BMW MOA National Rally 2008

This was my first trip to the BMW MOA National Rally, an event this year held in Gillette, WY. As I didn’t have time to sort the new hitch for the truck, I had to leave the bike and trailer back in Denver. Still, as I only had the Friday evening and Saturday at the rally, it wasn’t a big loss.

I think the total number of people here was around 5,000. Most seemed to be camping and have their bikes with them, so it’s a good thing that the Cam-Plex site is so large. The overwhelming impression was of 60-70% GSs, which I suppose is down to the expolits of Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. Still, an interest in motorcycle touring has spurred the market - there are a lot more travel companies specializing in motorcycle travel and goodies out there than ever before.

But there’s a lot of tat too. Any trip of vehicle-based/dependent travel takes a lot out of you and your machine, and more particularly so if you’re traveling outside of the developed world. So any gear you take needs to be

  1. Justified - the less stuff, the better
  2. Well engineered - it has to perform its function well
  3. Well made - it has to last the trip

Walking the vendor halls today, I’d bet your could eliminate 75% of the stuff by applying #1 above. While I’m sure someone, somewhere needs a ”portable walrus polishing kit”, you probably don’t need it in the Rub ‘al Khali.

Number 2 catches you out too. I suppose experience is the guide here, I’ve bought equipment that looks good in the garage at home, but lets you down in the field due to some under-specified material or component, or just a poor design. Number 3 is of course related to this - I’ve chucked stuff on the road because it ends up being crap. You get what you pay for…

So here are my takeaways - first impressions of what seem to be decent goods and services on display.


Helge Pedersens global tour company. They offer a limited number of tours per year, longer than the average tour (50+ days), decent (screened) group sizes and trips to some great places. I particularly like the sound of the Indo-China trip. Helge seems like a top-bloke, but he’s come in for some criticism over his handling of image copyright on Adventure Rider.

Moto Discovery

I don’t know much about these guys, but they run some interesting trips, including one to Iran.

Rawhyde Adventures

Looks like this California-based company does some good training. It also offers some off-road trips in the Western US and Mexico.

ROK Straps

I liked these so much I bought some! Basically, an adjustable elastic strap. Aerostich stocks them.

Stop N Go Tire Repair Kit

After seeing a quick demo, I bought the Pocket Tire Plugger with CO2 inflation. It’s a super quick way to plug and re-inflate your tire after picking up a puncture. Hopefully, I won’t have the opportunity to review it!

Ear Inc. NYX Sport Glasses

A good range of impact-proof polycarbonate lenses.

Adaptiv Technologies TPX Radar Detector

Vibration and water-resistant detector, designed specifically for motorcycles.


A global medevac insurance company, that also offers bike repatriation when in the US. I may take out one of these policies, to bolster our current insurance.

The 2009 Rally runs from July 16 - 19th, and will be in Johnson City, TN.