4. You Can Properly Load Your Bike
A properly loaded bike changes the happiness of the ride, and quickly. The issue is most just think they know how to load a bike, and this is due to their fixed mindset that just thinks it’s OK. But many are wrong.
The key phrase here is the center of gravity. Most adventure bikes have higher ground clearance, which means the center of gravity is higher. The higher the center of gravity, the heavier the bike will feel because when weight is higher, the bike will lose balance quicker.
This is why standing on the pegs is important for lowering your center of gravity, which will keep your bike balanced easier. It sounds counterintuitive to some because your body is actually higher, but all the weight is on the pegs, centralizing more weight lower, which allows you to control the bike easier. (Want to geek out? Read this Kevin Cameron article on Center of Gravity Myths).
The same is the concept for loading a bike. You want to keep the weight low and balanced from side to side. Pack heavier items at the bottom of the bags and in the panniers. If you use a rollbag on the rear or a tail pack, try to keep lighter items up top, and also balanced from left to right.
Example: keep a tent at the bottom of one pannier, and your liquid drinks at the bottom of the other pannier. Balance the weight of the remaining items between the two panniers. Place all lighter items such as clothes and dry foods in the rear case.
Proper loading can prevent you from stupid crashes where you are forced to make quick steering, throttle, or braking input—especially at slower speeds off-road.
Change your mindset to always load your bike correctly, and never leave things to chance. Your bike’s handling should immediately tell you if things are unbalanced—just as low pressure in a tire would also quickly translate that your bike is not right.
Speaking of PSI, always check daily before each ride, and always compensate for added weight on the motorcycle based on the manufacturer’s recommendations.