We just finish one of the quicker and easier builds on a dual sport bike: Installing the Rox Speed FX handlebar risers on a 2009 Husqvarna TE450.
The Need: Obviously for the standing position and overall comfort, we felt the original bar position was a little low. These 2" risers from Rox were ordered, and came out of the package gleaming with post-machining perfection typical from the Rox people in Minnesota.
The Install: About a half an hour was needed in total.
1) We took the handlebar guards off so that we could re-route some of the wires and cables to the bottom side of those brackets you see the finger pointing to. (Not sure if they are Husky original parts or what, this bike was a last-minute, used purchase for the Pine Barrens 300 in New Jersey.)
2) The installation of the Rox risers was easy as usual. Using the original handlebar mount, simple allen wrenches and hex-heads, and then spending a few minutes adjusting, feeling, and adjusting, before tightening them down for good.
3) Re-securing everything like the handlebar guards was easy, and we were done!
WE'VE USED THESE RISERS On the "Patagonia Experience" dual sport adventure in Chile & Argentina
Unlike other forum posts out there, we don't seem to have any issue with cable/wire tension or restriction, once they were re-routed below the handlebar guard brackets. That being said, you can see about a 20mm/.78 inch drop of the triple clamp over the fork tubes. The primary rider of this bike might be raising those soon, but there is so much slack already in these lines, it doesn't appear that we'll have issues with tension througout full range of motion.
So the end result is a "thumbs up" vote for another set of Rox Risers on the Husqvarna! Their simple-genius design will allow for more adjustability than standard block-type risers, if there should ever be a need. Add to all this some pretty snazzy looks, and we're big fans of these risers. (Having used them on a Yamaha XT250, BMW R1200GS, GS Adventure, and KTM 950 as well, they will undoubtedly be a feature of any bike we work on.)
(Below: With the handlebar guard off, we're able to just reroute the necessary cables and such around that black mount/bracket. Clutch hose didn't need to be moved. Bottom: The freshly farkled trail-riding machine!)
Talking with a friend the other day, I was reminded of a time when I didn't have reliable, properly functioning, waterproof motorcycle gear. Out there in the rain, wind, and shivering cold there were times I was wondering "why on earth anyone would ride motorcycles?"
The truth is, I kind of miss those moments.
Back in 2009/10, I spent lots of time out prospecting routes in the Andes Mountains in search of the best motorcycle trips possible. Thousands of kilometers, week after week, sometimes for a couple of months at a time, and of course I had to deal with the occasional storm or mechanical issue.
With motorcycle travel comes flat tires, empty fuel tanks and other delays, so of course there were occasions where I was stuck in horrible weather just trying to fight my way to any kind of civilization where I could put a roof over my head. Passing on the option to set up my already-soaked tent in those Patagonia winds, I just wanted a warm & dry room and often fought it out with the chill of the night.
Occasionally I'd get close enough to a tourist bus or truck to catch a glimpse of the cozy faces all bundled up inside. "Why on earth am I traveling like this again?" as I felt the warmth of the truck's engine along side me. It's amazing how such a source of heat makes itself apparent when you're shivering in the dark. Wishing for nothing more than warmth and comfort to be waiting at the end, every mile can be a grind.
I guess the point in sharing these memories is that, they are now exactly that, "memories." Brutally uncomfortable experiences at the time sure don't seem like something to remember, but somehow, moments like those are the ones that stick out years later. I now look upon them with a smile because I survived. (Long since, I have upgraded to excellent motorcycle gear made by Klim, as reviewed on this link for the jacket, and this link for the pants.)
FREE DOWNLOAD OF MOTORCYCLE GEAR ADVICE Can Be Found By Clicking This Button
These thoughts come up now as I think of the many self-guided motorcycle rental customers we've booked this season are all getting ready for their own fantastic voyages in Patagonia and other destinations. Nerves and trepidation are ominpresent amongst these riders, and questions are pouring in as they all second-guess the adventure ahead. While I wish them the most incredible experiences, in the back of my mind, a small part of me hopes they encounter at least some amount of challenge on their voyage ... the type of challenge that make adventure riding so special.
We head out into the unknown in search of new experiences, sites & scenery, and the ultimate adventure. Just don't forget folks, overcoming obstacles is all part of that. As a noun, the word "Adventure" is listed as "an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity. As a verb, "engage in hazardous and exciting activity, esp. the exploration of unknown territory." (Source: Google) Mash all those thoughts together, and we should expect that things won't go as planned. That, afterall, might be exactly what we're after, what we need, and what we desire.
WANT A SELF-GUIDED MOTORCYCLE TRIP? We Help Riders With Everything Needed Right Here
Maybe you've done water crossings before, or your luck as an adventure rider has yet to produce the opportunity. Whatever the case, there are at least 7 important points to consider before you go riding through any river, stream, puddle, or whatever you come across! Please take advantage of the notes below, or the video review on this link.
7 Important Things to Consider
1) Let Your Bike Cool Down, First!
We've all heard the warnings and perhaps some of you have even seen it happen: Cold water hitting extremely hot metal could result in damage or cracking motorcycle parts.
This being said, it's best to let your engine and other motorcycle parts cool down just a bit before entering extremely cold water. Brake rotors on cars are well-known for warping after hitting cold puddles, so it's fair to say the same reaction could take place with a motorcycle brake discs. If you hurried up to a cold glacier-fed water crossing and suddenly hit the brakes, or perhaps let your engine idle for a few minutes while contemplating the decision to cross, it's best to wait until a more "moderate" difference in temperatures exists between said parts and the water. Although it's rare or unlikely to sustain damage from such an encounter, it is a possibility.
2) Check How Deep the Water Is
From a distance or certain angles, you might not be able to know just how deep a body of water is. That being said, it's best to get off the bike, walk out into the water, and determine just how deep or "unforgiving" your projected path of travel is. We take risks every day as motorcycle riders, and some risks like water crossings tend to stress the financial side of things more than safety concerns. See how the depth of the water relates to Point #4 just ahead!
ENJOY A RIVER CROSSING On Our "Patagonia Experience" Guided Motorcycle Tour in the Andes
3) Consider the Strength of the Water Current
If it's a large, standing puddle of non-moving, this doesn't apply; but a strongly flowing river crossing is an entirely different situation. Have a good look and do what you can to feel the current before riding out into it. Then imagine the incredible power that water (at over 8lbs/3kg per gallon) would have as it's slamming into the side of your motorcycle. Would you be able to keep the bike upright against that force? Also keep in mind that if you have to lean your bike into the current in order to stay upright, the current will be "lifting" your bike slightly, lessening your traction and contact with the ground. On top of what might already be a slippery surface under the water, and one where your feet could slip as well, try to determine in advance if crossing such extreme current is realistic or not.
4) Know Where Your Air Intake Is
Even the BMW R1200GS, the longtime title holder of "world's most popular adventure bike" doesn't offer much in terms of how deep water can be before reaching the air intake point (until the 2013 model year when the Liquid Cooled version of the boxer engine also meant BMW also raised the air intake point.) The point is, you should know for sure where the point is that your engine breathes from, as submerging the motorcycle in water up to that point will not be a good idea. (Hopefully we don't have to explain that engines don't stay running if they're gulping water. Photo above/right shows how Ian's engine was choking after just brushing the top of the river in Patagonia.)
5) Choose: Sitting vs. Standing Position
As is covered in our Free Whitepaper Download about Sitting vs. Standing while riding, there are Pro's and Con's to both positions during water crossings as well. When seated, you'll be able to tap the ground with your feet if you need to regain balance, but your visibility of what lies ahead isn't as good as when you're standing. Then again, what if you're riding along in the standing position and don't see a log hidden under the water at a 45-degree angle from which you're traveling? Even at a mere 2-3 mph, it's quite unlikely you'll be able to keep from falling (unless you were able to tap your foot down to maintain balance.) Again, keep in mind the Pro's and Con's of both riding positions, and don't just think about what looks cool for the camera!
6) Clear Your Engine Carefully If Needed
Did your bike end up in the water? Don't feel bad, you're probably not alone.
If your engine stopped running and there's even a chance your engine's combustion chamber(s) consumed any water, don't just push the button and try to start it right away as you could destroy your engine. What's known as "hydrolock" means you've got a significant amount of water above the pistons, (in the combustion chambers) and you'll want to clear that water out safely before cranking the engine over with your electric start. Take the spark plug(s) out, put the motorcycle in gear, and rotate the rear wheel by either pushing the bike or spinning it by hand. You'll see water spraying out the spark plug holes as the engine turns through its cycle, and after a good 10-15 cycles, it should be ready to reassemble and run again. (Be sure that your airbox is empty as well!) You'll want to inspect your oil situation at the same time. Is it white and "milky?" That means water got mixed in with the oil, and should be changed immediately, or at least as soon as possible.
7) Check Your Brake Fluid & Pump Your Brakes
It's quite unlikely that water would get into your brake lines or reservoirs, but still a good idea to be aware of this possibility before proceding. In short, do an entire brake system inspection and make sure proper pressure is still applicable through your hand and foot levers before proceeding. Much the same, be sure to pump the brakes and dry-off the brake pads and calipers a bit, as water can obviously keep your brakes from functioning 100%. So don't just pull out into traffic without checking your brakes!
As always, be sure to check our "Free Motorcycle Travel Info" page on www.rideadv.com, download anything that will help you and your adventure travel plans, and let us know when we can help make your motorcycle travel wishes a reality!
OREGON DUAL SPORT RENTALS Shown Here Gave Us the Footage for the River Crossing Video!
If you've booked your motorcycle rental or guided tour with us and need to figure out the best way to transport all your clothes, riding gear, and travel items, this short version of our "How to Pack" video series sums it all up nicely for you! It's a low-cost, reliable way to make sure you're not stuck figuring out a plan for your excess luggage.
Either see the video embedded below, or follow these important points:
1) Start with 2 Duffel Bags, about 100 liters each. If you don't like the duffel bag style, certainly consider a motorcycle-specific option like the Giant Loop Great Basin Saddlebag.
- The 1st bag, which should be water and dustproof, is used for carrying your daily clothes, blue jeans, shirts, underwear, etc.
- The 2nd bag is dedicated to carrying your motorcycle gear, boots, jackets, helmet, etc.
2) When you arrive at your destination, you'll empty the 2nd bag by putting on your motorcycle gear each day
3) Slide the empty bag into the bottom of your 1st bag, and enjoy your motorcycle trip!
With this simple 2 Piece Duffel Bag System, you don't have to worry about storing or transporting hard, cumbersome suitcases (which are not allowed in the support trucks of most guided tours anyway.) The empty bag will also act as a form of protection in the bottom of the 1st bag, such that hard objects inside the bag aren't rubbing against hard surfaces on the back of your rental motorcycle, or the bed of the support truck in the case of a guided tour.
Again, hard-case traditional "square" luggage should have no place in motorcycle travel. I've personally been traveling with this 2-Duffel system for over 5 years now, and haven't had a single problem with it. Sure, it takes some creativity to make sure the peak/visor of my dual sport helmet
doesn't get knocked off in transit, but that's not too tough to figure out.
So check out the video below, and let us know if you have any questions!
DOWNLOAD FREE MOTORCYCLE TRAVEL INFO Here on This Page Dedicated to Helping You!
In case you hadn't noticed, the 14 Day Self-Guided "Fly & Ride Peru" tour is now available!
As the overwhelming majority of riders out there still prefer to "go it alone," we've got great options like this one that make it easy for you to experience Peru without blowing any budgets out of control. Now you can arrange a trip with a group of friends or by yourself, and with a pacakge like this one:
- Simply Contact Us to reserve the trip with RIDE Adventures
- Show up on your scheduled date in Arequipa, Peru
- The Peru motorcycle rental you've reserved will be waiting for you
- Follow the GPS or map instructions we've provided
- Enjoy the route highlights that simply cannot be overlooked (especially in Peru. With the Nazca Lines, Colca Canyon, and Machu Picchu, it's impossible not to be amazed!)
- Stay at the nice, reputable hotels we've pre-reserved for you
- Have the time of your life on a motorcycle trip that costs about half of what most guided tours cost!
LARS IS READY TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS Contact Him About Riding In Peru!
A vacation package like this one comes after many requests to have both a) lower priced options for our customers, and b) tour routes that focus on paved riding, more than off-pavement. On our "Pavement Only" tour page, you'll find a number of options, including this one in Peru, that allow you to ride an entire trip and never see more than about 5% off-pavement. (Sometimes it's just unavoidable due to construction, preserved National Parks, etc.) Still, even those small gravel or packed-dirt sections you'll encounter are simple enough that even the most "amateur" motorcycles handle them without a problem. Keep in mind folks: Nothing says you need to blaze through a motorcycle trip at "Dakar-like" speeds. Take it slow and easy, and you'll arrive just fine!
The only months you should avoid in Peru are about late December through March, as the rainy season in the Alti-Plano (High Plains) region of the Andes Mountains is in full effect. We've had groups do this trip in February, and they've enjoyed thoroughly...it's mostly a matter of whether you mind riding what could be quite a bit of rain. (With the right motorcycle gear, rain riding isn't much of an issue and can actually be a pleasure.)
So it's up to you: Are you going to wonder forever what it's like to ride motorcycle in Peru or Contact Us and reserve your trip now?
LARS IS READY TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS Contact Him About Riding In Peru!
When it comes to traveling to Peru, most tourists list visiting the ancient Machu Picchu on the top of their list. And while this awe-inspiring city is certainly worth your time, the country has much more to offer, especially for travelers venturing her roads by motorcycle. Here is a list of our top reasons why you should visit Peru by motorcycle.Wild Mountain Roads.
When it comes to twisting mountain roads, few places on earth can beat Peru's paved roads leading through the Andes. Ascending from Nazca, there is a throughway called the road of a 1,000 curves, and it is not exaggerating. On one long winding stretch you can climb to over 15,000 feet along a variety of exciting switchbacks and tight turns. Your view is complete with wild, virtually untouched mountain landscapes and distant glacial mountains overshadowing lush valleys. The People.
When booking a standard tour in a bus, you are often shuttled from one tourist sightseeing spot to the next. Never having a chance to take a break and speak to the people who call this country home. Many Peruvians still live very traditional lives. While biking in the countryside you will pass patchworked farm plots where farmers and sheepherders still dress in traditional indigenous clothing. Consider making a trip to the market town of Pisac. Here, the streets come alive on market days as Peruvian artisans travel from every corner of the country to peddle their wares. Enjoy time spent immersed in the country's local culture.The South Coast.
Cuzco and its surrounding wonders often overshadow the uniqueness of Peru's southern coast. This is an ideal place to let your wanderlust run wild down desert roads that border the country's rugged Pacific coastline. For those interested in exploring some of Peru's interesting wildlife, make a stop at the Paracas National Reserve
. This unique ecological zone is home to various marine life including whales, dolphins, shark, marlin, and much more. The Many Ancient Ruins.
For history buffs and culture enthusiasts, Peru is a magnificent place to explore the ruins and mysterious sites of ancient civilizations. On a motorcycle adventure of your design, you have the opportunity to visit both the most famed and the more hidden at your leisure. Visit of course the Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, but then journey to the northern highlands to discover the city of Chan Chan. Afterwards, point your bike south, and head to the mysterious Nazca Lines and the city of Puno.
PREFER TO RIDE "SELF-GUIDED?" This 14 Day Peru Motorcycle Trip Includes Motorcycle & Hotels
Peru's 28 individual climates and varied terrain make it an exciting place to ride a motorcycle. From the outskirts of the Peruvian Amazon rainforest to the southern arid deserts, this country has an intricate geography whose roads may best be traversed by motorcycle. Peru is full of wonderful hidden treats, discovering which mystery you want to follow is up to you when you travel with the freedom of a motorcycle.
At RIDE Adventures we, along with our local partners, want to make sure you get the most out of your Peru holiday. We believe that one of the best ways to discover any new country is by motorcycle and its afforded freedom. Which is why we take away the hassle of trying to transport your motorcycle by providing all of our clients with their own bike while they visit the country. While we offer highly rated tours led by local riders, if you would rather discover Peru on your own terms, choosing your own destination is left to you. Contact us today
to learn more about our exciting motorcycle opportunities.
SEE THE "MACHU PICCHU EXPRESS" Guided Tour Thru Southern Peru's Highlights via Motorcycle
As you've noticed by now, we at RIDE Adventures also support the individual riders, the "Lone Wolves" if you will, who head out and Ride the World on their own motorcycles. While we hope to bring more of you into our service offering, we're not just supporting those who purchase our guided tours & motorcycle rentals.
In the same spirit, we've noticed a unique story about a unique motorcycle rider named Allan Karl, how his leap of faith led to him amazing cultural discoveries and experiences from around the world, and a new project that has evolved from this in the form of a book. Enjoy Allan's comments and photos below, and you can be part of his fun publishing project (photos by WorldRider or Allan Karl)
FORKS, the new book by WorldRider Allan Karl debuts on Kickstarter
What inspires us to wander and wonder, to pursuit our passion or to push our minds and bodies beyond the limits? The more I travel, the more I learn how important travel is to growing personally and learning.
Unlike those who are happy traveling afar only to cocoon themselves in an all-inclusive resort buffered from culture beyond the resort walls, I believe those of us who prefer to travel overland by motorcycle or 4x4 are motivated by an insatiable curiosity to explore and discover.
Several years ago I woke up to the fact that I was jobless and my marriage had ended. I had come to another fork in my life. At first, I started another business. It didn’t take long for me to realize that my work was unfulfilling. That’s when I decided to travel around the world—alone on my motorcycle.
For two years I planned my adventure, poring over books, maps and internet sites. I searched for the best modifications I could make to my BMW dual-sport motorcycle, spending hours in the garage getting it ready.
I winded down my business, sold almost everything I owned and headed to the Arctic Ocean. The journey north from California was an adventure and a test ride. I would have a chance to tweak my bike and load, which I did, before crossing into Mexico and heading south to Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego and beyond.
Along the way, I traveled 62,000 miles through 35 countries on five continents. At first, I traveled too fast, buzzing through British Colombia, Yukon and Alaska. I quickly learned that the goal of travel is not to check destinations of lists, but rather to experience culture and connect with people.
There were challenges along my journey. I broke my leg badly in Bolivia. I was marched into the Colombian jungle at gunpoint, and I had to plead with the governments of Syria and Sudan to let me into their countries.
My journey lasted three years. Most people don’t have the time, resources or will to travel for so long. For me, travel is the one thing on which I spend my money that nobody can ever take away from me. Travel is an investment in both time and money, and its return is immeasurable.
After returning from this adventure, I’d come to yet another fork in the road. What do I do next? I decided to write a book—another journey that took me nearly as long as my around the world motorcycle ride.
At first I planned to write a traditional travelog or memoir, but I realized the best way to share this adventure would be beyond words. That is, to see it with photos, to feel it through stories of culture and connection and to taste it with flavors of local food.
Agents and publishers asked me to simplify the idea, take out the food and photos. Rather than compromise, I decided to turn to the crowdfunding site, Kickstarter. After three years of work, my book is ready to print. FORKS, A Quest for Culture, Cuisine and Connection, is a 270 page hardcover book with 500 color photos and 40 recipes from all over the world.
I hope that my Kickstarter campaign will succeed in generating enough preorders to fund the expense of first-edition printing.
The book, along with collector-edition postcards, photographic prints, coaching sessions and keynote speeches are some of the rewards that interested backers can expect from pledging on Kickstarter. Rewards start at $10, and books can be pre-ordered for as little as $45.
FORKS The Book: www.ForksTheBook.com
Original WorldRider blog: www.worldrider.com
I managed to pin down Nic Sims, head of Media Relations at Alpinstars USA and ask some questions about the motorcycle industry and where he sees the future of motorcycle protective gear going:
EL: In the "Adventure Bike" category, which motorcycle would you say is leading the competition?
NS: "Well that is a great question and a tough one as I think that within the industry everyone has stepped up their game, obviously the brands that are probably on everyone’s mind are BMW and KTM but Yamaha and Triumph are biting at their heals, and as we are in the nice position to work with all of them I will have to say they are all great, sorry."
EL: While I we might be biased, (having been saved pain & injury numerous times by Alpinestars Bionic gear) it's very clear that AStars is a leader in the 'motorcycle protective gear' category. In fact, I'm an enormous proponent of removing most of the original padding from motorcycle jackets and using Alpinestars hard armor in it's place. Is this trend picking up momentum, and are other motorcycle riders doing the same?
NS: "Well the company has developed a reputation for being a leader in protection in all forms of motorsport. I am glad that you have been able to experience its effectiveness but I am sorry you had to crash to test it. All our jackets offer protection built in but you are able to remove and upgrade the armor if you choose. I have not seen many people remove it, to then use a full protection jacket but I can understand your reasoning behind doing it. Our new protection jackets are a lower profile and lighter that the style you have used in the past but they have not given up any of the required protection, they still meet CE test standards and being lower profile you could probably keep padding in the jacket and wear the new jackets under too."
EL: We've seen neck braces move from auto racing into the motorcycle racing world, and are advocates of systems like the Alpinestars BNS as well. How has the growth been from your perspective for such safety gear as neck braces? (Photo to the right taken during our "Patagonia Experience" Guided Motorcycle Tour.)
NS: "Neck braces or supports are an interesting category as an industry all the companies that manufacture them are in agreement that you are better to wear one than not. What differs is what they believe are the cause of neck injuries, we believe from our studies that it is the compressing forces that cause the most damage, others believe that it is the Hyper Flexion and Hyper Extension. The auto devices are a little different because the helmet is connected to the device to stop the whip lash and other forces that can be put through the neck by being strapped into a seat, as you know on a motorcycle you need to be able to turn you head to get good peripheral vision and also we are not strapped in, so whip lash is not really an issue for a motorcycle rider. Motorcycle crash are low sides where the bike slides out or high sides where the rider is ejected of the bike and thrown into the air. These types of crashes are where we want the Neck Support to work by having the helmet contact the BNS which will then help spread any load forces rather than directing the energy into the neck. The fact there are more companies making these kind of devices shows you that this is an important category for the industry and a piece of safety equipment that people should be looking at purchasing."
EL: Aside from the obvious R&D that goes into BNS development, do we have any other hard examples of where such a device has saved a motorcycle rider? (Photo to the right taken of our guide, Chad Berger, during the "Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail" tour)
NS: "Unfortunately I don’t have any examples that I can give you, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any. We hear plenty of success stories when we attend events from people that say they took a hard spill and have been pile driven into the ground wearing a BNS and they got up to tell the tale with only a sore neck. These are great things to hear and there are riders who have been paralyzed because they didn’t have a BNS style device, obviously there is no way to know if one would have saved them or not, but their chances would have been much higher of walking away than without one."
EL: Any plans for new motorcycle gear or product offerings that you can share with us?
NS: "We just launched the new 2014 fall collection and in this line we have added some really nice New Land Gore-Tex gear that is available in both a men’s and women’s version and also the Valpirso Drystar gear. Our line of touring gear is now very complete and I would put it up against the best gear out there on price and functionality, starting with the Andes gear, then Valpirso, New Land, Tech St and Durban we have every price point covered."
EL: What has been your most "unforgettable" motorcycle trip so far?
NS: "Crashing my Aprilia at a track day and getting knocked out for 2 min, then not remembering anything that happened. I was told that the first person to my aid was GP legend Freddie Spencer, so I think the fact that I had overtaken him made me excited and in the excitement I lost control and crashed. Well that is my story and I am sticking to it."
EL: What motorcycle trip sits on your "bucket list" yet?
NS: "You put on some epic looking trips so I would love to do any of yours of course, but I think doing a trip around New Zealand would be pretty cool I have visited there and it just looks an amazing place to ride, also I have pedaled my bicycle in Switzerland and some of those mtn passes look amazing.
I would like to thank you for this opportunity and I know that you have your pick of products, so thank you for picking Alpinestars and I am glad that we have been able to prevent you from getting injured in the past."
The kids are back in school, and you noticed it's getting colder out again, right? We can tell, because of the number of inquiries and reservations that have been pouring in the past couple of weeks. Winter vacation motorcycle rentals are on your minds!!!
Most assuredly, the majority of the motorcycle trip options we're advertising on our website are neither in the price range nor duration of what many riders have available. For this reason, we're pleased to announce yet another winter motorcycle riding option with our rental motorcycles: Big Bend National Park in the South of Texas.
The bulk of the dual sport rental fleet in eastern Tennessee will be moved to the town of Terlingua, Texas for the months of January thru March. Through the Interstate system, the Alpine, Texas airport (ALE), or other means, riders can pre-reserve their dual sport bikes and have all the fantastic off-road riding terrain they could ever ask for just waiting for the twist of their wrist. Kawasaki KLR 650's and Suzuki DR200's will be there for those who reserve in advance. Should anyone request an R1200GS or other big-type adventure bike, we can bring those, too. We need to know now though which bikes you want to ride this winter!
You can consult with us about routes, types of riding terrain, and the best highlights to see around Big Bend National Park. Interested in riding into Mexico? That's an option as well, and we'll help you with getting all the necessary papers & insurance arranged. If you're interested in having an experienced local guide show you the way, that option rests amongst the list of possibilities.
So please be sure to Contact Us about riding in Big Bend National Park. Again though, there'll be a limited number of bikes available, and plenty of interested riders, so don't wait long to reserve!
USE THE FORM ON THIS PAGE To Contact Us or Reserve Your Dual Sport Motorcycle Rental in Texas
*Please note: This is not an advertisement paid for by Garmin, and none of the reviews on www.rideadv.com are paid for by the manufacturers we recommend!
The Best Motorcycle GPS: 4 Options Tested, Only 1 Survived
In the past couple of years, I've tested 3 dedicated GPS units and 1 iPhone trying to figure which works best as my motorcycle GPS. Below you'll find mainly the negatives for each unit, boiling it all down to the best motorcycle GPS unit for my situation.
Will my GPS choice be the best for you as well? You decide. I'm a motorcycle tour guide with dual sport riding & routing needs. Sometimes I'm following previously recorded routes & tracks, and sometimes out prospecting new motorcycle trips through the woods in regions seldom-traveled, recording what might serve as great options for our customers. If your situation is even close to mine, this article will make your next GPS purchase decision easy.
The iPhone (as a motorcycle GPS unit)
Indeed, I tried simply relying on my iPhone a GPS device, mounted to the motorcycle. (See old blog article here.) It was okay for a while, but I didn't continue using it because:
- The iPhone was overheating in direct sunlight on hot days (so it would auto-shutdown)
- The screen wasn't bright enough to see in typical daylight riding situations
- Touch screen is only an advantage when the motorcycle gloves are off, and having to constantly take your gloves off is a nuisance
- The combination of charging cables & protection from the elements would make my iPhone susceptible to damage, dust, water, etc.
READY TO TRY YOUR GPS UNIT OUT? Check Out Our Self-Guided Patagonia Motorcycle Services
Since my trial with the iPhone, far better protective cases have made their way into the market, and the charging/protective issues have probably been taken care of. Still, those first 3 bullet points were annoying enough that I moved on to the next one:
I loved the Garmin 62s for its lightweight & compact structure, but being so small only contributed to this list of negatives:
- The screen was too small to see well while riding, especially while the unit was vibrating with the motorcycle (Note: I have perfect eyesight, so that's not the issue.)
- Any hard plastic, non-touch-type screen also catches a tremendous amount of glare from lights and the sun. So in this case, the 62s is hard to see for reasons of being too small and for glare.
- Navigation by a directional pad and a few buttons is incredibly slow and cumbersome, especially as we're all accustomed to the touch-screen navigation of smart phones
- While it might have been great for following tracks & trails, it struggled to work with City Navigator for street navigation
- The best cradle for the 62S was a bit of a nuisance to mount/dismount the unit from, and the little charging cable had to be connected separately each time (vs. built-in electrical charging contacts.)
So in summary, the Garmin 62 S had me seeking change again, but as luck would have it, BMW was running a promo last year that meant when I bought my new 2012 R1200GS Adventure, I got a new BMW Motorrad Navigator IV for free!
BMW Motorrad Navigator IV
Upon first trying the Navigator IV, I knew that touch-screen was the only
way to go with motorcycle GPS. With factors like gloves, roadside changes of plan, and new searches, a big, beautiful screen and the ability to touch and click just can't be beat. There were however a couple of negatives:
- This unit doesn't cater well to "non-street" routing and navigation. So anytime I was trying to record routes through the woods or follow existing tracks from other files, it was essentially useless
- At a retail value of $800-900 USD, it's a bit uncomfortable to mount a unit that expensive on the bike, knowing what the replacement cost is.
As much of our focus with www.rideadv.com is non-paved riding and finding the most unique, un-mapped routes for our customers, the first negative about the Navigator was enough for me to move on to:
Finally, a motorcycle GPS unit that has none of the "negatives" listed above, and does everything I want it to! The Garmin Montana is durably built, has a big & bright touch-screen built in, and is easily & securely mounted to the Garmin Rugged Mount specifically designed for this GPS unit. (The Rugged mount even charges it automatically when mounted.) The Montana 650t is in that mid-priced range at around $600 USD currently, but it's like having the off-road capability of the 62s and the pavement routing ability of the Navigator IV built into one unit. In summary: A great value, and I love the Garmin Montana. One slight negative though:
- After about 10 months, I did have some technical issues with the Montana, where the screen was freezing and rotating on it's own and the unit was shutting down without reason. I sent it back to Garmin, and they quickly replaced it for me at no charge (still under 1-year warranty.) That being said, be careful with buying one that doesn't have warranty coverage.
You can even find a more basic version of the Montana for under $500 right now. The Montana 600 basically has all the same features of the 650t, but doesn't have the camera or the built-in topographical map. (Over a year with it now, and I haven't used either the camera or the topo map on my 650t.)
So I hope this helps, as quite a bit of testing has gone into each of these GPS's. Indeed, this can still seem like a bunch of money to spend, but given the wide range of abilities the Garmin Montana
has, I bet you'll find it well worth the investment. As one more side note: Spend the extra $100 (approx) and buy Garmin's City Navigator Map for your home country/region, and you'll be glad.
BRING YOUR GPS UNIT TO PERU And Record This Amazing 14-Day Self-Guided Motorcycle Trip!