Motorcycle and Bike Clothing

Bike ClothingRoad SurfacesRiding Skills

The Off Road Motorcycle

Focusing on the motorbike for a moment, one typically needs a bike that offers torque at low revs (between 3000 and 6000 rpm), a gearbox that offers a longer first gear and a maximum speed of less than 180kph. Also high, firm suspension, reasonable off road tyres - (tires USA) and wide, upright handlebars. Typically these types of motorcycles are called enduro, trail or dual-sport with MX bikes being the most extreme examples. Generally tyres are run a bit softer than on the road. A good all round pressure is 1.1 bar (15psi) for the front with the rear being a bit harder (increase tyre pressure above 2 bar however when travelling over very rocky terrain in order to protect your rims and avoid punctures)
If you plan to ride more challenging trails your motorbike should have wheel rims with spokes and heavy duty tubes which are able to resist objects like thorns. Inner tubes should be replaced every 20 000km even if they have never sustained a puncture. This is because the area around the valve deteriorates and final tears causing a puncture that can be impossible to repair. Water that seeps in through the spokes also causes damage to both the rims, spokes and tube. Ideally your rims should dry out before you park your bike. The vulnerable parts of your bike should be protected by engine protectors, crash bars, bash plates etc. front and back. This especially applies to the big, off road boxter BMW motorbikes where the tappet covers stick out the side and are especially vulnerable. Special equipment e.g. headlights, brake calipers, turn indicators, radiator etc. should also be protected. If you are touring off road your luggage must be packed down low. Piling stuff on the seat behind you will cause your bike to become top heavy. You wont even notice the problem as you leave town on the tar. Later when you hit the bad stuff, it will be too late!


Protective Riding Gear Injury can be avoided by having suitable protective clothing. Helmet, eye and hand protection are obvious but do not neglect the following

1) Boots that offer solid ankle support (sport shoes, sneakers, tennis shoes are a big NO NO)

2) Long pants that are tear resistant (denim jeans are not suitable!)

.3) Knee protection. These can be built into the construction of the pants or worn separately and externally over the knees.

4) Thigh protection. Usually built into the long pants

5) Jacket that offers elbow and shoulder protection Riding off road in Africa is usually very hot due to the low speeds and the strenuous exercise. This should be borne in mind when purchasing a jacket. For the same reason one wears a three quarters helmet with goggles when riding off road at speeds of less than 100kph.