Forget pricey plane tickets and claustrophobic cars — there’s no better way to see the world than from the saddle of a motorcycle. Here are 5 tips to make your motorcycle travels better.
In This Motorcycle Travel Article You Will Discover:
- How to Prevent Monkey Butt
- Keeping it Light 101
- Tips for Safe Travel
- And More!
I love motorcycle road trips. My longest thus far has covered 8,000 km in 13 days — and I have plans to do multi-month trips in the future. I just returned from a six-day trip — and I’m already aching to get back in the saddle.
But speaking of aching, well, there is also a lot to be learned from every ride. For you motorcycle adventurers out there, here are five tips for better motorcycle travel:
1. Invest in a Custom Seat
Eight to 10 hours a day on cheap, stock seat can really ruin your day. It gets downright painful! I ride a Kawasaki KLR650 — a bike renowned for its comically uncomfortable stock seat, but there are few bikes that can’t be improved with a custom seat. Sure, they are expensive (expect to pay $400 and up) but they are worth every penny. Save yourself from learning the hard way — when you buy a bike, buy a custom seat to match. (I’ve also heard good things about the Airhawk — a cheaper, though unsightly, alternative. Buy it at Motorcycle Superstore.) Custom seat or not, a twice-daily sprinkle of Gold Bond Medicated Powder on the ol’ backside is also a welcome respite for the saddle-sore.
2. Pack Light & Do Laundry
Every pound you pack onto your bike affects its handling, performance and fuel economy — save weight where you can. Further, unnecessary clothing items can eat up space that should be reserved for tools, camera equipment and other essentials. There are not many places you can go in the world where you’ll be more than five days from a laundromat (of some sort); so why bother with a dozen pairs of underwear? Take four to six days’ worth of clothes and do laundry when you can. Heck, it won’t kill you to wear something dirty anyway… riding a motorcycle is a great way to air out your stinkies.
3. Make Time for Maintenance
The only thing more of a bummer than spending vacation hours doing an oil change is spending them stranded on the side of a road. Your bike is your life — treat it well. Remember your chain must be lubricated every 1,000 km or so. Making sure your air filter is clean will aid fuel economy and performance. Keeping cables lubed and adjusted only takes a few minutes. Oil should be changed every 5,000 km — and the level checked daily. All and all, it won’t eat up much of your travel time — and beats a breakdown any day.
4. Don’t Overdo It
Riding a motorcycle is not like driving a cage, um, I mean, car. It is far more mentally and physically demanding, plus, it is meant to be enjoyable — not a chore. You’re riding for the fun of it and to experience your environment with all five senses. It shouldn’t be an exhausting grind, wearing you down at the end of each long day. On my bike, about 650 km per day is plenty and I won’t do above 800 km daily. On a better touring bike, that can be extended, but remember that you need your wits at 100 per cent. Don’t ride tired — take time to stop, smell the air, see the sights. You’ll get there eventually, and when you arrive it’s nice to have some energy left to explore.
5. Take the Scenic Route
Freeways and Interstates are built for cars and semi-trucks. The very things that make them desirable to four-wheelers makes them awful for motorcyclists. We crave scenic, twisty, empty roads — not crowded, boring, dead-straight, uber-efficient super-slab. Droning along a divided highway saps the fun out of riding — even if it takes twice as long, trust me, take the bi-way every time.