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Offline LeonDude

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Re: Big vs Small Bike for 3-9 Months to Kenya and back
« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2013, 06:01:50 pm »
Hang on to that thought about the less power.

Ok, you liked the nice power the bigger engine gave you in the UK. Flattish tar roads, if I may guess from what I've seen.
Now you are coming to africa. I'll admit that I haven't had a look at your planning thread yet, but think about a few things here.

Although heavier, a 650 will get you up steepish inclines much easier than a 200. An easy fifteen minute climb on a 650 could easily turn into a big slog with a 200.
Ditto sand. I have taken a couple of small bikes, including a Tornado 250 and a Honda CRF230 into thick sand (Rhino park quarry) and not one of them handled it as well as my KLR did.
Have a serious look at the terrain you will be covering. Use garmap with the elevation plot set to on. Use google earth, and read ride reports, and get as much info on the route as you can.
A bigger bike is definitely an advantage in some places.
Oh, and the 23 Liter fuel tank of the KLR is a big bonus.  :thumleft: And you don't have to mod the seat, it's got a good seat.
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Offline TechnomadicJim

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Re: Big vs Small Bike for 3-9 Months to Kenya and back
« Reply #21 on: October 01, 2013, 06:10:36 pm »
Just added a poll to the thread for the fun of it.   ;D
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Offline TechnomadicJim

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Re: Big vs Small Bike for 3-9 Months to Kenya and back
« Reply #22 on: October 01, 2013, 06:47:41 pm »
Hang on to that thought about the less power.

Ok, you liked the nice power the bigger engine gave you in the UK. Flattish tar roads, if I may guess from what I've seen.
Now you are coming to africa. I'll admit that I haven't had a look at your planning thread yet, but think about a few things here.

Although heavier, a 650 will get you up steepish inclines much easier than a 200. An easy fifteen minute climb on a 650 could easily turn into a big slog with a 200.
Ditto sand. I have taken a couple of small bikes, including a Tornado 250 and a Honda CRF230 into thick sand (Rhino park quarry) and not one of them handled it as well as my KLR did.
Have a serious look at the terrain you will be covering. Use garmap with the elevation plot set to on. Use google earth, and read ride reports, and get as much info on the route as you can.
A bigger bike is definitely an advantage in some places.
Oh, and the 23 Liter fuel tank of the KLR is a big bonus.  :thumleft: And you don't have to mod the seat, it's got a good seat.

Thanks Leon. Its great to get some advice on the contrary to my current thinking. I don't have much off road experience. I've heard before that powering through the sand helps a lot. I'm hoping that the CTX being an agricultural vehicle should be able to handle the climbs with my (less than max) load. I really haven't planned much in the way of a route yet so can't be sure. I've heard that there is tarmac all the way up to Kenya so my idea is that I can dip my toe into off-roading as little or much as I can handle along the way. The 23L tank would be nice. I guess I would have to compensate for the small tank by getting a 5L canister to extend my range.

I tend to travel in a very loose way. Nothing is fixed and I like to leave planning to the last minute to keep myself as free as possible. You never know who or what you will see on your way that might change your plans. Well thats my theory / way of doing things up to now. I tend to jump in the deep end and see what happens. A prime example is when i travelled to south america last year without learning a word of Spanish. I had a great time e hablo un poco espaniol ahora :)
« Last Edit: October 01, 2013, 06:50:03 pm by TechnomadicJim »
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Offline african dust

Re: Big vs Small Bike for 3-9 Months to Kenya and back
« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2013, 07:04:44 pm »
I own a ctx and although have not done any long trips I enjoy it tremendously and would buy it again in a heartbeat ! I have done some rough terrain and the gear ratio allows for serious hill climbing, but obviously one needs to be happy at seeing the world at a slow pace... which it seems you are.
although the tank is small it runs for a long time if ridden at a slow pace. a few liters in a fuel cell makes for a big increase in range without adding much bulk.
first choice would be ctx and second ttr.
think trailrider vote for the bike says a lot.
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Offline blauth

Re: Big vs Small Bike for 3-9 Months to Kenya and back
« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2013, 08:38:13 pm »
I think you'll experience some frustration on the longer roads on the little bike but I also think you'll have time to smell the roses and will have a different, possibly better experience as a result of it.

I think the little bike will be more of an 'adventure'.

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Re: Big vs Small Bike for 3-9 Months to Kenya and back
« Reply #25 on: October 01, 2013, 08:40:13 pm »
I would suggest you try to stay off the main routes, especially if you are going on a small bike. As you might have learned from your other experiences, in the more rural countries it's the bigger vehicles that rule the roads. They simply push you off the road if they want to come past, and if that means pushing you off a cliff, well in Africa that is your problem.
Staying off the main roads, and trying to keep to dirt roads, will lessen this problem, although it might add time to your journey.
If you are going to stay on highways, do not go for anything smaller than a 650, you need something that can easily outrun a big truck doing 120KM/h+.
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Offline subie

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Re: Big vs Small Bike for 3-9 Months to Kenya and back
« Reply #26 on: October 01, 2013, 08:56:22 pm »
600cc is not a big bike . Rather a middleweight for me.
Go with whatever your heart decides. 200cc or 600cc will get you there and back.
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Offline Xpat

Re: Big vs Small Bike for 3-9 Months to Kenya and back
« Reply #27 on: October 01, 2013, 10:01:41 pm »

Staying off the main roads, and trying to keep to dirt roads, will lessen this problem, although it might add time to your journey.
If you are going to stay on highways, do not go for anything smaller than a 650, you need something that can easily outrun a big truck doing 120KM/h+.


I have come down here from Europe overland on GSA1150, I have done trip from Europe to India and back on Africa Twin and done smaller trips like Vietnam on the Minsk 150cc, and trips in Southern Africa on Husky 630 and Tenere.

Based on my experiences I would take for trip you are planning something in 650 category - DR650 or XRL650 (if you such a Honda fan) - the only problem to resolve being probably bigger tanks and enforced subframe (I'm sure guys in CT will be able to sort you out) or XT660 (injected and therefore less consumption and it has I believe already stronger subframe than the aluminium on the prior two bikes).

Being from Europe and doing the travels you did in Asia, you have to take into account one key difference - African countries are huge in comparison, and much less populated. What this means is that you may need to cover long distances of mostly going straight and sometimes not that much interesting stuff in-between interesting places to break the boredom into number of days - so you rather do it in one go - think something like USA once you get out of populated areas. Even if you take dirt roads, which SA has fantastic network of, this still applies quite often - the distances between points of interest are huge and the riding can be boring. I have ridden throughout Africa on loads of small tracks, but the main roads, which you seem to be determined to stick to are all tar (quite badly potholed very often) and straight and boring - if you want interesting stuff you need to venture into small tracks.

Another point is road safety - as pointed out by LD - the speed limit on all roads in SA and surrounds is 120kmh - way over what is allowed in Europe (except highways). And the traffic generally moves at that speed and the bigger vehicles obviously rule. On the bike you have only active safety - in this case to be able to bugger off from the cars in the traffic, rather than having them sitting on your ass and overtaking you - the more you can avoid it, the more safe you are. So I would definitely give myself that little more flexibility that more power (which on the bikes I have mentioned is still very modest) will provide compare to the little ones.

And if you hit sand while exploring those interesting tracks, more power is again beneficial as pointed out by other guys.



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Re: Re: Big vs Small Bike for 3-9 Months to Kenya and back
« Reply #28 on: October 01, 2013, 11:00:40 pm »
I think it is simple really, if you have lots of time and don't need to do high mileage days, then small bike. If you have some long days planned, then a big bike.

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Offline lecap

Re: Big vs Small Bike for 3-9 Months to Kenya and back
« Reply #29 on: October 02, 2013, 10:23:46 am »
Can be done on a 200.

I would seriously consider the Suzuki DR200SE which IMHO is by far the best (DS / Touring bike) of the agri 200's over the Bushlander and the TW.
Also consider the Djebel 250 (second hand) if you can get one.
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Offline TechnomadicJim

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Re: Big vs Small Bike for 3-9 Months to Kenya and back
« Reply #30 on: October 02, 2013, 10:41:29 am »
I own a ctx and although have not done any long trips I enjoy it tremendously and would buy it again in a heartbeat ! I have done some rough terrain and the gear ratio allows for serious hill climbing, but obviously one needs to be happy at seeing the world at a slow pace... which it seems you are.
although the tank is small it runs for a long time if ridden at a slow pace. a few liters in a fuel cell makes for a big increase in range without adding much bulk.
first choice would be ctx and second ttr.
think trailrider vote for the bike says a lot.

Good to hear :) If I go for the CTX I will certainly be carrying extra fuel to extend the range.

I think you'll experience some frustration on the longer roads on the little bike but I also think you'll have time to smell the roses and will have a different, possibly better experience as a result of it.

I think the little bike will be more of an 'adventure'.

I hope so :) I'm sure you're right that I may get frustrated on some longer roads but part of me thinks that not having the possibility of the extra speed might be a blessing in disguise for my safety! heh.

I would suggest you try to stay off the main routes, especially if you are going on a small bike. As you might have learned from your other experiences, in the more rural countries it's the bigger vehicles that rule the roads. They simply push you off the road if they want to come past, and if that means pushing you off a cliff, well in Africa that is your problem.
Staying off the main roads, and trying to keep to dirt roads, will lessen this problem, although it might add time to your journey.
If you are going to stay on highways, do not go for anything smaller than a 650, you need something that can easily outrun a big truck doing 120KM/h+.

Sure. Good advice. I don't plan on using highways if I can help it. They are boring and probably a little dangerous for me on a 200. Even in Europe I avoid them when touring. There's more interesting stuff elsewhere.

600cc is not a big bike . Rather a middleweight for me.
Go with whatever your heart decides. 200cc or 600cc will get you there and back.

My heart says 200. Perhaps I will regret that decision in some scenarios but perhaps not in others. As this is my first longer non-euro trip I'm going to start off with something smaller (I think). Having not driven a large 600+cc ADV bike I won't (probably fortunately) have much of a comparison :)

I have come down here from Europe overland on GSA1150, I have done trip from Europe to India and back on Africa Twin and done smaller trips like Vietnam on the Minsk 150cc, and trips in Southern Africa on Husky 630 and Tenere.

Based on my experiences I would take for trip you are planning something in 650 category - DR650 or XRL650 (if you such a Honda fan) - the only problem to resolve being probably bigger tanks and enforced subframe (I'm sure guys in CT will be able to sort you out) or XT660 (injected and therefore less consumption and it has I believe already stronger subframe than the aluminium on the prior two bikes).

Being from Europe and doing the travels you did in Asia, you have to take into account one key difference - African countries are huge in comparison, and much less populated. What this means is that you may need to cover long distances of mostly going straight and sometimes not that much interesting stuff in-between interesting places to break the boredom into number of days - so you rather do it in one go - think something like USA once you get out of populated areas. Even if you take dirt roads, which SA has fantastic network of, this still applies quite often - the distances between points of interest are huge and the riding can be boring. I have ridden throughout Africa on loads of small tracks, but the main roads, which you seem to be determined to stick to are all tar (quite badly potholed very often) and straight and boring - if you want interesting stuff you need to venture into small tracks.

Another point is road safety - as pointed out by LD - the speed limit on all roads in SA and surrounds is 120kmh - way over what is allowed in Europe (except highways). And the traffic generally moves at that speed and the bigger vehicles obviously rule. On the bike you have only active safety - in this case to be able to bugger off from the cars in the traffic, rather than having them sitting on your ass and overtaking you - the more you can avoid it, the more safe you are. So I would definitely give myself that little more flexibility that more power (which on the bikes I have mentioned is still very modest) will provide compare to the little ones.

And if you hit sand while exploring those interesting tracks, more power is again beneficial as pointed out by other guys.

Sounds like some awesome trips! I drove Royal Enfield Bullet 350's in India, cheap 110cc Honda Wave's in south east asia and Tornado 250's in Peru. Only short trips nothing like your length trips but great riding all the same. Modding a bike is a bit of an issue for me. To be honest its extra hassle that im not very comfortable with sorting out. The bonus of the CTX is that its find for me in its stock state. All the racking I need plus bash plates, kick + electric start etc.. Only issue is the tank size but I will compensate with an extra 5 or 10 litre fuel can.

Road safety is a very good point. You are totally right about being able to power away from trouble. This is something I hope to avoid by keeping off highway's and generally taking my time. Perhaps pulling over if need be to let whatever is up my ass pass. Sand is an issue that i imagine im going to come across at some point. I guess I will just have to take it as it comes and see how I deal with it. If it sucks I will adjust my journey to compensate for the sand. Same goes for highways etc.. I can always change my route to compensate.

Thanks for your insight. Its very much appreciated. Definetely food for thought :)

I think it is simple really, if you have lots of time and don't need to do high mileage days, then small bike. If you have some long days planned, then a big bike.

I do feel perhaps I need to bite the bullet and just throw down some money and but a bike soon. Unfortunately the CTX in Cape Town Honda was sold but the guy said he can have a new one sent from Joburg in a couple of days no problem.

Can be done on a 200.

I would seriously consider the Suzuki DR200SE which IMHO is by far the best (DS / Touring bike) of the agri 200's over the Bushlander and the TW.
Also consider the Djebel 250 (second hand) if you can get one.

Interesting, Thanks! Will have a gander at those too :)
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Re: Big vs Small Bike for 3-9 Months to Kenya and back
« Reply #31 on: October 02, 2013, 11:27:58 am »
If you are set on a 200 I would certainly choose the CTX or the DR. My personal choice would be a 650 for days I would want to cover more distance, but having said that if these guys can do it it on scooters, you'll be fine on the 200! Enjoy!

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« Last Edit: October 02, 2013, 11:32:22 am by mox »
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Offline goingnowherequickly

Re: Big vs Small Bike for 3-9 Months to Kenya and back
« Reply #32 on: October 02, 2013, 11:38:43 pm »
 You will have a Blast..!
Im jealous .. I think the ctx  would work fine, you will have to work a bit more tho..
as you are on a slow tour , shouldnt be a priority .. ( Lucky you ) ..  The Djebel & TW also appeal to me..
How many luggage Kgs would you like to carry..
How many km ( overall & +- daily do you hope to run ..?)
Looking forward to the ride report..  :biggrin:

 

 

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Re: Big vs Small Bike for 3-9 Months to Kenya and back
« Reply #33 on: October 03, 2013, 12:01:45 am »
As said above, your route should determine the type of bike. Having driven also in Africa, I agree with the long, straight roads argument and that your main roads are tarred with slaughter holes (which are the same for big and small bikes). So, if you are taking the main road, take bigger bike. If you are taking the exciting roads and uncharted roads, take a small bike. Smaller bikes are easier to get across rivers on a canoe and to push or pick up, which again should not necessarily be required on the main roads. Stick to something that can easily be fixed and stay away from electronics. Stick to something that is standard and basic. Lots of small chinese  bikes lately in Africa, something to keep in mind should you be needing spare parts...
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Re: Big vs Small Bike for 3-9 Months to Kenya and back
« Reply #34 on: October 03, 2013, 06:03:14 am »
Has anybody thought of the DR 650 ? Only weighs in at 20kg more than the CTX. A nice balance between simplicity ,a light weight bike ,reasonable power and not too expensive . That would be my choice ;-)

Edited: Ok ,scrap that idea because its not SMALL - ,if 200cc is your limit ,then the CTX is cool  :ricky:
« Last Edit: October 03, 2013, 07:11:05 am by Skipskop »
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Re: Big vs Small Bike for 3-9 Months to Kenya and back
« Reply #35 on: October 03, 2013, 08:45:45 am »
I'd go with the smaller bike. Up in Africa the locals get around on small 125 or thereabouts Chinese scoots. No problem. And some of them overload those bikes to a ridiculous proportion!

The speed limits when you leave SA will mostly be around 80km/h, with lots of speed-bumps, potholes, and other reasons like animals, people, rocks, chickens, wildlife etc. to keep you slower. Not to mention the odd speed trap or road block.

As you mentioned, you want to take it slowly, experiencing your surrounds. A smaller bike is perfect for this. And if you do hit a bad patch of sand, you can even just walk alongside the bike to get it through if you have to. This is a lot more difficult on a bigger bike. But if you stick to the sandy roads your sand riding skill will improve very fast!  :ricky:

Take an extra fuel bladder/can, and keep it full. Fuel is unreliable in a lot of Africa, so be prepared. You may even have to sit for a week at a place waiting for fuel. That's Africa, its part of the adventure.

Go, have fun, and remember the ride report!!!
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Offline TechnomadicJim

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Re: Big vs Small Bike for 3-9 Months to Kenya and back
« Reply #36 on: October 03, 2013, 11:43:08 am »
If you are set on a 200 I would certainly choose the CTX or the DR. My personal choice would be a 650 for days I would want to cover more distance, but having said that if these guys can do it it on scooters, you'll be fine on the 200! Enjoy!

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Awesome. I love reading reports of big trips on smaller bikes. I met a guy who drove from Sydney to London on Honda C90. Great to hear you agree on the CTX.

You will have a Blast..!
Im jealous .. I think the ctx  would work fine, you will have to work a bit more tho..
as you are on a slow tour , shouldnt be a priority .. ( Lucky you ) ..  The Djebel & TW also appeal to me..
How many luggage Kgs would you like to carry..
How many km ( overall & +- daily do you hope to run ..?)
Looking forward to the ride report..  :biggrin:

Thanks :) I hope so. My luggage weighs about 20kgs in total including camping gear and helmet. The CTX should easily take this. I reckon I will possibly do 5 figure km's in total. Its very hard to predict at this stage but possibly 10,000 - 30,000 kms. I found in Europe my comfortable daily mileage was no more than 500km's avoiding highways but that was Europe and on my honda cb600 so I guess I will see when I hit the road if I take the CTX.

As said above, your route should determine the type of bike. Having driven also in Africa, I agree with the long, straight roads argument and that your main roads are tarred with slaughter holes (which are the same for big and small bikes). So, if you are taking the main road, take bigger bike. If you are taking the exciting roads and uncharted roads, take a small bike. Smaller bikes are easier to get across rivers on a canoe and to push or pick up, which again should not necessarily be required on the main roads. Stick to something that can easily be fixed and stay away from electronics. Stick to something that is standard and basic. Lots of small chinese  bikes lately in Africa, something to keep in mind should you be needing spare parts...

I hope to avoid highways If I can. They are great for getting from A to B but pretty boring for adventure riding. A definite plus of the CTX 200 is its ease of repair. Being such a simple bike I imagine it will be easy to repair and get spares for. I love the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) which is another positive factor of the CTX.

Has anybody thought of the DR 650 ? Only weighs in at 20kg more than the CTX. A nice balance between simplicity ,a light weight bike ,reasonable power and not too expensive . That would be my choice ;-)

Edited: Ok ,scrap that idea because its not SMALL - ,if 200cc is your limit ,then the CTX is cool  :ricky:

200 is not a limit as such I could get a second hand 650 but I would probably have to spend more kitting it out and I worry about breaking down and having difficulty getting spares and repairs out in the sticks. I'm speculating that I probably won't benefit too much with a faster / heavier bike especially when I get out of SA. I may even get myself into some trouble if I have all that extra power available. heh!

I'd go with the smaller bike. Up in Africa the locals get around on small 125 or thereabouts Chinese scoots. No problem. And some of them overload those bikes to a ridiculous proportion!

The speed limits when you leave SA will mostly be around 80km/h, with lots of speed-bumps, potholes, and other reasons like animals, people, rocks, chickens, wildlife etc. to keep you slower. Not to mention the odd speed trap or road block.

As you mentioned, you want to take it slowly, experiencing your surrounds. A smaller bike is perfect for this. And if you do hit a bad patch of sand, you can even just walk alongside the bike to get it through if you have to. This is a lot more difficult on a bigger bike. But if you stick to the sandy roads your sand riding skill will improve very fast!  :ricky:

Take an extra fuel bladder/can, and keep it full. Fuel is unreliable in a lot of Africa, so be prepared. You may even have to sit for a week at a place waiting for fuel. That's Africa, its part of the adventure.

Go, have fun, and remember the ride report!!!

Cool. Thats my thinking too. Also a smaller bike won't attract as much attention as a big expensive heavy bike. I do hope my riding will improve on this trip and thats a part of the adventure too. I will certainly carry an extra fuel can. I would like something flat if possible like the rotopax ones. If i could get a 10L one I can essentially double the range of the bike. I expect issues along the way... shit happens as they say :) I will do a ride report for sure. Its the least I can do with all you guys helping me out with advice etc...
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Re: Big vs Small Bike for 3-9 Months to Kenya and back
« Reply #37 on: October 03, 2013, 11:57:47 am »
Try get a fuel cell like this http://www.offroadcycles.co.za/p/179345/fuel-bladder-or-fuel-cell, not sure who in CPT sells them, it will save loads of weight  :thumleft:
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Re: Big vs Small Bike for 3-9 Months to Kenya and back
« Reply #38 on: October 05, 2013, 06:42:23 am »
What you want is a Yamaha TTR 250:

1. Electric and kick start.
2. Six speed gearbox.
3. 22-28 km/l fuel consumption.
4. Accerbis 22l XR400/600 tank fits with minor mods.
5. 120 kg dry weight.
6. Proper seat.
7. Air cooled simplicity.
8. Fantastic suspension, adjustable front and rear for rebound and compression, rear for preload.
9. Global parts back up.

Ultimate Africa trip bike....for the same cost as a Tornado.

Ok, I followed my own advice, went and bought a TTR. Fetching it next week from Durbs. Thinking of bringing it back via Lesotho, will report back here on impressions, power, cruising ability and fuel consumption.
 

Offline TechnomadicJim

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Re: Big vs Small Bike for 3-9 Months to Kenya and back
« Reply #39 on: October 05, 2013, 10:24:07 am »
Ok, I followed my own advice, went and bought a TTR. Fetching it next week from Durbs. Thinking of bringing it back via Lesotho, will report back here on impressions, power, cruising ability and fuel consumption.

Nice! I'm off to put a deposit down for a CTX now. Pretty much made my mind up as you can see from this and my other thread, heh :) Interested to hear how you find the TTR though. I love the idea of these agricultural bikes for adventure travel. They seem spot on for it.

Try get a fuel cell like this http://www.offroadcycles.co.za/p/179345/fuel-bladder-or-fuel-cell, not sure who in CPT sells them, it will save loads of weight  :thumleft:

Interesting. Will have to keep my eye out for one when I'm getting the bike ready. I quite like the dimensions and size for the rotopax 10L. Will fit nicely on the back plate of the CTX.
Live Ride Report : Southern Africa on a Honda CTX 200 // Live GPS Tracking : http://www.whereisjames.com