If you have a passion for exploring the great outdoors, then an adventure motorbikes is your ultimate ticket to thrilling expeditions. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into everything you need to know about adventure motorbikes. From choosing the right bike and essential gear, to planning epic trips and mastering off-road techniques, this blog post will equip you with all the knowledge and inspiration you need to embark on unforgettable adventures.
- 1 Introduction to Adventure Motorbikes
- 2 Choosing the Right Adventure Motorbikes
- 3 Essential Gear for Adventure Motorbiking
- 4 Planning Epic Adventure Motorbike Trips
- 5 Mastering Off-Road Techniques
- 6 Choosing a Motorcycle Tour
- 7 Motorcycle Touring in Ecuador
- 8 Choosing a Motorcycle Tour
- 9 Daily Riding Distances
- 10 Choosing the Best Touring Motorcycle for Your Trip
- 11 Motorcycle Luggage and Packing
- 12 Gearing up for Motorcycle Tours in Ecuador
- 13 Conclusion:
Introduction to Adventure Motorbikes
Adventure motorbikes are specially designed two-wheelers built for off-road escapades. These versatile machines combine the agility of a dirt bike with the long-distance capabilities of a touring motorcycle, making them perfect companions for adventurous souls seeking adrenaline-fueled journeys.
Choosing the Right Adventure Motorbikes
When selecting an adventure motorbike, several factors come into play. Consider your riding skills, budget, intended terrain, and desired features. Some popular adventure bikes include:
a) BMW R1250GS Adventure
Known as one of the best adventure motorcycles on the market, the BMW R1250GS Adventure offers exceptional comfort, advanced technology, and unparalleled reliability. Its powerful engine and robust suspension make it perfect for conquering any terrain.
b) KTM 790 Adventure R
The KTM 790 Adventure R is designed for serious off-roading enthusiasts. With its lightweight frame, impressive suspension travel, and aggressive styling, this bike allows riders to push their limits on rugged trails while maintaining optimum control.
c) Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin
Renowned for its exceptional reliability and versatility, the Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin is equally capable of tackling rough terrains as it is cruising comfortably on highways. With its powerful engine and excellent balance, it provides confidence-inspiring performance in any environment.
Essential Gear for Adventure Motorbiking
To ensure a safe and enjoyable adventure motorbike trip, investing in the right gear is paramount. Consider the following essential items:
A high-quality helmet is non-negotiable when it comes to rider safety. Look for helmets that provide optimal protection, good ventilation, and a comfortable fit.
b) Riding Jacket and Pants
Invest in riding gear made from durable, weather-resistant materials with built-in armor for maximum protection. Look for jackets and pants with proper ventilation to keep you cool during long rides.
c) Boots and Gloves
Choose boots that offer ankle support, sturdy soles, and toe protection. When it comes to gloves, opt for those with good grip and adequate padding to protect your hands in case of a fall.
d) Luggage System
Invest in a reliable luggage system designed explicitly for adventure motorbikes. Look for options that are waterproof, secure, and can withstand rough conditions.
Planning Epic Adventure Motorbike Trips
Embarking on an adventure motorbike journey requires careful planning to ensure you have an unforgettable experience. Here are some tips to help you plan your next epic trip:
a) Research Your Destination
Research the terrain, weather conditions, local regulations, and attractions of your chosen destination. This will help you prepare adequately and make the most out of your adventure.
b) Plan Your Route Wisely
Consider the distance you’re comfortable covering each day while allowing time for rest stops or unexpected detours. Be sure to factor in fuel stations and accommodations along the way.
c) Pack Smartly
Travel light but ensure you have all essentials such as spare parts, tools, first-aid kits, navigation devices, camping gear (if applicable), and extra fuel if needed.
d) Check Your Bike’s Condition
Maintain your adventure motorbike meticulously before setting off. Inspect the tires, brakes, chain, suspension, and fluid levels to ensure everything is in top-notch condition.
Mastering Off-Road Techniques
To truly enjoy the adventure motorbike experience, it’s crucial to master off-road riding techniques. Here are some essential skills to develop:
a) Body Positioning
Learn how to maintain proper balance by adjusting your body position when navigating through various terrains. Shifting your weight can greatly improve stability and maneuverability.
b) Braking Techniques
Practice using both front and rear brakes effectively while off-roading. Understanding the right balance between the two is essential for maintaining control and preventing skidding.
c) Cornering on Loose Surfaces
Mastering cornering techniques on dirt or gravel roads is crucial for safe off-road riding. Learn how to lean into turns while maintaining control of your bike on unpredictable surfaces.
d) Negotiating Obstacles
Develop skills for crossing tricky obstacles such as rocks, tree roots, or water crossings. Learning techniques like “standing up” on the bike or “feathering” the clutch will help you tackle challenging terrain with confidence.
Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or embarking on a long-distance expedition, mastering these skills will make your adventure motorbike trips safer and more enjoyable.
Choosing a Motorcycle Tour
We have been riding motorcycles, working, and designing motorbike tours in Ecuador for over a decade, and we know that no two riders are the same. That’s why we offer a wide selection of tours: guided and self-guided, focused on scenic tarmac roads and dirt trails, luxury tours, and budget trips, group rides, and custom tours. We have something for every skill level, comfort preference, and sense of adventure.
If you’re unsure which tour option will work best for you, first think about the type of riding you enjoy most. If you prefer canyon carving and tackling adrenaline-inducing mountain twisties, take a look at our paved tours featuring the Andean routes. For those who love beaches, mountains, and jungles equally, our Inca Royal Roads and Cloudforest, Coast, and Craters tours are great choices.
If you love riding off-road, our Off-Road Pacific Discovery, Dirt Deluxe, and Off-Road Ecuador ADVenture tours are perfect for you. And if you prefer exploring on your own while having the convenience and safety of pre-programmed routes, pre-booked hotels, and daily roadbook sheets provided to you, our self-guided tours are an excellent option.
In terms of riding, Ecuadorian roads can be a challenge if you’re not used to steep switchbacks and hairpin turns. Straight, wide-open roads in Ecuador are few and far between: for the most part; you will be riding mountain twisties with big, generous sweepers, tight hairpins, countless switchbacks, and more adrenaline-inducing corners than you can imagine.
While most main routes, such as the Pan American Highway, are well-engineered and well-maintained, some of the backcountry routes may have potholes and uneven surfaces due to frequent landslides and earthquakes. Not to worry, earthquakes and landslides aren’t a daily occurrence in Ecuador but bear in mind that some roads in the more remote, rural areas in the Andes and the Amazon will not boast silky-smooth surfaces like in North America or Europe.
When it comes to dirt riding, Ecuador is nothing short of a dual-sport paradise. Out here, you’ll ride mountain trails, jungle paths, and wild beaches, and we guarantee Ecuadorian dirt roads will have you coming back for more. However, as with the paved routes, expect the ride to be bumpy every once in a while, and you may have to tackle some washouts, river crossings, mudslides, and other obstacles along the way.
Motorcycle Touring in Ecuador
Here at Ecuador Freedom, we like to call Ecuador the “gateway drug” into South America. That’s because Ecuador is uniquely positioned right on the equator (from where it gets its name), and it’s a relatively small and compact country that offers a glimpse into the three most sought-after regions of South America: the Pacific Coast, the Andes Mountains, and the Amazon basin.
In Ecuador, you can explore all three of these bucket-list destinations in just one tour without having to cover thousands of miles to see it all. Ecuador has a well-developed infrastructure with excellent-quality tarmac roads, charming hotels, fantastic cuisine, beautiful colonial towns, as well as spectacular traditional haciendas and dreamlike jungle lodges.
Traveling here is hassle-free, comfortable, and incredibly motorcycle-friendly since Ecuadorians themselves are avid riders, and motorcycling is a big part of the culture. You’ll travel jaw-dropping mountain twisties, jungle trails, and meandering coastal routes; encounter curious and friendly locals; and experience the Ecuadorian culture up close and personal while enjoying many Western comforts along the way.
That being said, however, Ecuador is not Wisconsin, and you will encounter some challenges such as narrow backcountry roads, varying temperatures, terrain, altitude; as well as some local curiosities and customs that you may not be familiar with.
Touring by motorcycle is all about adventure. Ecuador has no shortage of thrilling routes, breathtaking scenery; fascinating culture; heritage to enjoy. But if this is your first time riding in South America, start at the beginning and think about what sort of riding you want to do and what bike will work best for you.
Choosing a Motorcycle Tour
We have been riding motorcycles, working, and designing motorbike tours in Ecuador for over a decade, and we know that no two riders are the same. That’s why we have a wide selection of tours available: guided and self-guided, focused on scenic tarmac roads and dirt trails, luxury tours, and budget trips, group rides, and custom tours – we’ve got something for every level of skill, comfort, and degree of adventure.
If you’re unsure which tour option will work best for you, first think about what kind of riding you enjoy most. If you prefer canyon carving and throwing the bike around adrenaline-inducing mountain twisties, look at our paved tours featuring the Andean routes. For those who love beaches, mountains, and jungles equally, our Inca Royal Roads and Cloudforest, Coast, and Craters tours will be a great choice.
Love riding dirt? Our Off-Road Pacific Discovery, Dirt Deluxe, and Off-Road Ecuador ADVenture tours will be the perfect fit for you. And if you prefer exploring on your own while having the comfort and safety of pre-programmed routes, pre-booked hotels, and daily roadbook sheets provided to you; our self-guided tours are an excellent option.
In terms of riding experience in Ecuadorian roads can be challenging if you’re not used to steep switchbacks and hairpin turns. Straight wide-open roads in Ecuador are few and far between; for the most part; you will be riding mountain twisties with big generous sweepers tight hairpins countless switchbacks; more adrenaline-inducing corners than you can imagine.
While most main routes such as the Pan American Highway are well-engineered and well-maintained some of the backcountry routes may have potholes uneven surfaces due to frequent landslides earthquakes. Not to worry earthquakes landslides aren’t a daily occurrence in Ecuador but bear in mind that some roads in the more remote rural areas in the Andes and the Amazon will not boast silky-smooth surfaces like in North America or Europe.
When it comes to dirt riding Ecuador is nothing short of a dual-sport paradise. Out here, you’ll ride mountain trails, jungle paths, and wild beaches; and we guarantee Ecuadorian dirt roads will have you coming back for more. However as with the paved routes expect the ride to be bumpy every once in a while you may have to tackle some washouts river crossings mudslides other obstacles along the way.
Daily Riding Distances
In addition to the different road and off-road surfaces, it’s important to keep in mind that motorcycling in Ecuador is not about speed. Countless turns and twists will keep your pace in check. Additionally, you may encounter wildlife, domestic animals like cattle, and people on the roads.
It’s not uncommon to come across a llama shepherd strolling casually down a busy main road with their animals taking up one or two lanes. We’ve even had to brake hard for loose sheep, dogs, and vicuña hanging out right in the middle of the road. This is all part of the local way of life, so it’s essential to stay alert when riding in Ecuador.
Riding motorcycles in Ecuador requires increased focus and skill due to varying road surfaces, different altitudes, and road conditions. That’s why we prefer to avoid rider fatigue by keeping daily distances to around 120-180 miles.
Remember, motorcycle touring in Ecuador isn’t about covering long distances on wide-open highways; it’s about the adventure and experiences along the way. You’ll be riding winding, twisty roads while passing through multiple towns and villages.
You’ll often stop for meals, sightseeing, visits with locals, and other off-bike experiences. In addition, you’ll need to acclimatize to different elevations daily. It’s important that you can navigate tight corners well, manage U-turns in narrow spaces, feel comfortable on cobblestones and occasional gravel patches, and be prepared for diverse weather situations. In other words, motorcycling in Ecuador isn’t about high speeds and covering long distances; it’s about enjoying the ride and immersing yourself in the local culture.
Choosing the Best Touring Motorcycle for Your Trip
When touring Ecuador, every day will bring a new experience. The capital city, Quito, sits at an altitude of over 9,000 feet, while the Mount Chimborazo pass reaches around 11,000 feet. On the other hand, the cloud forests and roads in the Amazon basin are near sea level.
Riding in Ecuador means encountering significant changes in elevation on a daily basis. Road conditions will also vary. While we keep the daily distances reasonable, it’s not an easy ride. That’s why we highly recommend selecting a motorcycle that you feel most comfortable with.
We often receive inquiries about large-capacity motorcycles with spacious sofa seats, highway pegs, CD players, and cruise control. We understand why these bikes are popular in the US, Canada, or Europe. However, for Ecuador, you need something smaller, lighter, and more agile. You’ll be shifting your weight around and standing on your foot pegs. You’ll cross narrow bridges and transport your bike on canoes. You’ll maneuver through tight spaces and tackle steep hairpin turns.
There might even be some dirt sections along the way. To enjoy riding comfortably in Ecuador, choose an adventure or dual-sport motorcycle that you can handle confidently. At Ecuador Freedom, our largest offering is the Honda Africa Twin 1000 because in Ecuador you’ll encounter angles and pitches like never before; from our experience we’ve found that lighter is better.
The best tool is one that you don’t have to think about or realize you’re using. And if by the end of the day you haven’t thought that a smaller bike would have made things easier and less tiring for you, then you’ve made a good choice.
Most of our customers opt for 650cc motorcycles when riding solo and 800-850 cc bikes when traveling two-up (with a passenger). For paved routes, we recommend the Honda Africa Twin 1000 and BMW GS 750-850 motorcycles. If you plan on riding off-road, our Suzuki DR650’s and SWM 650 are excellent choices. If you’re looking for a more technical and challenging enduro-style trip, even small dirt bikes like the Yamaha XT250 can provide a lot of fun.
Some of our bikes can be equipped with heated grips, and if you plan to use heated gear during your trip, choose a bike with plenty of auxiliary power sockets like the BMW F800GS or F750GS.
All our motorcycles are regularly maintained by our in-house team of mechanics, so you can ride with confidence knowing that your motorbike is fully prepared for the road and adventure ahead.
Motorcycle Luggage and Packing
When you ride with us, luggage is provided along with your rental bike. Our website shows the actual luggage configuration for each of our bikes: we do not use stock images, so what you see is exactly the configuration you get.
We do not use hard luggage on our motorcycles for safety reasons and to keep the weight off; instead, we prefer soft luggage options such as Mosko Moto and Alt Rider. You can choose the Mosko Moto Backcountry 35 panniers and a duffel bag or the AltRider Hemisphere saddlebags, depending on how much space you need.
Generally, Mosko Moto panniers are more than enough for traveling two-up, and the Alt Rider or Mosko Moto Reckless 80 bags are excellent for dirt tours.When packing for your motorcycle tour of Ecuador, remember to pack light. A good rule of thumb to follow is to pack what you will use, not what you think you might use.
If in doubt, leave it out. Although we provide a chase vehicle on guided tours with more than five riders, we recommend taking a minimalist approach to packing. For a ten-day tour, pack a change of clothes, some thermal layers, underwear and sock sets, toiletries, and your phone: that’s all you’ll need for the trip.
Remember that most hotels offer laundry services, and even the more upscale places in Ecuador will accept casual dress, so there is no need to bring an entire closet with you. Leave large suitcases for a Caribbean cruise: you’re here for an adventure rather than a glamorous vacation, so only pack the essentials and focus on the experience rather than swimsuit collections.
The less you pack, the lighter your bike will be, making it easier to check in and out of hotel rooms and travel with ease each day. Make sure to leave room for souvenirs or for our Pack for a Purpose program, where we encourage riders to bring down school supplies for local kids in need. At the end of the day, you won’t remember the outfits you wore, but the experiences and memories you create.
In addition to your clothing, toiletries, and electronics (please keep those to a minimum too – you do not need a mobile office with you when touring Ecuador!), bring any medications that you take regularly and pack some Ibuprofen, Aspirin, or Diamox if you think you may struggle with high altitude.
Other items we recommend are a small compact power strip to charge devices at night as Ecuador hotels usually don’t have many outlets, wet wipes as toilet tissue isn’t always available at gas stations, and a camelback if you’re planning to ride dirt and want to stay hydrated. We also recommend bringing a headlamp: it comes in handy when walking around jungle lodges or beaches at night or changing a flat tire in the dark.
When you book your tour or rental bike with us, we will email you a more detailed packing list depending on what type of riding you’ll do. In general, however, remember that you can always buy things in Ecuador if you forget something: in the capital Quito and other major cities and towns there is no shortage of shopping malls, so if you forgot to pack a phone charger or a set of warmer socks, you will find supplies locally.
On our Ecuador motorcycle tours, we stop for meals often and there are opportunities to grab snacks along the way. However, if you know that hunger strikes quickly for you (“get hangry”), make sure to leave some space for snacks in your bags. Dried fruit, beef jerky, trail mix, nuts, and protein bars are usually enough.
Gearing up for Motorcycle Tours in Ecuador
Now that you know which tour you’re going on, which bike you’re riding, and what’s on your packing list, it’s time to think about motorcycle gear for Ecuador. Because you will experience different elevations and climates, we recommend four-season riding gear such as Klim, Rev’It, or similar adventure apparel.
Here at Ecuador Freedom, our guides prefer four-season Klim gear because it offers serious protection and has integrated GoreTex to keep you dry and warm in colder weather. It also features multiple vents to stay cool and comfortable in hot and humid conditions. We offer discounts on Klim gear when you book a tour with us. So if you’re unsure which gear to choose, you can gear up with Klim while potentially saving hundreds of dollars!
Regardless of the brands you choose, make sure your riding gear has plenty of protection in case of a crash and offers reliable, abrasion-resistant materials. It should also provide decent rain protection and good ventilation. If your gear isn’t waterproof, pack some rain overalls.
Ecuador is a country of eternal spring, and you may experience some rain at high altitudes and in the rainforest areas. For your base layers, choose fabrics like wool and synthetic fibers to stay dry and comfortable. Avoid cotton as it gets wet, cold, heavy, and dirty quickly. Stick with high-quality thin thermal layers to save packing space.
For gloves, pack two pairs for hot and cold weather or choose an all-rounder glove that will work well for both. If you’re opting for a bike with heated grips, one pair of gloves will be enough.
Adventure motorbiking offers an unparalleled thrill that combines adrenaline with exploration. By choosing the right bike, investing in essential gear, planning wisely, and mastering off-road techniques, you’ll be well-prepared for unforgettable expeditions.
Remember that safety should always be a priority during your adventures. Now gear up, hit the trails, and let the spirit of adventure guide you as you explore the world on two wheels!