Thursday, December 11, 2014

Motorcycle travel dream phase: Things you need for a motorcycle trip.

This is where people tend to get carried away. And perhaps why some people never get beyond this phase of travel dreaming and actually make it out of the driveway.

The first thing you need is a reliable bike. Most people settle on a mid-sized dual sport bike like a Suzuki DR650, Suzuki DL650, Yamaha XT660, Honda XR650 or Kawasaki KLR650. Why? Because they are tough, relatively cheap to buy used, have a good record of reliability, can carry a reasonable amount of gear, and it is easy to find aftermarket parts like luggage, larger gas tanks and bashplates. Other people like to buy bigger more expensive bikes like a BMW GS1200, KTM 990 Adventure, or Yamaha 1200 Tenere. And then there are the people like me who have limited funds and prefer to travel on the cheap on a fuel efficient inexpensive used small bike. It doesn’t matter what you ride. People have ridden the world on everything from a scooter to a full dress Harley. The important thing is that you find a bike that is right for you. The bike you own and are familiar with is often times the best bike to travel on. And no bike is perfect. The thing to remember is that the more you spend on bikes and gear the longer it will take you to save up for the actual travel itself (unless you are independently wealthy).

The harsh reality is that most of the stuff you buy will get thrashed after 50,000 miles of travel. Usually the most expensive high-tech gear may only be 5 or 10 per cent better than good servicable gear. The cost difference for the latest and greatest best-in-class motorcycle gear can be astronomical unless bought used. Which brings me to another point. Other than a good bike, I consider good riding gear that will protect you to be your next most important investment. This is where the fun comes in. Checking the ADVrider flea market section is a great way to spend your time between trips. This summer I obtained a used Aerostich Darien jacket and some Joe Rocket pants for little money. The difference in cost between that and a new Klim jacket is a month of travel in Ecuador. There are a lot of people who have a motorcycle gear addiction (there is no cure) and you can find good deals when they unload quality lightly used jackets, pants, boots, and helmets on Craigslist.

You need a way to carry your clothes, tools and spare parts on your bike. I like a locking waterproof topbox for my electronic gear, camera, sleeping bag and pad combined with soft saddlebags for everything else. It doesn’t really matter if you use a milk crate and some ammo cans. The important thing is that you need some way to carry stuff on your bike.

That’s all I have time for today. I’ll go into essential tools, tech, spare parts and clothes in an upcoming post.

more later….

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