We can just about hear those sleigh bells ringing, but the festive season presents a problem for us bikers. After all, the snow, ice, and salt on the roads don’t create perfect riding conditions, and the freezing temperatures and short days don’t lend themselves to exploring on two-wheels either.
But all that doesn’t mean you can’t get your fix of adventure biking this Christmas. To help guarantee a very merry Christmas day, we’ve rounded up a selection of sensational gifts that are sure to put a smile on any biker’s face.
If you’re tired of unwrapping pairs of socks, pass this page on to your loved ones and get something you truly want for Christmas…
What’s the best present an adventure biker can receive for Christmas? OK, aside from a new bike. The answer is, of course, tickets to the ABR Festival 2024. It’s the present every biker dreams of pulling out of the stocking on December 25.
Hosted at the magnificent Ragley Hall Estate, the ABR Festival features all the motorcycle entertainment you could ever wish for. With more than 40km of trails to explore, hundreds of shiny new bikes to test ride, rocking live music across multiple stages, celebrity guest speakers, beer tents the size of football pitches, all the gear you need for your next adventure, and world-class tuition available, it’s the highlight of the biking calendar.
And we haven’t even mentioned the first-class facilities, including hot showers, posh toilets (and plenty of ‘em), an array of camping, glamping, and accommodation options, and the finest street food this side of Saigon.
But putting aside all the attractions and facilities, one of the best things about the ABR Festival is the sense of community you’ll feel being thousands of like-minded people who are all gathered to celebrate their love for adventure riding.
Whether you’re new to two-wheels or you’ve ridden around the world, you’ll be in excellent company and be made to feel welcome as soon as you ride through the gates of Ragley Hall. So be sure to ask Santa for ABR Festival tickets this Christmas and join us at the world’s greatest celebration of adventure biking from 28-30 June, 2024.
Without heated grips, your hands can suffer a lot while riding a motorbike during colder months. They’re exposed to the full force of the elements and your fingers are often the first part of your body to feel the cold.
If you’re lucky, your motorcycle has heated grips from the factory, but many don’t and it can cost a pretty penny to add this important feature to your handlebars.
Luckily, Ultimateaddons has one of the best solutions we’ve come across.
Its Advanced Heated Grips have all the qualities of an OEM grip with a sleek integrated controller, five temperature settings, and arguably one of the hottest operating temperatures on the market, quickly reaching upwards of 50ºC in under five minutes.
Unlike some aftermarket grips which ruin the look of your bars, the Ultimateaddons grips fit seamlessly onto your bike, and the easy-to-operate single button lets you quickly cycle through the temperature settings. Even OEM accessories aren’t often that easy to use.
With five settings to choose from, they’re perfect to have on your bike whether you’re riding in the depths of winter or a cool summer night, and the handy LED light lets you know which temperature the grips are set to.
So, treat yourself this Christmas to a pair of Ultimateaddons Heated Grips, and you’ll find yourself enjoying winter riding more than ever before. Your hands will thank you.
The zūmo XT2 is the latest featured-packed motorcycle SatNav from Garmin which has been designed to help your find your way not matter where you are in the world. If I was lucky enough unwrap one on Christmas morning, I would be a very happy biker indeed.
Garmin’s device scored top marks in the SatNav group test we conducted in the previous issue of ABR for being one of the most comprehensive navigation tools out there, with motorcycle-specific software and a rugged water, vibration, and drop resistant design.
Whether you’re keeping track of live traffic on your daily commute, riding the Trans Euro Trail through Wa les, scaling mountain passes in the Alps, or planning an overland trip across Africa, the zūmo XT2 will guide you every step of the way.
It features a 6” ultrabright screen that displays clear, informative directions, giving you an excellent sense of what’s ahead. For those of you with Alpine passes and fine dining of Europe in your sights, the XT2 will show you routes that are popular with bikers, so you’ll always find the best roads to ride. And the device also features Michelin’s Scenic Roads and Green Guide which offers a vast number of restaurants, campsites, accommodation, and attractions to help enhance your tour.
If you decide to leave the tarmac, the XT2 includes trails and byways along with satellite and topographic maps, so you can venture further into the wilderness than ever before. And there’s also an Adventurous Routing feature, which allows you to plot two points and the XT2 will automatically integrate twisties and hills into the route. Alternatively, you can load up GPX files and convert them into routes to give you turn-by-turn directions.
Plus, you can connect your smartphone to the device, which allows you to see real-time traffic and weather information, and you can keep track of your fellow riders via the SatNav if each rider installs the free Garmin Tread app on their phone.
Red Bull KTM Winter Sweater
Available at authorised KTM Dealers
Just because KTM is all about being ready to race, it doesn’t mean that Dakar rally heroes can’t sometimes chill out, kick their feet up, and enjoy being wrapped up in a cosy jumper. After all, every tough guy has a soft side.
But if you’re a KTM fan, when you’re relaxing by the fire with a tea or whiskey in hand, you’re probably thinking about the next time you can get out and ride the orange weapon sitting in your garage. To make that separation anxiety a little easier over the winter months, KTM has kindly brought us a brilliant solution: the Red Bull KTM Winter sweater.
Putting a twist on the classic Christmas jumper, this dashing Red Bull KTM jumper allows you to blend in at family events while wearing your passion on your chest, literally. Available in orange or navy, the jumpers are soft, warm, and cosy, so it’s the perfect clothing to wear throughout the festive season, particularly when you’re sat down enjoying a Christmas roast.
And, if you decide to brave the cold and head out for a ride to test your new heated gloves, it’s a festive mid-layer to wear under your jacket for that extra bit of warmth. Just make sure you unwrap you jumper first, so you can wear it while you open the conspicuously motorcycle-shaped present that’s in the garage. Come on, we can dream.
If you’re reading this issue of Adventure Bike Rider halfway across the Darien Gap, then you’re already living the dream, and you should probably put the mag down before you end up on the wrong side of a drug cartel. But for the rest of us, every day can’t always be an adventure, the 2024 Adventure Bike Rider Calendar has been designed to give you a daily hit of adventure.
We’ve selected the greatest adventure biking photographs from across the globe for you to feast your eyes upon every month. Whether you hang it in your garage, office, kitchen, or bathroom, it’s guaranteed to give you that giddy feeling of exploring the open road.
Printed on premium silk paper to do justice to each stunning photograph, the calendar is the perfect place to start planning your adventures. Make sure you tick this one off your Christmas list early, because the calendar has a limited print run and sells out every year. So, fill the new year with adventure whether you’re on the road or not with the 2024 ABR calendar.
South African company Leatt has been at the producing innovative motocross gear since 2004, designing and developing neck braces and body protection to keep people safe in some of the most extreme riding conditions.
Now, Leatt has turned its attention to the adventure biking world, and the Class AA Adventure Multitour 7.5 is its answer for a four-season jacket designed to handle the rigours of adventure riding.
The Multitour 7.5 uses a three-layer design, with a removable waterproof inner liner to keep you dry in foul weather, which when removed, also allows for optimal ventilation while riding in hot, dry conditions. The Multitour also comes with a removable insulated liner which can also be worn on its own, which is perfect for keeping warm when camping at night.
Another great feature is the integrated hydration pack that allows you to carry 1.5l of water in the rear of the jacket, and connects to a hose so you can easily drink on the go. There’s also plenty of storage for your belongings, including a waterproof phone pocket, and the jacket is adjustable in the waist, arms, cuffs, and collar for the perfect fit.
Of course, a Leatt jacket wouldn’t be complete without protection, and along with that Class-AA safety rating, the Multitour 7.5 has plenty of it. There’s level-2 back, elbow, and shoulder protectors along with level-1 chest protection, and the outer shell is constructed from Ripstop with Super Fabric reinforcements for excellent abrasion resistance.
We don’t like to dwell on the potential dangers of motorcycling, but if something bad does happen, it’s well worth having evidence on your side to avoid being liable for an accident you didn’t cause and to support any claim in court.
But how can you prove you’re not at fault? One of the best ways is with a dash camera, and the Global Eagle X6 Plus is one of the best around designed specifically for motorcyclists.
Boasting a set of full HD 1080p front and rear cameras, you can be assured that your ride will be captured with clarity, and the cameras also feature impressive night-vision capabilities so you can rely on the footage no matter the time of day or the weather.
The high-quality dual lenses capture important details such as number plates, traffic lights, and road signs, and the in-built Wi-Fi connectivity allows you to send video straight from the 128Gb memory card (included in the box) to your phone.
The cameras are also compact, waterproof, and machined from aluminium, so they can handle the rigours of adventure riding. If all goes well, they’re also great for capturing footage from your trips. And unlike a separate action camera, the Global Eagle cams are wired straight into your bike, so you don’t have to remember to charge any batteries before you head off.
£89.99 (or £74.99 with the discount code DATABR23 at www.datatag.shop)
When it comes to bike theft, prevention is the best cure, but what if there was a single system that helped to both prevent bike theft and recover your motorcycle if the worst does happen? Now that would make a great Christmas present.
Well, that’s exactly what Datatag does. The industry-leading forensic identification system uses multiple layers of technology to deter thieves while making it easier to identify recovered stolen bikes and prosecute criminals.
Datatag has been around since 1992, and over that time more than one million motorcycles have been protected with the system. It uses a clever combination of visible and stealth forensic ID technologies to make life incredibly difficult for thieves looking to sell or chop up a vehicle. The bike and its components are all registered to the Datatag database which can be accessed by police forces worldwide to assist in its recovery.
The system also uses visible warning decals as a clear sign to thieves that your bike isn’t worth stealing. These identifiers are too hard to remove and limits the value of parts to motorcycle thieves, who generally operate by chopping bikes selling parts that can’t be traced back to them.
However, with Datatag, this becomes far tougher which means if a thief sees that your bike is marked with the system, chance are they’ll pass it over in favour of an easier target, protecting your bike and adventure.
It’s time to make a stand against crap Christmas presents. No more packets of pants and socks, say no to itchy jumpers, and put a ban on slippers. Instead, tell your loved ones you want the gift of adventure this December 25 with a subscription to Adventure Bike Rider magazine.
Each issue of ABR is packed with all the inspiration, knowledge, and entertainment you need to unleash your inner adventure biker. Whether you’re looking for expert advice on how to ride around the world, or you’re simply looking for somewhere to ride at the weekend, we’ve got you covered.
Alongside enjoying inspirational travel stories, UK routes, green lanes to ride, expert masterclasses, and in-depth bike reviews, you’ll also find yourself part of the world’s largest adventure biking community.
You can opt for the classic print subscription, which will see each issue delivered straight to your door on high-quality glossy paper. Or you can go choose a Digital Library subscription, which gives you access to every issue of ABR ever published in its 13-year history to read on your phone, tablet, or computer.
But be warned. As well as suddenly appearing ruggedly handsome, a subscription to ABR may also result in long periods spent gazing heroically out to the horizon, the adoption of adventure textiles as everyday wear, and selling your belongings until they all fit neatly inside your panniers. Get ready for a lifetime of adventure.
We often hear people bemoaning the increasing amount of electronics found on modern motorcycles, and how this goes against the spirit of an old-school adventure. Home mechanics isn’t as easy as it once was, and what if your bike develops an electrical fault in some remote part of the world?
But in reality, most modern electronics are pretty reliable, and make our bikes safer and more fun to ride. But if something does go wrong, it can be hard to diagnose the problem, which can be frustrating. Sure, you can see if the oil level is too low or your chain is loose, but you can’t see what error your bike’s onboard computer is flagging without the right tool.
This is why a diagnostic tool is an essential part of the home mechanic’s tool bag these days, and the HEX GS-911 is the go-to code reader for anyone working on BMWs, both at home and on the road.
Boasting a powerful set of features, the GS-911 can read and clear fault codes, reset service reminders, perform component tests and calibration, view and log sensor values, display information from the ECU, and much more.
What this means is that, not only do you have a full overview of what’s happening with the electronics, but it also gives you information about any mechanical faults that are detected by the sensors.
You can monitor the oil and coolant, reset the service interval, check the fuelling and synchronise the throttle bodies, bleed the brakes and keep the ABS in check, recalibrate the semi-active suspension… the list goes on. And, for anyone who wishes to service their BMW themselves, even at a basic level, the HEX 9-11 saves you a trip to a dealership and should pay for itself in no time.
Packing your panniers and heading off on tour is one of the most joyous things you can do on two wheels, but before you go, there’s always the dilemma of what to take with you. This is especially true if you’re into lightweight bike travel where space in your luggage is at a premium.
Once you’ve packed your tent and sleeping bag, sleeping mat, change of clothes and other essentials, there isn’t much room leftover, and bulky bottles of toiletries like shower gel, deodorant, and sun cream can suddenly seem dispensable when you’re struggling to squeeze your pannier lid shut.
The problem is, because products like shampoo and body wash are made mostly from water, they waste a lot of space in the limited storage capacity of your panniers. But then no one wants to stink after a long day in the saddle, especially if you’re sharing a tent, and you’ll so find your riding mates begging you to have wash. So, what’s the solution?
Well, Dorset-based company The Intrepid Explorer has designed a range of outdoor toiletry products with motorcyclists, backpackers, and adventurers in mind, including this powdered hair and body wash. It simply requires water to activate it, meaning you can stay clean and refreshed on tour while packing minimally.
And you can rest easy knowing that it’s naturally formulated and manufactured right here in the UK, so there’s no nasty stuff involved. Plus, with its range of moisturising sunscreen and insect repellent, The Intrepid Explorer has a full range of products designed to make living out of your panniers as easy as being at home.
I had a bike stolen once, and it was heart-breaking. But I’ve learnt my lesson, and now I don’t leave my bike anywhere without some sort of security in place.
One thing I always carry with me is a disc lock. It’s a simple, effective, and portable security measure that not only makes it more difficult for thieves to roll your bike away, it also acts as a visible deterrent.
However, as the adage goes, if thieves want your bike badly enough, they’ll get it. An angle grinder can cut through a cheap lock in seconds and they’ll be off with your pride and joy.
That’s why I use the Squire Defiant motorcycle disc lock, which is about the toughest disc lock you’ll find.
The 25mm solid hardened steel body and the 12mm boron hardened steel shackle are not only resistant to manual attacks, but also incredibly resistant to angle grinders.
It’s been certified to Sold Secure’s Powered Cycle Diamond standard, which is the highest standard that Sold Secure recognises. Squire says that it’s also extremely difficult to pick the lock, with a high security six-pin key cylinder that features anti-drill, anti-pick, and anti-bump technology.
Plus, the lock is encased in a heavy-duty, weather resistant cover to prevent corrosion, and the visible branding tells thieves in the know that it’s not worth their time.
Weighing 1.1kg, it’s far more portable than a chain, and the Defiant is also made in Britain and comes with a 10-year guarantee for extra peace of mind.
Heated gloves have been an essential part of my winter riding gear ever since I moved to England. Sure, I rode through some cold winters back in Australia but heated gloves never seemed necessary until I experienced a particularly bitter cold snap here in Britain (I swore my fingers would need amputation by the time I got to work).
Ever since that rather painful riding experience, I’ve come to understand the joy of slipping my hands into a toasty pair of warm heated gloves on a cold winter’s day. And this year, that feeling got even better with the release of Italian brand T.UR’s newest addition to its line-up, the G-Warm 3 Hydroscud that have all the features needed to ensure my hands stay warm no matter the weather.
The gloves are constructed from an outer shell of 100% leather combined with a Hydroscud waterproof and breathable inner layer, to keep your hands warm and dry through a downpour. But the G-Warm 3 goes one step further by adding a 3M Thinsulate lining on the palm with a DuPont Comformax fleece on the back to insulate your hands, even when the heating element is off.
When you do switch the heating elements on, you’ve got three levels to choose from. You can also select whether you want to heat your fingers and the back of your hand, your palm, or your whole hand. They’re easily powered via the included rechargeable battery, and the gloves also have a visor wipe and are touchscreen compatible. It seems like T.UR has thought of everything.
If you’re exploring off the beaten track, you need the right boots for the job, and we’d always recommend an adventure boot for mixed riding. This is particularly true if you’re on a big adventure bike when even a gentle topple could cause a serious ankle injury and ruin your adventure.
And then there are those moments when you emerge from a water crossing with wet feet, wishing you’d invested in some better quality footwear, like Leatt’s Adventure 7.5 HydraDri boots which have all the features you need to ensure a successful and enjoyable trip.
Built from rugged nubuck leather, the boots feature Leatt’s specialised HydraDri EVO membrane for waterproofing and breathability during long days on the trails in changing conditions.
Meanwhile, your feet and ankles are protected thanks to the sturdy construction that limits hyper-extension of your ankle, along with impact protection in the shin, ankle, and sole areas.
Plus, with forged aluminium buckles and a patent-pending Sidelock Velcro system that ensures a seamless seal at the top of the boot, you can rely on the boots to keep your feet secure and comfortable on the inside, and mud and water on the outside.
The sole features plenty of grip to help provide a stable platform while standing on the pegs, and Leatt’s boot also features a shaped toe-box profile for easy gear shifting.
Importantly, they’ve been designed to be all-day comfortable as well, with mid-sole foam damping to reduce vibrations from the bike, and an oil-resistant sole that has been designed for comfort in and out of the saddle.
Whether it’s a nod, a wave, a salute, or you stick your leg out, we all recognise the camaraderie of motorcycling whenever we’re on two wheels. But that sense of community doesn’t end when you park up and switch off the engine, thanks to the latest range of ABR merch.
You can proudly display your love for adventure biking with an ABR T-shirts, or if you fancy something warmer to wear this winter, then the ABR Hoodie is the perfect choice to throw over your tee. And, to complete the rugged adventure biker look, we’ve got a snug beanie specifically designed for adventurous types.
If the weather takes a turn for the worse, we’ve got you covered with the ABR Softshell jacket, which is built to be the ideal mid-layer both in and out of the saddle. With a soft fleece lining, windproof construction, and water resistance, it’s the perfect gear to wear through the British winter.
Once you’ve braved the elements and shown off your love for adventure biking to the world, it’s time to head back home and sit down with the latest copy of your favourite magazine. But you can’t do that without a warm brew, and that’s where the Rock, Paper, Bike mug comes in, so that every sip becomes a little celebration of the joys of adventure biking.
If you’re anything like me, not long after buying bike, your mind soon turns to farkling and thinking about what new accessories and upgrades you can add. Whether that’s luggage, suspension, or some heavy-duty handguards, there’s something about the simple pleasure of making a motorcycle your own that’s just so satisfying.
However, accessories that involve electronics can be a lot more daunting than something that only requires some bolt twisting. Once you delve into the world of wires and voltage, the stakes get higher and so does the stress.
Modern bikes are especially complex, with computers regulating every aspect of the electronic system. However, there are some cleverer people than us out there who understand how these systems work who have developed a simple plug-and-play device that makes installing electronic accessories a breeze.
The HEX ezCAN plugs directly into your bike’s controller area network (CAN) bus, which means it automatically allows any accessories to communicate with the bike’s computers. It’s an industry standard protocol, so it works with basically any accessory on the market and saves you from having to wire anything directly into the bike’s electrical system.
But the ezCan goes further than simply being an installation interface. For example, if you’re installing auxiliary lights, you can use the ezCAN to set them at different intensities depending on whether you’ve got the main beam on or not. Or, if you plug in heated clothing, you could then control the heat settings of your gear via the heated grip switch already on your bike.
There’s a multitude of features that the ezCAN handles, and you also won’t have to worry about voiding your warranty by cutting into wires. If you’re thinking of adding any electronic accessories to your bike, the ezCAN is an indispensable device.
Adventure bikes are hugely capable off-road but to get the most out of them you need to learn how ride them properly in tricky conditions. If you didn’t grow up riding motocross, this can be a tough skill to master, so what do you do? You give the team of expert instructors at the Honda Adventure Centre a call of course.
Run under the tutelage of motocross legend and three-time world champion Dave Thorpe, it’s the perfect way to improve your off-road riding skills, with countless miles of steep descents, deep ruts, water crossings, hill climbs, and technical terrain for you to learn on.
Based in the beautiful Exmoor National Park, the Honda Adventure Centre lets you ride an Africa Twin or a Transalp, on either a one-day guided tour or two-day adventure riding course of which there are three levels of difficulty to choose from. So, whether you’re a complete beginner or experienced trail rider, you’ll have the chance to seriously improve your riding.
We’ve been there ourselves, and we highly recommend it. Not only does the expert tuition enhance your skills, but the chance to throw a bike around off-road that’s not your own means that you can relax and play around with new techniques without the fear of a costly repair bill. And, if you’re interested in an Africa Twin or Transalp, it’s also the ultimate test ride you can do.
Plus, you get to enjoy a pub lunch, and you also get an evening meal on the two-day course. Great riding, stunning scenery, delicious food, and the chance to learn new skills: it’s the perfect day or weekend for an adventure biker.