WHAT ARE YOUR MOTORCYCLE TOURING SUGGESTIONS?
A friend of mine just bought a new motorcycle (he’s been riding off and on for many years) and will be taking a trip with his wife and asked my advice regarding motorcycle security on the road; best gear for touring through mountains with variable temperatures and unpredictable rain; tips on gear storage while traveling; and “anything else” I might want to suggest as touring advice.
Below are my responses, and you probably have some thoughtful suggestions for such questions, so please add them below!
1) MOTORCYCLE SECURITY ON THE ROAD: A motorcycle cover, a lock (that attaches to a sign or pole), an alarm, and Lojack are the best security options available that I’m aware of. However, I don’t use any of them. I just park right outside the motel/hotel lobby entrance and ask the night clerk to keep an eye on my bike. (I have a bike cover and big lock, but I don’t like to carry them because mine take up too much storage space. However, there are much lighter-weight covers specifically for touring and lighter locks, too). Of course, when I’m camping, the motorcycle is right outside my tent.
2) TOURING GEAR: I utilize a variety of different options as I’m not aware of any one perfect solution. I have a heavy, one-piece, thermal-lined, waterproof motorcycle suit that I wear with an electric vest, along with waterproof boots and gloves, as my ultimate protection against everything. But I rarely use the big suit in the summer because it’s too warm to wear and too bulky to carry. Hence, I have lighter, waterproof jackets that I use for summer trips and I only use my non-waterproof leather for local travel. I also have lightweight, waterproof overpants that I carry when I’m not bringing the suit. In fact, I also have waterproof overboots, that I’ll wear when I’m riding for extended periods in the rain, since my leather, waterproof boots will get saturated. In other words, I have a variety of different types of gear. Oh, And I have more gloves than I can count. Currently I have three different motorcycle jackets and one motorcycle suit.
However, based upon my experience, if I was doing a summer trip though the Rocky Mountains that you will be doing, I’d wear a comfortable, waterproof, summer-weight jacket with armor, and carry an electric vest (in case it gets too chilly at higher altitudes), as well as rain pants, all in addition to waterproof gloves and waterproof boots.
The following link offers a more complete overview of rain gear:
Here’s more info on motorcycle boots:
There’s more to know about motorcycle gloves, if you’re interested:
Finally, if you are inclined towards heated motorcycle gear, you might find this of interest:
3) TOURING STORAGE AND WHAT TO TAKE: Many years ago I would probably have just presented my list of what to carry, but I seem to like to change it routinely. However, what I can offer is my viewpoint: Bring as little as possible in order to be comfortable.
A more general touring adage is “Carry less stuff, but more money and credit cards.”
With my current, purpose-built, sport-touring bike, I have the capacity to carry more than I need. In fact, it has served me well for carrying two persons cross-country with motorcycle camping gear. Hence, because of the load capacity, I’ve found more times than not, that I’ve brought more stuff than I really needed for any give trip, and I continue to refine how “little” to carry.
Having said that, what any two different riders consider to be necessary accouterments for a week on the road can vary. My main criteria is simply to stay warm and dry. From my perspective, anything else is a personal consideration.
Oh! I also like to bring tools as a sort of assurance that nothing mechanical will go wrong. But “which” tools is a subject of lengthier discussion, especially since, in my experience, any kind of mechanical problem is such a rarity.
Since your bike has two saddlebags and a luggage rack, the primary storage option I would offer for consideration is the notion of a tankbag. Personally, I have always used them, but there are reasons not to, which I note in this article on tankbags:
4) OTHER: As a point of general advice, I would attach all your touring gear and ride around for a week or two prior to the actual trip. In fact, as a point of additional safety, I would suggest packing and storing your full complement of touring gear to ride around fully loaded for a week before you go, so that you are fully adjusted to the handling characteristics.
Additionally, here are three articles that might be of interest:
Rookie Mistakes for Touring Riders:
I’ve become a fan of earplugs in the past several years:
And I consider a kidney belt to be an indispensable touring item:
So, that was my advice. What would be yous?