The Complete Adventure Motorcycling Guide for Beginners
Looking for a one-of-a-kind, motorized adventure that’s both exhilarating and fun?
Try going on a motorcycle adventure!
Motorcycle adventuring is truly one of the best ways to get the most out of both your bike and the great outdoors. After all, you would be hard pressed to find another means of travel that offers as much on and off-road excitement.
Getting started with adventure motorcycling can be a bit tricky, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! This post will go through all the details you need to know to get going as a motorcycle adventurer, explaining what the sport is all about, which bikes work best, what kinds of equipment you’ll need, and other things you should consider being you take off for your first trip.
Sena provides motorcycle adventurers with the absolute best in Bluetooth accessories, so whether you’re looking to record all the action with one of our high-definition, Bluetooth helmet cameras, or utilize mesh-networking so that you can seamlessly communicate with your travel party, Sena is the go-to choice for riders around the world.
With that said, please enjoy these great tips to help you get started with your motorcycle adventuring career!
What is Adventure Motorcycling Riding?
While some might argue that every motorcycle commute qualifies as an adventure, there are still some important distinctions to be made between regular riding and “adventure” riding.
Like touring on a motorcycle, adventure motorcycling usually involves an extended trip to an adventurous location, like a campsite. Furthermore, it helps if the campsite is located at the end of a long, unbeaten mountain trail, or, at the very least, a long lonesome highway, as the whole point of adventure motorcycling is to experience a bit of danger, excitement, and, of course, adventure.
However, the destination doesn’t always have to be outdoorsy; instead, more traditional locations (e.g., hotels, vacation rentals, etc.) are often chosen, though, outdoor activities like dirt bike racing are usually still involved at some point in the journey.
With this in mind, it’s safe to say that adventure motorcycling is a thrilling combination of dirt bike riding, motorcycle camping, and motorcycle touring—all of which share one important characteristic: the thrill of overcoming adverse situations.
Be it terrible weather, mechanical breakdowns, bumpy roads, or whatever else the universe decides to throw your way, adventure motorcycling is all about pushing your bike to its limits and having a blast while you’re at it.
So what’s an Adventure Motorcycle Anyway?
As it turns out, not every motorcycle is worthy of adventuring.
For example, while your favorite dirt bike may be well-equipped to handle tough mountain trails and muddy obstacle courses, it may not be well-suited for long highway commutes.
Likewise, cruiser bikes are supremely comfortable on paved roads, but are not ideal for off-road adventuring—so what’s the solution?
Enthusiasts of adventure motorcycle travel know that they need to be able to handle a variety of terrains and road surfaces, so they pick a bike that sits somewhere between a cruiser and an off-roader, typically featuring multi-purpose tires, as this provides more versatility over other kinds of setups.
However, even with this strategy in mind, picking the right bike can still be a bit tricky, so to help you get started, here’s our hand-selected list of the best adventure motorcycles.
Top Adventure Motorcycles
To help our readers get started, below are some of the best adventure motorcycles for beginners and pros alike:
Comfortable in any terrain, the GS series from BMW is one of the best-selling, most capable on and off-road adventure motorcycles in the world.
This dynamic and comfortable bike comes in three distinct finishes and features a twin-cylinder boxer engine with 125 HP that is efficient and equipped with more than enough torque.
Coupled with innovations like a front spray guard, wind wing elements, and off-road protective parts, the MBW R1200GS is one of the best adventure motorcyling bikes on the market.
2. Triumph Tiger 800
The Tiger 800 is one of Triumph’s most critically acclaimed bikes, and for good reason: going back to 1936, the Tiger series is one of the longest-running adventure motorcycle lines on the planet, and the new ones are truly something special to behold.
With over 200 chassis and engine upgrades, the new and updated Tiger 800 XC and XR are perfectly suited for both on and off-road adventures.
3. Ducati Multistrada 1260
With its increased torque at low and mid-range speeds, new chassis, and state of the art electronics, the Ducati Multistrada 1260 is truly a masterclass in both usability and versatility.
Best of all, even though there are 4 versions of this bike, shoppers can enjoy a whole range of standard equipment goodies like riding mode, power mode, the Ducati safety pack (cornering ABS), and a new, high-visibility TFT instrument panel.
4. Honda VFR800X Crossrunner
Whether you’re embarking on short urban trips or covering long stretches of twisty mountain roads, the VFR800X Crossrunner is one of the best adventure motorcycles for beginners.
With its sharp adventure styling, comfortable ride, mid-range torque, and top-end power, the Crossrunner is ready to conquer whatever you throw its way.
5. Kawasaki Versys 650
Simple and straightforward, the Kawasaki Versys 650 offers riders a no-frills, adventure bike solution that’s highly versatile.
Equipped with a compact 649cc parallel-twin engine that combines maximum low and mid-range torque, this bike has more than enough oomph to offer a thrilling ride.
And with its slim upright riding position, the Kawasaki Versys 650 also offers riders both premium comfort and nimble handling.
Planning Your Motorcycle Adventure
After deciding on the proper bike, the next step to adventure motorcycling is deciding where to go.
When it comes to planning a motorcycle adventure, it’s a good idea to start preparing as early as possible. Like any other kind of trip, there are reservations to be made, groups of friends to organize, bags to pack, etc., and the sooner you can check these items off your list, the better.
For example, if you’re a motorcycle adventurer looking to conquer California’s famous coastline via highway 1 and go camping along the way, you’ll need to book your campsite many months in advance; otherwise, you might end up with accommodations that don’t suit your specific needs.
However, there are some adventure motorcyclists who believe that if you truly want to have a real adventure, then plans will only get in the way. Instead, these adventurers skip the planning phase altogether and simply go wherever the road takes them.
If this style adventuring seems appealing to you, then feel free to go for it, at least eventually, but our advice is to make sure that you take a couple planned trips before pursuing the entirely freewheeling approach! Either way, we highly suggest bringing your smartphone along in case you get lost or need to make an emergency call.
How to Pack for your Motorcycle Adventure
Deciding what to pack for your motorcycle adventure depends on where exactly you’re going and how long it’s going to take you to get there.
In general, motorcycle adventurists will probably need to pack the following items:
First Aid Kits
Taking water for granted is never a good thing, especially when your route cuts through long stretches of desert road.
For motorcyclists, it’s generally a good idea to carry water in a hydration-pack of some sort, like the ones offered by CamelBak.
Equipped with this type of hydration solution, adventure motorcyclists can stay on the road for longer periods of time without having to stop to refill their water bottle, and in some cases, these hydration packs even have enough space to carry the rider’s wallet, phone, and other small items.
Weather-proof clothing is a must for all motorcycle adventurers, as you never know what Mother Nature is going to throw your way.
Therefore, be sure to pack appropriately for your motorcycle adventure trip: if it’s going to rain, bring rain-proof gear, bags, luggage, and so on and so forth.
If it’s going to be hot, dress in layers and wear motorcycle gear that is ventilated to prevent overheating.
If your motorcycle adventure requires an overnight stay, you’re going to definitely want to buy yourself some capable and rugged luggage bags.
In general, you’re going to want a luggage bag that can store somewhere between 90-100 liters of space, which should be adequate enough for all your clothes and supplies. Additionally, you’re going to want to get a bag that’s also durable and waterproof, as there’s nothing worse than arriving at your destination with a bag full of wet clothes.
Pro tip: if you’re stuck deciding between two bags, always go with the bigger one, as the excess space can often be cinched down, while it’s impossible to add room!
If adventure motorcycle camping sounds like fun, then you’re going to want to bring the usual camping supplies with you on your trip (e.g., tent, sleeping bag, food, stove, cookware, etc.)
While choosing your camping gear, please remember that these items will need to be carried with you on your bike, so it’s generally a good idea to choose versions of each item that are small and lightweight.
For tents, be wary of 1-person tents: while it may sound good on paper, adventure motorcyclists tend to want to keep all of their riding gear inside their tent at night, and a 1-person tent is usually only big enough to sleep 1 person and maybe a small bag.
And for sleeping bags, pick something synthetic, just in case it happens to get wet, as synthetic bags dry much faster than traditional down-filled bags. Also, remember to keep in mind the kind of camping you’ll be doing, and to pick your gear accordingly. For example, if you’re planning on camping during the winter, then you’re going to want a sleeping bag that is built specifically for cold weather camping.
First Aid Kits
Simply put, you never know what’s going to happen on your motorcycle adventure, so it’s best to bring along a first aid kit just in case you need to patch yourself up.
While every motorcyclist won’t have the experience or skill required to repair a bike themselves when mechanical breakdowns occur, it’s still generally a good idea to pack some basic tools.
For example, Leatherman makes some great basic all-in-one tools can prove useful while out on the road, and which are capable enough for performing basic maintenance procedures.
Additionally, riders will want to be prepared for other kinds of breakdowns, like flat tires, as there’s no worse feeling for adventurers than having to cut a trip short due to a lack of basic repair supplies.
Finally, because so much of your belongings will be exposed and uncovered, it’s important that everything is secure and locked to your motorcycle.
Additionally, you can’t go on a motorcycle adventure if your bike gets stolen, so be sure to also secure your bike as you normally would when leaving it alone for extended periods.
Do More With Sena
As you prepare to embark on your motorcycle adventure, we hope you take Sena with you!
Our Bluetooth action cameras utilize state-of-the-art technologies to help create dazzling, high-definition videos, providing riders with the ability to relive every moment of their motorcycle adventure for years to come.