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Offline mrg46

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African Enduro
« on: August 21, 2008, 08:08:38 pm »

Well, only my second post here and its a Ride Report, what a rush.

So I've been lurking around here a few times over the years but decided to sign-up and contribute, with my solo trans-Africa adventure.

I'm writing an RR for advrider too, but instead of just pasting the same here I'll modify it slightly to include much more descriptive South Africanisms than I can't for the yanks. Lekker.

Oh and just so I don't mislead anyone - I'm not on the road now - writing this afterwards. I did update a blog when I was on the road, but read this rather as its exclusively written for you wild dogs.


I'd been scheming about a trip like this since I was a laatie, but in many past years the route has not been possible through the countries I wanted to travel (mostly due to borders being closed with kak in countries like Libya & The Sudan). As is the custom, I had many friends that would be coming with but when it came down to the crunch nobody seemed comitted enough to quit their jobs or ask their wives permission so I thought fokkit, I'll do it on my ace. I've always wanted to go North to South so I could arrive at home, and along the East coast. So this was the idea:

I contacted each country consulate and read all the other recent Africa RR's I could find and although entry into each country wasn't 100% guaranteed I had worked-out some plan B's, so the game was on.

I had also done some research to find out some more challenging offroad legs through each country. The Chinese are building roads through Africa like it's nobodies business, and my preference with bikes is generally toward dirt surfaces.

Oh and if you're wondering about this, people have told me its a relatively simiar route as those moffies Ewen & Charlie took in Long Way Down. I haven't watched it, and don't want to. From what I've heard my trip couldn't be more different to theirs in so many ways.


This is the boring part. It took me about 6 months part-time and 1 month full-time - and mostly entailed research for:

    * Visa's, carnet, & other documentation
    * Route & local contacts
    * Bike mods, repairs, spares & riding gear
    * Camping, eating, living & medical equipment

I'll spare the boring detail, but visa & documentation requirements were extensive and had to be done in advance. PM me if you want to know more.


OK, the lekker part. I'd read everything I could find written on this route and the overriding bike advice was to keep it light & simple. The shortlist was these usual suspects (ahem, in alphabetical order)

    * BMW 650 Dakar
    * Honda Transalp
    * Honda XR 600/650
    * KTM 640 Adv
    * Yamaha TT or XT 600/660

I gave each contender an equal opportunity. The choice came down to being the most off-road biased while at the same time was strong and most ready out of the box, and most importantly not require a computer to be plugged-in for a service. There was a clear winner in my opinion, especially as it needed the least amount of aftermarket mods which can become costly from this part of the world.

I decided to buy a brand new one, especially after hearing about them being discontinued and managed to grab one of the few new models from the importers at Pro Action in JHB. My research suggested that the newer LC4's were very reliable if given appropriate TLC, and because I was going solo through some pretty unfriendly places I wanted to be 100% certain of the bikes history.


I thought the bike could handle it out of the box, but my extensive research on Advrider revealed many bits that would aid fall protection and luggage capacity/ease. My shortlist was anything but short, so I trimmed it by 2/3rds and was left with these:


        * Sprockets upgraded to steel (Longer life-span thus spares shouldn't be required)
        * Chain upgraded to X-ring Gold (As with sprockets, prolonged lifespan)
        * Stenhouse handlebar risers (Comfortable for taller rider & standing on pegs)
        * Tyres (Standard Metzeler Sahara's for Europe, Continental TKC80's for Africa, Pirelli MT21 purchased on-route)
        * Ultra heavy duty tubes (Ask me afterwards how many punctures I get)

    Heart, lungs & stomach

        * Akrapovic silencer (Apart from the nice tune & performance I needed the flexibility of the silencing insert)
        * The usual airbox, carb needle & emission control restrictions removed. Tuned at the average altitude I would be at.
        * VisuFilter inline fuel filter (Extra protection against dirty fuel)
        * Mr Funnel (Even more protection against dirty fuel)
        * Loctite blue (Added to just about everything that could turn on the bike)

    Body & clothing

        * Acerbis multipro hand guards (much better than the stock plastic ones)
        * Front high fender conversion (purely aesthetic, but does help in thick mud)
        * Neoprene fork covers (to keep dust & kak out of seals etc)
        * Carbon fibre tank protectots (lightweight bump & scratch protection. Hand made by an oke in the UK)
        * Side stand (In addition to centre stand)
        * Headlight guard (Protection against stone-throwing Ethiopian juveniles)
        * Rallye crash plate with side toolboxes (Tougher engine / lever protection plus low-down tool storage)
        * Sheepskin on seat
        * Tankbag (nice & small, by Wolfman, with rain cover)
        * Front fender bag (Handy for tube spares/repair)
        * Andystrapz pannierz luggage (This is my thread, so I can say soft luggage is the ONLY option for offroad terrain)
        * Pacsafe security netting for pannierz
        * Pelican top box
        * Luggage rack extension for top box
        * Registration number plate (Not essential in Mpumalanga but a useful accessory when traveling abroad)


        * Garmin 60CSx with maps from tracks4africa
        * Garmin plastic bicycle handlebar mount
        * Cigarette lighter to hella power adapter

There were two major mods which I couldn't afford; stronger rims than the standard behr ones and a steering damper. I thought I'd use my guns as a steering damper (and to straighten the rims). I'll reflect on these omissions at the end of my trip.

My bike with most of the mods installed


The bike was brand new 5 weeks before my scheduled departure date (what a gamble hey). I spent this time installing most of the mods and running in the motor for its first 1000km's. I opted for the 'take it easy' run-in method, only opening it up slightly past 5K rpm towards the end. Although I had ridden a number of 640 Advâ??s previously I was astounded by its offroad ability while chasing a china on his 250 MX bike through the Lowveld forests. On the road I found it a pleasure, especially when tightening up the suspension. The renowned vibes of the LC4 didn't bother me in the slightest, besides if it was comfort I wanted I would be staying at home in front of the TV with my slippers on and a klippies in my hand.

The forests in the Lowveld have some awesome tracks for dual sport bikes

During the run-in I had a total of three punctures so had plenty opportunity to test my pathetic 6inch tyre levers and shed much claret from my knuckles in the process.. The 1000kâ??s came and went in a few weeks and I was back off to JHB for the first service (which sadly they wouldnâ??t let me watch). At this point they removed the emission restriction kak and fitted the one luxury I had granted myself in the mod list; the akrapovic silencer.

After the service I got a wooden pallet from the Pro Action, loaded it onto the bakkie with the bike and drove to Jan Smuts. I then packed it onto the pallet for freighting to the UK. This entailed taking the front wheel off an undoing the handlebars to lay them long ways, and then strapping everything securely on the pallet with tie-downs. I watched my pride & joy being taken away precariously balanced on a forklift to be inspected by customs, wrapped in plastic and then queued for its flight to London, UK.

My bike was due to land in London in four days so I spent that time packing all my gear, eating as much biltong as I could (about 1kg a day) and drinking as much klipdrift as I could (won't say how much)

Stay tuned for the next post â?? the start of the African Enduro in London.

« Last Edit: August 21, 2008, 10:16:10 pm by mrg46 »

Offline BMWPE

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2008, 08:17:21 pm »
Looking forward to the rest :thumleft:

Offline lonerider

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2008, 08:19:46 pm »
Lekkerrrrrr! Keep 'em coming, interesting reading...
I do not think that dying is a good idea.
Living doing something that you love is a good idea.
Living until you die is a good idea. If living happens to kill you it means you made a mistake, but we are human, and humans make mistakes, so go for it, enjoy it, live until you die, rather than not living for your whole life.

Offline Carnivore

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2008, 08:21:51 pm »
Oooooooooooooo KAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!

Now THIS is gonna be lekker!! SOunds great! Looking forward to the rest..!  :thumleft:
Old, grey, crafty...

You can do anything if you have enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes rise to the stars. Enthusiasm is the sparkle in your eyes, the swing in your gait, the grip of your hand, the irresistible surge of will and energy to execute your ideas. Enthusiasts are fighters. They have fortitude. They have staying qualities. Enthusiasm is at the bottom of all progress. With it, there is accomplishment. Without it, there are only alibis.
Henry Ford

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2008, 08:49:01 pm »
Story sounds interesting, will be watching out for the rest!

Offline Doerengone

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2008, 09:32:07 pm »
Great, will be following the story as it unwraps.
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Offline edgy

Re: African Enduro
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2008, 09:42:53 pm »
Awesome,waiting in anticipation! .....What broke first? :biggrin:

 BEER..."I drink it when I`m happy or when I`m sad. I drink it when I`m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. Trifle with it if I`m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it - unless I`m thirsty"

Offline Goose

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2008, 09:58:13 pm »
Lekkkeerrrrrr  :drif: :drif:
"Life is a Waste of Time..... Time is a Waste of Life........ Get Wasted all the Time and have the Time of your Life"  ‹(•ż•)›

Offline Snafu

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2008, 10:08:47 pm »
What a teaser!!! :)

Great stuff!
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Offline zetman

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2008, 10:23:04 pm »
Kom ou maat ons wag in spanning ... :drif:
Hou die Tyres op die Grondpad...

Offline Kykdaar

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2008, 08:05:16 am »
Glad you posting this  :thumleft:

Waiting impatiently  ;D

Offline letsgofishing

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2008, 08:45:57 am »
This is going to be awesome.....waiting, waiting, waiting... ;)
There is nothing you can do about the past and you can't predict the future...all you have is the now...live it to the fullest.


Offline Lito

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2008, 09:01:23 am »
 :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:

LEKKER  :thumleft:

Offline MrBig

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2008, 09:11:06 am »
Great start to what will surely be an awesome read!

Just dont make us wait too long hey!
"I know you think you understand what I said, but what you don't understand is what I said is not what I mean."

Offline Yefimovich˛

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2008, 09:14:09 am »
Glad we get the custom bersion :thumleft:

Cant wait :P
If at first you don't succeed, lower your standards

Offline Biesie

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2008, 09:21:47 am »
This is gonna be another great RR !!!  :thumleft: Gooi hom pappie, gooi hom  :biggrin:


Offline malgat (RIP)

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2008, 09:23:00 am »
gooi hom bokkie....gooi hom !!!!!
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Offline ROOI

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2008, 09:58:28 am »
We r all waiting in anticipation   :ricky: :ricky: :ricky:

Offline Hidalgo

Re: African Enduro
« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2008, 10:52:28 am »
Damitt !!!

How am I going to get any work done with these amazing trip reports going on at the moment  :patch:

Looking forward to the next instalment  :thumleft:
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Offline Watty

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Re: African Enduro
« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2008, 11:08:27 am »