|08-20-2008, 12:21 PM||#1|
Joined: May 2007
Location: South Africa
Here's my first RR, of my solo trans-Africa adventure.
I've been lurking around advrider for about two years now, and owe so much to the useful FF's & resources that I thought I'd write a ride report.
I'd been thinking about a trip like this since I was a nipper, but in many past years the route has not been possible through the countries I wanted to travel (mostly due to borders being closed in countries like Libya & The Sudan). I've always wanted to go North to South, 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.
This is the boring part. It took me about 6 months part-time and 1 month full-time - and mostly entailed research for:
OK, the fun 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)
I decided to buy a brand new one, especially after hearing about them being discontinued and managed to grab the third last model from the importers in South Africa. 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 in the LC4 thread index 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:
LimbsThere were two major mods which I couldn't afford, even though they were available locally; 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
Some advrider stickers, one of the few mods I could afford to have shipped from overseas
The bike was brand new 5 weeks before my scheduled departure date. 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 Adv’s previously I was astounded by its offroad ability while chasing a friend on a 250 2-stroke through the 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 dispensing laudanum to myself.
Although the engine had a gentle introduction the suspension was being thrashed through the forests.
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 1000k’s came and went in a few weeks and I was off to the dealer for the first service (which sadly they wouldn’t let me watch). At this point they removed the emission restrictions and fitted the one luxury I had granted myself in the mod list; the akrapovic silencer.
After the service I stole a wooden pallet from the dealer (it was actually the pallet that the first RC8 superbike to South Africa had arrived on) and took the bike to the local airport where I proceeded to pack 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, printing out advrider ‘how to’ guides and getting in the last of decent beer and food with friends & family.
Stay tuned for the next post – the start of the African Enduro in London.
|08-20-2008, 02:54 PM||#6|
Joined: Mar 2004
Really nice writing, this should be good.
KTM 690 Enduro, sold
KTM 950SE 2006, sold
BMW R1200GS 2004, sold
|08-20-2008, 03:37 PM||#7|
T plus 16 months
Joined: Jul 2006
Yeah, this should be a good one. Dang right I'm subscribed. Africa's on the definite list when my next adventure begins.
2007 KLR 650 aka the Green Max
1995 Ducati 900 SS/SP, Rose
The Big Trip (aka Le Grande Tour), Year 1
6 months in Europe on a Duc
JackLs Thailand/Cambodia Adventure
|08-20-2008, 03:49 PM||#8|
Joined: Aug 2008
This is something I will wish I could do for the rest of my life, but I just don't see it happening. I'll have to live it through you, so PICS, PICS, PICS!
Don't forget to be careful! Especially around all of those big Ethiopian rear bumpers if you know what I mean .
|08-20-2008, 03:50 PM||#9|
Joined: Sep 2007
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada
I'm subscribed too. This should be awesome!!!
"If women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." - Red Green
2005 Kawasaki KLR650
|08-20-2008, 06:07 PM||#12|
Joined: Mar 2007
Location: Bothell, WA
I'm subscribed - look forward to hearing your bike specific experiences in addition to the usual RR fare.
If you get a chance it would be great if you could add links to sources for the kit you added to the bike.
Have a great trip
08 KTM 990 Adv S
08 Honda CRF450X-SM
12 Christini 450 AdvRally
13 Christini 300 E
|08-21-2008, 12:33 AM||#14|
Joined: Aug 2008
Location: Kiev, Ukraine
Woooowww good luck! Subscribed
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