From former off-road champion matt reed
off-road riding tips
When it’s time to get out and about, will you be ready to test your skills and endurance?
We sat down (virtually!) with former British and World Enduro, British Rally & Cross Country Champion, Matt Reed, who also takes the seat of Chief Operations Manager at the Triumph Adventure Experience in the Brecon Beacons, to get some tips on how to prepare for when the going gets rough.
1. Practice Slow Speed Balance
If you’ve space on a drive, garden or cul-de-sac, set up some markers, get out there and do some slow circles while standing up, covering the clutch and brakes.
It more difficult than you think! This is designed to test your balance and handling of the bike. Do your best to keep it smooth and slow.
Check you are happy with your controls and adjust your set up for the correct percentage of road and off-road riding that you’ll be doing.
It’s important to remember the more off-road you’re likely to encounter the more important it is to have your handlebars further forward, your levers higher and your foot controls accessible. Off-road set ups don’t lend themselves to long distance road travels, so get the settings right in advance.
3. Tyres and Pressures
Choose the correct tyre to suit your requirements. Don’t buy an off-road tyre and plough thousands of miles on tarmac - assess your needs! Before you use your off-road tyres on gravel trails find a good balance in the tyre pressure.
Off-road tubeless tyres can run on a slightly lower tyre pressure than tubed tyres, as you’re more likely to avoid compression punctures. It’s also important to remember that adventure bikes like our Tiger 1200 are heavier than smaller dirt bikes so don’t run tyre pressure too low!
Set yourself up with either a water bottle which can be easily accessed or a hydration pack.
Hydration packs are great as you don’t need to stop to take a drink, and if you carry it in your back pack, you can also carry tools, waterproofs and any extra kit – added benefits!
Before you leave, make sure you have exactly what you need to take on an adventure. My tool kit never gets bigger than a bum bag; this can then either be packed in my panniers, top box, back pack or worn if I’m not taking luggage.
The tool kit should contain the basics and be built up of tools which are not from your main workshop kit so they’re never missed. This tool kit includes:
A) Tools to remove and repair punctures to both front and rear wheels
B) Tow rope, so you can tow as a last resort a motorcycle to assistance/recovery
Never ride off-road on your own, as without your fellow bikers, it could be more difficult to pick up a bike, navigate or make repairs if needed.
If you have no choice, ensure you’ve communicated what you intend to do, where you’re going and carry some form of communication/phone.