Riding the same roads in your local stomping grounds can get old. If you want to improve your riding you have to challenge yourself. Finding new terrain to conquer can seem tough, so we set out to find the best locations for sportbike riders. Grab your riding buddies and map out your next trip to one of the top five locations for sportbike riders in the U.S.A.
The Tail of the Dragon is an impressive 11 mile section of U.S. Route 129 that runs along the North Carolina-Tennessee border. The name refers to the astonishing 318 curves that make up this famous route. The winding road is complimented by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on one side and the Cherokee National Forest on the other. Even the most experienced riders are challenged by the tight curves that make up the Tail of the Dragon. This winding road takes many victims every year. You have to be riding at your best. As a constant reminder of the danger, the “Tree of Shame” can be found at the Tail of the Dragon. The “Tree of Shame” is a monument for the unfortunate riders who have crashed along the Tail of the Dragon. It is overflowing with wrecked bike parts, nailed to the tree and hanging from the branches.
Angeles Crest Highway is well known for 66 miles of challenging long sweeping curves with high road quality and spectacular views. This 66 mile section of California State Route 2 weaves through the San Gabriel Mountains and passes through the protected area of Angeles National Forest. This mountain rural road offers spectacular views of the Los Angeles basin. Riders will be challenged by climbs that rise thousands of feet in just a few miles. As with many mountain roads, you will want to be careful. There is no margin of error and the smallest mistake can send you over the edge. Always ride within your limits.
Most people, especially motorcycle riders, have heard of California State Route 1. Also referred to as Highway 1, this state highway stretches along the Pacific Coast of California. What makes it so attractive? It runs along some of the most beautiful coastline sceneries in the world. For riders the attraction is derived from the curves, climbs and descents that make this route very pleasing to carve on two wheels. The weather is also generally stable in this area unlike some of the mountain roads. The cold Pacific waters carry a chilly ocean breeze that keep you nice and cool. However the scenery and attractions make it very popular leading to traffic that can at times slow you down. Beware of distracted drivers.
Another one of the famous roads in California; The Mullholland Highway connects “the valley” with the beach. The most popular section of this road that attracts motorcycle riders from across the country is “The Snake”. Featuring a short 2 mile section with 21 turns just above the Rock Store, this road is famous for the challenging curves. “The Snake” requires precision and serious bike control. This section will allow you to really test your limits. Ending the run with a 180 degree hairpin as the unofficial finish line, riders of all skill levels will find the many curves challenging. It can get really congested during the weekend but is nice and open during the week. On the weekends you will find a number of spectators and photographers, particularly around Edwards Corner. There are trickier sections of “The Snake” but none as famous as Edwards Corner. Featuring an uphill bend with a constant radius and positive camber, a mistake often means high siding into the guard rail. If you’re unfamiliar with this famous turn, a quick stop on YouTube can help get you up to speed.
The Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina is a National Parkway, a protected road part of the National Park System. This scenic mountain road stretches 469 miles connecting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The tight winding curves of Blue Ridge Parkway features sections that even the most skilled riders find challenging. Some curves are blind on this route so be sure to assess the section properly before hammering down. The Blue Ridge Parkway is an excellent choice for riders looking for both a challenging road to hone their skills and beautiful mountain scenery.
Need some gear for your trip? Check out our Fall Sportbike Gear Guide.