I’ve mentioned other places how important it is to slow down while traveling. I will also admit that I struggle with that, from time to time. I have other things I want to do, and I get distracted while traveling and – since a lot of my trips involve me having to me somewhere at a certain time – I end up having to rush.
Not a fan.
Anyway, if you have finally broke free of the “normal” life and gotten onto the road for a long, long trip, time starts to factor into things differently. I also like to travel on a small motorcycle, 250ccs. For many people this is the size of motorcycle you start on when you are learning, and get rid of before too many of your friends see you on it. This is changing, particularly in the overlanding community, as travelers realize even a “small” motorcycle is large in most places in the world.
Keeping all that in mind, many people, especially in the USA, need to cover large areas of ground to reach where they want to spend their vacations, or focus their riding time. For that sort of travel – high daily miles with hours and hours on the interstate system, small motorcycles aren’t really the best.
But there is something to consider – that sort of travel (lets me honest) sucks no matter what motorcycle you are on. So, lets think about a few things to keep in mind while you are traveling (or planning to travel) on a small motorcycle.
Small Motorcycles are more fun than large motorcycles. Everyone knows this – it’s not some earth shatter revelation, but people by large motorcycles anyway, thinking they need the power or some other feature that the large bike brings. I’m not going to say that a small motorcycle – 250cc or smaller – is happy on the Interstate, but I will say that Interstates are a terrible way to travel. I don’t know anyone who’s excited to get their bike on I-whatever and ride for hours and hours (except the Endurance Rider types, and even they will admit to preferring smaller roads). Most riders know that all the nice riding is on the smaller roads – state and local routes.
But I was talking about overland travel, and that isn’t about exploring state and local routes. Once you leave developed countries (and even in a few of those), the speed of travel slows down. Road conditions are worse, speed limits are lower, and you just can’t go that fast when you stuck behind a pack of cows.
But you don’t want to go on an overland trip, you just want to maybe do some adventure rides, play in the dirt some, maybe a couple water crossings. Again, this is mostly slow speed riding, and riding where a light motorcycle has all the advantages. There is a reason why dirt bikes are all suspension and no engine. Well, a small engine.
I know that there is a lot of marketing, telling you that you need to buy and adventure bike for your adventure ride – but you don’t. You really, really don’t. If you have a motorcycle already try traveling on that. Yes, it might not be the best at everything you want to do, but that will be true of any motorcycle you buy and – hey – you already own it. Spend the money on gas.