Everyone loves a hack. They’re snippets of trickery that take a minute to apply. Here’s five of our favourites that we’ve picked up from fellow travellers along the way.
1. Put a pin in it
Losing your brake pad pin is right at the top of the ‘world’s most annoying things to lose’ list, right after a sword fight. Simply attach a piece of wire to your caliper and connect it to your pin. Twist the wire around itself to double up its strength so it doesn’t snap or break free. You’ll never have to worry about losing the smallest part on your bike again.
2. Weight distribution
While having excessive weight over the rear wheel can make wheelies easier, it’s not so good for handling. Try and distribute the weight as best you can by putting some of your kit upfront. I’ve done this by attaching my toolkit to the front sumpguard inside an army ammo box (bought off eBay for £12) and I also have two small bags attached to the fairing either side. One holds my heavy chain and the other holds food. You could also attach spare parts inside the fairings too.
3. Hide and seek
Your bike makes a great hiding place – not for you, of course – but for emergency paperwork, money, bank cards, information and spares. If all of your stuff gets nicked from your hotel room or your wallet gets snatched, then by keeping emergency money or a bank card on your bike (in a waterproof bag and well concealed) you’ll always have some dosh to get you out of trouble. Just don’t forget where you stored it, or if you’re the forgetful type then draw a treasure map. And in case you’re thinking ‘What?! Leave a bank card in the bike, are you nuts?’ then don’t panic, I’m referring to prepaid Top Up cards like those from Revolut, which you can freeze via an app on your phone, and should you ever need it in an emergency you simply ‘unfreeze’ it with a click of a button.
For more info on how to save money while travelling abroad using top-up cards, check out our guide to travelling on the cheap.
4. Filter out your frustrations
If you’re planning on traversing deserts, or even dusty gravel tracks, you’ll end up cleaning your air filter out continuously. So opt for a washable unit which you can take out, clean, dry and stick back in. Another old school off-road trick is to slather Vaseline or grease inside the air box to capture the bulk of dust before it enters the system. I fitted a K and N air filter into the XT, easy to clean, reusable and lasts forever.
Snapping a clutch cable is a pain, threading a new one through the bike while freezing cold, or in the desert is an even bigger pain. Before you set-off, run a spare cable alongside the current one (same for the throttle cable) and cable tie them together. If the old one goes it’ll take no time to attach the new one.
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