There’s a common misconception that motorcycling is a cost-effective way of getting from A to B. And whilst that can be the case, for most of us, it really isn’t!
Yes, you can buy a used 125cc for next to nothing, and it will cost you very little to fuel, maintain, tax, and insure.
But most of us don’t stay there. We get bigger bikes that use more fuel, cost more to insure, and a lot more to maintain.
We start to travel further afield, to different parts of the country – and then to different countries and continents entirely. And as the trips get longer, we need more kit. So that usually requires more luggage.
With more luggage and more kit comes the need for more power and comfort – so we buy bigger bikes. It’s a vicious circle.
While these trips can be ridden on smaller bikes with basic kit, most don’t want to. But as the shopping list grows, so does the cost!
Getting on Two Wheels
Getting on two wheels can be an expensive hobby for a new rider. The cost of your CBT, theory test, lessons, and practical tests can soon mount up.
And even when you pass, you need to buy a bike, insure it, tax it, and purchase all your kit. It can be brutal to the bank account!
In this post, I want to review some reasonably priced kits for beginner touring riders. Of course, ‘reasonably priced’ is subjective. Some people have more money than others; one person’s ‘cheap’ could be someone else’s ‘expensive.’
I’ve done my best to find decent kits at a fair price that most newbie tourers could stretch to.
Reasonably Priced Kit for Beginner Touring Riders: Helmet
Looking for helmets can be a minefield – and the only way you’ll find which you like best is through trial and error. In general, full-face lids are considered the safest. But do your homework before you buy, and never (EVER!) buy a used one off eBay!
Shark S900 Dual Special Edition Helmet, £129.99
As you might expect, with a price tag under £130, this isn’t the most tech-happy motorcycle helmet on the market. But it does the job well, offers a 4-star Sharp rating, looks good, and is competitively priced.
It has integrated air ducts to direct airflow (keeping you cool), an anti-scratch/anti-fog visor, multiple air intakes and grills, and a removable liner.
You can get cheaper helmets – but most won’t come with a 4-star Sharp rating like the S900. And you’ll likely need to buy a Pinlock for them, whereas the S900 comes with one as standard.
Other nice features include anti-turbulence technology, which keeps the noise down, an internal drop-down visor (very useful), and it’s pretty light, too, at 1,550g.
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Reasonably Priced Kit for Beginner Touring Riders: Clothing
Strangely, the only thing you need legally (in the UK, at least) is a helmet. But if you think it’s acceptable to ride a bike wearing a vest and flip-flops, you probably shouldn’t be on one in the first place. Here’s the rest of the kit you really should be wearing.
RST Alpha 5 CE Jacket, £94.99
We like the Alpha 5 jacket from RST. It lacks features compared to its more expensive cousins, but it’s a great jacket at a fair price.
Extra comfort is harnessed from its specific ‘touring fit’ styling, and you’ll also find a fixed SinAqua liner to keep you dry when rain arrives. The internal Gillet is handy for colder conditions – which can be removed when the sun comes out.
It comes with CE-approved protection at the elbows and shoulders, and two front intakes (along with the two exhaust vents at the rear) do a good job at airflow.
Finally, it comes with five internal and external pockets – perfect for all those items you need to keep to hand when touring.
At under £95, this is a reasonably priced jacket for beginner touring riders everywhere.
Richa Everest Textile Pants, £99.99
The Everest pants by Richa are a good option for those looking for decent strides that are sub-£100. And Richa is a continuous reminder that you can get a decent kit for a little money.
The removable liner keeps you warm on colder days, whilst removing it allows airflow and coolness when the temperature rises.
You’ll find CE protection at the knees and a waterproof and breathable membrane to keep you dry and ventilated no matter the weather.
There are better pants out there that will offer more stable and consistent waterproofing. But they’re a good all-round choice for newbie touring riders at this price.
Related: RST Aramid Jeans: Real-World Review
Richa Zenith Waterproof Boots, £89.99
Sticking with Richa, these Zenith boots are a frugal choice for newbie touring riders. Are they as waterproof, comfortable, flexible, or non-slip as my Altberg’s? Hell no! But then again, they cost a quarter of the price.
For less than £90, you’ll get a leather-construct boot lined with a waterproof membrane, a treaded rubber sole for better grip, comfortable flex zones, and a durable gear change pad.
The one thing I’d say to be wary of is the fitting. They tend to run small and have narrow heels. Try them on in a shop if possible.
Dainese Tempest D-Dry Gloves, £101
I have an ongoing rivalry with gloves. Those touted as ‘warm’ usually leave my hands freezing cold. And those that are supposed to be ‘waterproof’ usually never are. I’m yet to find a pair of gloves that fit, are truly warm, and are actually waterproof – simultaneously!
It’s true; you can get gloves at a fraction of the cost of the Tempest D-Dry gloves. But I seriously wouldn’t trust their warmth or waterproofing capabilities!
The Tempest gloves are more expensive – but you can also have more confidence in their abilities. If money is a driver for you, go cheaper, by all means – especially if you’re embarking on a summer tour.
But if you can scrape a little more money together for these (or get them as a present in a sale somewhere), you’ll have a more enjoyable ride.
- A waterproof and breathable D-Dry membrane.
- Abrasion resistance.
- Knuckle protection.
- A thermal quilted liner.
- Somewhat touchscreen compatibility.
- An integrated visor wipe.
Related: Top 10 Winter Motorcycle Gloves
Oxford Rainseal Waterproofs, Jacket £24.88, Pants £18.48
Don’t listen to anybody who tours without waterproofs! Sure, if they’ve paid £3,000 for a top-of-the-range adventure suit, they’ve bought peace of mind. And that’s great – for them.
But for the rest of us? We carry waterproofs – because we know how much of a lifesaver they can be. If your kit gets wet, you’re in for a miserable day. And to make it worse, they may not dry overnight – which means you’re in for another miserable day tomorrow.
Not only this, but you’ll get cold, miserable, and tired very quickly if you’re wet – which can be dangerous.
For what they cost, grab a jacket and some pants from Oxford and keep them in your tank bag. They weigh nothing, cost nothing, and take up next to no room in your luggage.
Reasonably Priced Kit for Beginner Touring Riders: Luggage
Luggage is difficult to recommend. For some, it comes with a bike. For others, they need to buy it separately. Some prefer hard luggage, whilst some prefer soft. And buying soft/hard depends on your needs! For now, we’ve stuck with some of our favourites that everybody can benefit from.
Oxford Aqua T50 Roll Bag, £54.95
Nothing would please me more than to offer up a sexy roll bag with oodles of features and promises of wanderlust.
But the fact is, this offering from Oxford ticks all the boxes, does its job supremely well, and is cheap to buy.
I’ve had mine for eight years – and it’s never let me down. I paid £49.99 in 2015, and it’s the best £49.99 I’ve ever spent on bike-related kit.
It has a roll-down closure system, which aids in waterproofing (plus it means you don’t have to worry about zips failing!), comes with a shoulder strap for easy carrying, and has an under-seat fitting system for security.
Nothing about this bag is sexy, new, or ground-breaking. But I wouldn’t swap it!
Givi XS319 Tanklock Mini Tank Bag
For me, this is yet another bargain. Plenty of tank bags are far larger than this one, offer way more features, and cost far (far) more.
This no-frills offering from Givi is perfect for touring and comes at a fraction of the price.
It has a tank lock system that fits quickly and easily onto your fuel cap – and it isn’t so stupidly big to cloud your vision of the dash. It will fit in your essentials and a drink, but that’s all you should carry in a tank bag.
The semi-rigid construct holds its shape while still allowing flexibility. And whilst it isn’t advertised as waterproof, I’ve yet to see any leaking from it. Further, it comes with a removable waterproof cover for added peace of mind.
Finally, the included carry strap is handy for those overnight ferry crossings.
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Reasonably Priced Kit for Beginner Touring Riders: Conclusion
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that much more goes into successful, long-duration tours. As time passes, you’ll learn what works for you, what doesn’t, and what is a priority on your trips.
For now, start with the kit on this list, and you’re well on your way to discovering the wonders of motorcycle touring.
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