+1 to what everybody said.
You need to relax and be comfortable for maximum long-distance riding ability. To help in that respect, these are some options:
- Try pullback handlebars. You need to be able to have some bend in your elbows, so you're not stretching to reach the grips.
- Try the Utopia backrest. I don't find the need for one (yet?) on my XCT, but I had a Utopia on my Valkyrie Interstate for seven years. Good company, quality stuff. (And if you search here, you'll come across a lot of people getting the Utopia with the smaller "police" pad, which doesn't seem to be advertised.)
- You might also want to try a pair of overpants. There are a lot of these pants; I wear the First Gear HT Overpants ( http://www.webbikeworld.com/r2/firstgear/ht-overpants/
), but any will do. I find it much easier to do 500-, 600-mile days with overpants. They add cushioning, and also let you slide around in the seat more easily; anything that tends to trap you into one position is going to get in the way of comfort after a couple of hours.
- No "death grip" on the grips. In my first few years of riding, I would remind myself of this by making a circle with my right thumb and forefinger, and just holding the throttle for a while with that circle.This is a reminder that just a little effort will get the job done when just cruising along. (And don't forget the cruise control. And don't forget that your left hand, especially, can be rested on your thigh, with or without the cruise on.)
- You may want more cushioned gloves. I mostly wore an Olympia "gel pad" pair for a couple of years; other brands make gel pads, too. My current three main pairs go one step further, with special placement of padding, for better cushioning and carpal-tunnel-syndrome prevention. I have a summer and a cooler weather pair from Qwi ( http://www.qwinerveprotector.com/MotorcycleGlove.html
) and a summer pair from Bionic ( http://www.bionicgloves.com/shop/?cat=35&id=35
, which is the pair I wear most often).
- The Vibranator keeps getting sterling reviews in the various motorcycle magazines (I subscribe to Rider, Cycle World, Motorcyclist, Motorcycle Consumer News, and get the AMA monthly as part of membership, and several of these have reviewed it in the last few months). There were devices with similar function in earlier years - Bar Snake, lead shot, etc. - but the Vibranator is more sophisticated and weighs less.
- To make sure your XCT doesn't have a personal problem that should be addressed by the dealer, it'd be nice if you could ride someone else's bike, or maybe your dealer has a demo available; another XC or XCT would be nice.
- It's possible you may need a custom seat, but that's a last resort, after trying some or all of the above. That will be the most expensive option, and also might
entail your losing the heated capability.
[EDIT addition: Another thing came to mind. What RPM do you cruise at? IMHO - and others may disagree, of course - you should be tooling along somewhere between, oh, 2,200 and 2,900, in general. At any rate, if you typically cruise at, say, 4,000 RPM, you're going to subject yourself (and the bike) to unnecessary vibration. I'm not talking about rolling-it-on periods - for fun, passing, just upshifting, etc. - I'm talking about steady-state cruising.]
- And, as mentioned, you have to work up to long rides, just so your body gets used to the position(s), and maybe you develop a little more muscle tone in the areas that get taxed by just sitting straight and (lightly) holding the bars.
How 'bout you help us out, by providing your height, inseam, sleeve length, and age, if you don't mind?
That's a mighty big bike to start out with. Have you been riding other bikes before, e.g., that you didn't own?