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I've had my '99 VLX for about a year now, and mostly just done rides of a few hours here and there. Got a 1000 mile round trip coming up from ATL-Orlando and back in a couple of weeks.

As this will be my first distance ride, wanted to see if any fellow VLX owners had any tips or words of advice (hopefully not "don't do it!"). I know it's not a touring bike, but it's the only bike I got :)

I just ordered a "Big Shot sports shield" from Memphis Shades, a little plastic throttle lock, and I have a 41T rear sprocket for easier cruising at highway speeds. Other than that, the bike is stock.

Open to any/all suggestions.... routes to take/avoid, recommended cruising speed, number of breaks to take, how to keep butt/back from getting sore, whatever else a relative noob needs to be thinking about for a long trip.

Thanks in advance
Alan
 

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I would try to avoid the interstates, but running north and south on non interstate is a pain in the rump in Georgia. If possible highway pegs and fthloorboards help a ton as you can change seating positions and leg positions. Aftermarket seat or atleast a pad/airhawk/etc. would help. Take some motrin and get off the bike every hour definitely helps. Stay hydrated and have fun. Give yourself a bunch of time, and preferably and extra day in your itinerary in each direction so if you get tired and need to stop for the night you can.
 

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your Butt and Gas Tank will dictate your break schedule.441 runs all the way to Orlando if you are looking for a Non Highway road.
 

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+1 on aftermarket seat or padding of some sort. My '02 VLX is great but damn that seat. I priced a Mustang replacement seat and WOW. $400+
 

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you can go long distance on just about anything. some rides just may be more comfortable than others. hope ya have a good trip.
 

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I do this all the time on my VLX. Stock seat and stock everything else. The VLX is up to it, easy peasy.

Make sure any maintenance is done well ahead of time. A few days before you leave is not the time to make any major changes on your ride. This also goes for the windshield: Make sure it's adjusted properly and you're happy with it's performance at speed well before you hit the road, otherwise, leave it at home for the next trip. Minor annoyances can be major butt pain after a few hundred miles.

Packing solution? Same thing: Work it out before you leave and ride around with everything on to see if it's balanced and is staying put at highway speeds. I find ROK straps very handy.


Your Butt and Gas Tank will dictate your break schedule
This. :cool:

Don't ride sleepy. I always take a few 5-hour energy drinks along in case I'm getting a bit tired and I'm not yet someplace I want to pull over. They are not for constant use, but to get me to my next resting point.

Enjoy the trip. :D
 

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I've ridden my VLX 1996 to Mississippi and back twice now. I've not been so lucky to do it during good weather, as I had to ride through an ice storm, and then a tropical storm. (Really need to check the weather before I go)

Aside from my lack of judgement on weather checking, the bike did an amazing job through the nice ride there, and the horrible ride back. It can handle nearly anything you want it to handle. I will say this, though:

Don't assume you know your gas mileage on long stretches of highway.

I have my daily driving figured out at 100 miles on a regular tank, and I need to hit a station before 120-130 after I switch to reserve. On the stretch after Opelika heading to Montgomery, my bike stuttered down at 80 miles when I needed to switch to reserve. You'll be drinking more gas when you're going over 75 MPH (if that's what you plan to cruise at). But, your bike will be fine, just clean/adjust the chain and change your oil before hand.
 

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All good advice above. I always plan a little longer break in the middle somewhere, where I spend a good half hour eating and taking a nap on a picnic bench in a rest stop. Be careful, this kind of riding is very addicting.
 

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Some of you are getting much better gas mileage than I do with mine. I made a 2000 mile ride a couple of years ago and started looking for gas stations at 90 miles and was on reserve by 95. One stretch I did get 110 before having to switch to reserve. I would not do that long a ride again without changing the seat and would try and put floorboards or riding pegs on it. You younger guys maybe do just fine but at 64 my back cant take it. I do have a Texas Hill Country ride in the planning for this fall. That will be about a 700 mile ride but lots of breaks in the ride.
 

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Look at Mustang seats on Ebay. Lowest I found was $325. Also other parts there as well.

I did put a Plexishield on it before my ride and it was a great help. As the others said get all the maintenance stuff done a week ahead of time and pack your bags and ride around to see how they do. If you can pack one bag sitting behind you so that it can at as a back rest if possible. That can be a very big help. After that ride I also put risers on to bring the handle bars back about 2 inches. A big help on even shorter rides.
 

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Seat comfort is usually relative to rider size and shape.
 

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when i was in college with my original 700 shadow in the 80s I used to go into Canada and all the way to Iowa from Idaho... i had a 100 mile range per fill...its not a problem...do it if you want, know your limits, not a big deal...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Bunch of great responses, as always. Love this forum. Thanks all.
I'll reply back after the trip and hopefully have a good experience to share.

Alan
 

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Be prepared for a raw butt, but you'll be fine. Take plenty of breaks!
 

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I have to laugh when I see these posts about whether a "little" VLX is up to a long road trip. Listen whippersnappers, back in the day a 600cc bike was about as large as they got, and the Triumph Bonneville was a superbike.

I rode from Ohio to the Yucatan twice back in those days, once on a 250cc two-stroke enduro (Suzuki TS250 Savage) and again on a 350cc two-stroke twin (Yamaha RD350) and thought that the Yamaha road bike was like a friggin' Cadillac. If I had had something like the VLX I would have thought it was the motorcycling equivalent of a Rolls Royce.

Whippersnappers.....(grumble, grumble);)
 
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I have to laugh when I see these posts about whether a "little" VLX is up to a long road trip. Listen whippersnappers, back in the day a 600cc bike was about as large as they got, and the Triumph Bonneville was a superbike.

I rode from Ohio to the Yucatan twice back in those days, once on a 250cc two-stroke enduro (Suzuki TS250 Savage) and again on a 350cc two-stroke twin (Yamaha RD350) and thought that the Yamaha road bike was like a friggin' Cadillac. If I had had something like the VLX I would have thought it was the motorcycling equivalent of a Rolls Royce.

Whippersnappers.....(grumble, grumble);)
This was also during a time where you didn't lose HP to things like fuel economy and the EPA. Compare a Shadow 1100 made after the 90s with one made back in 85 ;). These 600s really do feel little when it comes to what they were back when 600 meant something.
 

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Not an expert by any means, but don't put yourself on a tight deadline, so if you feel like taking a longer break do it. My first and only trip so far (definitely not my last)was 650 miles round trip, usually about a 5 hour trip in a car(one way), took me 8 hours on the bike(2008 750 Spirit).
 

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ExOfficio Give-N-Go Boxers - Men's at REI.com

a pair of these will severely reduce the dreaded "monkey butt" syndrome. First long trip I did this summer, these made all the difference.

And a pair of earplugs may seem lame, but if your highway runs are longer than you anticipate, they just provide that much more comfort at the end of the day.

+1 with all the other feedback. Take breaks and hydrate often.
 

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This was also during a time where you didn't lose HP to things like fuel economy and the EPA. Compare a Shadow 1100 made after the 90s with one made back in 85 . These 600s really do feel little when it comes to what they were back when 600 meant something.
Maybe a Shadow 1100, but I mentioned a Bonneville as my reference of a superbike of its day (early 70s) when it had 49 hp compared to today's 56.

My main point, though, was that it was perfectly acceptable to take a 250cc enduro on a long trip then, just as it is today to take a 34hp KLR650 to Tierra del Fuego. Somehow power and size has for some come to be an indicator of suitability for long-distance travel. It was not back in the day and it isn't for some adventure riders today so I don't understand why the belief has become so ingrained.

Unless you kiddies are getting soft.:mrgreen:
 

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Maybe a Shadow 1100, but I mentioned a Bonneville as my reference of a superbike of its day (early 70s) when it had 49 hp compared to today's 56.

My main point, though, was that it was perfectly acceptable to take a 250cc enduro on a long trip then, just as it is today to take a 34hp KLR650 to Tierra del Fuego. Somehow power and size has for some come to be an indicator of suitability for long-distance travel. It was not back in the day and it isn't for some adventure riders today so I don't understand why the belief has become so ingrained.

Unless you kiddies are getting soft.:mrgreen:
I'll be honest, speaking from the 24 year old standpoint, I can say that's probably the issue with me. I feel a more powerful engine vibrates less, therefore, giving me less butt-pressure and leg sores. My back's usually fine from the trip, it's always my butt and thighs, and I blame it on the vibration from a smaller engine buzzing from working harder...

My idea is a "stronger" machine is better for it, not necessarily larger.
 
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