We ended up with 2 XR250 Tornados (~20,000km; air-cooled + big oil cooler, tall suspension, electric start), a Sertao with racks (45,000km) and I chose a Husky Terra (13000km).
Week+ rates were 5000dh/day for the 250s and 8000 for the 650s.
I established beforehand that all the bikes had engine bars and/or bashplates, plus barkbusters so the usual slow speed spills didn’t damage anything. Tanks were near empty.
Tyres on the 650s were road (‘trail’) tyres but worked surprisingly well on the dry piste if treated accordingly. Those bikes were way too heavy to chuck about anyway.
The XRs had knobblies on the front.
A 5th, less experienced XR rider decided to rent a car instead, but as it was stick, that required a driver too.
Loc quickly came up with a solution: 1000/day for a near-new Pajero and 300/day for the driver. Fuel was extra and as far as I know at most places the driver got free lodging.
The benefits of a car meant we could chuck our bags plus a heap of water in the back and have a local on hand to help solve problems/get good prices. Mustapha (not much English) was an enthusiastic and helpful guy, followed us wherever we went without complaint. If anyone wants his mobile number PM me.
I brought my own pump, repair kit, levers and regular tools and asked in advance for a tube for each tyre size plus tools to remove the different wheels and a fuel can (not needed).
Got it all but turned out only the BMW had tools but not the right Torx to loosen a Husky front wheel. I didn’t have the right Torx either.
Realised later my Husky had a slow front puncture on departure (steering felt heavy; should have checked). That led to overheating on the rough road up to the Test, a bigger puncture, a bad repair by the village vulcaniser (was trying to save the new 21” for later) which gave out soon on the first piste.
After a new tube no probs, apart from a nail in the back tyre near Tinerhir. Needed a car to break the bead on that, and lots of pressure to get it fully back on. Clearly I was the puncture magnet on this trip.
That front wheel removal somehow softened the Husky’s front brake which we only partly fixed with a mini-bleed. After that I got used to it.
From the outset I was told the ABS didn’t work.
The FI was not so good either on my Terra, cutting out when warming up and bogging from low revs. I know it’s a high comp engine but the one I rode last year was fine. I suppose Husky diagnostics are hard to come by in Marrakech.
I rode all the other bikes at one point or another:
The XR Tornados
(not sold in UK AFAIK) made the piste effortless and could sit on 100kph on the road and return up to 95mpg. Both the XR riders were dirt and even road biking novices and were amazed what they could do on rough climbs which Andy B (ex Desert Rider
) and me found barely sustainable on the 650s.
A couple of bulbs blew.
The well-used Sertao
lacked the tightness of the Terra and felt much heavier which made it a dog on the piste. But the softer tuned engine was easier to manage than the Husky and first felt lower. The Sertao was by far the comfiest bike on the road and at times more economical than one of the XRs. It used 20% less fuel than the Husky. Rear light assembly broke off on the piste.
Even with the 21” wheel the Husky Terra
made a brilliant Super Moto-style road bike, but like the BM, rocky Moroccan pistes give the bike and you quite a beating. Amazing that nothing broke.
Nourdine was relaxed when we brought the grubby bikes back and I was not charged for the tubes I used.
Now I know what they offer I would happily use Loc again to run another tour. My front slow puncture can be excused, the hesitant efi I learned to live with and I should have splashed out on some brake fluid to fix the front but never got round to it.
With the Husky out of my system next time I’ll just rent an XR. They’re tall but so pleasant to ride. Lowering seemed to require removing the back wheel but they’ll do that in the garage for you.
To get to Loc
(Google street address is way off) take the 19 bus from the airport (30d), takes about 30 mins to wind its way around to a stop just northwest of Place du Novembre 16. Even then, I would have saved myself a sweaty hour's tramping by putting a marker for Loc (+ their nearby hotel suggestion) in the satnav.
For the lodgings we used on our 10-day circuit, see this
Fuller Husky review on my www shortly and a trip report here