These motorcycles are made to go off the beaten track
Are you a big adventure bike owner? Yes, it’s a great touring machine, but it screams to go off the beaten track. Too big, too heavy, too expensive. But it’s worth it – you’re gonna have a different experience and get to know your bike better. Here are some basic things to have in mind when going off-road on a big adventure machine.
It’s a must to have the correct riding position when standing on the motorcycle. Your feet must be positioned with the half of the sole on the footpads to enable you shifting the gears and using the rear brake. Also, your legs must be relaxed, and you should reach the handlebar in comfort. You can check your riding position by achieving the right balance. Here’s an exercise: Put your bike on the centre-stand and get on it without grabbing the handlebar. Then, without using your hands, get off the bike.
Raise your handlebar
To achieve a more relaxed riding position you might have to raise your bike’s handlebar.
Using the clutch properly is one of the most important things when going off-road. Sometimes it’s necessary to use it for getting the right amount of torque, and it’s important to do it the right way when passing obstacles. It’s recommended to grab your clutch using only two fingers.
Never go out without a friend
It’s not just about having fun. It’s that you might need some help when dropping your bike.
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Learn how to lift it
The big adventure bikes have more than 220 kg. So it might be quite difficult to lift the bike by yourself. However, if using the correct technique, you can do it without getting a herniated disc. So don’t use your back muscles. Use your leg muscles instead and keep your back straight. You can check some how to videos on YouTube or ask for a certified instructor to teach you.
How to pass a river
Ask your friend to do it first – another benefit of going off-road with a friend. Besides that, you should beware that you can’t see what’s under the water – there could be slippery stones or big holes, so take it easy.
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Adventurize your bike
The big adventure bikes are usually expensive and come with exposed parts. Check for the fragile elements and put some shields to protect your bike. For example, every bike needs crash-bars and an under-engine shield, but if going off-road on a boxer, you must also put some cylinder protections. Here’s more about making your bike bulletproof.
No hard luggage
Less weight, more fun, so it’s vital to have minimalistic luggage. Forget about big and heavy cases – it’s not just about the weight, but they might break during a fall. Go for soft luggage instead.
Choose the right tires
The so called “adventure” tires fitted standard on your bike are just some street tires – the best for touring but not so good for real adventure riding. So fit your bike with proper tires – Continental TKC 80, Michelin Anakee Wild, Metzler Karoo 3, Heidenau K60, Mitas E-07, depending on your performance vs. wear preferences.
Don’t ride without protective motorcycle clothes. Use a dual sport helmet if possible – unlike riding on the road at high speeds, you’ll struggle on passing over muddy fields, so you need to breathe fresh air. Also, don’t put warm clothes on you. It’s a matter of seconds before you’ll sweat. Don’t forget the enduro boots. Besides giving you off-road protection, you can ride all day long standing on your bike without feeling pain in your legs.
Navigation: GPS Track or Old-school techniques
You can navigate by loading a GPS track on your device or by asking the locals. Beware when doing the latter. For them, the “easy road” might mean something different than for you.
Get some proper training
Not confident enough? Get a professional off-road training for big adventure bikes. You’ll get to know a lot of things and know your bike better.
Don’t forget to have a beer in the evening
It’s the best part of the day. After getting tired in off-road, having a beer next to your dirty bike is a celebration.