Adventure Farkling

Expert Advice, How To -

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Adventure Farkling

Harley-Davidson created a business empire out of selling owners accessories and baubles for their motorcycles. That model is being replicated in the adventure motorcycling market. You can buy almost anything to outfit your motorcycle to travel around the world, or simply show off in front of your local coffee house.

A lot of adventure motorcycles never see any use off road. Even less are ridden beyond gravel roads and some never even get ridden in the rain.  If you do plan on taking a 500 plus pound motorcycle off road you need to protect it from obstacles. With the average price of an adventure motorcycle approaching the GDP of a small country, the last thing you want is to drop your investment without proper protection.

Many of the latest adventure motorcycles are being designed with easy access oil filters. That easy access design is placing the filter where it can be damaged by rocks and other off road obstacles. That makes a skid plate a necessity when taking your bike off the pavement. If you plan on “real” off road riding it’s recommended to get a protection plate that mounts to heavy duty points in multiple locations and does not stress easily broken accessory mounts. Some of the best in the business are built by AltRider and we’ll soon feature components on our latest project bike, which you’ll hear more about this week.

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When muscling a large adventure bike around off-road you are going to drop it. Getting a good set of engine protection guards saves a lot of damage and money. A good set will keep the side panels off of the ground, a great set will keep your handlebars and levers from taking damage as well. These items are sometimes easily repairable but you don’t want to be stranded due to a broken lever. If you have the space it pays to carry spares.

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If you ride in the woods you are going to need some hand guards. Navigating through dense forests, hand guards keep your fingers from being smashed and protect those vulnerable levers. The best hand guards all have a metal frame that connects from the end of the grips to the middle of the handle bars. Tying the end of the bar to a support offers top level impact protection and transfers the impact energy across the entire bar.

Courtesy Barkbusters
Courtesy Barkbusters

An often overlooked protection essential are side racks. While many offer no protection, there are several manufacturers that offer a strong multi point system that can withstand large impacts. Many of the side racks offered are part of a system and designed for a particular brand of luggage. SW Motech, Touratech, Moose Racing, and Givi all make side racks that can be used with a multitude of cases. Touratech and Moose Racing both make permanently mounted racks that feature cross brace support and three point mounting. That’s top level protection in a spill.  he SW Motech Evo is a quick release rack that also has three point mounting and a cross brace. It offers less protection in a spill but is adaptable to many luggage options and can be removed for easy maintenance of the motorcycle. Look for more on this setup shortly.

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A well built top plate not only gives you extra carrying capacity it can protect the rear of your motorcycle from damage. Top plates are one of the least expensive items to add to your adventure bike. Allowing you to carry almost anything on the rear of your bike their versatility is unquestioned.

Courtesy AltRider
Courtesy AltRider

You can see in this video by AltRider how all of these components work together. During filming the rider rolls a BMW GS outfitted with all of the items mentioned above. They work together to keep the GS from suffering any damage.

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  • Timothy Gray

    You missed the most important farkle. Giant 5000 lumen aux lights so that when you are on the roadway texting drivers can actually see you are there. Plus when offroad it’s really nice to light up the night.

    • BobasBounty

      I’ve seen some pretty epic, maybe overboard, reflective jobs done on adventure bikes. Someone who has panniers and a top box covered in reflective tape looks like a Christmas tree from half a mile out!

    • Gomer Pyle

      like YOU have ever been in the woods late at night on your 600 lbs Adv bike !
      pictures?

      • Timothy Gray

        I prefer road bikes with 5000 lumen lights so I can blind cars and semi trucks. and 600 pounds is for newbies. Try 900 pounds. :-)

  • Paul Willis

    “An often overlooked protection essential are side racks.” This is kind of weird. Do you mean to say side cases are a protection element as opposed to a storage device? Because by “protection” in this article, I take it to mean protection of the bike against damage. Side racks and cases may well protect the bike against some damage, but the cases themselves will be damaged.

    • MrDefo

      The cases are going to be a lot cheaper than whatever damage occurs to the bike that they prevent. For example, if you have seen “Long Way Round”, it happens to Ewan.

    • http://www.2wheelsandamotor.com William Connor

      I do mean the racks protect the bike. Yes the cases will take damage when equipped. Some cases like pelican would help reduce damage even more.

    • BobasBounty

      I believe the idea is that, whether mounted with cases or not, racks with a crossbar and multiple points do protect the backside of the bike. Even cases that are mounted to a flimsy rack will just plow through it to the exhaust. Heck, bmw actually pitches the included rack on the F800GS adventure as protection for the larger gas tank.

  • Paul Willis

    “An often overlooked protection essential are side racks.” This is kind of weird. Do you mean to say side cases are a protection element as opposed to a storage device? Because by “protection” in this article, I take it to mean protection of the bike against damage. Side racks and cases may well protect the bike against some damage, but the cases themselves will be damaged.

  • http://thecrumb.com/ thecrumb

    Geez. Forget the mirrors… I’d be thinking about some armor for my body when the 500lb bike rolls over on my chest.

    • http://www.2wheelsandamotor.com William Connor

      It hits his head to boot. Dudes tough and the helmet did it’s job.

  • eddi

    I have a Happy Trails skid plate and nerf bars on my V-Strom 650. I haven’t field-tested them yet, but they look good and don’t add any vibration or other problems to the bike. It’s a 4 bolt job to drip the skid plate to get at the oil filter, but the guys at Cycle Country don’t complain. :-)

    • http://www.2wheelsandamotor.com William Connor

      Very cool. HT makes some nice durable stuff. Not the prettiest IMO but quality components.

  • Timothy Gray

    Note: offroad riding with street tires is plain old dangerous. get some knobbies on that bike.

    • http://www.2wheelsandamotor.com William Connor

      I have new tires on my list. Probably will not go full knobbies as I do a lot of road riding as well. Something like a K60 will be more likely.

      • Stuki

        After riding a gs with k60s back to back with my 1190 on factory road attack 2s, Im almost convinced that the ra2s gives up absolutely nothing on dirt (dry and dryish), and is in another universe on pavement.

        • http://www.2wheelsandamotor.com William Connor

          The stock Battlewings are rather good as well. Just road some loose gravel and dirt yesterday and they never put a wheel wrong.

    • Gomer Pyle

      hey Timmy,,,,try actually WATCHING the video before you mouth off…..let me help you,,,,,start at the 53 second mark….see those full knobbies ?