Enduro Thu 31 January 2019

Adventouring / Discovering - Preparing our motorcycle

How can we prepare our motorcycle for an Adventouring/Discovering ride and what should we take with us? As the words indicate, we are going on an adventure, so we must be ready for anything and able to face the unexpected.

It goes without saying that if we are going on a Sunday ride near home we can travel lighter than on a trip that lasts a week or more, but we should be aware that glitches and accident can happen even at 5 km from home, the only difference is that it’s easier to solve them and “only” a “minor” ride is ruined.

For those who use a dual bike every day, the first thing to do is to modify ergonomics to make it suitable for off-road, i.e. riding in the standing position. This will involve modifying the position of all levers (brake, clutch and shift) changing their angle for easy use when riding in a position different from the sitting one; furthermore, motorcycle boots are much thicker than every day footwear, and your foot wouldn’t easily fit under the shift lever.

Once the levers are adjusted, tighten the screws leaving the ones on the handlebars slightly loose so that in case of falls the clutch and brake handlebar clamps can rotate without braking thus ending your ride. Obviously, the levers should rotate only if hit hard!

After the levers, check tire pressure. To have more traction riding off-road the tires should be deflated but the more you deflate the more you risk pinching the inner tube or bending the rims if using tubeless tires; except for very special cases, the pressure should never be belowthan 1.5 bar for heavy bikes (two-cylinder) and 1.2 bar for lighter dual bikes.

Deflating below these values would be very useful riding off-road but the risk of having flats increases, besides being useless and dangerous on transfers on paved roads.

After pressure, check the chain tension (for the bikes that have it), liquids levels (water andoil of engine, brakes and clutch), and, if the ride lasts several days, it’s good practice to check brake pads too. Now the bike is ready to roll, we only need to pack it up, but what to take?

Besides “plainclothes” to use off the bike and, if needed, a fleece jacket to be worn under the riding jacket in middle seasons or when wide temperature variations are expected, we need to pack a number of tools to solve any glitches that may occur.

The following is the list of things I usually pack:

• Tire repair kit composed of inner tubes, compressed air cylinders with adaptor, two tire levers - a 20cm and a 30cm – a compact bicycle pump, inconvenient to inflate bike tires but it doesn’t brake nor empty as air cylinders do.

If you have tubeless tires, bring the dedicated repair kit, even if I recommend bringing an inner tube on longer trips to use if the rim bends and doesn’t seal (or you can steal one from a travel companion, but, obviously, the farther away from civilization you are the more it will cost you

Once you have everything ready, you need to load it on the bike!
Everyone has his own packing theory, I honestly prefer not having anything big and hard in my jacket pockets or in my backpack, I like my back to be free, to fall on your back on a backpack containing hard objects would be like falling on a rock with all the consequent hazards. So, I prefer to load up the bike using a soft waterproof bag.

Hard off-road cases are inconvenient and may break as a consequence of falls; a tail bag on the back of the seat is an excellent solution.
The best are roll bags fastened along the sides of the motorcycle; they get less in the way when you move back on the seat and they also lower the center of gravity of the motorcycle. Be careful not to buy bags that position too low otherwise the bike rear will tend to float in deeper fords losing traction.

As always, consider the above as a starting point! What I wrote is the result of my personal experience, but never stop thinking and experimenting and if you find a better solution share it with us! Sharing is the best way of growing.

Text: Dario Lupini

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