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sub-Saharan Africa Topics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

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  #1  
Old 20 Aug 2010
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Cheap chinese bikes for 2

Instead of riding 2UP with tons of gear on a big bike, I was wondering if anyone had experience/thoughts on getting a cheap bike for each of two people, keeping a minimum of gear and riding from Mali on down towards the Cape.

Apparently 2/3rds of the bikes in Mali are Chinese 'Jakartas' and they cost around £500 to buy. New Statesman - Motorcycle diaries
I have seen them carry huge loads and are apparently just what you need if you are snacking on goat as they can also be strapped on.

I was wondering if this might actually be more practical and fun than a mega bike?

Ideas, problems, solutions?
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  #2  
Old 20 Aug 2010
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Hey Mande,

I would hazard a guess that the quality of the Chinese bikes is not quite up to scratch for a long distance journey. Keep in mind that German/Japanese/British/etc. bike manufacturers that have been at it for decades and make some tough as hell bikes and even these are beaten up while enduring the rigors of overland travel.

An inexpensive Chinese bike is compelling but would require a heck of a lot of fixing along the way, even with light loads. A rip around a single country would be an interesting trip though and probably place realistic expectations on a bike with that build quality. They are getting better though every year so at some point, it will become a more realistic option. Safe travels.
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  #3  
Old 27 Aug 2010
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Few months ago (December 09) I have bought new Nanfang 150 (410.000 CFA) in Yaounde/Cameroon and rode it through Gabon and Congo to Brazzaville. Total 3.500 km. One small backpack attached to backseat by rubber straps. Fuel consumption 2.7l/100 km.

Problems encountered:
- chain tensioner broken (replaced for 500 CFA)
- clock link detached (fixed by myself)
- one tyre puncture

Broken or lost along the way:
- clock glass
- mirror
- headlamp
- padlock

Every 1000 km I have rolled into local motocycle garage and asked for general check - each time they tightened all nuts, regulated chain tension and put some grease on it.

If you like it - do it. If something breaks beyond repair you can always sell what remains and buy new one. Do not buy anything which pretends not to be chinese bike - friend of mine bought Tonda DT 150 and spent each day few hours on repairs (c.a. 10.000 CFA each day) - but... finally he reached Brazzaville as well.

Here is my bike:
Afryka · Plecak · Przygoda • Zobacz temat - Yaounde
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  #4  
Old 27 Aug 2010
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Thanks MountainMan and Janusz.

I love the Nanfang bike, very encouraging and I think I can afford repairs running to 500CFA!

One thing that seems to get a lot of attention is fuel tank size (ie does its smaller tank provide a problem?) and tyres (do they grip enough)?

Were there problems with carnets/exporting the bike?
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  #5  
Old 27 Aug 2010
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These two managed just fine. Thing is, everybody knows how to fix it and if it breaks for good you can just buy a new one.

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Old 27 Aug 2010
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Brilliant!

I'm there! Just visited Julianus Africanus how's the trip going? No updates for quite a while :-(
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Old 3 Sep 2010
ydv ydv is offline
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Nanfang 150 parameters:
- Fuel tank is 12 liters if you fill it to the top. With 3l/100km consumption it will takes you 400 km away between the fillings. Initially I have planned to buy additional 10 liters jerrycan, but never make it. In emergiencies friend of mine was able to fine a fuel even in small villages, but at the price tag of 5000 CFA a litre.

- Tyres I do not know as it is my first bike (so far the last too). After the rains typical "red" roads have thin, very slippery layer on the surface which stick to tyres like a clay. Two times I have flip on the side causing damages listed in previous post. About dozen of times I have hit the ground on very sandy ruts on the border Gabon/Congo (I have missed the new road and followed old track through the bush)
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Old 11 Sep 2010
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Cheap bikes

This topic should be somewhere in the "what bike" area because, for me, it does not get enough discussion - I am running a brand new (more or less) Chinese bike which I got for $750 US, new - I am not travelling, just riding around the streets and getting great fun, economising on transport costs and "mixing with the locals", more than could ever be achieved on 4 wheels in Kabul.
So "sub-Saharian" or not, the moderator should move the topic over to where-ever the others are riding bikes made in China (or Iran, or some other place that is constantly improving their products without charging the earth for the marketing men).

Examples:
new footpeg = $1
oil change = 4$, incl labour
complete new rear twin shock suspension (which was knackered after taking a pothole a bit too quickly) + new indicators all round + new instrument binacle = $60.

In fact, come to think of it, all the above prices incl labour.

Yes, bits break on the "3rd world bikes" but they cost next to nothing to replace.

ps the engine is running great - no smoke etc, but it has done only a few 1000 km so far :-)
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Old 11 Sep 2010
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good points Dave, I asked the question here though because I wanted to know if the bikes were suitable for overlanding in Africa, which has unique roads :-)
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  #10  
Old 11 Sep 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mande Mande View Post
good points Dave, I asked the question here though because I wanted to know if the bikes were suitable for overlanding in Africa, which has unique roads :-)
OK, understood, roads are unique in lots of places (Afghanistan has its' share), but Chinese bikes are ubiquitous (spelling?) :-)
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