Are you planning a bike ride to Ladakh or Spiti Valley? This guide helps you with how to prepare your bike for the Ladakh ride or Spiti Valley ride.
Ladakh is every biker’s dream destination, thanks to the staggering height of over 10,000 ft., some of the highest mountain passes of the world, and mesmerizing views. But, having your motorcycle ready to face the music of tough conditions of trans-Himalayan Region like Ladakh or Spiti Valley requires patience, due diligence, and, of course, some preparation.
So, to help you prepare, today, I present you the MOST complete guide on how to be fully prepared on your bike trip to Ladakh.
Let's quickly dive into the details:
Remember, that the biggest tip to manage the grueling grind of a Ladakh – Zanskar road trip is not to take yourself too seriously and enjoy the moment. But, how do you do it – when you’re completely out of your element, and the tough task of traveling through the most rugged region gets too overwhelming?
Well, it isn’t that difficult – as they say, well begun is half done. Hence, preparation, preparation, preparation – that’s the key.
Here are some tips related to Engine and Transmission for preparing your bike for Ladakh or Spiti Valley trip.
If you are taking your motorcycle, get it serviced before making the trip. A mechanic will be the best judge to inform you about the state of your motorcycle.
Another thing to check out is that you should look out for excessive smoke coming out of the exhaust. If you’re facing this issue, you’ll need to get a piston job. Diagnose the problem, or you might have to cut short your trip.
Anyways, if your engine has clocked 50,000 km or more, you should get it checked properly. It might need some piston, engine, or clutch changes. Just remember trans-Himalayas are harsh on your bike.
Another thing to keep in mind is the irregularity of the sounds. If your bike is making random noises, do get your engine fully checked.
Are you self-driving to Ladakh or Spiti valley or Zanskar Valley? If yes, don’t forget to check the must-have list of items to carry on a self-drive trip to Ladakh or other parts of the Himalayas.
Ensure that the carburetor, air filter, and spark plugs are cleaned and adjusted properly. If your air filter has seen over 5,000 km of mountains, consider replacing it and never think of removing your Air Filters in the mountains, it will ruin your engine, and you will be in a big mess.
Take the motorcycle for some curves at normal speeds. If you’re facing any issues with the balance and weight of the bike – ask the mechanic to sort this out for you. For heavy bikes like Enfield, you don’t want to take any chances.
If the motorcycle is not pulling cleanly through the gears, Adjust and/or replace clutch plates if required. Keep spare clutch plates along with you.
If you spot more than one teeth on the sprocket which looks broken or worn out, replace the chainset at the earliest and always keep a spare chain set along with you. Just remember that when you’re in Ladakh, your bike has to climb three of the World’s Highest Motorable passes so keep your chainset in good shape.
Here are some tips related to Tire and Suspension for preparing your bike for Ladakh or Spiti Valley trip.
On to the big daddy of the bike. Ensure that you check tires for excessive wear and tear. Even if the tires aren’t very worn out, you can consider changing them before the Big Ride in those extreme roads.
If tires are older than three years – you should change them as they might not get you the traction you need in harsh conditions such as driving through mud and crossing river beds.
Always check tire pressure every morning and try keeping pressure pump along with you.
If you are replacing tires, then consider a set of dual tubeless sport tires for your Ladakh ride. Because you will just not be riding on tarmac, but also slush gravels and river beds. And these tires tend to perform better on all terrains.
It is wise to check both tubes. It’s always a good idea to replace both tubes before embarking on such a long ride. I will again suggest Tubeless Tires.
Check both rear and front shock absorbers. Replace front fork oil and oil seals if required. Try keeping a spare pair of seals with you.
Check rear suspension for rigidity and firmness. If they feel too springy or soft and bottom-out easily over a speed bump, replace rear shock absorbers. The road conditions up there in places like Spiti Valley and Ladakh aren’t in the best of shape and you will be constantly getting bumps here and there.
Check the brake shoes/pads of both wheels. Replace if required. If your bike is equipped with disc brakes, then top up brake oil.
If you have wheels with spokes and feel the slightest of wobbles, then it’s time to get your wheels aligned. If you have spokes or alloys, go for tubeless tires and keep a spare tube along with a puncture kit, so there is no hassle in case of a puncture.
Travel Tip: If you are trekking up there, then do not forget to check the 12 must-have things to carry on a trekking or hiking trip.
Try Servicing your bike or at least know important parts and components. Because if you know your bike, you will never end up in many problems – you’ll be prepared for all eventualities. Also, Bullet guys – you need to put some muscles as you have to work very hard to work out a flat tire.
I have other advice to give you as well – particularly – remember you’ll be in the heart of the mountains, and you must cherish every moment. Also, be respectful of your fellow travelers – don’t ride rash or be in any kind of race.
Remember you should set yourself some realistic targets which you can achieve. And above all else, try making friends with fellow riders – you will find the most interesting characters and stories along the way. Be mindful of your body’s needs, and take a ton of breaks to enjoy the views and stretch yourself out!
This post was last modified on Jun 27, 2022 18:55
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