Complete Motorcycle Touring Guide for Beginners

Mar 5, 2024

Tags:guideroad triprenters

motorcycle rider on motorcycle loaded for a long trip motorcycle touring guide

Starting a motorcycle tour opens up a special chance for exploration and bonding with your surroundings. Whether you're experienced or a newcomer, this Complete Motorcycle Touring Guide for Beginners is your vital guide to the ins and outs of motorcycle travel. Here, we cover the full-spectrum from reasons to try motorcycle touring, choosing the right bike, to packing tips, safety advice, and how to plan your route.

What You’ll Find in This Article:

  • 7 reasons you should try motorcycle touring at least ONCE
  • Best touring motorcycles
  • Most fuel-efficient touring motorcycles 
  • How to pack for motorcycle touring
  • Basic safety tips when touring
  • How to stay safe with protective gear
  • Planning your touring route

7 Reasons You Should Try Motorcycle Touring at Least Once

  1. You choose the pace: Embrace the liberty to navigate at a pace that resonates with you, deciding on daily distances that align with your preference and comfort level.
  2. Improve your connection with the environment around you: Motorcycle touring offers unparalleled opportunities to explore breathtaking landscapes and hidden gems often bypassed by more conventional modes of travel.
  3. It’s minimalistic: The inherent limitations on luggage capacity with motorcycle touring encourage a lighter, more essential approach to what you bring along, highlighting the beauty of simplicity in travel.
  4. Well, it’s fun!: From the initial route planning stages to the exhilaration of cruising down open roads, motorcycle touring injects a sense of adventure and joy into every aspect of the journey, enhancing mindfulness and a sense of freedom.
  5. It’s environmentally conscious: Opting for a motorcycle as your mode of travel is a nod towards environmental conservation, utilizing fewer resources and emitting less CO2 than traditional vehicles, thanks to their efficiency and smaller size.
  6. It saves money: Not only is motorcycle touring an adventure for the soul, but it's also kind to your wallet. Motorcycles often yield better fuel efficiency, benefit from lower taxes and insurance rates, and often enjoy complimentary parking, making them a cost-effective choice for explorers.
  7. Meet like-minded people: The motorcycle touring community is a rapidly expanding network of enthusiasts who offer support, camaraderie and shared wisdom, enhancing the overall experience for both novices and seasoned tourers alike.

Best Touring Motorcycles

These top picks for touring motorcycles are designed to offer riders unparalleled comfort, performance, and reliability on long trips. Each model brings unique features to the table, catering to different preferences and riding styles. Click on each bike to learn why it’s in the top spot. 

  1. Honda Gold Wing
  2. Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited
  3. BMW k1600GT

Our Top 3 Fuel-Efficient Touring Motorcycle Recommendations

While some don’t technically fall within the standard “touring” category, their lightweight frames, great fuel economy, and substantial fuel capacity make them great for long, comfortable trips. Click on each bike to learn more about the specific MPG.

  1. Honda NC750X
  2. BMW F 800 GS
  3. Suzuki DL650 V-Strom

Experience Hassle-Free Touring with a Motorcycle Rental from Riders Share

Rent your perfect touring motorcycle with Riders Share, the largest motorcycle rental platform worldwide. With thousands of bikes available for rent, you’ll surely find the one that speaks to your trip. From Hondas, BMWs, Harley’s, and more, you’re one step closer to the trip of a lifetime for as low as $25/day. Refer a friend or touring buddy and get anywhere from $50-150 off every time someone signs up! 

How to Pack For Motorcycle Touring

picture of a motorcycle rider checking out packs motorcycle tour guide what to pack

Preparing for a motorcycle tour involves thoughtful packing to ensure you have everything you need within the limited space available on your bike. Here's a condensed guide on efficiently packing for your next motorcycle journey. For the full guide and some helpful packing checklists, visit our blog, “How to Pack for a Motorcycle Trip”:

  • Pack Smart: Prioritize essentials and versatile items that serve multiple purposes, keeping in mind the space limitations of motorcycle luggage.
  • Weight Distribution: Place heavier items low and near the bike's center to maintain balance and handling.
  • Space Optimization: Roll clothes to save space and keep your luggage compact.
  • Leave Room for Extras: Allow space for souvenirs or items you might pick up.
  • Utilize Every Nook: Shoes and available cavities can store small items or electronics.
  • Entertainment: Choose light and compact options for entertainment, like Bluetooth speakers or e-readers.
  • Backpack Mindfully: A light, motorcycle-specific backpack can carry essentials without causing discomfort.
  • Organize: Use separate compartments or bags for different item categories to keep things accessible and orderly.
  • Share the Load: If touring with others, coordinate to share common items to reduce redundancy and save space.
  • Weather Preparedness: Include waterproof options like compression sacks to protect your gear.
  • Secure Your Gear: Ensure valuables are locked or kept on you, especially when away from your bike.
  • Stay Charged: Keep chargers and cables organized and easily accessible.
  • Be Ready for Anything: Pack versatile tools like zip ties and bungee cords for unexpected repairs or adjustments.

Packing this way maximizes your space and makes sure you're prepared for various situations on the road, making your motorcycle tour enjoyable and hassle-free.

Basic Safety Tips When Touring

Check out these tips for touring safely, no matter how long your trip is. Remember, riding safely always front of mind can be the difference between a memorable trip and an accident. For a more comprehensive guide, visit our blog, “Basics of Motorcycle Safety.

  • Wear Appropriate Gear: Always wear a helmet, gloves, boots, and protective clothing designed for motorcycle riding to minimize injury in case of an accident.
  • Check Your Motorcycle: Before setting off, perform a thorough check of your motorcycle's tires, brakes, lights, and fluids to ensure everything is in working order.
  • Stay Visible: Wear reflective gear and keep your lights on to ensure other drivers can see you, especially during dawn, dusk, or bad weather.
  • Ride Within Your Limits: Avoid pushing your riding skills beyond your comfort zone, especially on unfamiliar roads or in challenging weather conditions.
  • Keep a Safe Distance: Maintain a safe following distance from vehicles ahead to give yourself ample time to react to sudden stops or hazards.
  • Be Aware of Road Conditions: Stay alert to changes in road surfaces, weather conditions, and potential hazards like potholes, gravel, or wet leaves.
  • Take Regular Breaks: Fatigue can significantly affect your reaction time and judgment. Take frequent rests, especially during long rides.
  • Stay Hydrated: Dehydration can impair concentration and reaction times, so drink water regularly throughout your ride.
  • Carry a First Aid Kit: Always have a basic kit for minor injuries or emergencies.
  • Plan Your Route: Know your route and plan for fuel stops, accommodations, and rest areas to avoid getting lost or running out of gas.

How to Stay Safe with Protective Gear

motorcycle rider putting on gloves how to stay safe with protective gear

Embracing the excitement of motorcycle touring goes hand in hand with prioritizing safety through essential protective gear. Here's a streamlined guide to the must-have safety equipment for every rider To learn more about a complete list of helpful protective gear for motorcycle riding, visit “Prep for Riding With a Guide to Motorcycle Protective Gear”:

  • Helmets: The cornerstone of motorcycle safety, ensuring head protection. Opt for models that meet DOT or SNELL standards, irrespective of local helmet laws.
  • Riding Jackets and Pants: These are your first line of defense against the elements and road rash, equipped with built-in armor for critical areas like your back, shoulders, elbows, and knees.
  • Gloves and Boots: Protect your hands and feet with gear designed for durability, flexibility, and weather resistance, offering crucial grip and protection.
  • Earplugs and Eye Protection: Shield your hearing from engine and wind noise with earplugs and guard your eyes with goggles or UV-protective eyewear if your helmet lacks a visor.
  • Reflective Vest: Enhance your visibility to other motorists, especially in low-light conditions, to keep safety a constant priority. This is especially helpful if you’re riding at night.
  • Additional Armor: Consider extra layers of protection like body armor, neck braces, and kidney belts for comprehensive safety.

Remember, investing in quality gear elevates your riding experience and seriously improves your safety on the road. Keep your gear in top condition and stay informed about its lifespan, especially helmets, to protect you. Suiting up properly allows you to fully immerse in the joy of motorcycle touring, knowing you're well-protected for the journey ahead.

Planning Your Touring Route

When planning your touring route, leveraging technology, specifically motorcycle apps, can greatly enhance your journey, making it smoother and more enjoyable. These apps offer a plethora of features designed to cater to the unique needs of motorcyclists, from route planning to discovering hidden gems along the way.

  • Route Planning: Motorcycle apps provide detailed mapping and route customization options, allowing you to tailor your journey to include scenic byways, twisty roads, or the most efficient paths. They enable you to plot points of interest, fuel stops, and accommodations, ensuring your bases are covered before you set off.
  • Live Traffic Updates and Road Conditions: Real-time traffic information helps you avoid congestion and road closures, while updates on road conditions alert you to potential hazards like poor road surfaces or weather-related issues, ensuring your ride is as safe as it is enjoyable.
  • Community Recommendations: Many motorcycle apps include community features where fellow riders share their experiences, recommend routes, or provide tips on places to eat, sleep, or explore. This social aspect can uncover hidden gems and local favorites that might not be listed in traditional guides or maps.
  • Tracking and Sharing Your Journey: With tracking features, you can document your route, including distances covered and highlights. Sharing these journeys with friends or on social media can inspire others and serve as a logbook of your adventures.
  • Safety Features: Some apps come equipped with safety features, such as crash detection and emergency contact alerts, giving you and your loved ones peace of mind during your travels.
  • Maintenance Logs: Keeping track of your motorcycle's maintenance can be crucial, especially on longer tours. Certain apps offer features to log service records, reminding you of upcoming maintenance tasks to ensure your bike remains in top condition throughout your tour.

Incorporating motorcycle apps into your touring preparation simplifies the planning process and enriches your riding experience. These tools are indispensable for modern motorcycle touring, from ensuring you're prepared for the road ahead to connecting you with a community of like-minded enthusiasts. Learn more about our top recommendations for motorcycle route planning apps HERE

Gear Up, and Get Ready For Motorcycle Touring!

Motorcycle touring can be a transformative experience, offering a sense of freedom and intimacy with the environment that's hard to match. From the excitement of setting your own pace to the joy of discovering less-traveled paths, motorcycle touring embodies adventure and personal growth. This guide has walked you through essential considerations, from selecting efficient and comfortable motorcycles to packing smartly and staying safe with the right gear. We've also highlighted how leveraging technology, particularly motorcycle apps, can enhance your route planning and overall experience.

As you gear up for your motorcycle tour, remember that the journey is as much about the ride as the destination. Embrace the open road confidently, knowing you're well-prepared for whatever comes your way. Safe travels, and may your motorcycle touring adventure be filled with unforgettable moments and new friendships.