Welcome to the wonderful world of dual sport adventure riding. Though adventure riders are relatively few in number we have been the fastest growing segment in all of motorcycling for several years. When I say relatively few, I mean just that; in 2013 there were 324,691 street-only motorcycles and 73,371 off-road motorcycles sold in the United States. Contrast that to the 32,979 dual sport motorcycles sold in the United States during the same period. Those numbers and percentages are representative of other years too, not just 2013.
Luckily, dual sport motorcycle sales have been growing 10-15% per year while other motorcycling segments have been somewhat stagnant. Riders who rode and raced dirt bikes from their teens through their thirties are more often turning to dual sport motorcycling in their forties and later years to meet their need for adrenaline and adventure. All of this means that motorcycle manufacturers and aftermarket companies are now paying closer attention to this segment of motorcycling and are bringing new products to the market to meet the needs of the dual sport adventure rider. There has never been a better time to join our growing ranks.
This guide is written for the new dual sport adventure rider asking questions such as which bike is best, what gear should I wear, and what should I be carrying on my motorcycle while out on an adventure? These are the same types of questions I asked when I stopped racing motocross and bought my first dual sport bike, a KLR 650, in the early 2000s.
While my dirt riding skills were reasonably well developed from years of racing motocross, my street riding skills weren’t anything to write home about, nor did I have the first clue about which bike would best meet my needs, what modifications and improvements my motorcycle might need, what protective gear to wear, or how and what to pack for multi-day adventure rides. Nor was I able to find any definitive guide for the new dual sport adventure rider. So I did what a lot of new riders do – I searched the internet and found advrider.com. I spent a lot of time in front of my computer gleaning as much information as I could from advrider and other forums. That plus about 10 years of learning-by-doing eventually turned me into an at least half-competent adventure rider. It also brought me to the point that I thought I would share some of the lessons I’ve learned from other adventure riders along the way and some I had to learn the hard way out on the trail. I hope you find this guide useful as you begin your journey of adventure.