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Cross-Country Touring on a Motorcycle: What to Consider
Posted on 3/22/2019 10:17:26 AM

The dream of riding a motorcycle across the US is a tradition nearly as old as the motorcycle itself, and there’s no better way to do it than on a Harley. However, if you’re considering embarking on your first cross-country tour, there are some important considerations to make before you head out.

What Are the Infrastructure Damages?

Some might say America’s infrastructure is on the decline: according to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, America’s roads received a D grade overall for their condition, congestion and rate of fatalities. According to the organization, many highways and bridges are in need of repairs totaling more than 1 trillion in spending over the next ten years. After years of trending downward, the number of fatalities on America’s roads is now on the rise, increasing by 7% from 2014 to 2015.

There’s a Debate

However, not everyone is in agreement over the state of America’s infrastructure, with some pointing out that the talking point has been in place for decades. Data from 2012 shows that 80 percent of our highways and nearly 97 percent of rural roads were in acceptable shape or better at the time. While most everyone can agree that investment in infrastructure isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the questions of what kind of investments and how urgently they’re needed are where things get tricky.

States with the Best Roads

Of course, it’s difficult to generalize the condition of every road in America under one letter grade or pass/fail assessment. However, there are some states that have risen above (or met, depending on what you believe) the blanket assessment of America’s roads. According to CNBC, a recent ranking places Utah, Nevada, Florida, Kentucky, Minnesota, Tennessee, Ohio, Georgia, Indiana and Texas at the top of the states in our union for road quality based on a variety of factors. While you might not be able to complete a full cross-country trip through just these states, you might decide to spend some more time on the road in these top-rated states. Visit our blog for more suggestions for some of the US highways for the best Harley rides.

How to Ride a Motorcycle Cross-Country

What Does It Cost to Tour Across Country?

What your cross-country trip will cost you depends on a variety of factors, including the length of your trip, whether you rent or own your motorcycle, what kind of gas mileage you get, and whether you’re staying in hotels, couch surfing or pitching a tent along the way, to name a just a few variables. By cutting costs in a few of these areas (namely, owning your bike and being more economical with your lodging), it’s possible to plan an extremely affordable trip.

How Much Is a Motorcycle?

As we mentioned, owning your motorcycle versus renting one for your trip will save you a decent chunk of change; however, it does require a more costly investment up front. Depending on the bike and whether you’re buying new or used, you can expect to spend between $15,000 and $20,000 for most models, or up to $40,000 if you’re considering more luxury models.

What Are the Best Harleys For the Trip?

Undoubtedly, Harleys are an iconic choice for a cross-country trip. The Harley Electra Glide, Road Glide, Road King and Ultra Limited, to name a few, are built for comfort on long trips.

What Gear Do I Need?

Before heading out on your trip, you’ll want to make sure you have the right Harley Davidson parts. What kind of parts and accessories you’ll need depends on your bike and the trip you plan to take, but, regardless, you’ll want to make sure your bike is in top shape and you have all the add-ons you’ll need for a safe and comfortable trip.

The Benefits of a Cross-Country Motorcycle Trip

Compared to a cross-country trip in a car, there are numerous benefits to taking your cross-country trip on a motorcycle. For one, motorcycles can be, on average, twice as fuel efficient as conventional vehicles, which will save you money and time on your trip. Depending on the weather conditions, there are some instances in which you might wish for the protection of a conventional vehicle, but when it comes to experiencing the open road first-hand, there’s nothing like the thrill of experiencing it all from the seat of your Harley.

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