Well I promised some more on adventure biking so popped up to the dam to chat to Heine Engelbrecht of ADA again. As most folk spend a considerable amount accessorising 4×4’s I was interested to see what people would add to adventure bikes along similar lines which would enhance performance, reduce risk and add comfort on a trip.
Heine took me through a generic list of basic accessories and modifications and advised that one should avoid cosmetic mods as they simply added weight. If travelling for extended distance then one would need to carry additional fuel and water,” Keep it low and balanced “says Heine,” In that way you will keep the weight close to the centre of gravity and not unbalance the bike, critical as you only have two wheels as opposed to four. “For fuel a good option would be to fit a larger tank if your manufacturer has one, or alternatively they are available from specialist shops as well.
As you spend so much time on it ensure that your seat is comfortable or alternatively look into the possibility of fitting an aftermarket seat that is designed for long trips. It’s gentler on your rear end! Then look at your suspension, you may need to change the setup as you are going to carry a load and want to improve the response and prevent the bike from bottoming out. Then look at changing your foot pegs to a wider type, this is especially useful when you are likely to stand up for extended periods, or are riding technical sections where you need the benefit of added stability whilst standing.
To ensure that you do not get lost you will need a GPS, various versions are available that you can use with gloves on. The unit should be waterproof and well mounted, a RAM mount works best in most situations. You can also add a windscreen spoiler which will reduce airflow and noise behind the windscreen. Some bikes do not come out standard with crash protection and as you are likely to fall at some time it’s worth fitting as they protect handelbars and controls as well as the engine casing.
“Protect your headlights with a polycarbonate cover and fit some additional lights as you never know when you may not reach your destination before dark, the extra lighting also makes you more visible to other road users” says Heine. If your bike does not come standard with a sump guard then you should fit one especially as you are likely to traverse rocky terrain. And as you will definitely hit sandy sections its worthwhile fitting a larger base plate to your kickstand as this helps the bike stand firmer when you stop.
Tyres are important as you can run on a dual purpose tyre should you be doing long stretches of tar and hard gravel, however if you are likely to do most of the trip on rough terrain a more “knobbly” style of tyre will be best, although a dual purpose tyre can cope with most of what nature throws at you!
Lastly comes the issue of carrying luggage on your adventure, you have a choice between hard luggage and soft luggage however soft luggage offers little by way of security, the aluminium panniers seem to be the luggage of choice nowadays. With your panniers you will need to purchase the mounting rack, ensure that it is of such a design that it will take the load as well as facilitate the easy removal of the panniers when required. The panniers must be strong enough to handle the weight of the bike should it fall over
as well as being water and dust proof. “Try fitting panniers with handles as they are easy to carry, also avoid fitting ultra wide panniers as you tend to overload them which will affect balance and manoeuvrability” says Heine.
“Then as one has spent a considerable amount you need to advise your insurance broker as the premium may need to be adjusted to cover the additional cost. Ensure that your policy covers off road travel and the replacement of accessories should they get stolen or damaged, if you are going cross border check that your cover extends to other countries and that it includes medical cover and repatriation of yourself and your bike in the event of an accident or illness, the Dirtsure policy is one most suited to
this type of bike” he said.
For further information on training Heine can be contacted on 083 226 1494 or via www.adasa.co.za , should you wish to know more about Cross Country’s “Dirtsure” policy go to www.ccic.co.za or chat to your broker!