Choosing the right motorcycle parts are absolutely crucial for a long term motorcycle journey. Below you will find my recommendations
The Michelin Anakee III has a 90 % on-road / 10 % off-road profile and is advertised as a Dual Sport tire which can be used for both riding scenarios. The tire has a great performance on-road and is literally sticking on the asphalt which makes riding long distances and curvy asphalt roads a lot of fun. It gives the smooth feeling of riding a sports tourer 🙂
However, If you just go slightly off-road you won’t be happy anymore unless it is a well maintained dirt road. It might just do an ok job. This changes dramatically on slippery surfaces or gravel in which case you definitely need more grip!
Let me introduce you the famous “Heidenau K60” tire. The biker community is highly recommending the use of the K60 which has a 50 % on-road / 50 % off-road profile. After changing the tires I could immediately feel the difference on the road – not as smooth as the Michelin Anakee III and I needed to get used to the new type of tire. Especially in curves I felt the difference the most (not nearly as smooth as the Anakee III) and was initially a bit skeptical if I indeed made the right choice.
This changed immediately when I hit the first gravel and dirt roads. It gave me directly a lot more confidence as well as grip on this kind of terrain, in comparison to the Anakee III. It’s a great compromise in between both riding styles in case you don’t have a clear preference for either on-road or off-road terrain. It does a great job on both!
In Bogota (Colombia) I had to change tires again. I was planning to ride the Guajira dessert and Baja California in Mexico and decided therefore to put a more aggressive set of tires on my BMW GS. The Metzeler Karoo 3 with a 70 % off-road and 30 % on-road profile.
When riding through sand and gravel of the Guajira desert I was more than happy with the choice and the performance. It is a great off-road tire with a lot of grip and I had the time of my life experience.
The TKC 80 looks really cool and I always admired the BMW 1200 riders who had this kind of set up on their bikes. It just makes you want to go off-road 🙂
Keen to see the performance I made a quick calculation and saw that I had another 10’000 km to ride before arriving in Alaska. Somehow I thought I could make it with that set up of tires… NOT!
In San Diego, I had the choice to purchase the Heidenau K60 again. Due to the great experience I was almost about to purchase them when I saw the Shinko 705. From other overlanders, I heard they were doing a good job compared to a low price. Indeed, the front and the rear tire cost me less than a single Heidenau K60 tire.
Read here a full comprehensive report on which tires to choose.
GIVI Wind Shield
Imagine you are driving the highway 3 from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires. It is a straight road without any pretty scenery. You want to make progress fast and therefore a high touring wind shield is absolutely a must. Anything over 100 km/h for a longer period of time would not make fun anymore. Very satisfied with this product from GIVI.
I used two different kind of headlamp protectors on my trip. One with plexiglass and one with solid metal. I preferred the plexiglass because insects could not be flying through and is therefore easier to clean. However, the metal is more robust in case you have a crash. The Plexiglass breaks easily… It is a trade off but both are necessary to keep flying gravel off your lights.
Side Stand Enlargement
You will be encountering a lot of different terrains on this trip – anything in between gravel, sand, grass or mud. This makes it difficult to park your motorcycle and a side stand enlargement can help to solve this problem – simply by having a larger surface of the stand. One disadvantage with a side stand enlargement is the fact that with uneven terrain it sometimes gets more difficult to pull out the stand itself. It really bothered me!
Prior to my side stand enlargement I simply put a plastic disc, wood or stones underneath the stand. Disadvantage here is that you will either forget the plastic disc at a certain time or there are simply no stones or wood laying around, lol.
I leave this decision up to you, if you need it or not 🙂
Break and Clutch Lever
This is absolutely a must have. Imagine you are having a crash and you break off your break lever. Either you are in the middle of nowhere and you don’t have access to motorbike shops or they simply don’t have the right lever matching the model of your motorcycle. Get a spare one!
Break Pads Front
Usually you should be fine with the break pads when keeping the recommended service intervals for your motorcycle. However, sometimes it can get tight and especially when riding extreme terrain you might need to change them earlier. It’s always a good idea to have additional break pads with you.
Break Pads Back
Same as with the back break pads… Usually you should be fine with them when keeping the recommended service intervals for your motorcycle. However, sometimes it can get tight and especially when riding extreme terrain you might need to change them earlier. It’s always a good idea to have additional break pads with you.
For sure this will happen… you are riding in a deserted area and suddenly your lights don’t work anymore. You need to exchange your light bulb and need to have the right model. Definitely get a spare bulb and save frustration! The board computer of the GS will additionally give you a hard time 😉