There are several ways to travel to Ladakh, but the best way to travel to Ladakh is by Bike. Bike is the main attraction of Ladakh. For bikers, Ladakh is a heaven and traveling to ladakh is every bikers dream.
Although you can take your own bike to ladakh, but the most common way to travel to Ladakh is by renting a bike.
There are several outlets that can send you a bike, ok but even though if you are renting a bi you need to prepare it you need to prepare yourself also to travel along with it.
While I was traveling to Ladakh using a rented Royal Enfield Himalayan, I follows a checklist that I prepared by myself so that I don’t face any problems in my journey.
If you want to download the checklist, enter your email and your name and you will get your checklist delivered to your email.
List of Checks
1. Type of Bike
So before starting with the entire post the first thing is to know what type of bike do you you have. There are two types of bike
- Your own bike
- Rented bike
Your own Bike
So if you are going to use your own bike to travel to Ladakh then a checklist can be done easily and you can exactly know what to look for and what not to.
Since you are familiar with your bike and you exactly know what things work and what doesn’t in your bike. It would be really easy for you to determine what things are needed to be fixed and what things need just a little tweak.
Nowadays more and more people are preparing to take their bikes for the expedition because it’s easy to ride and they are comfortable on their own bikes. Moreover, the best part is that they exactly know how the bikes work, how old is the bike and which parts are working perfectly and which needs to be changed.
Most of the travelers prefer to rent a bike since they are from different parts of the world or different places of India. It’s not easy for everyone to bring their bike to Manali just to travel to Ladakh. So most of the travelers prefer to rent a bike instead of bringing their own.
Renting a bike is not just about you choosing a bike and start travelling. It has got more to do.
So I will break down all the necessary steps that are required for you to prepare your bike for a Ladakh trip.
2. Age of the bike
The age of the bike really matters if you are renting a bike. Since most of the bikes that are used for renting business are used several times and have Travels thousands of kilometres for several years.
There are few outlets that really keep their bike well maintained for renting. But most of them just polish it from the outside so that they can make more and more profit during the peak seasons.
So you should be aware and be really knowledgeable while picking a bike specially for renting one.
The age of the bikes define how much the bike has been used to travel to Ladakh since Ladakh is a difficult Terrain to travel and the bikes are pushedl to their limits in that situation.
Knowing the age of the bike helps you to understand how much a bike have been travelled and if the bike is really more than three or four years old you should avoid that bike.
3. Power of the bike
Power… power…. power…. or its horsepower.
Power plays a great role while traveling to Ladakh. A bike that is well powered will really help you to complete your expedition in an easy and comfortable way.
Ladakh has places where the roads are really fine, and some places are there where there are no roads. You have to cross rivers, frozen lakes, hilly terrain, Rocky mountains, sand dunes, snow, and almost anything on the way.
And to do all this the bike needs that significant power that it can pull itself and your weight from that situation.
If you are having a pillion rider, then the power is now more important than ever. Since you will not be riding alone and you have a pillion rider on your back, the bike needs to pull its weight plus yours and the pillion rider.
The pulling capacity comes from the power of its engine. You don’t want to stuck in a place where the pillion rider needs to push the bike and you are throttling just to climb that mountain.
That would be really difficult and shameful.
So I always suggest you to go for bikes more than 400 CC power. Some bikes that I will suggest are
- Royal Enfield Himalayan
- Royal Enfield Thunderbird
- Royal Enfield Bullet
- Bajaj dominar 400
- KTM adventure 400
- and any other bike that is more than 400 cc
4. Heating up of the engine
Since travelling to Ladakh is just riding up and then down, again up and down and up and down.
Yes literally – Up and Down, round and round.
Since traveling to Ladakh need to cross several mountains and every mountain you have to climb up and then climb down. Doing this puts a lot of pressure on your engine and breaks.
If you are an expert Rider then you can manage the pressure of your brakes. There are ways that professional Rider and especially the one who has been riding bikes for a long time know how to control the bike without applying the brake.
But if you want to climb up what you need to total of your accelerator and this process hits of the engine a way lot than it normally does .
Bikes less than 400 cc mostly comes with air-cooled engines. Air-cooled engines are great but not in this situation because when your engine turns extremely hot, the air cooling system is not enough to cool it down.
So for the air cooled engines you need to stop after every 80 to 90 kilometres you have travelled.
But if you are taking an oil-cooled or radiator-cooled engine, then you can write it comfortably without thinking anything about heating up your engine.
For this, I like the Bajaj Dominar 400 and the KTM adventure 400. These modern bikes and are made for touring and comes with great engine power good breaks and their radiator cooled engine.
A radiator-cooled engine means that the engine has a radiator and big fans and the radiator starts operating as soon as the engine reaches a significant temperature. The big fans help to blow out the heat and cool down the engine from the radiator.
5. Tubeless v/s Tube Tires
Who thinks about Tires right.
Then you must do, think about the tires and the tubes.
I don’t recommend you to go for tube Tires because if anything gets stuck in your tire and you get a leak in your tube, you cannot ride it anywhere else with a flat wheel.
Getting a tube tire means you can get stuck in a situation where you have got a flat tire and no one is there to repair your tire.
So I personally recommend you to go for tubeless tires, Since it allows you to ride for few kilometers without repairing the leak in the tire.
And the best part is that tubeless tires can be repaired by yourself if you have the right tools. You can purchase from Amazon a tubeless puncture kit and repair your all by yourself in just 5 minutes and continue your journey.
The link for the the tubeless puncture kit is been given below and you can purchase it here online.
6. Service of the bike
If you are taking your own bike for the Ladakh expedition then you should get a complete service of your bike.
Try to change the Engine Oil entirely, get new brake shoes, change the cables of your clutch and brake, get a new battery, and also check if your chain is properly lubricated and in a fine condition.
These were the Essentials that every bike should have done. Depending on the model of your bike and the company, you may have to go for extra services that your service provider recommends you.[amazon box=”B01ESPB2VS,B08ZHKW9BV,B01BOT42WW”]
Also while servicing your bike, try to take extra spare parts like a fuse, clutch, and brake, extra clutch and brake wires, 1 liter of Engine Oil, and a chain lubricant.
You can purchase the chain lubricant and the engine oil online from Amazon links are given below.
If you are renting a bike then, ask the bike renting outlet if they have already service the bike or not. Also, ask them to check the condition of the brake shoes and the clutch and braking cables.
You should also take a test ride of the bike ok so you can have a clear idea of how the bike performs and how is the braking and clutch system working.
7. Luggage and Panniers
So you may have seen that several bikes carry lots of luggage with them. Some also carry Jerry cans fill with petrol/gasoline.
Petrol and gasoline are the both the same thing just with different names in different countries.
While you will be travelling with your bike for Ladakh, you need to carry Essentials.
The essential items that you need to carry includes medicines, clothes, food and drinks, first aid kit, bike tools.
If you are a photographer then you would be also carrying camera and tripod, Power Banks another essential stuffs.
All these things when brought together get heavy and need a proper luggage carrying system and panniers so that you can Mount it on your bike.
Ladakh doesn’t have a lots of petrol pump for petrol stations on the way. So you may also need to carry petrol with yourself while travelling.
To carry petrol the best option is to carry Jerry cans also known as petrol cans.[amazon box=”B078K947MH”]
Always try to purchase a good quality Jerry can because if you have a fall you don’t want your petrol to spill right under your bike which may cause severe damage and burns to you and your bike.
I have personally shorted some of the Jerry cans that every professional bikers and Bike and to suggest must have.
link to Amazon for Jerry cans
8. Preparing your Bike for the Ride – The Final Stage
So I hope you have got a rough idea of what things you are going to expect on the way and what are the things you need to get done right before you get started.
These are the least that I have made while I was traveling to Ladakh personally and have faced several problems because I didn’t get a proper guide.
So I have personally made a list of all those problems while I was traveling and made a complete PDF checklist that will help you to know what are the things that you need to carry while travelling to Ladakh and also what are the things that you need to have check before starting your journey on a bike for Ladakh.
This PDF checklist is completely free all you need to do is click on this link enter your name and email and download the PDF checklist.
If you got any queries related to Ladakh and traveling by bike you can comment below right here on this blog or you can contact me on my social networks.