What is Adventure motorcycle travel riding?
Some say adventure motorcycle riding is going off the beaten track, away from the pavement, and down into the dirt. That it is riding into the unknown, crossing a continent or two, going around the world, up the mountains and down into the valleys, doing plenty of river crossings, camping in the wilds, and making sure they leave the rear-end tire markings carved on the desert sands.
Others find that goal is to seek a new destination, touring their way until they reach it while sleeping in the comfort of a hotel bed.
For each motorcycle rider, there is a different adventure level.
The one that makes you happy, it’s the right one for you.
I could take the easy route and say upfront that adventure motorcycle riding is happiness. Instead, I’ll give you my perspective. Adventure motorcycle riding is the overcoming of difficult situations while riding both on and off-road, experiencing new places, and living the ultimate adventure of adjusting your dreams with your capacities.
The fulfillment feeling that comes out of it, is also sharable. You can choose to share it with your friends, family, or fellow riders you meet along the way. Or on the other hand, you can keep it to yourself and transform it into self-growth, joyful awareness, and almost a meditation-like state. To travel and have moments where it’s just you and the world is unbeatable and addicting.
Actually, adventure motorcycle riding should come with a Surgeon General warning – ” to be used moderately for it may cause dependence”.
If you are considering adventure motorcycle riding, you are probably thinking about embarking on a motorcycle trip that lures you like some sort of shiny object at the end of the road that you can help but follow.
But before doing it, there is a whole list of items to address beginning with the type of motorcycle that fits your riding style, and the terrains you want to cover on your adventure travels.
The Adventure Motorcycle
Adventure motorcycle today is a category of motorbikes that stretches beyond what it used to do a few years ago. With the big trail bikes being so popular nowadays, people tend to mix both adv bikes and dual sports.
To put it simply, an adventure bike is a type of motorcycle that allows you to ride both on and off-road, performing relatively well in all environments. Of course, we can’t expect that a big adventure motorcycle performs offroad like a lightweight dirt bike, nor on-road like a sports bike.
An adventure bike is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to motorcycle travel.
Having that in mind here are some of the most popular adventure motorcycles in all weights and price ranges:
BMW R GS 1250 Adventure
Hugely popular among riders, especially long-distance tourers, the BMW R1250GS is one of the best adventure bikes to travel. It has a comfortable seating position, boasts a wide array of features, and you can add loads of aftermarket accessories to further upgrade this full capable adventure motorcycle.
Ducati Multistrada V4 Sport
The Ducati. The V-Twin engine sound is something to remember. Cutting edge technology aligned with the Italian manufacturer traditions, on a powerful motorcycle, loaded with features. It boasts a staggering 170hp with a weight of 478lb/217kg. Of course, it also comes with a matching price tag.
Harley Davidson Pan America 1250 Special
Speaking of matching price tags, the long-awaited Harley Davidson Pan America 1250 has one. Powered by a liquid-cooled V-Twin Revolution™ Max engine that delivers 150hp with 1252cc displacement, this American adventure machine is packed with features such as semi-active suspension modes that automatically adapt the suspension height and damping to the ride mode selected.
Triumph Tiger 900 Rally
Triple-cylinder legendary Triumph has been around long enough to evolve into an adventure-ready bike. Plenty of riding aids and capability both on and off-road make this one of the best choices when it comes to adventure motorcycle travel. The all-new Tiger is also good-looking.
Honda Africa Twin
Legions of fans follow the Africa Twin from the moment it was first launched till now. This is a true all-rounder adv bike.
Available with six-speed DCT automatic transmission, it is bound to make you want to follow in the Dakar Riders footsteps.
Yamaha Tenere 700
This is one of the most competent and reliable, off-road capable middleweight adventure motorcycles out there. Lightweight and capable of a good ample torque, this is a bike with proper off-road ergonomics. A big windshield, a large amount of ground clearance, and a slim bodywork make the Tenere 700 very maneuverable both on the tarmac and out of it.
Kawasaki KLR 650 Adventure
This very popular adventure touring bike has been the ride of many long-distance adventure motorcyclists. The all-new Versys 650 is aimed more for the on-road but dressed up, it’s an affordable and versatile middleweight bike and a good choice if you stick to the pavement.
KTM 390 Adventure
The KTM 390 is an entry-level adventure bike, that doesn’t sacrifice any fun. Lightweight and standing up to the Austrian manufacturer’s “ready to race” moto, you can still expect lots of enjoyable moments out riding. Just don’t expect to ride it like a dirt bike.
Adventure motorcycle travel is not only about the bike. It’s also about the rider, the traveling experience, and the destination. But to fully enjoy the journey from start to finish, there are a few other things to consider.
Planning your Motorcycle Adventure Travel
Before deciding what to take, you have to decide where to go the way to get there. Choosing the right adventure motorcycle is just one part of the task. Preparing the bike and packing for the trip is ultimately influenced by the terrain you ride through and the time you spend out riding.
Those are good factors to have in mind because whether you decide to go camping or find that a hotel is the best choice to rest from the day out riding, there are still arrangements to be made before departure.
Routes and stop points can be planned, with enough slack to accommodate last-minute detours or unforeseen circumstances. There are several navigation systems and mobile apps to help you with it.
Of course, you can just go, and take on the let’s “see what happens” spirit of adventure, riding wherever the road takes you. Some folks do it and enjoy it. but in this case, some experience is advised.
Preparing your Motorcycle and Riding Gear
Your motorcycle is not adventure-proof. So you might need to fit the bike with protection parts like bash plates, crash bars, handguards, and other protective accessories.
The fuel range of your adv bike is also important if you are riding in remote locations. In some parts of the world, fuel might not be available for long stretches, and you could consider a rotopax or a fuel bladder to overcome the limitations of the bike’s fuel tank.
To carry what you need for the motorcycle travel adventure you’ll need luggage. This is a good time to think if you are traveling solo or one up, and again the duration and location of the ride. The luggage options are so diverse and dividing as the passionate discussions about what’s the best luggage set up. But you got hard luggage, soft luggage, rack systems, and rackless systems. All have their positives and negative sides to them. Do remember to go for a system that works for you, and has enough versatility and capacity for your adventure bike travels.
As your adventure motorcycle, you are also not adventure-proof, so you should take the time to consider the proper riding gear, taking into account factors like the location, climate, the season, and the terrain you are riding through. No point in gearing up with a Gore-Tex waterproof jacket if you are riding in hot dry weather, or to put on a mesh jacket for the rainy season. Motorcycle jackets, pants, riding boots, should be adapted to where you ride the most. Same as helmets. Check out our top 10 best adventure helmets, or our guide on choosing an adventure helmet packed with useful information.
Packing for your Motorcycle Adventure
Every motorcycle adventure is different, and every rider has different needs, but the basic items that everyone needs to pack don’t differ that much.
Water is essential. Carry it in bladders, bottles, or containers, but take water with you.
If camping is on your plans, well, you might need camping gear. A tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mattress, and cooking gear are in order. Keep them light and don’t exceed what your actual needs. These items tend to be bulky and take up to much room on top of your bike.
Even if you don’t plan to do any motorcycle camping, some quick fix-up meals or some high-energy food items are essential to keep your energy levels up when you need them.
A First Aid Kit is a must on any ride. You never know what’s going to happen, and no, it does not only happen to others.
As with any other motor vehicle, the need for repairs arises unannounced and when we least expect it. Motorcycle tools and spare parts are an essential option to make quick fixes on the go in places where you don’t have the commodity of a mechanic. A basic mechanics course is also a great way to be prepared. Cutting the trip short or being stranded in the middle of nowhere is not a great way to end your journey.
Of course, you need clothing. You’re not going to be wearing riding gear every single minute. Yet keep it basic for clothes can quickly fill the luggage capacity, and remember they can always be washed.
Keeping your motorcycle secure while you are not around, is also nice to remember. Returning to where you left your bike to find out it’s not there is not pleasant. A security lock is an easy-to-carry piece of gear.
Finally don’t forget to pack a camera, or at the very least using the one on your mobile phone. Remembering the experience is great, but having a recorded recollection of them is even better. Plus you can share them with your friends and family.
Either you prefer a more motorcycle touring-like adventure, or you want to take the adventure off the beaten track, the basic approach doesn’t change much, it simply adapts. To you and your adventure motorcycle travel.
So Plan, Ride, Live, and Repeat.