Essential Adventure Motorcycle Mods: Things That Work

Essential Adventure Motorcycle Mods // Cross Country ADV

Do you need rally mods for your adventure motorcycle if you’re not planning to race?

Actually, scratch that. Do you need mods at all?

And if you do, what are the essential adventure motorcycle mods in the first place?

Bikes are typically sold in stock condition, designed to cater to an average rider on average terrains. The thing is, that average rider doesn’t really exist. Given the diverse range of riders and riding scenarios, modifications are what allow you to tailor the bike to individual preferences and requirements. While not obligatory, certain modifications can significantly enhance the comfort, safety, and overall riding experience.

Essential Adventure Motorcycle Mods // Cross Country ADV

So, no, you don’t necessarily need adventure motorcycle mods, especially if you’re not planning to race rallies or do hard, technical terrain. That being said, some aftermarket modifications can make a huge difference in how your bike handles and, in the process, boost your confidence and speed up your skill-building.

If you’re just starting out, however, it can be tough to decide which mods are truly essential and what’s just overpriced bling. Having modified motorcycles and built several rally bikes over the years, we’ve learned what really matters and what belongs in the farkle category, and in this post, we’ll be looking at some of the most impactful adventure motorcycle mods that are worth investing in.

Skid Plate & Engine Protection

First things first: even if you don’t plan to take your Tenere 700 or your GS to the Romaniacs, a decent bash plate is a must. You don’t need to be doing hard enduro to bust your bike’s innards or engine cover with a sharp flying rock – that can happen on a perfectly adventure-friendly gravel road or forest trail. Do invest in a good-quality, lightweight skid plate like the Carbon Fox (best lightweight option out there) or a GP Mucci bash plate (best protection out there).

Essential Adventure Motorcycle Mods // Cross Country ADV

Then, there’s engine protection: having cracked an engine case on a rental Honda somewhere in the Colombian Andes, we know just how painful it is to inflict this much damage on the bike by something that could have easily been prevented. We love the Acerbis X-Power engine cover for its sturdiness and reliable design.

Bar Risers and Control Levers

Utilizing bar risers and adjusting your control levers and brake pedal position is the fastest, cheapest, and easiest way to dial in your bike’s ergonomics. If you’re tall, handlebar risers will help you find a good riding position instead of trying to contort yourself into a question mark every time you stand up on the pegs.

Essential Adventure Motorcycle Mods // Cross Country ADV

Adjusting the position of your levers and brake pedal will boost comfort and safety, and all it takes is some quick tuning to make life on the bike much easier.

Fuel Tank

Plan to do some serious miles? Get yourself a bigger tank, like our favored Acerbis 23l fuel tank designed for durability and holding 23 liters of fuel. Now, some folks will tell you bigger tanks are bulky, heavy, or just plain unnecessary, but we beg to differ: first off, you don’t need to fill it to the brim every time. However, when you do need serious fuel range out in the sticks, a bigger tank is a godsend.


Aftermarket footpegs are one of the most overlooked yet easily among the most impactful adventure motorcycle mods. Just think about it: when you ride standing up, your footpegs bear all your weight. If you’ve got narrow, slippery stock footpegs, you’ll tire out faster, you’ll have less stability, and it’ll be harder to stay balanced.

Wide, grippy footpegs, on the other hand, minimize fatigue, provide plenty of grip and steadiness, and allow you to stand up comfortably for hours if need be. Our rally footpegs have all that plus a secret ingredient: these footpegs are positioned slightly lower and backward which gives you a better riding position, more stability, and more control of your rear wheel.

Essential Adventure Motorcycle Mods // Cross Country ADV

You don’t need to be a Dakar pro to appreciate just how much difference rally footpegs can make.


When it comes to adventure motorcycle mods that have the biggest impact, suspension tops the list. Simply adjusting your suspension with a suspension pro can make a big difference; if you go all out and swap out your stock setup for a custom suspension, chances are, you’ll be taking your bike’s performance to the next level. Good suspension is everything – balance, handling, performance – and while it’s the most expensive mod on the list, it’s definitely worth it. Depending on your bike’s make and model, we love TracTive, Ohlins, WP, Hyperpro, and TFX.

Yamaha Tenere 700 Rally Mods // Cross Country ADV

This list of adventure motorcycle mods might look short, but again, we’re all about impact rather than quantity. Once you’ve done these mods, you’ll notice a massive difference in your bike’s handling and your own riding – and from there, the sky’s the limit.

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