Last Updated on October 7, 2015
Editor’s Note: This post has been generously contributed by A.B. Vanover and he lays out the argument for a two-wheeled bug out option that preppers should consider. In some situations this makes more sense than your traditional bug out vehicle. Could a Dual Sport Motorcycle be better for your bug out plans?
You’ve stockpiled canned food, medical supplies and other necessities. You’ve even outfitted your home with solar heating and electricity. You’ve done everything you can possibly think of to be ready for whatever the future holds. But have you considered what you’re going to do for transportation if a true national or world emergency arises?
A large-scale emergency situation could result in mass power outages and closures of most, if not all, gas stations. Those who plan on relying on 4×4 trucks, used military vehicles and other off-road vehicles will quickly use up all of the fuel in their tanks. Considering this, the dual sport motorcycle presents an excellent form of alternative transportation that should be considered.
What is a dual sport motorcycle?
The dual sport motorcycle is a type of motorcycle that is designed to operate on both paved roads and unimproved surfaces. It is essentially a dirt bike that has been made street legal with the addition of rear view mirrors, turn signals, a headlight and a license plate. Dual sport motorcycles are equipped with special tires that allow them to ride on both paved surfaces as well as on mud, dirt, gravels, sand and other rough terrain. The tires are not the typical knobby tires that dirt bikes are usually equipped with, nor are they the slick tires found on your average road cruiser. They are tires that have not been optimized either for roads or trails. Rather, they are a compromise that gives riders the best of both worlds.
The primary advantage of having one of these bikes is that they can go just about anywhere. You don’t have to worry about road conditions with one of these bikes, as they can traverse just about anything. And because they have two wheels instead of four, they can go many places that would be impossible for even the most rugged 4×4. Imagine if you will that the mayor of your city just issued evacuation orders for all residents. Now imagine all of the people in a major city all trying to leave at once. Total chaos. There will be accidents blocking the roads, cars left sitting idle, and people even walking on foot to flee. With a dual sport motorcycle you can easily maneuver around wrecked or abandoned cars, even going off-road to avoid blocked roads. With a dual sport motorcycle you will have the ability to go places that others could only dream of. Short of having your own personal airplane or helicopter, it’s about the closest thing to personal travel freedom there is.
Another great advantage of owning a dual sport motorcycle is that they get incredible gas mileage. If you resist the urge to purchase a bike with a large engine and get one with an engine of about 600cc, it is not uncommon to realize up to 75 mpg. With such incredible fuel economy, you could very easily ride your bike for a long time on a modest fuel reserve you keep at home.
One of the best and most affordable dual-sport motorcycles on the market today is the Honda XR650L. The Honda name is well-known for its longevity and reliability. A new XR650L will cost just under $7,000, but you can get a nice one that’s just a few years old for about half as much. Other motorcycle manufacturers make quality dual sport bikes, too, including Yamaha, KTM, BMW and others.
A dual sport motorcycle is not without its disadvantages, of course. Cargo capacity is very limited, although you can purchase side bags or hard cases, and you can also carry some items in a backpack while you are riding. But as a means of conserving precious fuel when supplies are limited or become prohibitively expensive, it’s hard to beat the rugged utility of this form of two-wheeled transportation.
An additional negative aspect of the dual sport motorcycle that you should consider is the limited ability to carry passengers. At best, you can only carry one passenger on a motorcycle. And don’t forget about the noise. Motorcycles are not known for being the quietest modes of transportation. If your intention is to travel from point A to point B as discretely as possible, the loud motorcycle exhaust noise could give you away. Nevertheless, the noise level on most four-stroke motorcycles these days is not too much more than your typical car or truck, and therefore should not be an issue for most riders.
Some may question the need for a dual sport motorcycle at all. Why not just go with a good quality mountain bike and pedal your way to wherever you need to go? Yes, this is certainly an option that many can pursue. In fact, it really isn’t a bad idea to have a good quality mountain bike in your stable in addition to a dual sport motorcycle. There are, however, two significant problems with relying on bicycles as a primary means of transportation. First, they don’t go very fast. A bicycle can only go as fast as its rider can pedal, which leads us to the second problem: They require constant pedaling. Unless you are already in great physical condition, you may have some degree of difficulty adapting to riding a bicycle everywhere you need to go since the engine that makes it go is the person riding it. It can really be exhausting work after a while. This is especially true if you live in an area with a lot of hills to traverse. Even the most experienced bicycle rider can tell you how difficult it is to peddle uphill. A good dual sport motorcycle, on the other hand, will easily take you to your destination without the need to break a sweat.
Lastly, let’s not forget that a good dual sport motorcycle is not something that has to sit in your garage in preparation for something bad to happen. These bikes are a lot of fun and there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy owning and riding one often.
About the author: A.B. Vanover is an avid motorcycle enthusiast and has been riding for almost 17 years. Alex is also the owner of the popular ad listing website Motorcycle Trading Post. When he is not riding he can be found hiking or riding his mountain bike throughout the Blue Ridge Mountains.