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Long Bike trip preparation

Getting ready for a long motorcycle trip is not easy. Especially if you are going to be on the road for a very long time. Here are some of the things I did before I started my journey, which was paused after 4 months on the road.

Read previous post here

Following lists might seem overwhelming at first, but they will be like a routine thing you would do if you are a regular rider. It helps to know that you won’t be left stranded if a minor problem occurs – since you trained and planned for it. These things have helped me in many situations and having decent knowledge of how everything works on your bike is paramount to enhance your experience of travelling for a long time.

fresh timsun tyres for the ride
fresh timsun tyres for the ride
bike prep scratch pad
bike prep scratch pad
packed luggage for the ride
packed luggage for the ride
bike ready for the ride with luggage
bike ready for the ride with luggage

Documents required

RC, DL can be kept on phone using Govt.’s app DigiLocker and is mostly accepted as official proof. But keep these originals just in case. (Check links section at the bottom for official govt. circular for the same)

  1. Driving License (DL)
  2. Bike Registration (RC)
  3. Pollution Certificate (6 month expiry period, keep hard copy)
  4. Bike Insurance – keep hard copy
  5. Voter ID / Passport (Aadhar card is not accepted everywhere, especially in North-East Indian states) – keep hard copy
  6. Bike Manual (useful info for extreme cases, may come in handy)

Safety

I cannot stress enough on the safety aspect on a motorcycle. Since you are on 2 wheels, you are prone to more risks of getting injured. As I read somewhere, “Its better to dress for the slide and not the ride”. Not to sound too ominous, but given how people drive in India, our roads and sense of road safety, always wear a helmet, decent shoes, gloves, riding jacket & riding pants.

It might cost you around 15-20 thousand rupees to invest in quality safety gear. I say do it. You can use this gear for at least 3-4 years. Its not worth getting a scratch on your body over 20k. Life is invaluable. Checkout these videos from a wonderful YouTuber called FortNine. Exact products might be super expensive or not available in India, but you can use these videos to decide what to get

Safety Gear – quality cannot come at a cheap price.

  1. Helmet – good certified helmet, go for Snell / International standards – would cost around 3,000 rupees minimum.
  2. Gloves – get ones with Knox armour or super fabric – does not lead to injury in case you fall or slide. 3,000 rupees minimum.
  3. Riding Jacket – should have padded armour (ask for high quality memory foam) in elbow, should and back sections. 4,000 rupees minimum.
  4. Riding pants – they are super comfortable and safe, look for armour in knee, shin and hip sections. (better over knee guards) – 5,000 rupees minimum.

Pre-ride servicing at a Service Center

  1. Tyre changes (get tyres with good grip in all conditions)
  2. Engine oil, brake fluids, brake pads, Spark plug, Air Filter
  3. Suspension checks (front & rear), Cone Set, bearings etc..
  4. Chain check, sprocket inspection,
  5. Electrical checks

Repair / Replace & minor things to learn – better pick the brains of service center guys, politely ask them to teach you how to do. They will be helpful mostly. Ofcourse, YouTube has lots of videos.

  1. How to remove and put back the tyre (front & rear) – helpful when puncture and there’s no one around. Many local shops struggle with a new / unknown bike.
  2. Replace brake pads (front & rear)
  3. Replace clutch cable (fairly common & easy to do)
  4. Replace throttle cable (may require a bit of work, remove fuel tank)
  5. Remove battery (useful if needs recharging)
  6. Change spark plug

Bike Spares & Accessories to carry

  1. Tubes (Patch kit if you can carry electric pump for Tubed-Tyre, patch-kit for Tubeless tyre)
  2. Brake pads (front & rear)
  3. Spark Plug, Fuses (easy to replace if they get short-circuited)
  4. Clutch cable
  5. Throttle / Accelerator cable
  6. Chain cleaner, Lube – every 500Km, improves handling, mileage.
  7. Basic toolkit, insulation tape, a wire cutter
  8. First Aid Kit – basics, burn ointment, alcohol swabs etc..
  9. Good cables to tie any luggage (Bungee cords are dangerous – they can hurt you if not careful)

Checklist before start of the ride (easy to do)

  1. Tyre pressures – important for ride quality, handling & mileage.
  2. Chain slack – should not have too much slack or too tight
  3. Rear-wheel alignment – check rear wheelnut.
  4. Fuel – always be extra careful and fill petrol to full, especially when riding to unknown or remote areas.
  5. Check tyres for any deformations, nails or anything that might lead to a puncture.

After my preparation, here what it looked like before I started on my ride. Make sure the bike is not too heavy with the luggage and easier to ride, turn and stop. If the luggage is too heavy, it will change the bike dynamics making it difficult and unsafe to ride.

Links

FortNine safety research YouTube

Helmet research YouTube, importance of buying a quality helmet

Digi Locker Govt. Circular

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