Adventure bikes

The choice of bike for this trip seemed so obvious, but things don’t always go as planned.

My choice of bike for adventure travel isn’t the large and overweight BMW 1150 or 1200 GS as used by Ewan McGregor and Charley Borman in the Long Way Round and Long Way Down.

For me these kind of bikes are just too heavy for serious off road use. Great for tarmac cruising and capable of some off road but why make the job harder by using something so heavy. I’ve heard of many riders completing trips such as the BAM road or the Road of Bones in Siberia and big and heavy bikes, cursing their choice of bike and then getting something lighter. I’ve had a big GS and also a KTM 950 but now my weapon of choice is a single cylinder engine of around about 650cc. Large enough to cruise on the roads and light enough to make serious off road far more manageable.

Some riders do opt for smaller 400cc dirt bikes which of course are even better off road but not as capable on road for me.

An adventure bike needs to be reliable, comfortable for long days in the saddle, have a good fuel range (400 km or 250 miles) as petrol stations can be scarce.

Light enough to cope with un made roads and rough tracks as we don’t plan to stick to tarmac, and in many of the places we’re heading there isn’t any tarmac.

Robust as you will crash, plus the ability to carry everything you need to survive away from modern creature comforts. Fuel, water (I always carry 9 litres of water when out in the desert), food, camping gear, first aid kit, bike spares and a change of clothes.

Manufacturers just don’t build the perfect adventure bike no matter what their marketing departments claim, so it a case of start with a decent base product and then develop it and refine it to your own requirements. My story follows soon.

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