Claudio Mandalà talks about his passion for motorbikes and his last travel in Europe on his KTM 1290 Super Adventure R.
We disembarked in Split in Croatia and headed inland, which has a totally different appearance to the coast. The terrain is quite hilly and remote — a rocky, dusty landscape; the riding is challenging and the scenery and route spectacular. You can still feel the sadness caused by the recent war: seized villages and locals who are hungry for peace and equality. Croats are a warm and welcoming people, a little less so towards the Croatian-Bosnian border. Remote trails miles from anywhere and everyone, dotted with minefields, and a landscape that is to say the least surreal and exciting.
To ensure you can tackle any mechanical problems, it’s essential you know your motorcycle inside and out. In many places you don’t always have the opportunity to take your motorcycle to a mechanic or contact roadside assistance, so it’s very important to pack a workshop manual, some spare parts, and some specific tools for your bike. But what’s most important is to practise carrying out basic routine maintenance and repair jobs at home in your garage so you’re ready to deal with the unexpected mechanical problems in isolated places like for example the Croatian-Bosnian border area.
Before leaving, I always make sure my bike is in tip-top condition; I check everything, from tightening the bolts to checking the timing system.
It’s also vitally important to change all filters and engine oil before setting off. Whether you’re planning a 15,000 km or 2,500 km road trip it makes no difference: starting with fresh engine oil is always a solid foundation.
For this trip I mounted Alpina rims, Mitas e07+ tyres and an HpCorse exhaust, and averaged around 250 km per day depending on the stage. I took a chain lube kit with me — the Pakelo Chain Lube MBK Off-Road — a puncture repair kit and a special tool kit for my bike, along with a jump starter for emergency starts and a compressor.
I used Krypton MBK 15W — 50 engine oil.
For me, my motorbike means happiness. It’s a form of transport that lets me rediscover that feeling I had as an 11-year-old. Each trip is always a new emotion, a new discovery, a new adventure, and a new me. Travelling the world on two wheels is a universal panacea.