10 Essential Items For Motorcycle Touring
The month of April will soon be upon us, and it’s the time of many celebrations in Automology’s neighbouring country of Thailand, which also signals the start of the “touring season” in the region.
The Kingdom’s citizens celebrate their new year, Songkran, every April. Coinciding with Songkran is the Phuket Bike Week (PBW), held twice in consecutive weekends (10th-12th and 14th-15th April). The weekend following PBW is Ao Nang Bike Week in Krabi (28th-29th April).
Songkran – Courtesy of Willy Thuan
Even for bikers who do not like motorcycle meets and getting wet, April is hot and dry, hence the best time to tour much of Thailand before the monsoon hits in May. For those from Automology’s home country of Malaysia, Thailand is also the gateway to the greater Asian continent.
Additionally, as the month of Ramadhan is expected in May for 2018, April becomes the last opportunity to ride into the Land of Smiles, until after June.
Malaysian-Thai border – Courtesy of www.worldofbuzz.com
However, one needs to be prepared when travelling over long distances.
Here are 10 Essential Items for Touring, whether your destination is Thailand or anywhere else around the world.
1. Service your bike
This goes without saying. First, use the X-1R Engine Flush to remove the old oil and any residue completely. Pour the product into your engine’s crankcase when the engine is still hot and let it run for 15 minutes, then drain the oil, followed by fresh oil and oil filter.
Oil change – Courtesy of rideapart.com
You could also use the X-1R Small Engine Formula for extra protection. Additionally, use the X-1R Fuel System Cleaner to clean your fuel system. You do not want clogged injectors, for example, haunting you all the way into Thailand and back.
X-1R Small Engine Formula
Remember to clean the air filter and replace the sparkplugs, too.
Make sure to check whether you need a Visa for the countries you’d be riding through. For Malaysians travelling to the Kingdom, it is truly easy, as Malaysians are exempted from needing to apply for Visas. On the other hand, its Customs do request for certain paperwork pertaining to your vehicle. The details are on the Thai Immigration website or this website.
Temporary vehicle import form – Courtesy of riderchris.com
Paperwork aside, many people skimp on travel insurance when journeying overseas. Personal travel insurance is really cheap these days, so please, please make sure you are covered. Just Google “travel insurance, (insert your country here)”.
3. Ziplock bags
Whoever created these was a genius. Inexpensive, waterproof and so easy to use that even a monkey can do it right the first time. There are, of course, waterproof waist pouches and fanny packs but stuffing your, er, stuff into a ziplock bag before placing them in the pouch is double security. You could also strut around with your belongings in the ziplock bag when you get to your destination.
4. Rain gear
Although April is generally hot and dry, you may still encounter the occasional localized rain. It goes without saying that rain gear keeps you from getting soggy and miserable. GIVI still makes the best rain gear, hands down.
GIVI rain gear – Courtesy of speedgaragevn.com
Equipping your motorcycle with a luggage system is a great investment. Having a top box or panniers or both lets you ride comfortably and with a peace of mind, since your items are safely stored away. GIVI is also the leader in motorcycle luggage. However, if you still want to stick to a backpack, make sure it is waterproof.
Hard luggage – Courtesy of GIVI
6. Bungee cords (and nets)
One should always ride with at least two bungee cords stowed under the seat. They are indispensable for tying down everything. Who knows, you might be bringing home extra gifts.
Bungee cords and cargo net – Courtesy of bikebandit.com
7. Tyre repair kit
This is self-explanatory, although it is best that you have a kit complete with CO2 inflation cartridges or a small air pump.
X02 tyre repair kit – Courtesy of firestormmotorcycles.com.au
8. First aid kit
Sadly, most bikers do not bring one along. Then, an emergency happens.
There are those made especially for motorcycle riders and they are really compact in size.
First aid kit – Courtesy of GIVI
9. Extra tools
Empty the contents of the bike’s tool pouch and check to see if there is a tool for almost everything, including a sparkplug socket, and wrenches for the rear wheel’s axle bolt and nut. You need to purchase them if they are absent. Do also carry a batch of cable ties, a small roll of duct tape and a small can of chain lube.
Cruz toolkit – Courtesy of revzilla.com
10. Octane booster
Thailand’s highest petrol octane is RON95. However, there are many other grades of fuel being offered and the grades are clearly marked. However, they are not so in places along the main arteries. Combine that with the fact that many big capacity bikes in Thailand are configured to run on RON91, it could all end in tears: Malaysian motorcycles, for instance, need a minimum of RON95. Using a fuel with lower than the recommended octane causes the engine to “knock” and results in catastrophic damage.
So, do it like what we seasoned cross-border riders always do: bring along a few bottles of X-1R Octane Booster. A few capfuls (not an entire bottle, please) into a full tank of petrol solves the problem.
X-1R Octane Booster