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Adventure Motorcycle Gear: What’s in Your closet?

Adventure Motorcycle Gear: What’s in Your closet?

Adventure Motorcycle Gear: What’s in Your closet?

Debates about adventure motorcycle gear often get just as heated as arguments about which bike is the most suitable for long-distance ADV travel. What should you wear on a motorcycle trip? Full-on four-season adventure suit? Lightweight motocross gear? Street wear?

It all depends on where you’re going, and for how long. If your trip isn’t going to last longer than three weeks and you won’t be covering varying altitudes and climates zones, you’re probably good with some Kevlar jeans and a comfortable touring jacket. If, however, you’re riding somewhere a little more rugged or where you will be traveling multiple climate zones and crossing mountains – like, say, South America – you need to be better prepared. In addition to keeping you warm and dry, adventure motorcycle gear also keeps you safe. Out there in the sticks, that matters even more.

So let’s take a look at adventure motorcycle gear options out there.

Mid-Range Adventure Motorcycle Jackets and Pants

Some of the high-end adventure bike gear out there can feel like it costs an arm and a leg. Do you actually need to spend that much on a Klim jacket and pants? The answer depends on your riding: no, if you don’t clock more than 10,000 kilometers each year, if your adventure bike trips are less than two-week-long, and if you generally ride very conservatively and only when the weather’s good. If you mostly use your motorcycle for commuting and short weekend rides, aim for mid-range gear that won’t cost you a fortune but will provide comfort and protection.

Speaking of protection: always make sure that your motorcycle jacket has back, shoulder, and elbow armour and your motorcycle pants should have some padding at the hips and knees. Look for the CE label on all your adventure motorcycle gear, as this label means the gear meets the current motorcycle safety standards of the EU.

Four-Season Adventure Motorcycle Gear

However, if you ride year-round, if you love taking your bike off the beaten path, if you go on long adventure rides in places like Chile, Argentina, or Bolivia, if you spend long hours in the saddle and often ride through different altitudes, weather, and climate zones, you need some real hardware. That’s where high-end adventure motorcycle gear comes in. And yes, the cost isn’t small, but great-quality adventure suit will last you for years, protect you like an exoskeleton, keep you warm and dry even in torrential rain, and offer the best safety and comfort ratio.

adventure motorcycle gear

Our tour guides here at Motobirds prefer Klim because these adventure suits are incredibly durable, reliably waterproof, have good ventilation for those hot temperatures, and are virtually indestructible. We love Klim’s Artemis for women and Badlands for men; however, do try out other brands like Rukka, Touratech, or BMW. In addition to being functional, adventure motorcycle gear needs to fit great, too, so make sure you shop around and find what works for you.

Pro tip: if you’re looking for a truly four-season adventure jacket and pants, make sure the outer shell has GoreTex. If it has some other material and says “water-resistant”, you’ll get soaked. If it’s GoreTex, however, you’re covered.

Women’s Adventure Motorcycle Gear

For female riders, finding adventure gear that actually fits used to be a bit of a headache. Nowadays, however, brands are catching up to the fact that women love bikes just as much as men do for the exact same reasons, and more and more gear is designed with women in mind.

Here at Motobirds, our female tour guides wear Klim Artemis: it’s rugged, waterproof, durable, highly protective, and created by an actual female gear designer, so the cut and the fit are amazing. But do check out Rev’It! and Touratech, too, as these two companies have some adventure motorcycle gear aimed at women riders, and you want to find the best fit for you.

adventure motorcycle gear

Lightweight Off-Road Gear

If you’re an off-road maniac and your bike’s tires barely touch the pavement, a heavy, restrictive four-season adventure riding suit may not be for you. If you’re constantly battling steep hills, single track, and gnarly terrain, you’ll want excellent protection and complete freedom of movement, plus great ventilation. If that sounds like you, shop for lightweight off-road motorcycle gear aimed at motocross and rally racers.

adventure motorcycle gear

We love Leatt, as this company was founded by a South African neurosurgeon and rider who designs all the protective parts with scientific precision; however, there’s no shortage of other brands out there offering different options. Whatever you choose, just make sure you’ve got plenty of protection, and don’t forget to wear a neck brace.

What kind of adventure motorcycle gear do you wear and why? Let us know in the comments below!

Motorcycle Camping: What You Need to Know

Motorcycle Camping: What You Need to Know

Motorcycle Camping: What You Need to Know

A two-wheeled adventure wouldn’t be complete without motorcycle camping. There’s nothing like pitching your tent, cooking yourself dinner on your camping stove, and admiring the starry skies at night, unpolluted by city lights. Motorcycle camping can make your trip more authentic, adventurous, and exciting. You may not know where you’ll lay your head next, but you know you’ve got your little mobile home with you.

However, motorcycle camping needs a little planning and preparation, just like packing for a motorbike trip or planning the journey.  Depending on where you’re headed, you may get away with a very simple set up like a basic tent, sleeping bag, and a sleeping bag. On the other hand, if you know you’ll be facing harsh temperatures, you may need some additional gear. Next comes the question of wild camping versus organized campsites, packing and carrying your gear on a motorcycle, and some do’s and don’t’s of motorcycle camping abroad.

Let’s take a closer look.

Motorcycle Camping Gear

What camping gear you choose will largely depend on where you’re going, for how long, and how often you plan to camp. If you know the climate is mostly going to be mild, you won’t be camping often, and your trip won’t take longer than two weeks, you should be more than fine with some very basic camping equipment. Mid-range tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and perhaps a small inflatable pillow plus a gas camping stove, a pot and a cup, and a few basic cooking utensils should do it. When shopping for camping equipment, however, always make sure that it packs as small as possible and weighs as little as possible. These are both important factors when packing your motorcycle.

However, if you’re planning to go somewhere where the temperatures may be quite harsh, like Iceland, you may want to invest in gear that will withstand colder weather and rain. Make sure your sleeping bag is capable of withstanding temperatures up to -5 C, get a thick inflatable sleeping pad for extra warmth, and make sure your tent is fully waterproof. Consider getting some additional thermals to keep you warm.

Finally, you may be riding somewhere where you’ll face both hot and cold temperatures and where you’ll be camping a lot. Georgia is a good example – in the mountains, the nights can get chilly, but at the sea level, it’s hot. For a varied weather and terrain trip, pick three or four-season camping gear that is versatile and reliable in any conditions.

Wild Camping vs Organized Campsites

Now that you have your camping gear ready, it’s time to think about where you’ll be camping. In most countries, wild camping is allowed with the exceptions of national parks and reserves. However, do your research and make sure you’re legally allowed to camp. When picking your wild camping spot, see that you aren’t intruding on private land.

Motorcycle Camping: What You Need to Know // Motobirds

Organized campsites are usually the best solution if you don’t know whether wild camping is permitted in the area. Sure, you’ll be sharing the campsite with other travelers, but that can be a great way to meet people and exchange stories and route information. Another bonus is access to bathroom and kitchen facilities, which a lot of organized campsites will offer.

To help you figure out where you can camp wild and where you can find organized campsites, we highly recommend the iOverlander app. Just download the app, zoom in on the area you’ll be riding through, and get all the information you need – as an open source app, it gets updated very often, and the information remains relevant.

Packing and Carrying Your Camping Gear

We already touched on the fact that the smaller and lighter your camping gear is, the better. When shopping for your camping equipment, try to be as minimalist as you can to save space in your panniers and to spare your suspension. Before you buy anything, think of the items you already own. Do you really need that camping chair, or can you sit on your pannier? Is that mallet for tent pegs really a must-have, or can you get away with securing the pegs using a piece of rock or your motorcycle boots? Are you sure the mini espresso maker is something you cannot live without, or can you simply use ground coffee and paper filters?

To avoid packing too much, just consider what is truly a necessity and what could you go without. After all, you’re into motorcycle camping because of the adventure, not the comfort.

Motorcycle Camping Do’s and Don’ts Abroad

When riding abroad, some travelers tend to forget that the rules still apply. Don’t be one of them. Respect the local laws, stick to legal roads and off-road routes, and make sure you aren’t wild-camping in a national reserve, in the indigenous lands, or on private property. Nowadays, with so much information readily available, there’s no excuse not to do your research.

Motorcycle Camping: What You Need to Know // Motobirds

At the same time, keep in mind that the locals are usually happy to help, so if you’re not sure about camping in a certain area, just ask. You never know – you might just get yourself invited to dinner!

What are your favorite motorcycle camping tips and hacks? Let us know in the comments below!

Images: Pixabay

 

Adventure Motorcycle Tours: Choosing Your Next Trip

Adventure Motorcycle Tours: Choosing Your Next Trip

Adventure Motorcycle Tours: Choosing Your Next Trip

Adventure motorcycle tours are an amazing way to travel. As motorcyclists, we can choose routes less traveled, explore the world on our own terms, and experience the thrill of the ride. Whether it’s a short weekend trip, a round-the-world adventure, or a two-week tour somewhere you’ve never ridden before, an adventure motorcycle tour is the best form of escape.

However, as the touring market is exploding, it can be difficult to pick the tour that’s right for you. Guided or self-guided? On your own motorcycle or a rental? Which motorcycle tour company and shipping agent should you choose?

To help you plan your adventure trip, we put this helpful guide together. In this post, however, we’re going to talk about different types of adventure motorcycle tours and which one would work best for you.

Guided Adventure Motorcycle Tours

Guided bike tours are a little like a package holiday: the motorcycles, the routes, the hotels, and the off-bike activities are all pre-booked and pre-planned for you. All you need to do is fly in, get on your chosen motorcycle, and enjoy the tour.  Most motorcycle tour organizers will have several options to choose from: on-road or off-road (or perhaps a mix of the two), luxury hotels or budget inns, the size of the group, the duration of the tour, and so on. A guided motorcycle tour is ideal for riders who are busy and do not have the time to do their own research, planning, route design, and logistics. Simply pick the country you’d love to visit on a motorcycle, get in touch with a local tour company, and book your dream holiday.

One of the pitfalls of a guided adventure motorcycle tour is that you never know who is riding with you, and the groups can sometimes be quite diverse. However, the tour guides usually try to match everyone’s skill levels to make sure all participants are happy, and you never know – you might just make some lifelong friends during a two-wheeled adventure.

Adventure Motorcycle Tours

Guided Tours Recommendations:

Colombia

Argentina, Bolivia, Chile

The Himalayas

Self-Guided Tours

Self-guided tours are perfect for people who like to ride on their own (or just with their friends or partners), who are independent, and who can spare the time and the resources to prepare a motorcycle adventure themselves. If that sounds like you, you can always start from scratch: pick a destination, do your research about the local culture, terrain, weather, traffic conditions, and road infrastructure, and start putting a route together. Next, you’ll need to book your accommodation and either ship your own motorcycle there or rent locally.

Some motorcycle tour companies offer self-guided tour packages. This means that you will be riding independently, but the company will give you a pre-planned route and book your accommodation for you. They will typically also recommend places to visit, activities to include in your trip, and some interesting local spots to explore. This is a great option if you’d like to combine the best of the two worlds – ride on your own, but have the comfort of a pre-planned route, a rental bike, and accommodation all taken care of for you.

Adventure Motorcycle Tours

If you’re thinking of doing a self-guided tour and this is your first time going on a longer trip, we highly recommend:

Georgia

Iceland

Motorcycle Shipping vs Renting

Whether you choose a guided or self-guided adventure motorcycle tour, you’ll need to figure out if you want to ride your own bike or hop on a rental. In many cases, a rental makes more sense logistically and financially: if you’re just going on a ten-day or two-week trip, there’s no point in shipping your own motorcycle, especially if the destination is remote. However, if you’re planning to ride for over two-three months, or if your chosen destination is fairly close and easy to ship to, you can take your own bike. After all, you picked your motorcycle for a reason, and it’s always better to ride something you know and are comfortable with.

If you are based in Europe, some of the closer and cheaper shipping destinations include Morocco, Georgia, and Iceland. If you’re in North America, it’s easy enough to ship your bike from coast to coast. However, if your trip is happening on another continent, consider getting a rental motorcycle. Keep in mind that inter-continental motorcycle shipping also takes much longer than sending your bike a few countries down: a trans-Atlantic crossing on a cargo ship, for example, can take up to three weeks or more.

What sort of adventure motorcycle tours: guided, self-guided, or independent – do you prefer, and why? Let us know in the comments below!

How to Plan a Motorcycle Trip

How to Plan a Motorcycle Trip

How to Plan a Motorcycle Trip

Doing the research, the homework, and the planning for a long-distance motorcycle trip is sometimes the bigger part of the process than the journey itself. If you are thinking of riding around your own country or continent, the task isn’t too complicated. But if you’re going around the world, or to another continent, the prep matters.

To help you out, we put together a simple template you can use when planning a motorcycle trip. The key sections include route, shipping, accommodation and fuel, and finally, safety. While there are always more things to plan and keep in mind, we hope that this template will at least give you a rough guide of where to begin.

Motorcycle Trip Routes

When it comes to planning out your route, there are several key factors you should consider. First off, what will be your on road and off-road ratio? Are you  going to stick to highways and main roads, or explore little dirt trails and back country routes? You need to figure out your expectations before putting the actual route together so that you can roughly calculate the mileage and the distances.

Speaking of which: always pay close attention to terrain. Three hundred miles might only mean five hours of riding across a flat terrain, but the same three hundred miles in the mountains can mean something entirely different.

How to Plan a Motorcycle Trip

In general, however, we recommend to keep the daily mileage under 250. This is not only because you may have unexpected delays, varying temperatures, different weather, and different terrain, but also because you’re on a motorcycle journey – which means you’ll need time to take it all in. Don’t rush your motorcycle trip, and don’t simply collect bucket list destinations. Take your time to explore and to immerse yourself in the local culture.

Once you’ve decided how much on road and off-road riding you’ll do, as well as calculated your daily mileage, it’s time to transfer the expectations on to a map. Depending on which continent you choose to ride, we recommend to plan a route that is as varied as possible. Include mountain twisties, coastal routes, stretches of desert or plains – the more diverse the landscape, the more fun you’ll have riding. Besides, this will help you deal with weather, temperature, and altitude changes. Switch it up as much as possible to enjoy the best your chosen continent has to offer.

How to Plan a Motorcycle Trip

Your bike will also determine your route!

For paved routes, all you need is Google Maps and an app that warns you about road closures or similar unexpected obsatcles, such as Maps Me. If you’re looking for off-road trails, use Google Earth option to zoom in and see if your chosen toure is paved or not. Alternatively, you can always ask for advice on online forums, such as Horizon Unlimited.

Motorcycle Shipping

For a lot of riders who are setting on a long-distance adventure motorcycle journey for the first time, motorcycle shipping may sound intimidating. However, it doesn’t have to be: there are several established shipping routes worldwide, and if you pick a reputable company to help you out, you won’t have to worry about paperwork or customs procedures.

In addition, motorcycle shipping doesn’t need to be expensive. Some of the cheapest international shipping routes are between North America, Europe, and South America, so if shipping budget is a big factor for you, pick one of these continents to explore. Keep in mind that sea freight is typically significantly cheaper than air freight, with very few exceptions. Finally, we recommend you look into return options instead of merely shipping one way, then looking for another shipping company to get your bike back home. Return shipping is much cheaper than booking two separate journeys.

How to Plan a Motorcycle Trip

Accommodation and Fuel Availability On the Road

Although going on a motorcycle trip on another continent such as South America or Asia may sound exotic, the reality is that the world ir rapidly developing. Most major cities and towns across the world will have plenty of accommodation options, and fuel availability is generally quite good even in more remote places like Patagonia or Mongolia.

However, if you’re planning to ride mostly off-road and explore some of the more remote regions of the world, it’s usually a good idea to carry your camping equipment with you and have at least a 400-kilometer fuel range. If your tank is small and you can’t find a decent aftermarket option, carry a fuel bladder or a jerry can just in case.

When it comes to accommodation, there most economical options are usually organized campsites, hostels, and AirBnBs. Depending on the comfort level you expect or require, accommodation can cost as little as $5 and as much as – well, as much as you’re willing to pay.

How to Plan a Motorcycle Trip

If you have planned a fairly detailed route, we suggest you book at least some of your accommodation in advance. Typically, booking online is cheaper than upon arrival, and you can score some good deals this way.

Travel Safety

Now that you’re all set, there’s one more thing to consider: travel safety. During a motorcycle trip, anything can happen, so be sure to purchase good travel insurance that covers motorcycle riding or motorsports. When it comes to safety on the road, the general rule of thumb is this: avoid riding in the dark, always carry water, and listen to the advice of the locals. The more you talk and connect with people, the more likely you are to get accurate route information and avoid trouble such as closed roads, protests, or simply sketchier areas tourists aren’t recommended to visit.

Needless to say, careful motorcycle trip planning will need some research, some time, and plenty of imagination, but we hope that this short guide can be a good place to start.

How to Plan a Motorcycle Trip

What’s the most important thing when planning a motorcycle trip for you? Let us know in the comments below!

 

How Much Does It Cost to Ride the World?

How Much Does It Cost to Ride the World?

How Much Does It Cost to Ride the World?

What do all adventure riders have in common? A dream to ride the world, of course. Whether it’s a traditional round-the-world circumnavigation or a journey completed leg by leg, riding around the world is on the bucket lists of many motorcycle travellers. However, budget is always a concern. So how much does it cost to ride the world?

If you’re dreaming to travel by motorcycle, your budget will depend on several different factors. Some riders simply take off and ride East or West until they come home from the opposite direction. But a round-the-world journey doesn’t have to be a straight circumnavigation. Very few of us can take off to roam the planet for months or even years. Most riders have jobs, families, and other commitments they can’t just leave for an indefinite period of time, and understandably so.

However, there are as many ways to ride around the world as there are people. Some riders choose to travel for a month or so, leave the motorcycle, and fly back home to see their families or go back to work. Then, after a break home, they fly back, get on the bike, and resume the trip. Another good way to see the world from the saddle of a motorcycle is go on motorcycle tours in select locations. This way, you’ll save a lot of time otherwise spent for planning and researching. Finally, you can always “fly and ride” – that is, rent a motorcycle in the locations you want to see the most, and ride the world in patches.

How much does it cost to ride the world

There is no right or wrong way to travel. So when it comes to the question of how much does it cost to ride the world, there isn’t a right answer, either. However, we put together some rough guidelines so you know what to expect.

Your Motorcycle

When it comes to long-distance travel budget, a lot will depend on the bike you choose. If you’re all about the highway speeds, comfort, and eating up the miles, you probably own a large capacity motorcycle, which will naturally require more fuel and potentially will be more expensive to maintain on the road.

Medium-range dual sport and enduro bikes seem to be among the most popular choice for long journeys, especially if you love riding off-road. These bikes are typically reliable, durable, and easy to fix yourself, bringing the fuel and service costs down.

Finally, there are people riding around the world on tiny Honda 90C’s, scooters, or small dirt bikes. If you’re all about those dirt tracks, this could be the perfect option for you. Again, a smaller bike will likely be more fuel efficient and cost less to maintain.

How much does it cost to ride the world

Fuel

Fuel costs vary greatly around the world. Gas costs less than water in Saudi Arabia, but your fuel bill will be significantly higher in countries like Norway or Switzerland. On average, however, fuel costs come out to about 60-70 eurocents per liter in continents like South America or regions like Central Asia.

The best policy to avoid paying astronomical fuel prices is to stick to the cheaper continents or countries. Avoid Western Europe and North America if you want to save on gas; go nuts in South America, Mongolia, Southeast Asia, and India. It’s all about balance!

Food and Accommodation

This is another tricky one. If you plan to camp and cook your own meals, your food and accommodation costs will be significantly lower than if you need a five-star hotel and a Michelin dinner every night. Nowadays, it’s much easier to plan your accommodation budget as you can always opt for not only hotels but also AirBnBs, hostels, and organized campsites or cabins.

If you treat your motorcycle trip as a journey rather than a holiday, you can save a significant chunk of change by planning ahead, staying in cheaper countries longer than in the expensive ones, and camping once in a while.

When it comes to food, generally this isn’t a big expense, especially if you enjoy street food or cook your own dinners. Depending on your dietary requirements and your palate, you can get away with as little as $10 a day for food.

How much does it cost to ride the world

Motorcycle Shipping

Whether you’re circumnavigating the world in one go or doing it in separate legs, you will have to ship your motorcycle across an ocean at some point. Done wrong, this can be a huge expense. However, if you choose wisely and plan smartly, you can expect to pay as little as 1,150 euros to ship your bike from Europe to South America, as an example. It all comes down to research and planning.

So what’s the bottom line and how much does it cost to ride the world? Depending on your bike, comfort level you need, and the amount of time you have to plan and prepare, you can expect to spend anywhere between $50 and $100 a day while on the road. Riders on bikes like the Suzuki DR650 or the Kawasaki KLR 650 who camp often, don’t mind street food, and do their own motorcycle maintenance, report spending about $50-60 a day including fuel, food, accommodation, and motorcycle shipping costs. Riders on larger capacity bikes who prefer hotel stays and good dinners may spend anywhere between $70-$100 while on the road.

The choice, ultimately, is yours. Where will you be riding in 2020?

 

How to Avoid Over Packing for a Motorcycle Journey

How to Avoid Over Packing for a Motorcycle Journey

How to Avoid Over Packing for a Motorcycle Journey

Packing for a motorcycle journey seems to be one of the hottest topics out there. How and how much you pack is entirely up to you, depending on what motorcycle you’re riding, where, and for how long. However, there are some basic guidelines that can help, especially if it’s your first long motorcycle trip.

We have already posted a a comprehensive packing list for those of you who are setting out for an epic adventure. But more often than not, it’s not what you pack – it’s how you pack.

The “what” is very individual: some people are happy with nothing but a tool roll, two T shirts, a sleeping bag, and some duct tape. Others pack everything they can stuff in their panniers, from camping chairs to hair dryers. Neither version is wrong, as we all need different things and different comforts when we’re on the road.

The “how”, on the other hand, is universal. Pack smarter, and you won’t have to pack less. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of tips and hacks that will make packing for a motorcycle journey much easier.

Size Matters

No, not the size of your stuff: the size of your panniers. Here’s a simple fact: if you get the biggest panniers and duffel bags that you can, you will fill them. Instead, opt for medium-sized luggage, and you simply won’t be able to stuff it too much. If you’re opting for soft luggage, go for 25-liter panniers and a 30-35 liter duffel bag instead of 45 liter saddle bags and a humongous duffel or top box. If it’s aluminium panniers, opt for smaller, narrower boxes. Not only you’ll pack less, but you’ll also be shaving weight off your already heavy bike.

How to Avoid Overpacking for a Motorcycle Journey

Smaller panniers, less packing!

Saving Space

Now that your luggage is ready, make sure that you save as much space as you can. This can be done in two ways: first, buy items that are smaller, and second, use compression bags and Velcro straps to minimize bulk.

Not all of your items can be shrunk, of course, but before you even draw up a packing list, see what you can buy or replace with a smaller, lighter version. For example, carry a notebook or tablet instead of a large laptop; buy camping gear that packs tiny, like the incredibly light Big Agnes tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads. When it comes to your clothes, get thin merino wool layers instead of bulky jumpers; forget hoodies, think thermal base layers. Heavy, bulky denim can be replaced with lightweight, easy-to-wash walking pants; sturdy army-style boots may be great for hiking, but trust us, a pair of light tennis or running shoes will do just fine.

The second part is all about the art of minimizing bulk. Get a few compression bags to make your camping gear and clothes smaller. Using Velcro straps, squeeze bulkier bundles into more compact ones. Use packing cubes to save both space and your own sanity: if everything is neatly sorted into packing cubes, you won’t have to rummage in the bottom of your panniers for that light rain jacket you need right now.

How to Avoid Overpacking for a Motorcycle Journey

Packing cubes save space and minimize chaos. Image: Pixabay

Indoors vs Outdoors

Here’s a fun fact: not all of your stuff needs to be packed into the panniers, top box or duffel bag, or your tank bag. Some items, such as tent poles, some spare parts, and tool rolls, can happily live elsewhere on the bike. For example, you can strap the tent poles across your handlebars, pack tire tubes into a small bag on the front fender, zip tie tire irons under your luggage rack, and pack your tools away in a DIY toolbox on the crash bars or in front of the skid plate. Remember, you need to keep the weight low, so keep the heavier items lower on your bike and don’t make the rookie mistake of piling heavier stuff in and on top of your top box or duffel bag. Be creative and see what you can pack away on the bike itself, again keeping the weight low.

Multifunctional Gear

Another packing tip is to try and focus on multifunctional gear and tools. For example, pants that zip down to shorts and a rain jacket with an inner liner will save space as they double in function. Similarly, get modular multitools such as the RRR Solutions kit, see if your hydrapak or a bundle of clothes can work as a camping pillow, and minimize the bulk of your electronics by carrying SD cards instead of hard drives and one global adapter instead of several different ones for different continents or countries.

If you pack smarter, you can actually take more items with you without overpacking and over-loading your motorcycle. Smaller panniers, smaller camping gear and clothing items, compression bags and packing cubes, as well as using multifunctional gear are all great ways to avoid overpacking for a motorcycle journey. Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Best Adventure Motorcycling Routes in 2020

Best Adventure Motorcycling Routes in 2020

Best Adventure Motorcycling Routes in 2020

What could be better than spending your Christmas dreaming of new adventure motorcycling routes?

It’s winter holidays, and with the New Year coming up, this is the ideal time to start plotting your next motorcycle escape. Whether you’re thinking of going on a motorcycle tour or designing your own route, we’re here to help. They say that the journey matters more than the destination, and we couldn’t agree more – but you still need a rough route to get going, right?

Here are our hottest adventure motorcycling routes in 2020.

The Silk Road

When it comes to the best adventure motorcycling routes, Central Asia has always had a certain draw for adventure riders. Home to the legendary Silk Road, an ancient merchant route connecting Europe and Asia, and boasting spectacular scenery as well as some of the best off-road riding on the planet, Central Asia remains one of our favorite destinations for motorcycling. But which countries should you pick?

The Pamir Mountain Region

Kazakhstan, the gateway into Central Asia, is usually just a transit country for most riders as it’s flat, hot, and not overly exciting. Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, on the other hand, are worth exploring as both of these countries encompass the awe-inspiring Pamir Mountains, a range higher and, according to some, more majestic than the Andes. Stunning mountain scenery, unique local culture, unlimited off-road riding, and the feeling of traveling through a wild, ancient land are all excellent reasons to pick Central Asia for your next two-wheeled adventure.

Best Adventure Motorcycling Routes in 2020 The landscape of Tajikistan.

Keep in mind that the riding season in Central Asia is short, so plan accordingly. The best time of the year to ride Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan is mid-July through to the beginning of September. Fuel availability might be sparse in some regions, especially if you’re planning to ride off-road, so be sure to get a larger tank or carry fuel with you so you have at least a 350-400 kilometer range.

The Lagunas Route

South America is a continent of wonders when it comes to motorcycling. However, if you’re looking for something truly unique, aim for the Lagunas Route in southern Bolivia. The route itself is short, but the riding is just out of this world. Situated at high altitude – around 5,000 meters above the sea level – the Lagunas Route takes you across the wild, sparsely inhabited high desert of the Bolivian Andes. The notorious Salvador Dali desert, the moonlike landscape of the salt flats, the bright green, red and white lakes inhabited by pink flamingos, and the tiny indigenous villages along the way make you feel like you have been just transported to another planet.

Best Adventure Motorcycling Routes in 2020

We recommend starting your ride in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile and ending in Uyini, Bolivia, where you’ll have the chance to explore the Salar de Uyuni, world’s largest salt flat visible from space. From there, you may travel towards La Paz and ride the infamous Death Road, or turn westward and enter Peru at Lake Titicaca.

The best time of the year to ride the Lagunas Route is April through to November. December to March is rainy season in Bolivia, and the Salar de Uyuni is often under water during this time.

Although the Lagunas Route is remote and may appear unpopulated, there are small villages on the way where you can find lodging, food, and fuel. A 250-kilometer range is more than enough, as there is fuel in the larger villages along the way.

Best Adventure Motorcycling Routes in 2020

The Khardung-La Pass, Indian Himalayas

Motorcycle touring in the Himalayas is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The highest mountain range in the world, the Himalayas reveal jaw-dropping vistas around every corner. Traveling the Manali-Leh route in Ladakh, Northern India, you will experience some of the best riding in the country both on and off the road.

Best Adventure Motorcycling Routes in 2020

Sheer drops and looming snow-capped peaks, hidden valleys and gorges, mysterious Buddhist temples perched atop clifftops, and meandering mountain roads will leave you breathless both figuratively and literally, as the altitude here is over 3,500 meters above sea level. At Khardung-La, the highest motorable mountain pass in the world, altitude reaches over 5,300 meters.

The entire Ladakh region is dry all year round, but during the winter months, some of the mountain passes will be covered in snow. The best time to ride the Indian Himalayas is from June through to September. There will be plenty of food, accommodation, and fuel options on the way.

Best Adventure Motorcycling Routes in 2020

These three adventure motorcycling routes made the top of our list because while they are relatively easy to access, they are, at the same time, remote and extraordinary. When designing motorcycle tours and scouting new routes, we always keep in mind that the people who ride with us want to experience real, raw adventure. Central Asia, Bolivia, and the Himalayas are the three places in the world where that is still possible in the truest sense of the word.

Where will you be riding in 2020? Let us know in the comments below!

Images: Motobirds, Pixabay

Packing for a Motorcycle Trip: Tips from a Motorcycle Tour Guide

Packing for a Motorcycle Trip: Tips from a Motorcycle Tour Guide

Packing for a Motorcycle Trip: Tips from a Motorcycle Tour Guide

Packing for a motorcycle trip, especially if you aren’t an experienced adventure rider, can be confusing. On the one hand, you want to have all the essentials with you. On the other hand, you don’t want to overload your motorcycle. So what’s the ideal solution? At Motobirds, we have guided hundreds of motorcycle tours around the world and shipped hundreds of travelers’ own motorcycles to several destinations around the globe. Our tour guides are masters at packing, because they aren‘t just looking after themselves during the trips. They are also responsible for the entire group, which means they must be prepared for all eventualities. At the same time, they must travel light.

 

To help you make the best decisions when it comes to packing for a motorcycle trip, we compiled two comprehensive packing lists recommended by our guides to make it easier. The first one is aimed at riders going on a motorcycle tour, whereas the second one is meant for independent travelers.So if you’re planning to hit the road soon, here’s what you will need.

Packing for a Guided Motorcycle Tour

If you’re going on a guided motorcycle tour, you will need significantly less luggage than if you travel on your own. This is because most guided tours have a support vehicle which carries the luggage. Even if there is no support truck available, you will still need less stuff because all the accommodation will be arranged for you and you won’t need your camping gear.

With that in mind, here is what we recommend you bring on your guided motorcycle tour.

  1. Your Docs

We know, we know: you hardly need reminding to take your passport, driver’s license, and bike registration (if you’re riding on your own bike) with you – but we’ll do it anyway. Make sure all your travel documents such as passport, driver’s license, bike reg, plane tickets or boarding passes, and your travel insurance is packed and ready. Double-check before you leave, just in case!

Pro tip: pack all your important documents in a waterproof case or a Ziploc bag. You never know what sort of weather you might encounter on the road.

Packing for a Motorcycle Trip: Tips from a Motorcycle Guide // Motobirds

  1. Your Essentials

A change of clothes and underwear, tennis shoes, a swimsuit, a light jacket, and your toiletries is all you need for a short, 10 to 14-day motorcycle tour. When you’re packing your clothes, make sure they are light and pack small: instead of carrying a big woolly jumper, for example, consider getting a smaller fleece or a tactical base layer shirt. Pack extra underwear and socks as laundry services aren’t always readily available, but just like with your clothes, make sure everything is light and functional. Take only what you really need as opposed to everything that you want: remember, you’re going on an adventure, not a luxury holiday.

When it comes to toiletries, again, small and light is key. Choose small, travel-sized products, and, just like with clothes, think “need” versus “want”.

Pro tip: Things like toothpaste, shampoo, sunscreen, or deodorant can be purchased locally, so pack smart and avoid paying for extra weight at the airport.

  1. First Aid Kit

If you’re going on a guided motorcycle tour, your guides and support truck drivers will be carrying first aid kits. However, do pack a few essentials like band-aid, painkillers, and stomach pills. If you have any allergies or medical conditions, be sure to pack the meds that you might need on the road. Always inform your tour guides about any medical conditions you may have so that they are aware and able to help you in case you need assistance.

Pro tip: if you take any specific medications and think you might run out while abroad, google the generic names of the meds before you go. This way, you will be able to buy them at local pharmacies. If these are prescription medications, be sure to stock up before you leave.

Packing for a Motorcycle Trip: Tips from a Motorcycle Guide // Motobirds

  1. Your Electronics

We know how excited people are to take photos and videos on their journey, and we get it – memories are important. However, when it comes to packing, try not to go overboard. Do you really need your smartphone, camera, an iPad, and your laptop? Unless you’re a professional photographer, most of the time, your smartphone or a small point-and-shoot camera is more that enough. Don’t pack a variety of drones, lenses, and cameras for your motorcycle tour. After all, you want to be riding and experiencing the adventure instead of obsessing over the perfect shot and the best Instagram filter.

Pro tip: take SD cards instead of your hard drive to store your photos. Ideally, storing your photos on the cloud is the easiest way to avoid stuffing your panniers, but if you want to have a hard copy as well, SD cards are perfect for traveling.

  1. Your Motorcycle Gear

For a 7-14-day guided motorcycle tour, all you need is your helmet, gloves, boots, and a comfortable riding suit. Even if the tour includes some off-road trails, chances are, you won’t be doing any Romaniacs-style stunts on the way, so a light but protective adventure riding suit is enough. There’s no need to pack all of your motocross gear as well as your riding suit!

Pro tip: to avoid overpacking, choose a riding suit that’s made for four seasons. These type of riding suits typically have very good protection and plenty of vents for hot weather riding as well as a waterproof layer and a removable liner for cold conditions. Our tour guides swear by Klim riding gear that’s made to last and can withstand any weather.

Packing for a Motorcycle Trip: Tips from a Motorcycle Guide // Motobirds

Anything else you want to pack is extra. On a guided motorcycle tour, you won’t need much, so stick to the essentials and remember that you don’t need to pack for every eventuality: you will have a support vehicle and a team of experienced guides taking care of most of the day-to-day maintenance. Pack light and travel far!

Packing for a Motorcycle Trip Solo

If you’re planning your own adventure on two wheels, your packing list will grow. Depending on the type of roads you’ll be riding and the accommodation you’ll be using, you will need a few extra things like motorcycle maintenance tools and spare parts as well as camping and cooking gear. Here’s a list of must-have packing essentials for an independent motorcycle journey, in addition to the things already listed above:

  1. Basic Toolkit

If you’re heading out on your own, having at least a basic motorcycle maintenance kit is a must. You don’t need to pack half of your garage with you, but do have a bike-specific tool set, tire irons, a spark plug key, a tire repair kit, spare tire tubes unless you’re running tubeless tires, and a small portable tire pump. If your bike doesn’t have a center stand, pack a small additional stand (something like the Enduro Star Trail Stand will do nicely) to make tire repairs easier.

We also recommend packing duct tape, some Loctite, moudlable glue like Sugru, spare fuses, spare bulb for your headlight, a little bit of talcum powder if you‘re running tubes, a tire pressure gauge, a small power bank to jump-start your bike, and a Leatherman or a Swiss knife.

If you’re going somewhere remote and know you might need extra fuel, we highly recommend taking the Giant Loop 8-liter fuel bladder with you.

Depending on the type of motorcycle you ride, you may also want to pack some extra engine oil.

Pro Tip: If you’re planning to ride off-road a lot, we highly recommend packing heavy-duty spare tubes. We like Michelin’s Ultra Heavy Duty tubes: they are a little heavy, but when you have a puncture in the middle of nowhere, they’re a lifesaver.

Packing for a Motorcycle Trip: Tips from a Motorcycle Guide // Motobirds

 

  1. Camping Gear

While there are many different camping products out there and it may be tempting to get all the gear you see on offer, all you really need is a tent, a sleeping pad, and a sleeping bag. Anything more than that is luxury, although some of our tour guides love to sneak a small, foldable camping chair into their panniers sometimes.

When it comes to cooking gear, keep it light and small. A tiny foldable cooking stove and some cooking gas is enough to prep roadside meals and morning coffee; you will also need a small pot, foldable plate, a cup, and one knife and spoon. It’s always good to carry a little bit of coffee, salt, and pepper with you so you can always spice up your food and have a fresh cup of java in the morning. If you’re headed somewhere remote, carry a four-liter water bladder.

Pro tip: instead of carrying several cooking utensils, pack a titanium spork: it works as a knife, fork, and spoon all in one. Consider carrying a Leatherman or a Swiss knife instead of a regular pocket knife to save space.

  1. Hard vs Soft Luggage

Are hard panniers better, or should you go with soft bags? This is an endless debate, but our tour guides recommend soft panniers, especially if you plan to ride off-road. Your chances of falling over are greater on off-road trails, and soft panniers are a safer choice in case of a tumble. We love Mosko Moto soft panniers and duffle bags as they are incredibly sturdy, reliable, and 100% waterproof.

Pro tip: use motorcycle luggage that can also be used as a backpack or rucksack, like Mosko Moto tank bags and duffle bags.

Packing for a Motorcycle Trip: Tips from a Motorcycle Guide // Motobirds

In addition to bike tools, camping gear, and luggage choices, you may also want to pack these miscellaneous items:

  • Wet wipes
  • Paper towels
  • Rok straps
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • A long piece of string that can be used as a clothes line
  • A hat
  • Ziploc bags
  • Rubber bands
  • Zip ties
  • Ear plugs
  • A small piece of candle to lubricate zippers
  • Small pliers
  • Spare USB 12V plug

Now that you’re all packed and ready to go, go through your luggage again and see how much it weighs. Typically, we like to stick to a 16-20 kg weight limit during our motorcycle tours, because heavily laden motorcycles aren’t as easy to handle and as nimble as light bikes. If you feel you’ve overpacked, see if you can reduce the amount of stuff you have, or replace some of the heavy items with lighter ones.

What are your must-have items for a long motorcycle journey? Let us know in the comments below!