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Commuting on a sportbike is way fun compred to anything four-wheeled, but within its limits. I'd say 15 miles (one way) feels great, 30 is manageable, but anything longer in rush-hour traffic is more stress than fun. After I got a new job 57 miles from home I have cut on my bike commute significantly. Leaning and turning on our RR in the canyons (or on the track) is definetely more fun than cruising in the straight line squaring tires with high freeway mileage. However it has two vital advantages: carpool and lane-splitting.

Here is my situation. My carpool buddy couldn't stand our long commute anymore so he's moving closer to work. I have no choice but to start using my bike for commute at least once a week. On the worst days actually when lane-splitting helps. Could any of the veterans share their freeway commute experience?

IMO it's a little bit safer than regular streets as everybody is going one direction with a little speed difference. If there is some obstacle or a stalled car ahead I'll see it because the others will have to go around or brake. So.Cal freeways are never empty and it helps in some way. What do you think, people? As far as the bike itself or gear I am all suited up: ProGrips, Corbin, Puig touring screen, etc. IMHO it was comfortable enough stock. I always wear full leather gear even if I ride to my local grocery store. I am a rookie with two years of experience, but mature enough to not behave like a squid. Still worried about unexpected situations I can encounter. Please share your stories if you've commuted on your bike (not necessarily the RR) for several years/decades.
 

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Mad Chemist
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I've had my RR for 2 seasons so far and have only put 4 Highway miles on it. And that was because the state 2 lane was closed for a section and detoured. I avoid it not just for safety reasons, but because it is boaring as hell as I figured it would be. We have some nice twisties through the hills around here that I'd choose over the highway any day.
 

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I have been riding for about 8 years now(vet and have always commuted to jobs, weather permitting, on the bike. The last two bikes, 87 FZ750, and 91 fzr600 were fine and I did not mind commuting, although it was very minimal highway miles. I have had my RR for about 4 months now and have aquierd a new job which makes my commute right around 15 minutes on the highway. I find that a 15 min commute is quite comfy, and for some reason i like the RR's seat and seating position, even on the rides that i have taken which were over 100 miles. So i really dont know what you're actually asking? I have never had any troubles commuting on the highway yet, i always wear gear, and i find parking at work with the bike has its bonuses... If i were you I wouldnt be concerned about squaring off the tire if you only commute once a week, besides, thats what the weekends are for, to round em back up :bounce:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
EsotericRR said:
I have been riding for about 8 years now(vet and have always commuted to jobs, weather permitting, on the bike. The last two bikes, 87 FZ750, and 91 fzr600 were fine and I did not mind commuting, although it was very minimal highway miles. I have had my RR for about 4 months now and have aquierd a new job which makes my commute right around 15 minutes on the highway. I find that a 15 min commute is quite comfy, and for some reason i like the RR's seat and seating position, even on the rides that i have taken which were over 100 miles. So i really dont know what you're actually asking? I have never had any troubles commuting on the highway yet, i always wear gear, and i find parking at work with the bike has its bonuses... If i were you I wouldnt be concerned about squaring off the tire if you only commute once a week, besides, thats what the weekends are for, to round em back up :bounce:
What I am really asking is about your traffic experience: accidents, hazards, cagers' attitude, etc. It's been relatively safe for me so far (knock on wood). Like you know dropped metal ladders or arefrigerator in the middle of the lane, heavy logs/pipes falling from some semi etc. I mean what are the statistical probabilities?

As far as the comfort goes I am fine. I felt absolutely normal after my five-hour 282-mile ride last Saturday, 120 of which were twisties. As I said, anything up to 30 miles is manageable and I wouldn't(didn't) hesitate to use my bike every day, but 57 miles one way is a lot, last five of them in a complete stop and go traffic jam lane-splitting 100%.

And yes, 8 years makes you a veteran IMO. :thumbup:
 

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Ok i get ya now. As far as like near death experiences I have never had run ins with dropped logs or anything big for that matter, except cagers. Plenty of idiots that have almost killed me there. Mostly, though on the highway its been some road kill here and there and some big ass potholes. When I see semis or anything with big loads that could possibly fall off i get around them as quick as i can, or stay as far from them as i can. Cagers have been my worst problem, and Im sure everyone will tell you that to, they'll always be the biggest threat to a bike as they never see you..... And some of them have bad road rage or are just dicks :bitchslap: read this: http://www.600rr.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=17466&highlight= yes 57 miles is a long one way trip, but you're going to have to get there one way or another right and im sure your RR gets better mpg than your cage...
 

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I commute on the 405. I know what some of your concerns are and of course there's many. More than I can remember. I feel safer to lane split during rush hour. The cars don't move so it's easier to anticipate the driver's reaction.

When in carpool, I don't like to ride behind utility trucks (grass cutters, overloaded truck bed...etc), stuff falls out all the time, especially 5 gallon buckets. I ride on the right side of the lane. I know it goes against MSF where they say to ride in the middle. If something is in the middle of the lane, cars have their wheels on the outside, so they simply passover the object. You might react too slow and hit it. Also it gives me a better view down the lane, as most people are in SUVs now. While riding, of course, always leave yourself an out if you have to pull out quickly from the carpool. If you aren't passing anyone on the carpool and is just riding behind another car, and sun is setting or is dark, be curteous and turn your highbeams off.

Don't be a jerk either and not pull to the side to let faster/experienced riders go by. If they caught up to you and is riding close behind, THEY DON'T WANT TO FORM A TRAIN!!!! Not sure why some people think that. That ticks me off, I just want to get to work, not form a pack and think we're cool cause we're riding together.

Most of the morning commuters I have found are pretty aware that we going by. They will pull over to the side to let us squeeze by. What I have found are the out of state cars where they don't move over to let you by, but instead stare in their mirrors. Be careful of those guys, because they are not use to lane splitting and you might scare them causing them to jerk the steering and swerve into you.

Whenever possible, I try to always ride side by side to their windows being ahead just a little, maybe closer to their front wheels. This way, if they drift over, I can pull out infront quicker.

Even with all this, the same basic safety principal remains. Leave yourself room and slow down. Just cause we are on bikes we can pull up to cars quicker, and since we can do that, they only see us for a split second before they cross into the next lane. They look up one second, it's clear, then it takes them another 1-2 seconds to move over, by then you're already in their blind spot.

Don't worry, you'll be fine. Use your common sense.
 

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I commute from costa mesa to glendale, and that is about a 50 mile commute one way. i ride sometimes and it does help me alot since it only takes me 1hr in traffic as to 2 hrs... what i have learned is defensive driving, and never go over the speed of what you can handle! i have only been riding for 4 months but have been driving a car for 17 yrs. i know its not the same thing.... always be aware who is next to you and who is in front of you i average a speed of about 35-55 depending on the traffic... and i like to ride on the fast lane in through traffic to avoid ppl getting on and off the freeway... but you better take it slow at night time, i like to turn on my high beam at night so ppl know im there even tho it pisses some drivers off. if they want to do something about it well i guess they are just going to have to catch me! :lol2: :lol2: :bounce: hope this helped you a little ride safe!!!!
 

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Okay, i feel that i can speak on the subject more than some others as SoCal traffic is an beast of a different type than most of the country will ever experience. I used to enjoy commuting 40 miles each way to and from work, but have since cut it down to almost never. the reasons being that even the most responsible riders will get caught one day. I have known people that have commuted for over 10-20 years and one day, BLAMMO!!! they are fine after some stitches or a cast, but eventually an idiot does something to catch you off guard.

next, splitting is fine and dandy until a cop deems it unsafe for whatever reason...TICKET!!! good luck fighting it since the officers descretion meant that you were riding unsafely. Again, this has happened to riders that have been commuting for decades and are very responsible riders.

Next, If i had to commute, i would only commute in daylight hours. I can't leave work until after 630 so the sun is down by the time i get out. Splittle lanes is dangerous enough without hiding yourself between 2 cars in the dark. I have cut off a few bikes that were splitting lanes at night because a headlight coming at you in a ocean of headlights does not stand out. would i have been at fault if an incident had occured, no, he would have hit me from behind and was moving too fast for the traffic at hand. Other than that, there is always something in the road, and it is hard to see everthing that a car or truck easily rides over when you are behind that vehicle.

I don't mind commuting in the summer, as traffic is much lighter and the sun doesn't go down until after 8pm. The rest of the year i will only commute if i have no other choice.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I've read that story before. Not that I love cagers so much, but encounters with idiots of such magnitude are statistically negligeble IMO. As agressive and ignorant So.Cal cagers are, I've never seen they cross that line during my 2-year bike experience. Those SUV drivers basically fall in two types: insecure white-collar macho wannabes (to not call those middle-aged underachievers losers) and their insecure wifes obsessed with vehicle crash ratings. They don't have guts to kill, only gang members and other serious criminals have. The latter drive some pretty distinctive vehicles, large SUVs included. As far as that story goes, that f*cking macho wasn't trying to kill the poor guy. He was trying to scare him. Ironically he had very high chances to kill that rider as he would lose control of his vehicle being clumsy, stupid, and generally missing some basic understanding of the laws of physics.

Cagers are manageable. You can get around them. Don't rely on them and don't expect any intelligence from them. If I pass somebody (not just a big truck) it happens in a split second. Defensive driving for me is not giving the cager any physical time to act/react or any ohysical space to cut me off or pass me.
 

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Wow, from all you Cali drivers stories I'm glad i do not have to deal with such traffic. The stuff you guys go through sounds brutal at best. The heaviest stuff that I've had to tackle is Chi town which is another beast IMO, but i don't live there. Then again what big city isnt? But if i had to commute every day in chicago rush hour i dont know what i would do. Is there really that much sh*t that falls from trucks over there on the 405? I've never been to Cali so I really don't know... :roll:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
EsotericRR said:
Is there really that much sh*t that falls from trucks over there on the 405? I've never been to Cali so I really don't know... :roll:
:lol2: I use 405. It's one of the major lifelines that connects LA Westside colleges and businesses (defense industry giants, Hollywood and others) with nice overpriced suburbia North and South of LA. Staff do fall. So far I've seen three things: a [painter's] metal ladder, a sofa (I am not kidding) and a driveshaft of some track that left two wheels of my car bent. And because 405 connects primarily large white-collar businesses with middle-class suburbia, it is SUV-heavy. The recent spike in real estate prices drove people farther away from the city which congested our freeways even more. :(

Thanks for your advice, guys. I am practically doing the same things: driving on the right of the carpool lane, high beam on unless following somebody closely, etc. Keep sharing your stories and experience.
 

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EsotericRR said:
Is there really that much sh*t that falls from trucks over there on the 405? I've never been to Cali so I really don't know... :roll:
Sorry, if I make it sound like stuff falls everywhere and our highways are littered with parts and tools. It's the same ratio of stuff falling out from any other area. If one out of every 10,000 vehicle drops something in a day in your area, multiply that ratio by a few hundred thousand vehicles in LA. You've just increase your chances of stuff hitting you. If I can reduce the percentage simply by not riding behind an open truck, then I live to ride another day. Simple as that.
 

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:lol2: I use 405. It's one of the major lifelines that connects LA Westside colleges and businesses (defense industry giants, Hollywood and others) with nice overpriced suburbia North and South of LA. Staff do fall. So far I've seen three things: a [painter's] metal ladder, a sofa (I am not kidding) and a driveshaft of some track that left two wheels of my car bent. And because 405 connects primarily large white-collar businesses with middle-class suburbia, it is SUV-heavy. The recent spike in real estate prices drove people farther away from the city which congested our freeways even more. :( [/quote]
A couch and a drive shaft, christ. I cant believe that someone just had a couch fall off and they didnt do anything about it. Ya i had no idea what the 405 was but it sounds busy as hell. U guys who ride out there keep on your toes i guess. Atleast your defensive skills are always being honed.
 

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People don't do anything about the things that fall off of the freeway because the fines for impeding traffic are way harsh. Better to drive away quickly and hope that no one sees you than to double back, risk getting run over, and then risk getting seen by a police car and getting fined.
 

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it isn't riding behind a open truck that will get you, it is the stuff in the road that the car in front of you can roll over that gets you...or they kick up and destroy ply wood and they are like ninja stars coming at you. how about when the wind starts kickin up and you are dodging garbage bags flying everywhere(you don't want those to get anywhere close to your brakes), and friggin tumbleweeds :shock: !!!

i just don't like to ride for 30 miles worth of lane splitting. To me, that isn't riding. i would rather sit in a car a bit longer...at least i have a radio and a bit more safety. I don't have to feel the heat of the bike getting hotter than hell because you are tooling for 30 miles at under 40 mph.

The drivers aren't that bad here, there are just WAY to many cars on the roads. Everyone is on a cell phone, and most are a little ticked that you get to go between the lanes. I hate mercedes drivers, Lexus drivers, and those fuggin' lifted truck hicks...they all will intentionally block my path as i try ti get by them. I got tired of dealing with them. I no longer have the desire to be a daily rider.
 

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When i first got my bike i was the only one of my group of friends who had a bike. And the only other rider i knew was a harley guy at my work. So i had no choice but to go with them. These guys go on all day rides. I have been on some as long as 400+miles in a day. It is sooo friggin painful but very fun. After the first ride with them (200+) up to wrightwood, my thumb was numb for the hole next day.
 

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I commute 45 min on my bike, weather permitting, in Cleveland rush hour traffic. Cleveland is probably a walk in the park compared to western CA I am sure. However, the risks are the same: Road debris and other cars.

I handle road debris by staying in the left most lane behind the left tires of the car in front of me. This accomplishes 2 things. One, it lets you see around the vehicle onto the road in front of it so you can have some time to avoid anything that might be resting on the road. I have seen aluminum ladders in my cage. Two, in the event you can't see the road in front of the vehicle in front of you, they might, causing them to swerve and alert you visually so you can take some action, if need be. Of course, you can't be tailgating them as it decreases the time you have to react.

Other cars: As mentioned, I stay in the left lane most, if not all the time. That way, things can only happen on the right and it is easier for you to track. However, one time I was on my way to work in my cage on a 4 lane highway. I was in the left lane and a lady in the 3rd lane was signalling and moving over to the 4th lane (farthest from me). She didn't look and almost hit a car in the 4th lane so she swerved back in panic and started losing control of her car. In a split second, her car took a hard left crossing in front of the cars in front of me and smashing into the cement barrier and sliding about a football field on her roof. This happened just 2 cars ahead of me so when I saw her car coming over, I immediately hit the brakes hard. So hard, that I "kissed" the guys rear bumper ahead of me, luckily no damage, he was cool about it.

Now consider this, what if I was on my bike and 2 cars ahead of where I was? I would have been launched into the oncoming highway (over the cement barrier) or crushed or something bad.

Lesson learned: No matter how careful you are, you can be hurt or killed. I am fortunate that my circumstances were the way they were that day. I have learned to anticipate things like this when I am on the bike and watching other cars move from lane to lane. Still, no guarantees. Stay away from other cars as much as possible, even if you have to hit warp speed for a min.

X
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Hey, X, do you have any Russian(Soviet) heritage? The terms you use are kinda familiar: "kissed the bumper", etc. You are absolutely right: it all comes down to luck or better said fate. Knock on wood for all of you fellow riders out there and myself of course.

My situation is slightly different from yours. It's going to be an hour and 15 minutes on a completely packed freeway. That is, all four lanes stop and go, and the carpool lane about 45-55mph. It is only that carpool lane that lures me. I mean, if it takes you twice as much time to get somewhere in your car, there is still a difference between 30 minutes, that become an hour and an hour that becomes two. Anyway, as everybody knows LA bumper to bumper traffic doesn't permit many lane changes. At least it's frightening enough for soccer moms and other clumsy drivers to prevent them from changing lanes. And just like everywhere else L.A. stupid cagers drive in packs blocking all four lanes, so this helps us on two wheels to find some empty space between those packs.
As for lane spliting it's just the last five miles. The 405 carpool ends after LAX, so it's 100% lane splitting past the airport. The bike heats up riding under 30mph. Kind of safe though at this speed. The drivers are pretty much used to bikers splitting lanes of that freeway section as it is always packed except between the midnight and 5AM.
 
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