Before traveling, it is important to make an important decision – what means of transport to go with? By plane, car, bus or our favorite motorcycle? Each mode of transport has its advantages and disadvantages.
The plane is fast and comfortable but expensive; the car is spacious, can accommodate more things and people, but requires more planning; the bus is cheaper but does not provide much freedom and comfort; a motorcycle restricts you in terms of luggage and gear, but gives you a lot more freedom, which can completely change the experience of traveling.
To convince you to experience the magic of discovering new destinations by motorcycle, we will share tips for motorcycle travel by experienced motorcyclists.
1. Preparing a motorcycle for a long trip
Check the tires
You should always check your tires before every ride, but it is absolutely essential that you do this before a long trip. In addition to the usual pressure and damage, pay attention to the depth of the pattern. If it’s too thin, you better change your tire than risk your life.
Chains, Belts, Cables
Same story as with tires. Keep the chain lubricated, cleaned and properly tightened. Check the sprocket and the sprockets for warping. Poor driving habits such as sudden acceleration and braking lead to gear distortion. Check the straps and replace them if they are too worn. The same goes for throttle and brake cables.
Liquids and filters
Keep all liquids filled and filters clean. Check for corrosion while replenishing fluids, as this can be a sign of a potential malfunction.
2. Pack for a long motorcycle trip
Get a warm suit for all weather
Driving in jackets and jeans is easier when you are driving around the city, but this changes significantly along the way. For every greater distance you have to be prepared for all weather conditions, at one point the sun may shine and in the next it will rain.
While it might only rain at first, it can soon become very cold. Even if the forecast is favorable, it is better to be prepared. E.g. if you drive in Europe, for example from Croatia to Montenegro, the temperature in Zabljak can drop to 10 degrees in the middle of summer.
You need extra space
The rule of thumb for a long motorcycle trip is – the easier the better. However, you need to bring some essential things, and you will need more space to do so. Depending on your needs, you can get a top case, a tank bag, or just a good backpack (with a strap to strap around your waist).
What to pack on the motorcycle?
Now that you have enough space, it should be used wisely. Keep luggage to a minimum, but be sure to bring: water, essential repair tools, lock chain, map (regardless of technology), phone (+ portable charger), tire repair kit, chain oil.
When you have everything else you think you need, spread it out in one place and ask yourself the question – do I really need it and can I buy it cheap where I’m going if I have to at some point? This will help you keep your luggage to a minimum and to only carry the necessary items.
3. General tips for long motorcycle trips
Plan your vacation time
The journey might feel longer than you think, especially if it’s your first longer motorcycle trip. A three-hour drive is very different from a six-hour drive.
If you are getting ready to travel for the first time, try testing yourself before the trip. Take breaks every 80 miles or so. By doing so you will avoid fatigue and your body and your bike will be grateful.
Of course, it also depends on the motorcycle. Someone on a Gold Wing might travel for 400km and not feel exhausted at all, while another person on a Ninja will have to take more frequent breaks.
Visors are a great thing
A visor is not necessary, but it makes driving much easier. The wind in the hair moments are indeed special, but not so much during a seven-hour drive.
I also recommend getting a helmet with anti-fogging system or a no-fog visor. If not, make sure to use a nano-spray, shaving foam or pinlock if you suspect that visor fogging will be a problem. Learn more about how to prevent visor fogging up in this article.
Tech gear for long-distance rides
Headphones/earbuds: Driving with their own thoughts can be a very relaxing experience for some people, while others prefer using headphones or earbuds to listen to music, podcasts, audiobooks etc.
Navigation: Technology can be very helpful on long journeys, from navigation to touchscreen gloves. Consider choosing a helmet with a bluetooth connector to easily access your devices.
Earplugs: Another thing you should know is that driving on the highway is very loud. Wearing earplugs can make it easier for you to drive. If they bother you, you can always take them out. Trust me when I say that tinnitus is not a fun feeling.
Finally, always obey the rules and regulations, drive safely and remember that the point of traveling by motorcycle is long-term enjoyment, not adrenaline hyping speed. However, if all this preparation is hard for you, you can always get on the bus of a travel agency and arrive without thinking of your destination.
Want more long motorcycle trip preparation tips? Check out this video to learn more: