All About Motorbike Touring Gear
The best motorbike touring gear for beginners
Even if you have plenty of experience with shorter rides, the prospect of motorcycle touring can seem daunting. You see touring riders at cafes and fuel stops, and the variety of gear they have is mind-boggling. Their luggage, their riding gear, helmets, communications, there are so many choices! The good news is that getting started doesn’t have to be a hassle. What’s more, your first tour doesn’t have to be a mind-boggling epic. Simple day or weekend trips can be a lot of fun and you can learn as you go, investing in more gear as you gain experience. Don’t let not having every last item of gear keep you from beginning the journey! Let’s jump in and look at some basics that will get you on your way.
The ABC of motorcycle touring – Always Be Comfortable!
Boots. Why am I starting a comfort conversation with boots? For two important reasons. Firstly, motorcycle touring is about going the distance, and in order to travel for hours at a time, your feet better be comfortable or you’ll be looking for excuses to stop every ten minutes. Secondly, unlike your helmet and gloves, you shouldn’t be wanting to take off your boots the moment you stop, so they’d better be comfortable enough to actually do some walking around in. Boots today are available in short and long styles, summer, winter and multi-season styles, even waterproof designs if you reckon rain might be on the cards. Try on a few different brands. You can do some browsing to get started here. At the end of the day, go with the combination of comfort and safety you feel works best for your needs.
All. That. Other. Gear!
Okay, breathe! Yes, there’s a lot of gear to choose from but remember, you can do this one piece at a time if you like, and still make a start on your touring. If you’re already riding, you most likely have some gear that’ll get you by to begin with anyhow. In this case, a good approach might be to single out your most urgent need – perhaps your current jacket isn’t something that works for touring – and replace items one at a time. Here’s a quick priorities guide to keep in mind when you’re making your choices:
- Safety – always the first consideration.
- Fit and comfort – is it instantly comfortable? Will it ‘wear in?’
- Practicality and utility – is it easy to put on and take off, are zips and closures robust, how many pockets, how does it deal with changing weather?
Finally, consider the lifespan of any gear you buy. Although the sticker price of, say, a premium brand jacket might seem a bit salty, there’s a good chance you’ll get years of faithful service out of it. A ‘go to’ item of favourite touring kit keeps delivering satisfaction long after the purchase price has been forgotten,
Take your time. Start your research online and you’ll be in great shape when you arrive in store, ready to compare gear and ask informed questions.
What’s in a brand?
The big brands in motorcycle touring gear often have reputations for quality created over decades of development and manufacture. Sometimes these brands command a price premium. Compare big name gear to the budget stuff and you’ll generally find that there’s an instant feeling of quality that’s backed up by high performance materials and great style. When you shop for gear, be sure to visit a major dealer who can give you the opportunity to compare brands. Often, riders become loyal to a particular brand as time goes by. It’s all part of the journey.
Some riders just don’t like the piecemeal approach. While shopping for gear from head to toe can be a big cash hit, there’s something to be said for getting it done in one. This can work when you deal with established motorcycle gear superstores that are able to offer significant discounts on package deals. Talk to your sales assistant. If package deals are available, you might be pleasantly surprised at the savings that can be had if you’re willing to pick up a complete touring outfit in one transaction.
Talk about it
The motorcycling community loves to talk. Those touring riders you see at fuel stops and cafes? Ask them a few questions and you might be surprised at how much advice you unlock. And advice based on riding experience is a valuable thing.
Likewise, when you shop, go to an established store with lots of choices and sales assistants who are willing to take the time to talk about your needs. Of course, it helps if the assistants themselves are riders! Stores such as Bikebiz Parramatta have the range to get you fitted out from top to toe, and team members with vast riding experience.
Touring delivers unique riding experiences and stories you’ll tell for the rest of your life. There’s nothing to stop you setting out on that first adventure. It all starts with a bit of research, some considered choices, and conversations with experienced people who share your enthusiasm.