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Here are some great tips and tricks that riders have learned along the way. Sharing hard-knock riding experience makes the adventure more fun. So, if you have a great tip send it our direction at info@ruggedrider.com. Hey, and a big thanks to those of you who have already contributed below and have made our passion even more enjoyable.

Disclaimer: Remember that these are merely suggestions based upon other riders’ experience and ability. Rugged Rider does not assume responsibility for any injuries associated with application of any of the below tips.

COOKING

How to Dehydrate Your Own Food

When including camping on longer and more ambitious adventure rides packing food helps to meet a tight schedule that doesn't include time for a trip to a local store before setting up camp. Space and weight become a premium in loading these adventure bikes, especially the smaller ones like the Suzuki DRZ. This is why prepackaged dehydrated backpacker's meals are popular amongst those who pack for adventure. But, what if you are tired of the lack of meal choices and flavors out there? Then why not learn how to do this yourself and open up the world of motorcycle camping with a little variety.

(to download a copy of "How to Dehydrate Your Own Food" click here)

RIDING

BMW f650 Riding Tips

Check out the “Chain Gang’s” BMW f650 site, www.f650.com, for an expanse of info for anything regarding this bike. Even if you don’t have this bike check out their extensive riding tip suggestions that would apply to riders of other bikes, as well… F650 riding tips   (please read their disclaimer before digging into their tips).

99 Dualsporting Tips

Thanks Tom Niemela of www.blackdogdualsport.com for compiling a list that’s chock-full of experience-driven pearls of wisdom... Black Dog Dual Sport 99 tips.

Changing a Sprocket from Slab to Dirt

Suzuki DR650 owner, Rich Provencio, Jr., describes how he changes the sprocket on his DR once he hits the dirt, so he has more torque on the trails…

The stock front sprocket is a 15-tooth sprocket, which I used for the street portion of the ride. Once I arrived at camp I changed it to a 14-tooth type. The steps for removal/ installation are:

1. Raise the rear wheel off the ground and loosen the axle nut.
2. Slide the rear tire forward giving the chain some slack for sprocket removal.
3. Remove the (3) plastic front sprocket cover bolts with a 10 mm socket.
4. Remove the (3) front sprocket bolts with a 13 mm socket. Put the transmission in gear to keep the front sprocket from spinning during removal/installation.
5. Place the new sprocket on the countershaft and either:
a. Use a cir-clip to secure the sprocket to the countershaft, or
b. Or re-use the (3) bolts with a new, smaller diameter front sprocket plate. I prefer the cir-clip…it is much easier to use and pops on/off with a screwdriver. Keep a couple extras in case it gets lost.
6. Installation is the same as above in reverse order. Make sure the chain has sufficient slack and enjoy the ride!

I purchased my 14-tooth front sprocket and sprocket plate from www.topgunmotorcycles.com.


You can purchase the cir-clip and sprockets from Jesse Kientz at www.kientech.com.
 

There is a good chance the cir-clip can be purchased at your local ACE Hardware store. Home Depot and Lowes rarely stock hard-to-find items. Save yourself the trouble and go directly to ACE Hardware.

- Rich Provencio, Jr.

Riding in a Crosswind

There are two great tips for riding in a constant or gusty crosswind:

The first method works best in a constant crosswind as well as some gusts if you're riding under 70MPH. This is known as the "knee into the wind" trick. You stick your knee out on the upwind side to act as a scoop sail that pulls both you and your bike back against the wind. Now, if this is a wind of longer duration then this method would get tiresome after some time. Also if it's raining and cold, then this would be the quickest way to cool down your lap. But, since wind can pose a big threat to your safety, it's up to you to weigh the pros and cons to make sure that you make it through with your life and your lap entact.

The second method works well on up to higher speeds over 100MPH, as well as gusts. This is the "duck down over the upwind side of the tank" trick. This minimizes your profile or "sail", and allows the gusts to have less effect on you. This method also works best if you don't have a high profile mound of luggage that's strapped to your rear and sitting high.

The trick to both methods is to stay loose and look for room in lanes on either side of you for possible drift or "tip". Also, try countersteering into gusts while using core muscles rather than arms to move your upper body. Remember also to stay on the balls of your feet for quicker weight transfer, as the wind can die at any moment.

As with all riding techniques, travel at your own comfort level, and remember that there is nothing wrong with pulling over to let mother nature calm down a bit. Safety keeps us around to tell the stories.

Both methods were tipped by www.f650.com riding faqs.

BIKES

Watch the You Tube video of www.motorcycleusa.com's dual sport motorcycle comparison review between…

Honda XR650L
BMW G650X Country
Kawasaki KLR650


Watch the You Tube video of www.motorcycleusa.com's dual sport motorcycle comparison review between…

Kawasaki KLR650
Suzuki DR650SE

Ned Suesse (Neduro’s) Tire Changing Class

Thank you Ned for taking the time to go over the step by step instructions for changing a tire. Check out the famous 2004 ADV rider thread “Neduro’s Tire Changing Class”. You can also find video footage of Ned changing a tire as well as so many other top riding tips on his Dual Sport Riding Techniques DVD, which can be purchased at www.dualsportriding.com.

How to Wash Your Bike

Below are detailed tips on how to wash your motorcycle by Barneyr's blog on www.onlinehelmets.com:

Put your motorcycle in a shaded area where it will stay cool and no direct sunlight. Take the key out of the ignition and cover this, along with any other electronics with zip-lock plastic bags held on with rubber bands. From your previous trip to the store for supplies you should have a liquid soap made specifically for washing cars/motorcycles. Do not use powdered soaps because they can scratch and absolutely do not use dish washing liquid! Do not use hot water when mixing soap and water in the bucket. The hot water will remove previous applied wax from the painted surfaces of the motorcycle. Start with the wheels and tires using the bucket, mitt and brush you have dedicated for this purpose. Keep in mind cleaning the wheels and tires can easily take as long as you will spend cleaning the rest of the motorcycle. Why? Because they generally receive the most dirt and grime plus the difficulty reaching every nook and cranny. Not to mention if your motorcycle has spoked rims. Rinse often.

If you plan on using a specialty cleaning detergent or degreaser on the engine or drivetrain, plan on applying it after you have finished cleaning the wheels but before you start on the painted surfaces. By doing your motorcycle wash in these steps you can completely wash off any harsh degreasers used to clean the motor or drivetrain that might have splashed up onto the painted parts of the motorcycle.

You’re now ready for the "clean" bucket, mitt, etc you designated for the painted surfaces. Again, use plenty of water! Think of the water as your helper when washing the motorcycle. Water washes off loose dirt and provides the initial "lubricant" essential for a clean bike. Do not use a high-pressure washer as the water will be much more likely to work its way into electronics, fork seals, engine seals, gaskets and electrical connections. A garden hose is what you want. Start at the top of the motorcycle and work down. If you accidentally drop your wash mitt on the ground set it aside and get another one. Using the same mitt that has hit the ground will increase the risk of scratching the paint greatly. Take your time and rinse the motorcycle thoroughly. OK, doing great so far. As soon as the wash is done dry your motorcycle. This will prevent water spots. Use the synthetic chamois for this and do not use compressed air to speed the drying process as this can easily force water into bearings, past seals and gaskets and into electrical connections.

TERRAIN

Jimmy Lewis Off-Road School

Jimmy Lewis, now the editor of Dirt Rider Magazine with a long list of accomplishments in the industry, teaches a few off-road classes per year filled with incredible riding tips and techniques for varying terrain (located outside of Las Vegas, Nevada)…

“We practice out of control situations in a controlled and safe manner. After this drill the student will know what it is like to ride down a steep hill, and he will know that it is important to get back on the seat in the proper riding position.” (Don’t try this at home).



GEAR

Bungees vs. straps… stick to straps

There are many horror stories regarding bungees malfunctioning and getting caught in the drive train or chain of the bike. It is much safer to use cam straps. Here are a few excerpts from a thread on ADV Rider to substantiate this point:

04-11-2008, 12:30 PM
FLANKER
Adventurer

BUNGEES vs. STRAPS

I've read in certain threads that bungees can be unreliable and possibly dangerous. I can kind of see this being the case. I've had no probs with my flat shock cords but was wondering if anybody had any- HORROR STORIES ABOUT BUNGEES and/or ANY SUGGESTIONS FOR STRAPAGE OR ALTERNATIVE LASHING GEAR.(brand names, or homemade remedies would help!) thanks in advance for your comments.

decodent
CyberGypsy

I first got into the cam strap mentality when lashing kayaks down to my roof racks. Now I use 'em for everything. I'm not sure what the brand names are, but just about any outdoor/rec sporting good store will have them ... especially if they sell whitewater gear and/or roof racks such as Thule or Yakima.

I've used them for lashing down the dry bag to the rack, can be ordered color coordinated, and also to ensure the Givis stay shut!

markjenn
Beastly Adventurer

The long 54" Rok-Straps are a good combination of the elastic nature of a bungee with the adjustability of cam-type clips. But I don't find any of the non-adjustable ones much use - they don't have a wide enough range of adjustment.

Never bit me, but the stories of bungee-secured bags and the like being pulled into the drive train and causing wheel lockups are quite numerous. It's definitely not something to be cavalier about.

- Mark

earthroamer
Gnarly Adventurer

Definitely cam straps! I buy custom lengths from Strap Works.

Bayou Boy
Beastly Adventurer

A lot of us use Helen 2 Wheels straps, too. No hooks to scratch the bike.

PACKING

Packing For a Long Dual Sport Trip:

"Ned Suesse's loaded KTM 950"

If there is one thing to remember for packing for a long DS trip it's to pare down to the essentials. This is what long time Dual Sport rider/racer/educator Ned Suesse demonstrates so well in his Superenduro ride through Mexico in a fantastic Adventure Rider thread.

This is what Ned took for a six week ride through Mexico that included a few thousand miles of dirt ridden at speed, and a few thousand miles of road ridden at speed, and a few thousand miles of freeway, getting there and back:

Bike:
2007 KTM 950 Superenduro
advtank rally rear tank + 2 into 1
Renazco Saddle
20x number plates from racing Baja 1000 (optional)
Wolfman Expedition Saddlebags
Wolfman Expedition Top Bag
Lots of web straps w/ fastex buckles
Hilslammer longpegs/ Blackdog Skidplate + rack
Baja Designs Racelight (homemade mounting bracket)
Superplush Suspension
TKC80 front, 908RR rear / Scorpion F + R
Homemade racks
homemade windscreen

Personal stuff:
knife/ lighter
pen/ journal
book
Olympus E-1 camera + 14/54 lens + batteries, flash memory, charger
Canon A560 + memory + batteries/charger
ipod + ER-6 + apple headphones + charger
passport/ title/ insurance/ cash/ cards
maps
GPS Garmin 276c + BiciMapas mapset
Kriega R15 pack/ Hydration

Bike Stuff:
18" Tubes
2 x 21" tubes
small tube of tri-flow
small bottle of chain lube
small bottle of engine oil
complete toolkit

Camping stuff:
Black Diamond hooped bivy sack
Marmot 20 degree down bag
Long thermarest


Riding Stuff:
Arai XD w/ light smoke shield
Oakley Goggles w/ clear lens + spare
Aerostich Darien Jacket
Klim Dakar gloves (2 sets)
Thor Coldpro gloves
Aerostich Triple-digit Raincovers
Kidney Belt
Klim Dakar Pants
Aerostich Darien Pants (w/o knee pads)
Thor Knee Guards
Klim Riding Socks

Sidi Crossfire Boots (non SRS)

Clothing:
2 pairs nylon shorts
1 pair nylon convertible pants
1 pair cotton shorts
2 t-shirts
1 button down unwrinkleable travel shirt

Klim Inversion Jacket
Chaco sandals
packmocs (Ned would prefer to take a pair of sneakers the next time around)


Adventure Travel Packing:
(Also applies to longer dual sport trips)

Thanks to Simon and Lisa Thomas of www.2ridetheworld.com for giving some advice about their choice for luggage below. Hey, over 105,000 miles of adventure motorcycle travel experience counts for something. And, in exchange for enjoying some of Simon and Lisa’s tips below, how about considering donating to their “tyre fund or charities” at the above link to support their adventure-loving hearts…

Q. Hard or Soft luggage?

A. Well, there's no straight answer as it's personal preference. The type of riding you're going to be tackling will also be a deciding factor.

Our requirement meant that for our trip hard luggage was the way to go. The benefits are they're lockable and more durable for long term riding. Touratech's Zega panniers are aluminum and can be 'bashed' back into shape after a fall, and there have been a few.

OK, so here they are, our chosen panniers. Touratech Zega Cases (standard option). We finally chose these for a number of reasons:

  • Tried and tested by other RTW travelers.
  • Aluminum construction, strong but lightweight.
  • Can be bashed back into place following a fall
  • 4 point mounting system attaches the pannier to the frame
  • raised lip design stops water getting in from the top.
  • Integral inner bags very good (and not expensive)
  • Because there rectangles, they can be used as seats, a table or...other clever stuff that there not specifically design for, you get the idea

Q. How much packing should I allow for?

A. As little as possible. It's a guaranteed fact that the more packing capacity you have, i.e.: tank bag, tank side pouches, panniers, top box, roll bag, etc, then the more 'stuff' you'll ending up packing because of the 'just in case' philosophy. If you have more than a tank bag, two panniers and a roll bag then reconsider.

Q. How do you pack the everyday stuff i.e. wash gear, washing powder and usables?

A. We've learnt that it's best to decant liquids into smaller screw top plastic containers. Whether its shampoo or olive oil for cooking, the containers you buy them in are often too large to pack easily and are designed to look nice on the shelf of your local supermarket, not stand up to hour upon hour of bone shaking sandy corrugations of that desert piste you're hurtling down. TIP: smaller plastic bottle are more robust and easier to pack.
TIP: The small cylindrical plastic, water and dust proof containers that your camera film comes in make a great and easy way for you to carry small cooking ingredients, i.e., crushed garlic, peppercorns, chili powder, spices, salt, etc. If you've gone digital ask your local photo lab for some 'empties.'

Q. How do you pack so much into so little space?

A. Space is always at a premium, so we use compression sacks to compress as much as we can, tent, sleeping bags, cloths, etc.

TIP: If you're away for more than a couple of weeks, consider using a silk sleeping bag liner. It's a whole lot easier to wash and dry a silk liner than your sleeping bag and adds a touch of luxury to your daily regime. They also pack down very small so take little extra space to carry.

Q. How do you pack your clothes?

A. Apart from our riding gear, we carry one pair of canvas type trousers each (these also zip off at the knee to make shorts), two t-shirts, a few pairs of 'undies' and a fleece. To minimize the amount of space our clothes take up and to make for easier packing we use 'compression sacks' which remove all the air from your packing and leave you with a solid block of clothing, which you can then slide into a pannier. Easy...hey!

CAMPING

Camping Equipment for Adventure Motorcycling:

Thanks, again, to Simon and Lisa Thomas of www.2ridetheworld.com for their camping suggestions for adventure touring…

Q. What size & type tent do you use?

A. We use a four season 4 person tent, which is much larger than we've traveled with before. Our advice is if your trip is going to last 12 weeks or more then get a decent sized tent, that way you can use front porch space for cooking or just storing all your wet gear when the weather takes a turn for the worst. If you’re traveling with a partner it can b e a good idea to give each other some space occasionally.

Q. What do you sleep on?

A. For all our trips in the last 9 years we've used 'Thermarest' mattresses. They self inflate and are thermal so protect you from cold ground. They're also pretty hard wearing. We bought our first thermal rest's 9 years ago and we're still using the same ones. They roll up very small and when they need a clean we just use a hose pipe and soap, inflate them and wash them down.

Q. How much cookware do you carry?

A. We know we could carry less but living for years on one pot cooking isn't realistic, well not for us anyway. We have two different sized (small) stainless steel pots with lids and one medium sized (15 inch) non-stick frying pan. We also have a wooden spoon, which we cut 2/3 of the handle off (easier packing). A can opener, a bottle opener and one sharp cooking knife and that's it. Purchase cookware.

Q. What do you cook on?

A. We use two MSR multi-fuel stoves, they pack down small, weigh next to nothing, but importantly will burn almost anything; petrol, gas, meths', diesel, etc.

Generally, we just pour an amount of petrol from one of Lisa’s auxiliary fuel tanks, pressurize the MSR canister and we're ready to cook

Q. How do you power torches or other electrical gear?

A. All of our electrical gear from electric toothbrushes to head torches to our camera gear all runs off AA or AAA re-chargeable batteries. We have 8 sets of batteries and so always have a set charging, normally off one of the 12v sockets from the bikes. UniRoss make some very high capacity Ni-MH batteries @2350 mAh and with a high speed charger only take an hour to bring back to life.

 

 










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