Motorbikes out the box don’t tend to be offroad ready. Even offroad focused motorbikes have corners cut by the manufacturers to keep the RRP down. This is a list of necessary mods that should be done to all offroad motorbikes. The focus here is to save you money down the line by adding or replacing parts of the motorbike that will help withstand the inevitable abuse that comes with offroading.
Change the footpegs or remove the rubber
Footpegs are the foundation to the control and grip you have over the motorbike. Without proper footpegs you are holding back your skills and your learning experience. Manufacturers nearly always cut corners on footpegs, and it is well worth spending $50-100 on a proper set.
Change the handlebars
The $25 OEM handlebars that come with the motorbike are not equipped for crashes. Replacing cheap handlebars over and over again gets expensive in both parts and mechanic shop time. It is also inconvenient on a day out to be driving around with bent bars. A $100 set of handlebars never breaks. Once installed, you can crash as much as you like without needing to replace them again.
Get rim locks
Offroading requires low PSI, which leads to the innertube moving around on the rim. Lowering the PSI is probably the most important mod for offroading, and without the rim lock this can’t be done. A simple $15 investment will save you hundreds of dollars on broken inner-tubes and hours of time in mechanic shops repairing flats.
Buy some tires
In order to progress your speed and consistency offroading a good set of tires is important. However a good driver can still dominate an offroad group with a bad set of tires. Tires simply help build confidence.
New clutch and brake levers
Either buy shortened leavers for stunts or offroading, or get a mechanic to cut your OEM levers in a sensible spot. This stops the levers breaking in unexpected spots when crashing and gives you more control over the clutch with one or two finger control.
Buy a rope and learn to use it
The single most important rescue device is a tow rope. It can be used by wrapping it around the forks and pulling a motorbike out physically. Or attaching it to the footpegs of a towing vehicle.
Buy tools and learn to use them
Every rider should have their own mini toolkit. Don’t rely on the motorbikes inbuilt toolkit, especially on a rental. Stock tool kits are useless and every piece has already been stolen!
Bring value to the group that you choose to ride with
The list above will cost less than $300. When offroading things break, it is important to be prepared to help yourself and others around you. People spend far too much time and money modifying the power of the motorbike or the “safety” of the motorbike in terms adding crash bars. The money should be spent on reliability and stability to help the driver navigate the motorbike through the mud. Power is not the answer, but control is. Both in terms of aiding your driving and limiting the damage to your motorbike in a crash.