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How do you choose a bike for a big adventure by Steph Jeavons

In this second article, we will look at how the considerations for how to choose a bike for a big adventure. 

The different types of riders

Bikers love riding bikes, just like dogs like to hang out of windows with their tongues flapping. That is something we have in common. However, there are different types of riders. Some like the sense of freedom it gives them; some say they love the speed; some love the adventure; and yet others just want to be able to get home quickly through the city traffic!

With so many different types of riders, it’s probably fair to say, there is no one-bike-fits-all solution when it comes to choosing what to take on a big adventure. Many still believe you need a big, all-singing, all-dancing GS to get around – but the trend is defiantly turning, with more and more opting for the light and simple. My Honda CRF250L, for example, has taken me 60,000 miles through 40 countries. So, which one is best?

My top tips for choosing which bike to take

People have taken cross-continental journeys on everything from 50cc to 1200cc. Consider the following:

  • Choose the bike that suits your style of riding and fits you comfortably.
  • Consider how adventurous you are really going to get.
  • Will you REALLY be riding solo on mostly mountain tracks or soft desert trails?
    • Then make sure you can pick that bike up on your own.
  • Keep the bike mechanics as simple as possible.
    • Parts are not always easy to find and the more things to go wrong, the more chance of being stranded.
  • Are you riding through Asia?
    • You may find a big powerful bike is wasted here as you take on the wonderful adventure of pot holes, crazy traffic and animals!
  • Consider keeping SOME power though.
    • Good acceleration will keep you out of the occasional tight spot and assist in overtaking that line of trucks as it crawls up the mountain road.
  • Consider your budget too.
    • The lighter the bike the cheaper it will be to ship by air and will potentially be more economical on the road but it will also be a struggle to keep upright in the wind! If you are planning staying on the black stuff and budget is no consequence, then go heavier, but remember bulky will be harder to squeeze into those hotel rooms with you when security is a concern, or into a boat when you find yourself at a river crossing.

There is always some compromise to be made, so your priority is to consider your route and limit those compromises based on the most likely situations.

What were my thoughts on choosing a bike?

My priorities were: reliability; off-road agility; and weight. There are many times I can honestly say I thanked the stars for a small bike. There were a handful of times, of course, where I wished for a V-Max with an Electra-Glide seat! As with differing reasons for riding a motorcycle, people want different things from their adventure.

In summary


Whatever ride you choose, you will undoubtedly develop a bond with your bike, forged from a long-term commitment to work together through thick and thin. You will forgive the shortcomings and tackle all obstacles together. If you are like me, you will thank her for the good days and forgive her for the bad. If you are lucky, you will see it through to the end – together!

Picture Gallery for how do you choose a bike for a big adventure:


How adventurous are you really going to get


Will you be riding solo on soft desert trails?


Consider keeping SOME power


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