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A Beginner’s Guide to Long-distance Motorbike Touring

Be it a short visit to your friend’s place, or a long-distance touring, if it’s done on a motorbike, it will definitely be a fun experience. When it comes to long-distance motorbike touring, there are a lot of thoughts that come to your mind. Is it safe? What are things to carry? What type of motorbike to choose? Is it comfortable? And many more. Some of us find answers online and try to make our trips as best as possible. Some others go without any plans and then learn the hard way. But it is always great to learn from our experiences and also to learn from others’ experiences as well.

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Long-distance Motorbike Touring
The best trips that I ever had was the budget bike trips

Motorbike touring has become very popular these days. If we take the example of the Indian Market, more and more adventure tourers bikes are available nowadays than before. It clearly shows the increasing enthusiasm of this time in long-distance traveling. 

I have mentioned in one of my other blogs about the movie ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’ on Che Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado’s motorcycle adventures across Latin America. 

The curiosity to see the world and to experience what we have read in books and seen in videos. Those who have already done bike trips can understand what am talking about.

For the new riders, trust me. Do not hesitate to start your first long-distance touring. Because It will change everything that you see or know about trips.

I am going to help you plan your bike trips so that you won’t miss out on anything on your trips.

Which motorcycle is best for long-distance traveling?

KTM Duke 200
I ride mostly on my KTM Duke 200 with some mods

My answer to this question is “ you can do it on any type of motorcycle. Be it a Honda Activa or BMW GS series, as long as your toy is well maintained, you can do it.

But now then the comfort and maintenance part.

If you are can dare to try a cross-country trip on a Honda Activa, you might be changing your Tyres and hitting the service center more often than riding a good adventure or tourer-type motorbikes. I have seen many people covering long trips on low CC bikes and scooters. But there you need to sacrifice your comfort a lot. 

The right question would be what is the ideal motorcycle you can use for long-distance traveling?

There are many types of motorbikes. Standards, Cruisers, Adventure or Dual Sports, Sports, Dirt bikes, tourers and may more.

Below are some examples.


Honda CB, Royal Enfield 500, Triumph Twin Street

  • These are great for the daily commute and long trips
  • Expensive for Indian budget travels


 Harley-Davidson bikes, Bajaj Avenger

  • These are great for long highway rides
  • Also ideal for beginners.

Adventure or Dual Sports

KTM Adventure, Triumph Tiger, BMW GS series, Royal Enfield Himalayan

  • These are great for long city rides, Adventure trails, long-distance touring
  • Also ideal for beginners.


Kawasaki Ninja, Suzuki Hayabusa

  • Expensive for Indian budget travels


Indian, Harley-Davidson bikes

  • Very Expensive for Indian budget travel

Most of the bikes that I have mentioned above come with huge price tags. But I have done most of my trips on my KTM Duke 200. So let’s talk about budget bikes trips.

Here are some of the great bikes that are available in India for long-distance bike trips.

Royal Enfield Himalayan

KTM Adventure 390

BMW GS 310

Royal Enfield Standard

Baja Dominar 400

Honda CB 350

KTM Duke 390, 250, 200

Baja Avenger

These bikes can give you an amazing experience. These bikes have decent power to take you anywhere in India. Royal Enfield Himalayan, KTM Adventure 390, and BMW GS 310 are on the expensive side. But the comfort and riding experience is way beyond the price tag. But the bikes listed below are mostly dual purpose and you may need more accessories to increase the riding comfort and safety.

Some of the questions need to be addressed before getting a motorcycle.

  • How much can I spend on my motorcycle purchase or rental?
  • Cost of petrol for the trip
  • What type of terrains am I possible to be riding on? 
  • How much distance needs to be covered?
  • Am I riding solo or with a pillion rider?
  • Fuel Tank Capacity of the bike

What are the bike modifications and servicing needed for long-distance traveling?

Bike Servicing

This is important!

You need to ensure that the engine and your bike are in perfect condition. Visit your service center before the trip to do a complete service and check-up.

Below are some of the must check things

  • Change Engine Oil and Oil Filters.
  • Change or Clean Your Air Filters.
  • Check Spark Plug and also carry a spare one.
  • Change throttle cable, Clutch cable, and bike Cables.
  • Carry the old cables with you in case of any need while traveling.
  • Check chassis and wheels for any cracks or bends.
  • Check tire condition.
  • Refill the coolant and disk brake fluids.
  • Check Electricals and battery.
  • Lubricate your chain sprocket on every 500 Kms

Bike Modification

Delhi to Kerala by road
Some of the basic modifications

The most important thing to check before you modify your bike is the Traffics rules and laws of your country. It is very important to adhere to the laws and regulations as prescribed by the government or related authorities

Keeping this in mind, these are some of the modifications for your long-distance touring.

  • Wind Shield: Some of the bikes like Baja Avenger already have this.
  • Top Rack and Saddle stay: This is very important to carry your luggage.
  • Good Crash Guard: This can be your life saver as most of the bikes come with basic crash guards.
  • Knuckle Guard
  • A suitable tire depends on the road type.
  • Number Plate holder
  • Mobile Holder and charger

What are the essential things to carry on your long-distance bike trips?

Safety comes first

Let’s talk about the must-carry times. This will remain the same for all types of trips. Because most of them can save your life in case of an accident.

  • A Good Quality Helmet.
  • A tinted visor for the Helmet during sunny days and a clear visor for night rides.
  • A Good Quality jacket with protection.
  • Motorcycle trousers
  • Boots
  • Riding Gloves
  • Air cushion seat ( must and you will thank me for this one) 
  • Balaclava
  • Water bottle ( Keep hydrating yourself )
  • Rain coat.

Most of these gears are very expensive. But no compromise on these.

Travel Light

Long-distance Motorbike Touring
A trip to Manali

When you travel on bikes, you are forced to take less luggage. You will be amazed to see that you can actually travel without that bulky bag and many unnecessary items.

  • Saddle Bags
  • Tank bags

There are a lot of riding bags are available in the market which can give you enough space to arrange and carry your essential things.

Other essentials

  • Helmet lock.
  • GPS Navigation ( google maps on your phone can do the job ).
  • First Aid Kit.
  • A Spear Key.
  • Bike Repair Kit.
  • Portable Phone Charger.
  • Flat tire Repair Kit.
  • Motorcycle Manual.
  • Motorcycle documents ( RC, PUC certificate, Insurance and tax documents,driving licence, etc)

Also Read: Essential Things to Carry on Trips

How to Plan your long-distance bike trips?

The travel route

No one likes to be stuck in the middle of the road thinking where to go next.

You need to plan your entire trip before even the trip gets started. Finalize the route to take. Study the routes for any alternate plans and places to see in these routes.

Plan days travel distances

After I finalized my route,

  • Split each day’s travel into different parts based on the distance that I can cover in a day.
  • Research on the internet to find the best and efficient way to cover each day’s journey. 
  • Try not to travel at night.

Hotels and stays

Make sure to prebook hotels in case if you are riding for the first time. 

  • Choose the hotels that have good and secured parking spaces.
  • Proximity to Highways and travel routes.

If you are traveling solo, always try to inform a friend near to the place that you plan to travel to and also inform your family or friends with the latest updates of your locations.

Weather and types of terrain

  • Make sure to check the weather forecast and updates before heading for roads.
  • You may need to carry rain jackets or sweaters depends on the weather.
  • Get an idea about the road condition and type of terrain.
  • Choose a tire based on terrain. 

What’s your Budget?

Long-distance Motorbike Touring

You need to keep track of all your budgets and plan everything accordingly. These are some of the basic costs during the trips.

  • Petrol
  • Highway tolls
  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • Bike repair or maintenance
  • Shopping
  • Entry fees for tourist places

Make sure to plan your budgets and strictly adhere to them.

Here are some of the accessories and products that I have used. I am not promoting anything here. I have tried these and I found it good and serve their purpose. There might be a better option in the market. These are based on my usage and reviews.

These are based on my KTM Duke 200 (2019). You can check for your bike model and find one that suits better for you.

Also Read: Travel Psychology-From Planning to Posting

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