Learn to go off-road, starting from scratch and getting ready to race the best events of Adventure Touring (Adventouring sounds better), doint it in total safety and awareness: it’s much easier than it looks!
It happens to many, especially to us (bikers), to have many dreams in the drawer, made of motorcycles, adventures, desires and at the same time we often have many fears, sometimes for the age, or the type of bike or simply of the unknown .
But as it happened to me, now over 40 yo, it happens to many: you wake up one morning and say, “Now I do it, I want to go off-road!”. So a bomb explodes in your mind and you start to search, on magazines, forums, talking to friends… while dealing with your wife, children, work and so many other worries. So let’s start with two basic things: the bike and the tires.
The right Motorcycle
Option 1) you own one already, maybe a 2 cylinder, over 200 kgs, such as Bmw GS or an Africa Twin, or a british 3 cylinders, with hard bags, tools, electronics… and the most dirt road you have been riding was the driveway of your house. Do not be offended, in fact, it’s fine to go off-road, but you’re scared: nothing more normal. I understand you, but trust me, there is a fantastic world waiting for you. If you prepare well, it is safer than paved roads.
Option 2) you have to buy one. Here is the mess: advices, friends, dealers, newspapers, web… everyone tells you that theirs is the best or that the one you like is the worst. Well, then go where your heart takes you (and your wallet!) Make a choice, the one that inspires you the most, it will be the right one. It could be heavy, light, powerful, tall, low… With a minimum of wisdom you will find the right one.
In my case i chose a Honda CRF 250 Rally... a fun Thai “tractor” that costs little but does a bit of everything: it has 27 horses for 150 kilos, it is not a beast but allows you to drive over 250 km, speed on the highway at about 100/120 kmh, great on off-road terrains and if you fall, you can quickly pull it up. Maybe it’s not the ultimate choice, but it’a great learning tool (it costs a little over 6,000 euros) and there are those like Renato Zocchi who made the Gibraltar Race with it.
Here begins another dilemma, the choice is huge, but in this case rely on your tire shop, try to understand above all what you mostly ride on between asphalt and dirt, in what conditions, climates and places. There are all-round tires and technical tires. The desert tires are beautiful, but unless you move to Tunisia you will not really need them.. Be patient to do some experience first and get advice from some experts. If you are planning to go to Sardinia or Tuscany and Umbria, get some info on the routes or events that you want to do and certainly with the “dual” tires you will be fine. On our 2 cylinder we picked Anlas, Capra X (more gravel oriented) e Capra R (street tires) and we had a great feeling on both.
For the moment think about these 2 things, bike and tires, maybe add a pair of handguards and a reinforced handlebar such as Kites and an engine guard to preserve your beloved motorcycle.
See you soon for Step 2 the choice of the OFF-ROAD SCHOOL and SAFETY GEAR. Stay tuned!