motorcycle accessories

 

Motorcycle Accessories Dirt Road Riding.

Motorcycle accessories are expensive and while some are extremely valuable others are a waste of money. Therefore which motorcycle accessories should you fit to your dual-sport, touring motorcycle and in what order should you fit them considering you have a budget? Here is a suggested list.

Table 1) Long distance touring modification mainly on tar road and in good weather. Click here
 

Suggested order of purchase.

Rural off-road touring including poor surfaces, all weather, mud etc.

No Accessory Which bikes Explanation
1

Engine protectors

All motorcycles Motorcycles fall over - fact, often at walking speed. Engine protectors can avoid expensive repairs to your bike but also give additional room for your legs should they be trapped under the fallen bike. On the big BMW GS models (see pic) the tappet cover is made of a soft magnesium and is easily damaged.
2

Pannier frames (and panniers and topbox)

All motorcycles Without a luggage solution you're staying at home! Pannier frames in conjunction with the engine protectors help to avoid costly repairs to your bike when it falls over.

When touring off road the chance of dropping your motorcycle is greater. Therefore one must consider the wisdom of fitting expense hard panniers. Soft panniers with a hard, lockable topbox is perhaps the best route to take.

3

Engine bashplate (sump guard)

BMW GS1200 and others The design of the underbelly of the GS1200 is unfortunately significantly different from its predecessors and the addition of an aftermarket bashplate is essential when riding off road. This one is available from www.touratech.com

 

4

12v power point

Where a power point has not been provided i.e. mainly older motorcycles Power for camping lights, compressors, GPS units, electric vests and heated handgrips to name a few. Modern motorcycles have at least two.
 

5

Mini electric compressor and tyre gauge

All motorcycles The ability to vary the pressure in one's tyres is essential when touring on-road and off-road i.e. as low as 1 bar in loose sand and as much as 3 bar when riding on the tar. In addition working compressors with accurate tyre gauges are difficult to come by in rural petrol stations.

Many hard-core long distance off road bikers have a high pressure hand pump as a backup.

6

Wide footpegs

All motorcycles Wide footpegs are not about comfort - they are about control when riding standing up. One's ability to deftly manoeuvre one's heavy bike on a technical off road surface is improved by 20% with the addition of solid, wide footpegs. Rubber inserts into the footpeg moulding are useful for reducing vibration through the feet when touring long distance on tar when one rides in the seated position.
7

Aluminium reinforced hand guards

All motorcycles The job of hand guards is to protect your hands when the motorcycle goes down and the handlebars smash into the road surface. In addition the guards protect the vulnerable clutch and front brake levers which snap easily on impact. A broken clutch lever in particular can mean the end of a tour.
8

Oil cooler protector

On bikes where the cooling fins are exposed Radiator cooling fins are delicate. If they are exposed like the oil cooling fins on this BMW GS1100 then it makes sense to protect them from flying stones etc. A damaged oil cooling radiator can mean the end of your tour.
9

Radiator protector

On motorbikes with radiators that are exposed. Radiator cooling fins are delicate. If they are exposed like the water cooling fins on this BMW F650 then it makes sense to protect them from flying stones etc. A damaged water cooling radiator can mean the end of your tour.
10

Long life, no maintenance battery.

All motorcycles More calls outs are received by towing services for defective motorcycle batteries than any other single reason. In addition maintenance on a regular battery is difficult and time consuming resulting in the job being neglected. Therefore it makes sense to fit a sealed battery that requires zero maintenance.
11

GPS and fully adjustable GPS holder

All motorcycles with a 12v power point A GPS is seldom an essential piece of equipment unless you want to tour through wilderness and desert areas. If you do own one a handlebar mount is essential.
12

Spotlight Kit

All motorcycles Motorcycles should not be operated at night on rural, off-road tours. Especially in Africa with potholes, diesel spills, stray animals and drunken pedestrians.

If you are part of a group motorcycling through Africa, you may be forced to travel at night through circumstances beyond your control. In this case a spotlight kit is an essential accessory. If you are able to make your own decisions then this item appears at the end of this list.

This one has the advantage of being so small that it does not get broken should you drop the bike.

13

Disconnect side stand cut out switch

All motorcycles The side stand cut-off switch is vulnerable to mud, water and crud because it is situated so low on the bike. Unfortunately it is the last thing one checks when your bike refuses to start miles from nowhere and you start the fruitless task of dismantling working components.
14

Big foot side stand

All motorcycles You will only allow your motorcycle to fall over once in soft sand before you fit a big foot accessory. A motorbike that falls over can inflict thousands of rands of damage to itself as it it likely to hit some other object on the way down..
15

Brake caliper guards

All motorcycles Mud, dust and grass seeds all conspire to foul up your brake calipers and a guard to protect them is a good idea. This particular example is available from www.toursforafrica.co.za

 

16

High quality long life oil filter

All motorcycles Oil filters prolong your engines life. Therefore a filter that can filter out particles only microns in size will benefit your bike enormously if you intend to put high mileage on your motorcycle.
17

High quality long life air filter

All motorcycles Air filters prolong your engines life. Therefore a filter that can filter out particles only microns in size will benefit your bike enormously if you intend to put high mileage on your motorbike. Note that long life filters come with their own shampoo and replacement air filter oil.
18

Mud flap

All motorcycles This rubber flap helps keep your motorcycle cleaner and keeps your boots drier on a wet tour. No one wants to wash their motorbike on tour and getting your boots to dry overnight is difficult.
19

Handlebar raisers

Depends on how tall the rider is. Tall riders, riding off road in the standing position find reaching down to the handlebars puts a strain on their lower back. Additionally handlebars that are too low cause the rider to ride with straightened arms which affects their ability to control the bike over technical terrain. Raisers can therefore make a big difference.
20

Jump start point

All motorcycles Jump starting a motorcycle with its hidden battery terminals is a big problem. A jump start point solves this by providing a positive point for the jumper cable on the side of the motorbike. The negative clamp merely fits onto the frame.
21

Headlight protector

All motorcycles Cracked headlamp lenses are expensive to repair and are difficult to replace on tour. Therefore this lens protector is a good investment.
22

Tank protectors

All motorcycles Abrasive motorcycling long pants can ruin your paint work particularly on the sides of the tank.
23

Comfortable seat

Most motorcycles Aching bum-burn is no fun on a long tour. Neither is a vinyl seat at 40 C or at -4 C. A comfortable seat that is soft, cool in the heat and warm in the cold is a godsend. This particular example is sheepskin which shrugs off the effects of all extreme weather.
24

High screen

Where wind noise and buffeting is a problem. If your off road tours often require hours, or even days in the saddle to arrive at your selected destination, a high touring screen may be a great accessory if wind noise and buffeting is a problem. This screen is available from www.toursforafrica.co.za

 

25

Omni vision rear view mirror

All motorcycles Your motorcycle mirrors have to cover the real estate directly behind the motorbike as well as the two blind spots i.e. one on either side when riding on a multi lane highway. That totals three areas but your motorbike only has two mirrors. The addition of an omni mirror can cover the third and final blind spot.
26

Long life ceramic clutch plate

Big BMW GS models An indestructible clutch plate for long distance, extreme conditions. The thrust bearing can still fail but they are small and light whereas carrying a spare clutch plate is not practical. This one is available from www.toursforafrica.co.za

 

27

Spotlight kit

All motorcycles Motorcycles should not be operated at night on rural, off-road tours. Especially in Africa with potholes, diesel spills, spray animals and drunken pedestrians.

If you insist on riding at night, then a spotlight kit is an essential accessory. This kit is available from www.toursforafrica.co.za

This table - Rural off-road touring including poor surfaces, all weather, mud etc.

Table 1) Long distance touring modification mainly on tar road and in good weather. Click here

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