Dave Thorpes, who is a three-time world motocross champion used to race CR 500 Honda motocross bikes in the 80s. He's the head instructor of the Honda Adventure Center in Devon and here are his top 5 tips for riding a big adventure bike.
#1 HAVE A ROUTE
Try and have a clear understanding of where you're going to go, where you're going to go from road to off-road. Having a route in mind will help you plan your day riding effectively, don't forget to factor in comfort stops, and of course food and water. You should also plan where and how you're going to transition from from road to off-road sections, and finally probably most importantly, it's vital to let somebody know your route and what time you'r expecting to complete your ride.
#2 RIDE WITH A BUDDY
Off-road riding can be great fun, but it's always good to have someone with you. If you do have a spill riding a 300 kilogram adventure bike off-road, trying to sort the situation on your own is no easy task. Having a riding buddy with you will help you to correct the situation sooner and more easily. They can also call for help if you need to be evacuated from the trails.
#3 KEEP YOUR FEET ON THE PEGS AND STAY LOOSE
When you hit the trails stand or sit, but try and keep your feet on the pegs, try and keep as much balance through left and right as you can. Weighting the foot pegs on an off-road adventure bike, like Honda's Africa twin, is the easiest and safest way of navigating tight obstacles. You should have the balls of your feet roughly on the center of the peg, keeping your knees slightly bent and your upper and lower body as relaxed as you can.
#4 KEEP YOUR INPUTS SMOOTH
When you have the muddy terrain, it's very very important that we keep the throttle nice and smooth. We do not need a knee-jerk reaction of a big hit with its roll, because these bikes they're quarter of a ton and they don't like the big hit with the throttle. Whilst it's great fun it will surely bite you back at some point.
Riding off-road more than any other riding discipline requires you to keep smooth and measured inputs to the body. A big adventure machine prefers gentle changes of speed and direction, being too aggressive on the throttle can be fun, but as Dave says it will bite you one day.
#5 KEEP YOU CHIN UP AND LOOK AHEAD
When we're riding off-road is pick our head up, look well ahead on the trails, do not get sucked in to looking over the visor down at the front wheel. Staring at the front wheel is a very easy mistake to make when riding off-road. The problem is if you see an obstacle in front of the bikes wheel, it's already too late and you will almost certainly hit it. Keep your chin up and look as far ahead as you can, it will help you to ride more quickly and more smoothly than constantly focusing on what's in front of you and what the front wheel is about to ride over.