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General => Africa Info & other International Travels => Topic started by: Anon on August 21, 2020, 02:49:51 pm

Title: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Anon on August 21, 2020, 02:49:51 pm
Hi All

I am busy planning a trip through Africa and would appreciate some comments on what would be considered an appropriate engine size for the motorbike. I was concerned about the bike weight and was tending towards the mid range capacity however it was recommended by friends to go for a larger capacity bike. Potentially those individuals who have done trips to central Africa on larger capacity bikes can comment on the size bike they chose and whether in retrospect they would now take a lighter bike.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: sidetrack on August 21, 2020, 03:05:27 pm
@Xpat
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: I&horse on August 21, 2020, 03:11:45 pm
It depends on the route you're going to take. For the main roads - big bike, the rougher the route the lighter the bike you want.

You can't go fast on the rough stuff anyway, so if you can do oil changes and other maintenance yourself, then a KTM/Husky 500 or WR 450 with a big tank seems to be the best tool for the job IMO.
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Lars on August 21, 2020, 03:30:16 pm
Honda CT 110

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Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Swazi Phil on August 21, 2020, 03:52:09 pm
I would go 650 like honda XR, or KLR650, yamaha Tenere 660, Something with the least amount of electronics and proven reliability. but like stated above completely depends on route, ect.
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: TeeJay on August 21, 2020, 06:05:22 pm
Lighter is better - people go round the world on 250cc bikes.

Stay away from fancy electronics. And for goodness sake - don't go on a BMW R1200GS or any such massive machine.
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: GravelFox on August 21, 2020, 07:17:30 pm
It depends on the route you're going to take. For the main roads - big bike, the rougher the route the lighter the bike you want.

You can't go fast on the rough stuff anyway, so if you can do oil changes and other maintenance yourself, then a KTM/Husky 500 or WR 450 with a big tank seems to be the best tool for the job IMO.
Even main roads are so speed bumped and governed by speed limits that a big bike has little benefit.


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Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: billy-joe on August 21, 2020, 10:06:31 pm
I know there will be some haters but dont discount the Dakar 650.  More capable than you think,light on fuel, reliable and theyre getting cheaper as we speak.  the new 500's look fun too!
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on August 21, 2020, 11:08:37 pm
I would pick a DR 650 with comfier seat and bigger tank.
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: BOZO on August 22, 2020, 12:59:05 am
Mid range is good. Me I would take an old trusty one like a klr.


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Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Mr Zog on August 22, 2020, 03:03:01 am
Africa is full of the Chinese 125's and 250's.

As mentioned above, speed is just a rumour north of the SA border. Spares are readily available for the little Chinese bikes throughout Africa.
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: mark250gp on August 22, 2020, 08:06:59 am
AG200 - Thereís plenty of them up there. Not that youíll ever break it.
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Casting from Turd on August 22, 2020, 09:35:56 am
Being in the backpacking industry we have had our fair share of trans Africa travelers

I would say around 70% of them are on 650 cc bikes or smaller.
A lot are starting to use the little Honda CRF 250
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Casting from Turd on August 22, 2020, 09:37:25 am
http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=250648.0;topicseen

There you go  :biggrin: :biggrin:
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Fuzzy Muzzy on August 24, 2020, 10:46:53 am
I went through 7 African countries with a Transalp 650 with no issues. There are problems with an overloaded 650 with low ground clearance in some hectic offroad areas such as Northern Moz. Logging trucks dig ditches in the road after the rains ,but , did 12 000km and besides a leaking tappet cover I had no problems.

The best bike you can take is a reliable one, big or small. everyone will give you different opinions on bikes but the best bike is the one that gets you there. Personally I would stay away from excessive electronics and shaft drives

If i had to do it all over again I would take something that is more offroad orientated and lighter because we looked for offroad tracks to ride and avoided tar as much as possible, also getting through some sand in Moz or Malawi is not fun on a big bike built for the road... if you taking tar roads then something more tar orientated is better naturally.

The bigger the bike the more fuel you use & the more stuff you collect along the way because you have space to load it.. at one point I sent 30kg of stuff back to CT with an overland truck, even one of those carved Malawian chairs got strapped to the bike at one point.. the smaller the bike the more efficient your travel becomes.

I still think a 650 is the best weapon but if you can get a good DRZ400 or similar it will be just as good,

If you are in no hurry and don't get bored with the scenery then a 250 can do it, but for me once you put my 100kg body on a bike with luggage a 250 just wont cut it .. my2c

Don't let the weight of the bike be a deciding factor.. the way you intend to travel is more important, what are you taking with? What will you pack and where? will you take spares or source them along the way etc.. I see people complaining because one bike is 8kg more than the other but within 3 countries they have packed 15kg of trinkets on the bike.

Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: ClimbingTurtle on August 24, 2020, 11:28:52 am
As per Fuzzy above - I travelled through east Africa on a XT500 years back - was the perfect bike for the job at the time.
My mate did Southern Africa on a R1200GS Adventure a couple of years back and had an amazing trip - but he stuck largely to tar, or not far from it.
I would look at a 650 class if I did it again, allows some good long distance tar riding when required, but you can get pretty afr off the beaten track when you want to.....
Pack light is my only advice.....
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: chicco on August 24, 2020, 11:33:23 am
Check out Itchy Boots,

She did her trips on a Royal Enfield Himalayan

https://www.itchyboots.com/
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Fudmucker on August 27, 2020, 08:07:22 am
Ted Simon has been around the world twice by motorcycle.
Once on a Triumph and once on a BMW R80 G/S.
When he was in ZA, he was asked the same question for a RTW trip.
His answer was... a simple, single cylinder bike between 350 and 500cc with conventional ignition that you can fix yourself along the road.

BTW he seldom did more than 250kms per day on his trips.
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: ClimbingTurtle on August 27, 2020, 09:44:52 am
Ted Simon has been around the world twice by motorcycle.
Once on a Triumph and once on a BMW R80 G/S.
When he was in ZA, he was asked the same question for a RTW trip.
His answer was... a simple, single cylinder bike between 350 and 500cc with conventional ignition that you can fix yourself along the road.

BTW he seldom did more than 250kms per day on his trips.

And that is the correct way to travel!!
250km is a good distance, means you are not time pressured, you can turn down a dirt road and go look at a cow, or whatever, enjoy the expreience!
I was extremely fortunate when I was 23, I was "pressured" into building a XT500 for my cousin, he and I then took a year off and traveled up to Northern Kenya & back - it was an amazing time, you dont actually appreciate the luxury it was until you are much older. 27 years later I still think about aspects of that trip, and the privilege it was - and I still have my XT500, as does my cousin.....
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: fixit on August 27, 2020, 10:00:39 am
I would use a KLR if I didn't have an R80G/S. :biggrin:

What ever you do, do not take the BM650 singles. They are too soft. They are road bikes.
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: ClimbingTurtle on August 27, 2020, 10:08:52 am
I would use a KLR if I didn't have an R80G/S. :biggrin:

What ever you do, do not take the BM650 singles. They are too soft. They are road bikes.

LOL - not entirely true, many have been on many, many RTW trips on BM 650 thumpers, and Walter Kolbach used a G650X for MANY trips across Russia etc., so if they are set up properly, they are a great bike!! The trick is that you do have to spen money on suspension for something like this - but you would have to on just about any bike, with the extra weight being carried.....
Having said that, I have a G650X and I would tour with it anywhere, at the drop of a hat - I also had a G650GS Dakar and absolutely hated it.....
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: fixit on September 02, 2020, 09:48:50 am
I would use a KLR if I didn't have an R80G/S. :biggrin:

What ever you do, do not take the BM650 singles. They are too soft. They are road bikes.

LOL - not entirely true, many have been on many, many RTW trips on BM 650 thumpers, and Walter Kolbach used a G650X for MANY trips across Russia etc., so if they are set up properly, they are a great bike!! The trick is that you do have to spen money on suspension for something like this - but you would have to on just about any bike, with the extra weight being carried.....
Having said that, I have a G650X and I would tour with it anywhere, at the drop of a hat - I also had a G650GS Dakar and absolutely hated it.....

A G650X is a whole different bike. Not sure how reliable the motors are though?
As for the Gs650 Dakar road bikes, we had a guy come with us on a Wild Coast / Sani...5 province tour a few years back. He started off with a new bike that looked 30 years old when we finished. Had to weld up his frame a few times. The whole tail section eventually fell off from vibration. It was also terrible to work on. The frame snapped off next to the left footrest at one point. I managed to weld it up, but didn't last.
The motors seem to be good, but the body assembly is not very tough.
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: NickTheGreek on September 02, 2020, 10:16:43 am
I would pick a DR 650 with comfier seat and bigger tank.

+1
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: ClimbingTurtle on September 02, 2020, 11:23:58 am
I would use a KLR if I didn't have an R80G/S. :biggrin:

What ever you do, do not take the BM650 singles. They are too soft. They are road bikes.

LOL - not entirely true, many have been on many, many RTW trips on BM 650 thumpers, and Walter Kolbach used a G650X for MANY trips across Russia etc., so if they are set up properly, they are a great bike!! The trick is that you do have to spen money on suspension for something like this - but you would have to on just about any bike, with the extra weight being carried.....
Having said that, I have a G650X and I would tour with it anywhere, at the drop of a hat - I also had a G650GS Dakar and absolutely hated it.....

A G650X is a whole different bike. Not sure how reliable the motors are though?
As for the Gs650 Dakar road bikes, we had a guy come with us on a Wild Coast / Sani...5 province tour a few years back. He started off with a new bike that looked 30 years old when we finished. Had to weld up his frame a few times. The whole tail section eventually fell off from vibration. It was also terrible to work on. The frame snapped off next to the left footrest at one point. I managed to weld it up, but didn't last.
The motors seem to be good, but the body assembly is not very tough.

Motor is pretty tough - I bought mine with a "heat seized" motor - ripped it open, piston & barrel were still well within spec after 60,000km, so i added new rings as a precaution, only known issue with the 650 Rotaz motor is the water-pump that needs replacing every 50,000km or so - they wear and fail, resulting in overheating. the motors are used in the Bombardier 650 quads, all the 650 single bikes, a whole range of Bombardier Snow-ski-bike-thingy's, also Pegaso iirc? Anyway, lots of applications, so spares are readily available - the shims are the same as the KTM as well, so available. The downside of the XC is the rear subframe is aluminium (there was a steel non-OEM available) and the design tends to crack at the joining with the main frame under the seat (fuel tank is in the subframe under the seat) - I had mine re-designed and a mod done to strengthen it at the weak point, no further issues. The standard Dakar I am not a fan of, but thats just me I think - my cousin crashed one in Namibia, it was serverley damaged, but the frame was dead straight! the rest was messy tho....  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Andyg on September 02, 2020, 02:23:54 pm
  http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=246651.0

Check this KLR out. Extremely low mileage which is genuine. Doo Hickey just been done as well.
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Casting from Turd on September 02, 2020, 04:00:15 pm
  http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=246651.0

Check this KLR out. Extremely low mileage which is genuine. Doo Hickey just been done as well.

Fokken fake news  :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer:
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: zebra - Flying Brick on September 02, 2020, 04:06:39 pm


Quote from: ClimbingTurtle on Today at 11:23:58 am (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=250636.msg4512938#msg4512938)



>....only known issue with the 650 Rotaz motor is the water-pump that needs replacing every 50,000km or so....
Water-PUMP, or water-pump IMPELLER? Down here, in CT, it's usually only the impeller that normally needs replacing (60K km to 80K km, roughly...) usually, just curious...
Cheers
Chris


Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: PapaDragon on September 02, 2020, 06:07:36 pm
  http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=246651.0

Check this KLR out. Extremely low mileage which is genuine. Doo Hickey just been done as well.

Fokken fake news  :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer:
t
@Casting from Turd , what is fokken fake news? Doohickey done, or low mileage?
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Lars on September 02, 2020, 06:37:58 pm
I don't want cause a shit storm but I had a 2007 KLR 650. And then some other bikes and now a BMW G650 X Challenge. I spend a gazillion Rand on the KLR and it still disliked corrugations, sand, loose rocks. And it was rather underpowered and I am not a fast rider by a long shot. The X Challenge on the other hand uses the same amount of fuel, has a good suspension from the factory and weights a lot less. If I look at asking prices for KLR's these days (legend tax) I would any day take a BMX. All round better bike for similar money and engine parts are freely available. Just my 2 cents...

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Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Casting from Turd on September 03, 2020, 08:29:38 am
  http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=246651.0

Check this KLR out. Extremely low mileage which is genuine. Doo Hickey just been done as well.

Fokken fake news  :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer:
t
@Casting from Turd , what is fokken fake news? Doohickey done, or low mileage?

The link takes you to the Covid-19 thread  :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer:
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: ClimbingTurtle on September 03, 2020, 08:30:42 am


Quote from: ClimbingTurtle on Today at 11:23:58 am (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=250636.msg4512938#msg4512938)



>....only known issue with the 650 Rotaz motor is the water-pump that needs replacing every 50,000km or so....
Water-PUMP, or water-pump IMPELLER? Down here, in CT, it's usually only the impeller that normally needs replacing (60K km to 80K km, roughly...) usually, just curious...
Cheers
Chris


Impeller is correct - I refered to it as the water pump, which I suppose implies the housing as well - its actually just the impeller and the seals, fairly simple fix, preventive is better than waiting for it to fail.....
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: PapaDragon on September 03, 2020, 10:15:39 am
  http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=246651.0

Check this KLR out. Extremely low mileage which is genuine. Doo Hickey just been done as well.

Fokken fake news  :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer:
t
@Casting from Turd , what is fokken fake news? Doohickey done, or low mileage?

The link takes you to the Covid-19 thread  :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer:

 :imaposer: :laughing4:
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Andyg on September 03, 2020, 11:58:07 am
http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=250902.0

I copied the Corona virus link  :lol8:1  :lol8: :lol8:
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: LukasB9 on September 03, 2020, 02:19:28 pm
nicoleb on the forum and her riding partner took a[ b] 250 (Zook Djebel)[/b] & 650 (XR) up to Kenya before they had to come back to ZA for lockdown  :ricky:
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Jacobsroodt on September 03, 2020, 03:12:15 pm
Being in the backpacking industry we have had our fair share of trans Africa travelers

I would say around 70% of them are on 650 cc bikes or smaller.
A lot are starting to use the little Honda CRF 250
Interesting fact. I was so impressed with a 2014 CRF250L that I bought another. The fact that they are affordable and capable means that there are many good used examples to be found. Because so many are sold, they are well supported spares wise.
I have not seriously considered riding it from Cape Town to the Eastern Cape - top speed in SA might be an issue - but my children has. And when you start riding gravel (or in Africa where top speed is theoretical) the options start opening up. In short it will go where my 1090 will most probably not go.
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Lord Knormoer on September 03, 2020, 03:24:14 pm
Do some research on the Horizons Unlimited Forum. Everyone there are long distance overlanders, many have crossed continents and some circumnavigated the globe. The bikes used range from Vespas to sport bikes. When asked why, the standard answer is either that's what I could afford or that's the bike I owned when I started.

https://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/which-bike/

A couple of extreme examples of people who rode whatever they owned:
1. https://teapotone.com/  Bruce aka TeapotOne rode a Superbike 74,000 miles solo around the world, through 54 countries in 442 days. Over a beer Bruce explained that he owned the GSX-R 1000 at the time his journey started and couldn't afford to buy another. He traveled the world on this bike wearing leathers.

2. https://www.worldvespa.net/ Alexandra, Stergios and ďKitsosĒ their Vespa scooter, two up from Greece through Africa and across to South America and still going. It is incredible what they load on that Vespa! If you ask Stergios why the Vespa he explains that he sold everything he owned when the Greek economy tanked and kept the Vespa he used to ride to work and simply started the journey.

3. https://www.2ridetheworld.com/ Simon & Lisa Thomas who initially planned a 16 month trip have been overlanding since 2002. They started with a BMW 1150Gs and an 650GS and in 2016 traded for two new 1200GSAís after 14 years on the road. Apparently BMWís are not a good choice for this kind of trip! These two have traveled through 80 countries on 6 continents.

There are pro's and cons regardless of the choice you make. Smaller is not always better, especially when riding solo and carrying everything you need. New is not always bad. Many examples of modern bikes filled with electronics crossing continents. It will come down to what you are comfortable with given what you can afford considering where you want to go.

Here's a most interesting article on lessons learnt: https://www.madornomad.com/sam-manicom-8-lessons-from-8-years-on-the-road/
Lesson one: Pick a bike you love and go!
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: BOZO on September 03, 2020, 09:15:20 pm
Probably one of the best answers I have read on any thread in a long time. I salute you sir.


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Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Lord Knormoer on September 04, 2020, 05:56:30 am
Just for some perspective, from someone whoís been around Africa.

Yolandie Rust on why she picked the BMW 650 Dakar?

I decided on the BMW Dakar as I wanted a bike that was reliable and easy to maintain. I started out on a different bike and that bike proved to be very unreliable as itís engine seized at only 3 500 kilometers. Then I got my DAX. I am soooooo grateful for that change as itís the best thing that couldíve happened. In the end the BMW was just the absolute perfect bike for this journey! I never had any mechanical issues and mostly serviced the bike myself. Itís never let me down! The ultimate in reliability! For a year and a half and thousands of kilometers this bike was my sole constant companion. My bike is the only entity that bore witness to my journey. That means weíre bonded for life. Itís been a reliable companion.

PS: The first bike she mentioned in her answer was a KLR650 that she bought on advice obtained from this very forum!
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Jacobsroodt on September 04, 2020, 11:12:08 am
Michnus Olivier and his wife have been traversing the globe for years. He is in two minds about the BMW F650 Dakar - I know they had issues in Africa:

Iíve been traveling on a motorbike since school days back in the 1980ís.

So far Iíve traveled on a motorbike through Africa, Europe, North and South America.

For my journeys Iíve chosen a motorbike: BMW Dakar 650 GS (2004) & Suzuki DR 650 (2011)

Why this motorcycle?

Various reasons and purposes. BMW has a very good back up and service in while Suzuki is a great cheaper bike to use. In the end the Suzukiís are the more basic and easily repairable and serviceable bike to use.

I am on the side of the group that believe there is a bike for a purpose and we own different ones for different purposes. In and around South Africa and Southern Africa depending on the trip we will use the BMW 1200 GS or / and BMW HP 2. For local nice off-road trips we will use our Suzuki DRZ 400ís. The overall good average can do all is the DR 650ís and BMW 650 Dakar at the time. The BMW 650 Dakar is a good bike, but eventually too costly and heavy to use over long periods of overland for us. We have been using the Suzuki DR 650ís the last 4 years and they are good but also have some draw backs.

Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Jacobsroodt on September 04, 2020, 11:14:25 am
Michnus on the DR650:
 
What are pros and cons of Suzuki DR 650 in terms of long journeys?

Pro's
  Lightweight.
 Easy to maintain and run with parts readily available in most countries.
  Loads of customising options to match a riders riding style and ergonomics.
  Oil cooled, no need for radiators and water pumps that get damage.
  Simple old school design and basic as a LandRover Series 1.
  Much less tools to carry with to do maintenance and repairs than our other bikes.
 Purchase price is affordable. Also if ever need to abandon a bike in a country for some reason it won't hurt the pocket too much. As for Carne and shipping the lightweight compact size allows for less freight cost.

Con's
 No Fuel Injection, yes I know some people still have nostalgic and romantic ideas about carburettors and that they can repair them in the bush. I hate carburettors and most of my issues ever with cars and bikes have been carb related. Never had a FI system failed me except for fuel pumps which is easy to replace and compact to carry a spare. Not to mention the benefits of Fi with self adjusting fueling at high altitudes.
  The DR650 is as slow as an Oxwagon at best and as underpowered as an overloaded Tuk-Tuk in India.
  Ergonomically it is not made for two up travel where the BMW 650 Dakar does a much better job.
  In standard form it need some minor additions and work to make it dualsport and travel ready.
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Jacobsroodt on September 04, 2020, 11:16:56 am
Michnus: - If I was to change my current motorbike I would chooseÖ Husky 701, it is less than 200 kg weight with good suspension and Fi and a good reliable bike. Although it costs a bit to convert to overland travel form.

My advice for choosing the best motorcycle for an expedition?

From our website an article I wrote ďWhich bikes, hard parts, equipment & gearĒ suggesting which bike to use for a long-term travel:

Probably always the one you have plus a healthy dose of adventure spirit.
Basically any dual purpose bike but depending on the terrain some motorcycles perform better than others with regards to suspension, carrying ability, reliability and cost of repairs and parts. As example riding Africa off-road is a whole different ball game than Cape to Cairo on tar. Having to carry a pillion limits choices but needs careful consideration on type of roads and weight.
Your budget for a bike.
The route planning and what the motorbike can handle is very important.
Maintenance, reliability, and cost of parts.
Donít let people convince you otherwise, weight and size does matter. Lighter & smaller = better. Even skilled riders struggle with a +200 kg bike loaded with 30-40 kg luggage in sand tracks and mud. Ask yourself if you would be prepared to walk away from a mega $ bike if something serious happens that you have to leave the bike in a country. Accidents or instances like in Peru where you donate the bike to the state for a day over your visa.
Try and keep the ego in-check. Just wanting to look the part on the new BMW 1250 LC to impress people and hit the likes on Instagram is not a wise decision. It is your trip, your money, be sensible about the brand and bike.
Title: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Lord Knormoer on September 04, 2020, 01:00:39 pm
There are many factors that influences the choice. At the top of that list, whether we like it or not is time and money.

Second is where you plan to go which is again influenced by time/money. Most casual travellers do not actually have time to go off the main roads because they need to get from Cape to Cairo by a certain date.

If you have unlimited time, youíll want to explore more off the beaten track. However, you will also not be too phased by any delays.

In my opinion, the third consideration is how you intend to travel. This is often influenced by money. If you plan to sleep in brick & mortar lodging all the way, you carry less with you which affects what bike you need.

Finally, are you traveling in a group, with or without support, pillion or no pillion?

There is no one perfect bike. Most often itís the bike you own simply because you already have it and are probably comfortable riding it. Itís also a very personal and subjective concept.

In the end, what is more important is that adventure spirit as Michnus said, a healthy dose of it and the desire to travel. When you have that, almost any bike will do because itís about the journey, not the destination.
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Fuzzy Muzzy on September 04, 2020, 01:26:08 pm
Exactly.. well said  :thumleft:
Title: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Lord Knormoer on September 04, 2020, 08:38:11 pm
Apparently big bikes, especially expensive BMWís are not for Africa...


http://latg.pl/ Look around the globe - Lukasz & Marta. Two up on a BMW F800GSA recently did Poland to Cape Town and back again. They are now in South America.
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Fudmucker on September 05, 2020, 05:20:48 am
https://www.worldvespa.net/home/

You can even do it 2 up on a Vespa 2-stroke !
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Lord Knormoer on September 05, 2020, 06:12:14 am
https://www.worldvespa.net/home/

You can even do it 2 up on a Vespa 2-stroke !
I met them last year and found their story most inspiring. Whatís more, they are not traveling light either...but they have the luxury of time. No rush to get anywhere fast.
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: 2StrokeDan on September 05, 2020, 08:58:26 am
Time and money.

Say you have both, then what use is time if you are on a 400KG package trying to plot only good roads?  Do you travel some of these roads twice, because you have time? :pot:

If I had both time and money, my choice of bike would be a maximum of 160kgs. It seems stupid to start with a 200+KG bike and add onto that with luggage.

Fact is that even if you plan a tar road trip, a lighter bike will give you the on-the-spot option to explore.  With a big bike you may feel too intimidated to venture into tight spots.

I believe one big problem to be that many of those deciding on an overlander, is already on huge bikes and find the needed mindshift to a smaller bike, especially on shortish notice, too big an ask.

And be honest with yourself, if you choose an R1, or GSX-R1000, you are not going to do a technical tour, you will be forced to stay on better roads.

The advantage the superbikes have over big D/S bikes for touring, is lack of weight.
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on September 05, 2020, 03:18:04 pm
Time and money.

Say you have both, then what use is time if you are on a 400KG package trying to plot only good roads?  Do you travel some of these roads twice, because you have time? :pot:

If I had both time and money, my choice of bike would be a maximum of 160kgs. It seems stupid to start with a 200+KG bike and add onto that with luggage.

Fact is that even if you plan a tar road trip, a lighter bike will give you the on-the-spot option to explore.  With a big bike you may feel too intimidated to venture into tight spots.

I believe one big problem to be that many of those deciding on an overlander, is already on huge bikes and find the needed mindshift to a smaller bike, especially on shortish notice, too big an ask.

And be honest with yourself, if you choose an R1, or GSX-R1000, you are not going to do a technical tour, you will be forced to stay on better roads.

The advantage the superbikes have over big D/S bikes for touring, is lack of weight.
Nou gaan jy seker sÍ dit maak sn want dis n Yamaha!!! ;) :lol8:



Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Lord Knormoer on September 05, 2020, 04:54:56 pm
Time and money.

Say you have both, then what use is time if you are on a 400KG package trying to plot only good roads?  Do you travel some of these roads twice, because you have time? :pot:

If I had both time and money, my choice of bike would be a maximum of 160kgs. It seems stupid to start with a 200+KG bike and add onto that with luggage.

Fact is that even if you plan a tar road trip, a lighter bike will give you the on-the-spot option to explore.  With a big bike you may feel too intimidated to venture into tight spots.

I believe one big problem to be that many of those deciding on an overlander, is already on huge bikes and find the needed mindshift to a smaller bike, especially on shortish notice, too big an ask.

And be honest with yourself, if you choose an R1, or GSX-R1000, you are not going to do a technical tour, you will be forced to stay on better roads.

The advantage the superbikes have over big D/S bikes for touring, is lack of weight.
2SD, Iím not promoting large/small, Iím merely pointing out the factors that influence decisions of those that actually got on with it and crossed continents.

Some prefer large and others small, some like new and others old. There is no one perfect bike for such a trip because we all have different needs based on our own experience and resulting perception.

According to forum wisdom, most successful overland trips seems to be undertaken with the wrong bike. However, when you ask those riders they almost always say they wouldnít do it any other way.
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: 2StrokeDan on September 05, 2020, 07:14:23 pm
Time and money.

Say you have both, then what use is time if you are on a 400KG package trying to plot only good roads?  Do you travel some of these roads twice, because you have time? :pot:

If I had both time and money, my choice of bike would be a maximum of 160kgs. It seems stupid to start with a 200+KG bike and add onto that with luggage.

Fact is that even if you plan a tar road trip, a lighter bike will give you the on-the-spot option to explore.  With a big bike you may feel too intimidated to venture into tight spots.

I believe one big problem to be that many of those deciding on an overlander, is already on huge bikes and find the needed mindshift to a smaller bike, especially on shortish notice, too big an ask.

And be honest with yourself, if you choose an R1, or GSX-R1000, you are not going to do a technical tour, you will be forced to stay on better roads.

The advantage the superbikes have over big D/S bikes for touring, is lack of weight.
2SD, Iím not promoting large/small, Iím merely pointing out the factors that influence decisions of those that actually got on with it and crossed continents.

Some prefer large and others small, some like new and others old. There is no one perfect bike for such a trip because we all have different needs based on our own experience and resulting perception.

According to forum wisdom, most successful overland trips seems to be undertaken with the wrong bike. However, when you ask those riders they almost always say they wouldnít do it any other way.

Because they know no other way?  Seriously, for you to be able to say which bike is personally the best overlander for yourself, you'll have to do the trip repeatedly, each time on another machine.

I think it stands to reason that a lighter bike will ALWAYS be more manageable, and free the rider up to more adventurous/spirited riding.
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: 2StrokeDan on September 05, 2020, 07:39:08 pm
Also wanted to say that while many do trips on bikes that they had, or thought would be the best, or what they could afford, it is nowadays entirely possible, with the wealth of knowledge  and experience on

this topic, to determine which bike would work best.

Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Lord Knormoer on September 05, 2020, 07:54:16 pm
Time and money.

Say you have both, then what use is time if you are on a 400KG package trying to plot only good roads?  Do you travel some of these roads twice, because you have time? :pot:

If I had both time and money, my choice of bike would be a maximum of 160kgs. It seems stupid to start with a 200+KG bike and add onto that with luggage.

Fact is that even if you plan a tar road trip, a lighter bike will give you the on-the-spot option to explore.  With a big bike you may feel too intimidated to venture into tight spots.

I believe one big problem to be that many of those deciding on an overlander, is already on huge bikes and find the needed mindshift to a smaller bike, especially on shortish notice, too big an ask.

And be honest with yourself, if you choose an R1, or GSX-R1000, you are not going to do a technical tour, you will be forced to stay on better roads.

The advantage the superbikes have over big D/S bikes for touring, is lack of weight.
2SD, Iím not promoting large/small, Iím merely pointing out the factors that influence decisions of those that actually got on with it and crossed continents.

Some prefer large and others small, some like new and others old. There is no one perfect bike for such a trip because we all have different needs based on our own experience and resulting perception.

According to forum wisdom, most successful overland trips seems to be undertaken with the wrong bike. However, when you ask those riders they almost always say they wouldnít do it any other way.

Because they know no other way?  Seriously, for you to be able to say which bike is personally the best overlander for yourself, you'll have to do the trip repeatedly, each time on another machine.

I think it stands to reason that a lighter bike will ALWAYS be more manageable, and free the rider up to more adventurous/spirited riding.
And thatís my point...if you ask 10 people youíll get 10 opinions. And thatís all it is, opinions. Not everyone has the same priorities and preferences, we all perceive reality from our own personal perspective and unless you can reference the pros and cons of using your recommended bike on a trip of similar nature following a similar route, you are simply speculating and applying your own preferences.

If I choose to take on a trip using a 300kg Harley, thatís my choice given itís my trip, my money and only I truly know what works for me. Itís rather presumptuous to claim that someone whoís actually travelled several continents over many years did it in a specific way because they didnít know better.

In this discussion it appears we are debating theory and ignoring practice! I find it curious that when I talk to intercontinental adventure motorcycle travellers, they all agree there is no one brand, type or engine capacity uniquely suited for this purpose. Itís only amongst those that has not done it that the merits of a specific type and capacity bikes are argued in such absolute fashion.
Title: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Lord Knormoer on September 05, 2020, 10:41:39 pm
Also wanted to say that while many do trips on bikes that they had, or thought would be the best, or what they could afford, it is nowadays entirely possible, with the wealth of knowledge  and experience on

this topic, to determine which bike would work best.
Exactly! Thatís why after 13 years of traveling non stop Simon & Lisa Thomas (2RideTheWorld) changed their bikes for newer versions of the same.

Thatís also why Lukasz & Marta(Look around the globe), after traveling through Africa twice in one year, took the same F800GSA to South America for the next leg of their world tour even though they can afford to buy any other bike.

The answer to which bike works best, can only be answered by the person riding it! There is no golden rule that applies universally even though some may believe there is. The truth is, we donít use the same yard stick so even when presented with the same wealth of information available today, you and I will not make the same choice.

That is why there are so many brands offering a diverse range of different bikes all equally loved by their respective owners and used however they see fit. Critics and supposed experts be damned!
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Blikkies1 on September 05, 2020, 10:50:24 pm
Can clearly be done on varying scoots but you did say 'ideal'.
Title: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Lord Knormoer on September 05, 2020, 11:06:37 pm
Can clearly be done on varying scoots but you did say 'ideal'.
This just proves my point. Thatís not a bike I will ever buy and definitely not to ride 10k kmís through Africa.

I can however see something like that strapped to the back of a unimog to be used to explore around camp from time to time.
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Blikkies1 on September 05, 2020, 11:18:35 pm
Yeah look,  that would be the dream - just because it's a brilliant piece of engineering. My real world choice would be a 690 ala Poskitt.
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Lord Knormoer on September 07, 2020, 04:01:36 pm
This thread reminded me of a conversation I had with my 3 year old son about 20 years ago. He had just returned from visiting his grandparents. My mom, in an attempt to keep things interesting, had him watch her make oats every morning and explained every step in detail. After a couple of weeks he could recite the recipe.

Upon arriving home there was much friction in the kitchen one morning. He had asked his mom for oats and was now refusing to eat it. His argument was that she made it wrong. With blind ambition I attempted to convince him to first try the oats and consider the taste instead of refusing on principle. I lost that argument and conceded that at least as far as he was concerned, thereís only one correct way to prepare oats and any deviation from that exact method renders it inedible.
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Fudmucker on September 08, 2020, 04:15:50 am
How can you possibly agree that your mother made oats better than your wife...?  ???

PS: How long you have to go without conjugal relations ?  ::)
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Lord Knormoer on September 08, 2020, 06:49:27 am
How can you possibly agree that your mother made oats better than your wife...?  ???

PS: How long you have to go without conjugal relations ?  ::)
Well, in hindsight I now realize, nearly 20 years!
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: ClimbingTurtle on September 08, 2020, 07:55:33 am
 :laughing4:

But back on track, and my 2c....

I traveled to mid-Kenya and back to SA many years ago, with my cousin, bith on XT500s - we wanted R80GS's, but didnt have the cash for them, so we settled for what we could afford. We didnt know what we didnt know, we didnt know there was such a thicg as "Adventure Biking" - we just wanted to ride bikes through Africa, o we built some steel pannier racks and planned for years, got fed up with planning and left. We were gone for 10 months on the most perfect bikes available - that we knew of anyway. We both still have our XT's, 26 years after we returned....

Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on September 08, 2020, 10:21:25 am
:laughing4:

But back on track, and my 2c....

I traveled to mid-Kenya and back to SA many years ago, with my cousin, bith on XT500s - we wanted R80GS's, but didnt have the cash for them, so we settled for what we could afford. We didnt know what we didnt know, we didnt know there was such a thicg as "Adventure Biking" - we just wanted to ride bikes through Africa, o we built some steel pannier racks and planned for years, got fed up with planning and left. We were gone for 10 months on the most perfect bikes available - that we knew of anyway. We both still have our XT's, 26 years after we returned....
This is all hearsay, I've seen no hard proof of trip actually happenning!! ;) :peepwall: :lol8:
Thinking back all of us should have done something like that just after we came out of the army. :deal: :thumleft:
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: ClimbingTurtle on September 08, 2020, 10:31:34 am
:laughing4:

But back on track, and my 2c....

I traveled to mid-Kenya and back to SA many years ago, with my cousin, bith on XT500s - we wanted R80GS's, but didnt have the cash for them, so we settled for what we could afford. We didnt know what we didnt know, we didnt know there was such a thicg as "Adventure Biking" - we just wanted to ride bikes through Africa, o we built some steel pannier racks and planned for years, got fed up with planning and left. We were gone for 10 months on the most perfect bikes available - that we knew of anyway. We both still have our XT's, 26 years after we returned....
This is all hearsay, I've seen no hard proof of trip actually happenning!! ;) :peepwall: :lol8:
Thinking back all of us should have done something like that just after we came out of the army. :deal: :thumleft:

Fork - I was even conned into it - albeit willingly....
My cousin wanted to hitch-hike through Africa. That only got as far as the Parental Vetto....
Next option was a vehicle, and we only had access to a Nissan 1400, which we thought was pretty doable.
Then my cousin read Ted Simmons book and it was decided.
The Parental Veto was once again applied, in that he was not allowed to go alone.
So I got dragged into the fight - I lived with them at that point - I want kicking & screaming, it must be noted....

First pic - our XT's when we left CT in Feb 1994
Second pic - my XT in Harare in November 1994
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: BullFrog on September 08, 2020, 10:34:30 am
Proper pannier frames there, Steve!!!!  :thumright:
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: ClimbingTurtle on September 08, 2020, 11:11:02 am
Proper pannier frames there, Steve!!!!  :thumright:

Ja, if you dont know what you dont know hey.....?  ;)
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: fixit on September 08, 2020, 05:33:33 pm
Dream tour Steve! You will remember that trip for the rest of your life.
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Jacobsroodt on September 08, 2020, 05:50:50 pm
Michnus: - If I was to change my current motorbike I would chooseÖ Husky 701, it is less than 200 kg weight with good suspension and Fi and a good reliable bike. Although it costs a bit to convert to overland travel form.

I wonder why Michnus chooses the Husky 701 over the KTM690 for an Africa trip? The Husky is a nervous bike with hard suspension while the 690 Enduro is more suited for long distance relaxed riding?
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Lord Knormoer on September 08, 2020, 06:05:20 pm
Michnus: - If I was to change my current motorbike I would chooseÖ Husky 701, it is less than 200 kg weight with good suspension and Fi and a good reliable bike. Although it costs a bit to convert to overland travel form.

I wonder why Michnus chooses the Husky 701 over the KTM690 for an Africa trip? The Husky is a nervous bike with hard suspension while the 690 Enduro is more suited for long distance relaxed riding?
I was wondering about that too. Also the conversation to adventure bike that can take luggage will cost a fair bit if you cannot do it yourself.

For my style of riding Iíd probably go with an 800 GS/GSA. The bits that might require maintenance I can handle and accessories are freely available.
Title: Re: Ideal size motorbike for an Africa trip
Post by: Tom van Brits on September 09, 2020, 02:09:32 am
If I was in the position to do a trans Africa trip i would have done it on a 660Z.
I would also be perfect happy on a XR250L (Not the Rally)