues.

      Does it start fine now? The ticking noise leads me to think a valve adjustment might be in order.
      BIKES: Honda: RC31 Racebike/ NT650 Streetbike, DUCATI: None at the moment.
      Former MSF Rider Coach / Trackday Instructor/ Expert Roadracer #116
      "I'd rather ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow."


        You need one of these for long trips. they are $10.95 shipped, worth every penny. It allows you to rest your hand so it doesn't go numb.


          I rode my old bike, a GSXR 750, to Dallas TX and back in a weekend. It was a little over 1000 miles counting the riding we did in Dallas. I had to stop at Wal Mart and buy a small pillow to sit on before we started home. 1000+ miles and a stock GSXR seat do not go well together.


            Catfish from the List (and Farklemasters) hooked me up with a crampbuster at the Javits Center moto show in January. Haven't been out on the bike with it yet, but I'll post when I do.

            Old bikes are a bitch sometimes, but I wouldn't trade my Hawk for a thousand late-model motos...

            Isaac, sorry it was such a crazy trip for you, but it makes for a GREAT story, doesn't it? And at least you're among those who know what to do with a tool kit! Left hand crossed over to the throttle... dood that's crazy! Wow. I just pull the clutch in for 1-2 seconds while I slap my hand on my thigh. Maybe we should look into handlebar brushguards to block the wind?

            Cool of you to stop, yeah. Moto mofos gotta stick together.
            1988 "BlackHawk" project
            1989 "RallyHawk" is Chuck's now!
            1988 "The Gray" Tempest Gray Metallic stocker

            I can't tell you how peaceful it is. Shinya Kimura
            People who know ride Hawks. Riot


              I appreciate the compliments/condolences. I wish I knew the extent of the damage to the top end though. Has anybody here had ticking that was loudest on overrun?
              '88 Hawk GT - back in the saddle
              '99 Suzuki GZ250 - the first

              '87 Suzuki GSXR1100/1207cc - traded to get my Hawk back


                i have taken my hawk from chicago area of indiana to montreal. i have done that trip on the hawk a few times and once on a buell. i like long trips on the hawk if its geared right. at higher rpms they do go throu oil a little faster. but a throtle lock is a must on long trips even when your shoulder gets cramped so you can use left arm (on the left handle bar) to stear for a wile. i agree with doug left arm on the throtle os a little crazy, but the thought has crossed my mind.

                by the way you can get a cheap throtle lock for $20 at your local bike shop dont even need new grips to istall if you dont need them.
                1988 & 1991 hawkgt, 2005 rc51


                  Longest ride for me so far was from just north of Toronto to the NCHR in Fennimore Wisconson two years ago. just a tick over 1200km in 14hrs. I did the sane thing and broke it up into 6hrs one day and 8hrs the next. Its nice to have friends in Detroit, gives me a place to crash in a pinch.
                  I only broke down once durring that ride, even calling it 'broke down' is a stretch, I had a wire come lose at the reg/rec so I lost charging and drained the batt. dry. less than an hour at the side of the road and had three bikes stop to offer assitance, but a racer/biker going the other way in his pick-up turned around and came back to pick me up. Seems he rode for/was sponsered by the local Honda dealer, so he and I loaded up the Hawk, and he dropped me off at the dealer, after telling the Service Manager to "take care of him first/fast, he's gotta be in Detroit by dinner" He sure earned heaps of Moto-Karma that day, and my greatest thanks
                  Two hours from the time the bike died till I was rolling again, and the dealer only charged me cost for the fresh Batt.
                  Made for a great fire-side story at the rally.
                  They smile because I'm different--I laugh because they are all the same


                    hum... I've done two M2M's on my Hawk (stock seat) without a problem (with the bike) either time. M2M is an annual ride from Milwaukee to Minneapolis that's 90% backroads, about 800 miles round trip Sat/Sunday after the Fourth of July.

                    The first year I did it wearing jeans, and ended up with heat blisters on my right thigh from heat coming up off the exhaust. Neck was kind of sore and my right hand felt kind of crippled for a while. (I've told the story on the list that I did this ride 3 months after getting my first bike/learning to ride and had never ridden longer than an hour/had never been on a freeway/had never been over 60 mph.)

                    The second time I had padded mesh pants and no blisters, but my stupid helmet left me with a nasty headache.

                    I've also done the trip on a '98 VFR, and that kind of felt like cheating. Unfortunately, that was before I had the mesh gear and nearly passed out from the heat in my leathers.

                    Last fall I rode a Monster 900 with worn out D&D pipes from Milwaukee to T.W.O. in Georgia, most of it in the rain. That was fun. Thankfully I got to ride an FJR home.

                    Air Hawk seat pads are awesomeness. Seriously, totally, literally saved my ass on the Monster for sure.
                    '88 Hawk - Street '89 Hawk - Track '67 Fiat 500 - Luigi follow only the Ferraris


                      Do all of you wear ear plugs?

                      I have the D&D's on my Duc and I LOVE the sound but I do find I get "tired" with the noise.

                      I haven't even worn them on the track. (Especially with my hearing loss... hey another lil thing you guys didn't know about me! )

                      I know I should and I am gonna start, I was just wondering with all these long rides who wears em and what they thought.

                      Oh and Issac was looking for info on the ticking noise he has on his bike.... I think he needs a valve adjustment.
                      BIKES: Honda: RC31 Racebike/ NT650 Streetbike, DUCATI: None at the moment.
                      Former MSF Rider Coach / Trackday Instructor/ Expert Roadracer #116
                      "I'd rather ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow."


                        Originally Posted by douglas.thompson
                        Maybe we should look into handlebar brushguards to block the wind?
                        I've been thinking about those, I commute to work every day and its cool, no problems. But over the weekend I was gonna visit family about 2hrs away by back(ish) roads. Man even with an aerostich naked bikes are vicious if you want to maintain 85-90 and its cold out. After about 20 minutes my hands were completely numb and I wussed out.

                        Also as to ear plugs, I forgot mine when I headed out and again about 20 minutes of 90mph wind noise was all I could stand, and since I wouldn't be able to stand riding a motorcycle at 55mph for 2 hours I decided to turn back.

                        As to touring w/ the hawk. The first long trip I took was to the mountains about 1000mi round trip. No problems but I do have valve ticking noises and I'm pretty sure my clutch is on the way out. I'm leery to do lots of miles now that I know about the valves and clutch, but I did another 1000 mi weekend and only lost the rear bolt for the chain guard. I think I had overtightened the steel bolt into the aluminum bracket, now its held together with a space-age co-polymer variable circumference fastener.

                        That trip also had lots of sustained high rpm superslabbage. I made it from Asheville to Raleigh in 2.5 hours, thats 4hrs by cage.


                          Valve ticking.... yeah, an adjustment is probably needed. Didn't you (Isaac) say the plugs had never veen changed before? The valves probably haven't been checked either (unless you did it yourself). There is a saying in the harley world about valve/engine noises- tickitis it think its called. Some hd owners go nuts thinking they hear something. I gave up on that years ago- when something is truely wrong you will know! Needless to say I now need a lower end bearing cage rebuild . It is good to change the oil regularly with good motorcycle oil. follow the recommended valve adjustment timetable and basically try to be kind to the bike. Revving for a somewhat prolonged period should not be a problem if the oil is good. Hawks are raced for years!

                          As for long distance travels and breakdowns- sometimes they go hand in hand and become part of the adventure (in hindsight ) and they are more common with some bikes than others (my harley, for example ) When they happen on the way to work- well, that just plain sucks
                          '88 Hawk GT
                          '89 Harley FXSTC
                          2008 Yamaha V-Star 1300 tourer


                          " performance ain't perfect, but its loud, and its fast..." -Widespread Panic


                            Oh Issac, another note on what you said earlier. When I was in the mountains (still a novice rider) the my buddy riding his monster behind me said he'd get a face full of oil smoke when I used the engine as a brake. The general consensus of the more experienced riders I was with is that it is a much better practice to use the brake to brake and use good rev-matching techniques to shift. I've been doing this ever since and its better on the engine and I stop quicker.