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Sahara Travel Forum Topics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
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Desert Travels - Motorcycle Journeys in the Sahara and West Africa!

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  #1  
Old 19 Oct 2006
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Anyone in Niger this December ?

hi !!
I am going around 5th December to pick up my bike (600XL LMF ) in Niamey and a 200Kg motorcycle-trailer (i.e. the motorbike pulls the trailer ) .. I plan to drive south , Chad , Cameroon , etc.. all the way to capetown .

Any bikers around to travek with part/all of the trip ? I am specially interested on joining more poeple for the dodgy Niger->LakeThad->Cameroun segment and/or sharing pulling the trailer (can carry huge amounts of petrol/ water)


Have a nice day
Javier
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  #2  
Old 20 Oct 2006
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Hi Javier,

I'm heading the same way from madrid october 28th so I guess i won't be able to catch up...

anyway, following your advice i'm traveling without a carnet. I guess its fine down to namibia&SA where you get a TIP -temporary import permit- am i wrong?

looking forward to chat with you over a in CT!

enjoy your trip!
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  #3  
Old 21 Oct 2006
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HI poldete

I am in Australia now , but It will be great to hear from you . Deppending on how fast/slow you wanna do it , if you depart Madrid Oct28 , you got plenty of time to be in Niger around December . My dates are flexible more or less.

anyway .. my email is madrid_capetown (arroba) hotmail.com or have a visit at www.viajesyaventuras.com ,

Cheers
Javier
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  #4  
Old 23 Oct 2006
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>>>(i.e. the motorbike pulls the trailer )

Point us to a picture Jav; I am intrigued.
If I understand correctly it sounds like a terrible idea for the piste - esp Lake Chad route, but I look forward to being proved wrong ;-))

Ch
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  #5  
Old 24 Oct 2006
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Hi Javier

We are currently in Mali in a 60 series landcruiser and plan to reach Cameroon around the end of December. This is via Nigeria, but will keep an eye out for your trailer en route south to Cape Town!

Email is africaoverland (at) hot mail (dot) com

Good luck!

Cheers

Andrew
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  #6  
Old 25 Oct 2006
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a few thoughts about this motorbike-trailer idea......

It is much more stable than it looks . The trick is to make the joint/linkage as high as possible . This way , while cornering , the momentum / centrifugue force tries to hold your bike upright -hence reducing the turning- . If you want to turn , just lean your body a little bit more than expected , but otherwise the result is that *most* people agree is more stable .

I have driven this thing up to a 110 k/h (on tarmac) and up to 80 on a piste. Feels safe , and doesnt make any noise.

Also , I was worried that the trailer ,-not having any suspension - would be destroid / banging /flipping , etc.. but as long as Its got low pressure in the tyres ... it behaves allright . I even drove it in a serious corrugation (Diema Nioro , ) and It hold up really well.

There are -however - a few dangers :

1 in the current configuration , if a car hits the trailer , then the trailers-arm will hit me lethally in the back.

2. If the weight is too far to the rear of the trailer , the arm is triying to lift up the rear of the bike , and that could trigger a nasty hi-side accident . Hoever , if the load is towards the front , It actually holds up the rear wheel with more weight.

3 The f*k%ing ball bearings. These trolleys are intended to carry lots of stuff , but at walking pace , not a 100 ks . so I litterally eat up a set of ballbearings every 1000k. They are dirt cheap and full available (shares the same bearings and shafts from that yamahas 50cc mopeds )

4 You are on a bike , but you are 1 metre wide again . If you forget this , you can kill someone , or destroy a car , or a donkey , or kill yourself . To the point that I was about to put a 1 metre wide stick on my front mud guard to remind me constantly that I was 1.2 metres wide.again

Advantages :

Obviously load Carrying . The trolley is rated up to 200 kilos. Even half of that would make terrible improvements in range / fuel/water , spare parts , etc..

you have the bike "clean" , therefore you can ride someone easily in the back of the bike.

Whenver you arrive at a city , you just simpliy unlock the trailer , park it at an hotel / camping , and then in 1 minute you got your motorbike "street going" ,without boxes , bags , panniers , etc.. . Much more easy than either exploring a city with all the stuff , or taking all the stuff off every day.


Where to get it ?

Well , obviously this can not be driven in Europe ! , but in Bamako , they sell them for about 30000 CFAS (50 EUR) and they will be happy to make all the linkages , attachements for free.

Is it Legal in Africa ?

So far , Bamako is the only place that I had problems . Everything unusual is an invitation for policemen to stop you . I guess any other exotic solution would have been "ilegal" for them . Rest of Africa is ok .. no problems , just smiles , and from time to time , some people which want to get a free ride in the trolley .

Resale Value :
Everywhere , absolutely everywhere , they askme to buy the trolley (they ll think is a exotic European equipment or something ) and offered me up to 200 Euros for it !

How much can you honestly carry on it ?

Deppends on the piste / Track . I put up to 100 kilos and it performed ok.This allows huge increases on range indeed. In critical scenarios Id go confidently for the maximum 200 kilos.

Is the performance of the bike modified ?

Not really . I can honestly not tell from the acceleration/speed if I had the trolley or not.

How well/bad performs in Sand ?

SURPRISINGLY WELL ! . Dunno why , but somehow if helps you to keep your bike straight up. Yep , the trolley wheels "drag" a bit , on the other hand , they pull more weight in your motorbike rear wheel , and so -far I have never got stuck. Maybe other more experienced riders can appreciate some difference , but me -I am absolutely new to bikes , less than 1 month experience before donig this trip!- I can not tell a difference in the handling on sand . If at all , is for the better.


WEll , hope this long boring stuff helps someone to decide for or against pulling a trailer with a bike.

Have a nice day
Javier
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  #7  
Old 25 Oct 2006
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I've seen linkages both high and low.. don't think it actually makes much difference if the centre of the weights remain the same. Would change teh way it feels but thing the performace would be the same.

The tarler weight should be towards the bike .. this helpd keep the bike stable too. And helps in sand - keeps the front wheel light.. and you'll need more power to tow it through the sand .. keeping the front wheel lighter still.

The bearings .. yep not built for speed and wieght .. you could replace them with something bigger.. You could also add some suspension .. but that would add weight .. a swing arm on each side with a shock each side and you could have independant suspension .. weights more ..

Here you'd have to get it registered .. lights ... number plate .. and some money. People do have such things here, not built for dirt work they rattle to bits.
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Last edited by Frank Warner; 25 Oct 2006 at 06:01.
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  #8  
Old 25 Oct 2006
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the ruts will drive you nuts

Good on you Javier for buying local and trying something new - you will have to write me a story about your experiences for my next AM Handbook! I do know some Brits who came back on Yams (bike, not vegetable) from Nigeria across Hoggar piste years ago with conventional trailers bike - I think they had a hard time but they did manage it.

Out in the open desert like above and the Tanezrouft it would be fine but I think the worst scenario will be twin soft sand car ruts with Sahel bush either side so you cannot get off these tracks. This is the worst terrain for any bike and your trailer wheels will fall in and out of the ruts and drive you nuts.The Gao-Tim piste is like this and I believe much of the Chad lake route which I've heard is hard work on loaded bike, let alone a trailer.

(FYI, I know a bike + car group heading for the Cape now who will avoid Chad which is not so safe anyway by going from Diffa for one day in northeast Nigeria (Maiduguri) and direct into Cameroon.)

My prediction is that - depending your your pistes and speed - at some point your trolley will keep breaking or drive your steering crazy with and you will dump it for some donkey bags - but bonne route anyway.

Ch
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  #9  
Old 31 Oct 2006
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HI Chris!

regarding the car ruts in sand .. well I thought about it before .I thought Its gonna be hard .. I struggle to ride on sand with a clean bike , so probbably Its impossible for me doing it with the tralier.´
having said that .. I tested in niamey in some streets which are exactly like sand tracks (two big ruts for the cars, etc) and the tralier wheels are so narrow that they "dig" so they dont slide sideways in sand . basicly the bike rides in either rut , and the trailer follows the bike without falling in either rut. I am not exactly sure why , but It works. And If I can do , anyone can , as I am absolutely inexperienced with motobikes (as told before , I didnt even knew where the gear lever was on a bike , a few days before starting the trip !!)

-of course neither motorbike driving license .. but that´s another story-

anyway ... The good thing about this idea is that Its so cheap that if anything goes very wrong .. then I simply discard/sell the tralier .and keep on driving normally

When I finish the trip (and I try this time to get to capetown in one go) Ill send you lots of interesting *unconventional* stories about my trips .And I got lots !!

Well , in one month .. we will see if this was a good idea or a horribe one !!

have a nice day !
Javier
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