We all have that dream where we could ride along the infamous Pacific Coast Highway a.k.a. Highway 1. I was fortunate to live my dream when I rented a motorcycle from a local Bay Area shop in April. The process was smooth and relatively cheap. I highly recommend this to anyone looking enjoy the West Coast. My ride started in downtown San Francisco with multiple stops along the way to Santa Cruz pier. The weather was phenomenal with temperatures in the 90s.
I rented a 2014 Honda CB500F with ABS. Quite a different riding dynamic then my R6s. First thing you notice is how comfortable the upright seating position is the oddity of a missing windscreen. I’m not sure if I would particular choose a model without a windscreen for long highway riding. The constant pressure on your chest does get tiresome. Once leaving downtown San Francisco I got on the highway and immediately noticed the low-end torque boost that made merging on highways and left lane blasts relatively easy. However, coming from a R6s you do have to get used to constantly working the transmission stay within power bands and to shift early since most of the power is gone after 6000 RPMs. The 500F was very quiet even with my headphones off I could barely hear anything sputtering out of the exhaust or engine. Understand this is no sport bike but a great starter bike with superb gas mileage. I managed to get 55 MPG.
The Pacific Coast Highway offers jaw dropping views 200ft cliff drops. Its quite a difficult task to soak in the views and keep my eyes on the road. I was lucky enough to not experience any sort of traffic that restrained my ability to push the Honda to its limits. My recommendation is go during the weekday post 10AM.
After a tasty lunch on the Santa Cruz pier I proceeded to take a variety of mountainous backroads such as 236, 9, 35, 84. Here is where any performance rider should take their motorcycle to test their skills. There wasn’t any point during the time I wasn’t on the edge of my seat with my adrenaline pumping. The Honda handled the roads just fine however, it is no replacement for a super-sport’s ability to carve mountain tops. I dream one day to bring my R6s to the West Coast to really test and own my riding skills.