10 steps for adventure motorcycling on the cheap

You don’t need big money for big trips. International skinflint Lois Pryce explains how to trot the globe in a discount manner

Posted: 19 July 2010
by Lois Pryce

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If an alien landed on Planet Earth tomorrow and decided he fancied seeing this strange new land by motorcycle, he could be forgiven for thinking that he needed to rustle up tens of thousands of our English pounds before he could even swing a Cordura-clad leg over his brand new BMW R1200GS Adventure.

Once the preserve of the rugged (and invariably hirsute) individual, Adventure Motorcycling has finally been hijacked by our consumerist, media-driven society. This isn’t all bad – it has opened up the possibility of motorcycle travel to thousands of people who may never have considered it within their reach, and technological advances have given us some genuinely useful kit. I’m all for the democratisation of adventure riding – it’s fun, easier than you think, and a fabulous way to see the world. But the downside of hitting the zeitgeist is the marketing people jumping on the bandwagon. And before you know it, you’re up to your axles in titanium knife & fork sets, halogen lighting solutions and tyre-pressure monitoring systems - all stuffed into some very expensive aluminium panniers.

Well, fear not folks – there is another way! In this top 10 we’re going old skool, back to basics, make do and mend - whatever you want to call it. Here are some top tips to save money and still have the wild adventure of a lifetime!

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Discuss this story

Back in the 60's I made pannier frames from Dexion, and used 2 brief cases to hold all my holiday gear.  The frames stayed on the bike and were a good deterrent to any cars coming too close!

They all fitted my Honda Benly 125, and we toured, 2-up all over the SWest.  The hills were a bit much, so 'she' had to walk some of them!

 Good advice, and just shows what you can do if image is not a problem.

Take care

Posted: 20/07/2010 at 21:30

In Chester today I saw a guy on an old (matte black!) air cooled Kwak with black plastic tool boxes mounted end on for panniers.

 Looked better than it sounds!

Posted: 22/07/2010 at 19:01

Dear Visordown - I am not interested in a complimentary touring pack for the new VFR so why does it pop up every time i move to the next picture/page on this article!!!!!!

Posted: 07/09/2010 at 17:09

Never say never, Villafan...

Posted: 20/09/2010 at 22:30

Great article! A friend and I are just planning our first bike trip around Europe and you've hit on some of the points were have been discussing. Our plan is very similar, sub £2k machines with home made panniers and a little ingenuity.

The BMW marketing machine is amazing, we constantly talk to people who believe its impossible to tour unless its a R1200 GS with Touratech Panniers.

...I still like the latest GPS contraptions though.

Posted: 31/01/2012 at 20:59

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