How to Prep Your Bike for Serious Off-Road Adventures [Video]
The truth is that most people will only scratch the surface of what their adventure bikes can do. The way these bikes are designed, the bike's capabilities far exceed what many owners can do, and bikes like the BMW R 1250 GS, for example, hardly get used the way they were meant to be used.
But you’re not like most people, are you? You can push an adventure bike to its limits. You’re a special breed who likes to push the limit, often mistaking your big adventure bike for the slim motocrosser of your youth. Only now, instead of a manicured supercross stadium, the great outdoors is your playground and Black Diamond trails are what you live for.
As ready as you are for your next big motorcycle adventure, there’s a problem. Your adventure bike is still stock, right as it rolled off the showroom floor. There’s no way it’s ready for a serious off-road adventure like you are.
Not to worry—Lone Rider has you covered. Here are the six crucial items you need to ensure your bike is ready for serious adventure.
1. Bike Protection
First things first, let’s get that bike protected. No matter how good of a rider you think you are, anything can happen when you’re out in the great unknown, and a busted engine case or oil pan can quickly ruin your ride. Motorcycle protection is cheap insurance to lessen the chances of that happening.
Depending on your motorcycle, at the very minimum, you should be looking at case covers for the engine or crash bars that extend and protect the cases. This is even more important if you ride a GS BMW with its boxer twin engine.
Also, a sturdy bash guard to protect your oil pan is mandatory; some also extend to protect the lower portion of your engine cases too. Guards, or other means of protection, for your handlebars, lights, and even your exhaust (depending on how it’s routed) are other important must-haves for serious adventure riding.
Think about it. If any of those components suffer major damage, it could make the rest of your trip extremely difficult or even impossible.
Forget the rest of your trip, major damage could end your trip right then and there and make getting back to base camp impossible. So invest in protection and give yourself the best shot at completing your journey. Lone Rider has all kinds of protection for the BMW GS series if you follow the Moto Armor page, not to mention armor for other popular models as well.
Once you have your bike thoroughly protected, the next step is to give yourself the best chance of not falling down in the first place. This all starts with having the right tires for the job.
You’ve probably heard it a million times already, but the tires are literally the only thing between your motorcycle and the ground. In this case, the ground is always shifting!
The best way to sift through the soft stuff and dig into the hard pack that will give you traction, is to get tires with big tread blocks – knobbies.
Several different tire companies make their own versions of knobbies with their own philosophies of how to do it best. Since a hardcore off-road adventure is what you’re doing, pay attention to the aggressiveness of the knobs.
3. Foot Pegs
Maintaining control of your motorcycle is obviously crucial, but we often focus on the bars and pay little attention to the pegs. Most stock footpegs are too narrow and/or meant for riding on the street. They might have rubber dampers to absorb engine and road vibration.
None of that matters in the dirt. In the dirt you want wider pegs, without the rubber dampers, with more aggressive tread to give your boots something to grip.
Lone Rider’s MotoPegs are the most advanced motorcycle footpeg because not only does it meet all of the above criteria, it’s able to articulate to match the rotation of your foot and ankle as you’re riding.
This one could be optional criteria depending on your bike and where you’re riding, but if night riding off-road is part of your plans (now that’s a serious off-road adventure), you need to see where you’re going far beyond where your standard headlight can see.
Light bars are available for several bikes, allowing you to mount all kinds of aftermarket lights to your bike so you can see exactly where you’re going. Even better, LED spotlights these days are small and compact, making them easy to mount (and re-mount) to throw the light exactly where you want it.
Another overlooked item (pun not intended) is the windshield. A big screen is great if you’re putting in long hours on the highway and don’t want the wind blast to wear you out, but you want the exact opposite off-road.
Whether you’re sitting or standing, you want to be able to see over your screen at what terrain lies ahead. More importantly, if you suddenly hit an unexpected obstacle, your momentum will carry you forward.
With a standard or large screen, you risk smashing your face – or worse, your throat – into the screen. With a short screen, you have a little protection for your gauges; otherwise, it’s as if nothing’s there, which could also be an inexpensive option if you wanted.
Then, there’s luggage. Motorcycle luggage is one of the mainstays of the Lone Rider catalog. A serious off-road adventure means packing your things for a few days away. The only way to do that is to put your things in luggage.
Lone Rider recommends its semi-rigid luggage for two reasons. First, if you fall off your bike, do you want your leg trapped under a rigid saddlebag? Unlike hard bags, semi-rigid luggage will flex and bend, possibly saving your leg.
On the other hand, a semi-rigid bag will keep enough of its shape to allow you to pack and organize your things neatly inside without expanding like a balloon. What’s more, Lone Rider Motorcycle Luggage is also waterproof, so your stuff stays safe, (somewhat) organized, and dry.
Serious off-roaders will find that their needs to outfit their bikes for serious treks will vary somewhat from what’s listed here, but without a doubt, protecting the vital components from damage and having proper tires are must-have items.
Need a visual representation of what to do to protect your bike, look no further than Lone Rider’s video, which you can also find on our YouTube channel.