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Old 05-10-2009, 09:46 PM   #16
Backcountryboy
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So different from my home in Canada, here we worry about zooming around a corner and whomping into a bear, or over a cougar, but from the size of those elephant footprints in your photos, we don't have anything to worry about here! This promises to be a great ride report.
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Old 05-11-2009, 12:43 PM   #17
Tapeworm OP
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Location: Tanzania, East Africa
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Early next morning we decided to gun it on a breakfast run to the nearest town / establishment with food. A quick air filter check revealed the importance of running a filter screen in the bush...







With biltong strips down our necks, we headed west towards the town of Balama on some fast dirt. The main roads here are straight, but full of surprises and great fun on a 690. This bike was definitely designed with one thing in mind – full throttle racing!







Discovering yet another road that only exists on the map, we arrived in the town of Montepuez instead. On empty stomachs, we headed straight for the pub to have our first decent meal in 36 hours, whilst drying out in the sun.

The local town folks are very relaxed and even though they might appear to be displeased by our presence, just crack a joke and watch them smile..













Finishing off a great meal with a cold beer, it was time to inspect Babu’s sprocket. It didn't look good; the oil leak has worsened on the fast morning ride and teeth had 100km left...

The final theory we concurred up to explain this phenomena is as follows:
the spring washer that holds the sprocket firmly against the shaft seal ring was wearing out and loosing its 'elasticity', hence not pressing hard enough against the o-ring at the back, causing a more severe leak. (Shaft seal ring and O-ring were new).

On the upside we did manage to find a new 520 chain in town – too short, so we bought 2 and rivet them together (still half the price of 1 DID original…)




With our used XR sprocket we had to find a way to cut out the core of both sprockets and then press the XR teeth over the KTM core. Luckily we were in the middle of nowhere, so we just popped into the local machine shop… No really…



Found it in the local university and they had all the tools we need.

The classroom




Our entire plan of reaching Lake Malawi came down to this, cutting out the sprocket core…




Well, it turned out that the cutting bit they had was made from a softer steel than the one on the sprocket; hence it was only making a mark before it burned away. We were not going to see Lake Malawi on this trip... Needless to say we were not too exited about this and decided to pull in for a siesta while Babu went to work on riveting his new chain.

Just like the good old times - nodding off at the back of the class...




Bike breakdowns can happen to anyone and our 690's do not have kick-starts or carburetors - they run on computers, which if they go - its end of the ride with no quick fixes or bush-mechanics to get them going. We have blown a CDI on a WR before, it is possible...

A very "not-pleased Babu" fixing his chain.




We decided to return to Pemba and look for a better machine shop, since it's a harbor town we knew we'd be sorted. Heading back down the main road was a bit nerve racking, with 5 feet grass on either side and kids appearing out of no where, surprising the crp out of you while the gas is wide open... At least with the Leo pipes, they are always looking in your direction, as opposed to the stock ones with which we picked up a couple of pedestrians (and 2 bicycles) over the handle bars...




Finding out why those chains were so cheap….




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Old 05-12-2009, 02:11 PM   #18
Tapeworm OP
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Location: Tanzania, East Africa
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With the objective changed from reaching Lake Malawi to making it back home on the bikes, we kicked into a more relaxed mode, enjoying what the local surroundings and culture had to offer. Babu and Kalvs went looking for a machine shop whilst i finally went fishing and by lunch time they had successfully merged the sprockets. Fishing was not as successful...

The afternoon was spent exploring the town and its local pubs, getting the spirit back up and planning our homeward journey.

Stepping on a sea urchin whilst fishing




Portuguese sardines- surprisingly good




Beach bars




Starting early the next morning, we found some good tracks heading north.







Breakfast – grilled fat…




An exclusive roadside shop....




...selling biscuits and Chivas Regal...




Something to take care of is when approaching concrete bridges. The edges are exposed after the rains, making an excellent opportunity to go over the bars if you are not paying attention… Also, bridges are the one place where you do not want to wonder off the beaten track. They were heavily mined during the war and the construction companies only cleared the area necessary to construct the bridge.




Cruising back we were not as rushed and looked for alternative routes. Some random pics from the return journey:






















A quick mention of some stuff that worked really well on the trip:
(Don't know if this allowed - just let me know and i will delete)
  • Giantloop fender bag - Great idea, works like charm, takes a huge load, very comfortable on the bike, zipper access could be bigger.
  • Garmin 276C - Works great with Touratech bracket, nice big display (needs to be on power cable day and night for backlight effect) - no complaints.
  • Garmin 60 CSx - Simply brilliant - 20,000km and no problems. Some fellow riders had battery terminal problem, but fixable.
  • Zackspeed chest protectors with integrated backpacks - 100 times more comfortable than anything i have ever used and it works well with the leatt neck brace. 10/10
  • Mousses - expensive, but sure saves you a lot of time / worries. Feels good to know that you do not need to worry about punctures, especially when riding in big game tracks at night.
  • Reise know how Maps - Rip-and-waterproof, highly detailed, simply awesome!
Approaching the border, we had one more problem - the 525 just cut out and the spark was gone. We tested the spark plug cap and the coil, no problems there. At the time of this RR we still don't know what went wrong since Babu is away on travels. Will reply once we have figured out what broke, maybe the CDI??




As fate would have it, the 525 cut out right next to missionary's house, with the pick-up standing in the driveway... At least a bit of luck!




Twisty sandy tracks - 690 country.




Babu - always time for a smile (even tho his bike died, the boat is heavily overloaded and he has 50km to go...)




TIA...




Getting there




Home sweet home - Tanzania




Ja well, we did not reach lake Malawi on this one, but we had some splendid screwups, great riding, cold beers and loads of sunshine - great adventure indeed.



Cheers

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Old 05-12-2009, 02:54 PM   #19
ERIC DN
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Brilliant, thanks

A small advice, buy an XR
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Old 05-12-2009, 03:12 PM   #20
D.T.
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Laugh

Wholly sh!t! This is a EPIC dual sport ride that I want to participate in someday.

Thanks for sharing!

Note: Hardened steel sprockets don't cut very well, with anything...
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Old 05-12-2009, 03:47 PM   #21
johnnyandjebus
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Sweet!! There are never enough African ride reports here. I am going to forward this on to my Dad, he taught high-school auto and machine shop. He will dig the photos on page 2.

p.s Riding thru Africa on any bike must be cool but to do it on the bike below.... Very nice


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Old 05-14-2009, 07:11 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ERIC DN
Brilliant, thanks

A small advice, buy an XR
I've been telling them that for years, but they seem bent on self-destruction!
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:48 AM   #23
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I really like these African reports, very interesting.
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Old 05-20-2009, 11:09 AM   #24
Dr LC8
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These sounds like a nice trip.

Well done

Nic
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Old 05-20-2009, 01:30 PM   #25
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Awesome, I dream of trips like this! Great report...
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Old 05-20-2009, 01:56 PM   #26
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wow cool,i lived in kenya for most of my childhood,its been 15yrs since I was there thanks for the RR
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Old 05-20-2009, 03:54 PM   #27
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Shiner Bock Beer, Tortilla Chips, Pot Stickers - combined with this awesome
report - made for a great dinner. Thanks! I enjoyed it! The hazards you face there are so wild!
Cheers.
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