A Guide to Motorcycle Adventure Riding


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If you have a working motorcycle and an appetite for adventure, nothing is stopping you from exploring all kinds of new places on your bike. Adventure riding is a lifestyle all its own. Unlike a traditional road trip or your daily commute to work, adventure riding is more about the experience than the destination. So, what do you need to get started? Use this guide to discover motorcycle adventure riding essentials, from a motorcycle Bluetooth headset to first aid equipment.

What Is Motorcycle Adventure Riding?

There’s no hard and fast definition for motorcycle adventure riding. It simply means going on an adventure on two wheels instead of four. The trip can be whatever you want it to be. You can use it as an excuse to explore remote areas of the country you’ve only seen in pictures or to go on a soul-searching quest like something out of Five Easy Pieces.  

Some interpret motorcycle adventure riding as driving on off-road trails and unpaved roads, but you shouldn’t drive in these areas unless your motorcycle is equipped for off-road riding. If you feel like driving through the mud, dirt and snow, you’ll need to modify your bike before you depart.

Interest in ADV riding has increased dramatically in recent years. The niche now accounts for 10 percent of all motorcycle sales.

What Do I Need to Start Motorcycle Adventure Riding?

Choosing a Motorcycle

It all starts with choosing the right motorcycle for the journey ahead. You can use just about any type, size or style of bike as long as it’s in good condition and you feel comfortable riding it for long periods of time. There’s a case to be made for both large and small motorcycles. Smaller bikes are easier to learn how to ride than larger bikes, but they are usually meant to be driven on paved surfaces. They are generally much less expensive and require fewer repairs to keep you moving.  

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Larger bikes typically come with larger reinforced tires to help you make your way through all kinds of terrain. They come with additional storage options and produce more power and torque for getting uphill. ADV motorcycles are designed to be driven on both paved and unpaved surfaces. They feature powerful tires and improved suspension to reduce vibrations and a higher seat for taking in your surroundings.

If you really want to get wild and explore the open terrain, use a larger motorcycle or ADV bike to stay safe on the trail. If you plan on sticking to traditional roadways, go with a smaller, lightweight bike that’s easier to carry. Have the bike inspected and repaired by a professional ahead of time.

Wearing the Proper Safety Gear

You will need to wear all the usual motorcycle safety gear during your outdoor adventure, including long pants, sleeves, a jacket, gloves, boots and a full-face or half-face helmet with goggles to protect your eyes and head. Everything you plan on wearing should fit properly to maximize comfort. There shouldn’t be too much excess fabric blowing around to reduce wind resistance. Wear moisture-wicking underlayers like wool and polyester that dry quickly when wet.

You never know when you might need to check the map when you’re exploring new areas. Use helmet communication to connect to your phone or GPS throughout your trip quickly. It’s never a good idea to physically reach for your phone or map while driving. Keep your hands on the handlebars and your eyes on the path to avoid getting into an accident. Just speak into the device to send a call, check the directions or radio one of your companions for help.

Use a motorcycle Bluetooth headset that’s compatible with your helmet. It should easily clip onto the side without falling off and produce crystal-clear sound over the roar of your engine. You shouldn’t have to manually adjust the volume while riding. Look for an option that automatically adjusts the listening experience based on your environment.

Adventure riding is always more fun in a group. Make sure to connect your Bluetooth headsets if you plan on riding with another person. This will help you stay in sync with your peers whenever you are in range, so you don’t have to keep resetting the device. Just speak into the headset and you can carry on the conversation as if you were talking in person.

Storage and Packing

You’ll need to either add a storage compartment to the bike or risk going without some of the things you need. A simple backpack may not be large enough to hold all the essentials and your shoulders will likely get tired, limiting how far you can ride. Use a soft shell or hard shell pack that straps onto your motorcycle to increase your load, especially if you need to bring camping gear.

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Remember to bring food and stay hydrated when riding for long periods of time. Make space for lifesaving gear, including a first aid kit, sunscreen, medications, a knife, flashlight, extra batteries, a flare, compass, and a paper map of the local area. Keep emergency contact numbers handy in case you need assistance. The more you prepare, the more you can enjoy the experience at hand.

Are you ready to explore? Keep these tips in mind when taking off on an adventure on your motorcycle.

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