Visiting Ladakh may be one of your most cherished dreams. If you’re planning a Ladakh solo trip on your bike, it’s crucial to consider some important things. Throughout the journey, your bike will be your companion. Though you may join a Ladakh motorcycle tour or expedition on the way, you still need to make sure your bike is in good shape to complete the journey. Ladakh is one of the most challenging yet scenic road trips in the country.
Preparing your bike for such a long journey needs to be done properly. If anything goes wrong on the way, you may be stuck in the middle of nowhere, relying on passers-by. For a hassle-free trip, we’ve tried to jot down some important things you need to focus on to prepare your bike for the journey.
Preparing the Bike for a Ladakh Solo Trip
Most travellers prefer a Royal Enfield Classic (350 CC) for a trip to Ladakh. It’s one of the most suitable bikes for rugged terrain, and provides you with sufficient comfort to make this long and tiring journey. Every bike has hundreds of parts that need repair and maintenance on a regular basis. Before you leave for a Ladakh trip with bike, focus on the parts listed below, and try to make sure everything is in order before you leave.
Piston and Timing Chain – The most common sign of a worn out piston is increased consumption of engine oil. If that’s the case, you need to get the cylinder kit checked. If necessary, you should get the part replaced before leaving for Ladakh. The valves should also be working properly. A worn out or loose timing chain can cause some trouble. In fact, it can even cause a complete mechanical failure, if not changed in time.
Clutch Plates – On a journey to Ladakh, the clutch plates of your bike should be in excellent condition. Otherwise, you may come across challenges on steep climbs. Before the journey, you should get the clutch plates checked, and ensure that clutch cables are working properly. It’s always better to carry a spare set of clutch cables.
Sprockets & Chain – Sprockets and chain can wear easily. In case your mechanic suggests a change, you shouldn’t think twice. Simply get the chain-sprocket set replaced. Depending on the condition, you can even get it lubricated and cleaned. Similarly, the swing arm brush also needs to be checked, and replaced if necessary.
Suspensions – When you’re on a Ladakh solo trip, there’s not much room for error. While riding on the rugged terrain in Ladakh, your bike will carry the load of your luggage too. Therefore, the suspension should be in good condition. You should get the rear and front suspension checked. If you’re planning to join a Ladakh motorcycle tour, you can ask the participants for reliable mechanics in the area.
Accelerator and Clutch Cables – In case your accelerator and clutch wires are more than 10,000 km old, it’s necessary to get them changed. As mentioned earlier, you should also carry a spare set. Getting them lubricated is also a good choice. The same is true for spark plugs and air filters. If they’re over 10,000 km old, get them replaced.
Brake Shoes & Engine Oil – If you’ve been using the same brake shoes for more than 5,000 km, and engine oil for over 500 km, get them changed. These are the most important parts of a bike, even more so when you’re planning a Ladakh trip with bike. If your motorcycle has an oil strainer, you should also get it cleaned.
Battery & Electricals – Before leaving on this journey, make sure you get all the electricals properly checked, including light bulbs and tail light. You also need to clean the headlight’s sealed beam. The bike’s battery should give enough output to handle the load for this long journey. This is even more important if the bike does not have a kickstart.
Other General Check – Once you’re sure everything has been checked, give it another go. All the oils and fluids need to be topped up. These include engine oil, brake oil, battery water etc. Fuel lines should be intact, and there shouldn’t be any leakage. In addition to this, you need to get the bolts and nuts fastened. Most importantly, your carburetor should be properly tuned for good pick-up.
For Ladakh’s rugged terrain, your tyres need to be in good condition. If you notice any cracks or cuts, get the tyres replaced. While buying new tyres, enquire about dual-purpose tyres, which are good for both on and off-road conditions. The wheel alignment also needs to be checked before the ride.
Repair/Servicing Skills You Should Learn
In case you’ve got everything checked, it’s time to learn some skills. Finding a mechanic in Ladakh can be quite difficult. In order to avoid hassles, you should learn how to tighten rear brakes, adjust chain, replace light bulbs, adjust accelerator and clutch cables, change levers and fix punctures. This allows you to enjoy a good Ladakh solo trip without relying on strangers on the road.
Some Final Checks
Once you’ve prepared the bike for this long and rugged road, it’s the day to ride away on this mesmerizing journey. On the day of departure, you should make sure the indicators, horn and lights are working properly. Check all fluid levels, such as brake oil, coolant, engine oil etc. This also lets you know about any leakages that you missed the first time around. The chain of the bike should be lubricated properly. It shouldn’t feel too loose or too tight. You also need to check air pressure in the tyres, and make sure there aren’t any punctures.
Essential Documents for the Road
When you’re leaving on a Ladakh trip with bike, it’s important to carry certain documents. Registration documents of the bike, driving license, insurance policy and PUC are some essential documents you can’t miss to carry. To make sure everything remains in order, you should carry a few copies of these documents.
Photocopies of insurance policy and registration certificate come in handy. It’s better to get copies attested. If you’re planning a Ladakh solo trip and don’t want the hassle of planning everything on your own, discuss your requirements with our seasoned trekkers and support staff. Just click here.