On a trip like ours you need riding gear that works well for Georgian snow just as much as for the heat of the Persian desert. After a couple of longer motorcycle tours we have found equipment we are happy with. Also solutions for our luggage and for navigation. Below we would like to introduce you to the stuff we rely on every day.
We used to wear black leather jackets because they look much better with Motörhead-Shirts and we will continue to do so. But not on this trip. We use textile suits with water-proof Sympatex membranes (KTM HQ Adventure). They are much lighter than leather gear, completely waterproof and good for a large range of temperatures. They have a lining that can be taken out for hot weather. For cold weather we use motorcycle-fleece jackets as an additional layer. That’s it. We haven’t used the rain gear we also brought. We both brought two pairs of gloves, summer and intermediate. As a first layer, you might want to consider merino wool.
We both really like our Shoei GT-Air for its comfort, ventilation, the built-in sun-screen, the anti-fog pinlock visor and the fully removable padding which makes it easy to clean the helmet from time to time. That’s why we also took them on this trip. However, on a tour like this we stop quite often to take photos, have a closer look at maps, talk to strangers, talk to policemen at checkpoints etc. In some countries the latter alone justifies a closer look at the latest generation of flip up-helmets like the Shoei Neotec oder Schuberth E1. That way you don’t have to take off your helmet all the time. Plus they don’t look as goofy as flip up-helmets used to and they have all the nice features mentioned above.
Get some good boots. You will drop your bike at some point and don’t want your ankles to get injured. In addition to being robust they should be absolutely waterproof. This will cost you a bit – just like the suit and the helmets discussed above – but it really is worth it. We have a pair of Alpine Star Toucan and a pair of Sidi Adventurer 2 respectively. They both do the job.
Panniers have the obvious advantage that you can lock them. That way you can go sightseeing without having to worry about your luggage. Or you can leave a lot of stuff at your bike when you are staying at a hostel. However, if you drop your bike it will most likely fall onto the panniers. For that reason it is a good idea to get heavy-duty panniers and holders. We are using the depicted Touratech-panniers. Instead of a top-case we use water-proof dry bags where we keep the stuff we use on a daily basis. The bags are great for the room and the variability they offer. The bags are tied to the bike with ROK Straps, great solution.
We use a water-, dust- and shock-proof Android smart phone mounted on a generic smart-phone-holder and connected to the 12V-socket of our KTMs. That works just fine. For offline-navigation we use both free MapFactor Navigator which is based on open street maps and does a good job in general. A big plus is the availability of maps worldwide. Where maps are available we also use Alk CoPilot Mobile Navigation, which after a recent overhaul has become quite intuitive. For planning and documentation we also use Google Maps. A great tool is the GPS-tracking App Geo Tracker, that plots a map and compiles statistics of your trips. For finding camping spots, we use iOverlander, a great user-driven app that can also be linked to your navigation software. All this is all good, but we also brought a set of hard-copy maps (waterresistant material by Reise Know-How) for a better overview when planning our trip. Highly recommended.