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sub-Saharan Africa Topics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
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Old 28 Apr 2007
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This is not a joke!! (X-posted on S'hara)

Hi everyone

I'll be going to northern Nigeria next month with work, and will be based there until September. I really want to explore the Sahel (Niner, Mali, and even further west), off the beaten track, and I think that buying a motorbike when I'm there is going to proove the most exciting option. However, the problem is that I have never riden a motorbike before!!

I have bought a generic book about motorbike mechanics/maintainance, so at least I can pretend what I know what I'm talking about when trying to buy one, and so that I can check that I'm not getting a completely duff machine! I don't want to buy anything powerful or expensive, just something that will let me explore some of the region independently. My little bit of research suggests that a basic moped (50 or 100 cc) would be ok especially, if I carry a bit of spare petrol along too.

So, I have the following questions. I know they'll seem completely stupid to you, but be grateful of advice all the same!

1. I'm looking at spend as little as possible, on something that will last me a few months, which I can then sell/scrap at the end of my stay. Roughly how much do you think I'd be looking at paying for a second hand moped - is $200-300 a sensible amount.

2. What sort of mopeds are available in that part of the worlds - is there anything I should look out for/avoid?

3. How hard is it to get to grips with riding one? Presumably the bikes I'll find out there will be geared rather than automatic. Is it generally quite easy to pick it up; I'll only be going at about 30-40 mph I'd imagine

4. How many miles to the gallon do you think I'll get, roughly?

5. Can someone tell me what the difference is between a moped, scooter, and motorbike is please? There's a lot of conflicting info on the web. Why do scooters have small wheels?

6. Lastly, any words of advice that you could offer a complete novice jumping in at the deep-end.

Thanks so much!!!!
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Old 28 Apr 2007
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Hopefully you already know how to ride a bicycle?

A moped is basically a motorised bicycle, a scooter is faster, a motorbike faster still. Given your experience and objectives, I think a moped is definitely your best bet.

Some UK bikers rode Honda C90s down to The Gambia, see Scooters in the Sahara So you can see that you don't really need anything more powerful (I would class the C90 as a moped, not a scooter).

I don't know anything about availability in Nigeria but you should go for whatever is popular locally, then you are most likely to be able to find spare parts and people to fix it. As to costs, to give you an indication, a brand new Peugeot 103 moped in Morocco costs 6600 dirhams, which is about $600. So I should think you'll be able to pick something up for $300 or less.

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Old 29 Apr 2007
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Cost of Motor Bikes/Mopeds

New motor bikes/mopeds with engine capacity of 50-75cc, cost between 70-100,00 Naira, which is about 300-400 sterling pounds or 450-550 Euros. They are mainly imported from China.

I would not bother with second hand, its best to but new & may be sell it when you leave.
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Old 29 Apr 2007
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honda c90

the venerable c90/honda cub is a hugely popular bike worldwide, and is extremely robust ( I race 'em...)
having done some pretty extreme riding on them, would suggest that a good one would be a wise choice for a relative novice on bad terrain, the main thing being they dont break when dropped.
They aren't a moped, to be a moped it has to be limited to 30mph max and 50cc. there is a c50, which can just about pull the skin of a lightly baked rice pudding, but only just.
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Old 29 May 2008
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If you have gone have fun. Mopeds are easy and as you will see from the locals a small light moped can usually go places where a heavy trail bike struggles. They are easy to maintain and because everyone else has one parts are everywhere.
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Old 29 May 2008
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China Yamaha

Here in Mali you can buy what they call Chinese Yamaha which are fake bad quality cheap (+/- 300.000 Fcfa) 100cc bikes which might be good enough when you stay on the tarmac and Japanese Yamaha (original) which cost +/- 1.800.000 Fcfa. They look a like (Yamaha written all over them...). Make sure to pay the Chinese price for the Chinese bike. Best bike available in Mali for off the road are Yahama 125 CC (Yamaha Cent-vingt-cinq), I have seen copies of these bikes as well - dont know how much these copies cost. If you stay on the tarmac a "Jakarta" (125 cc scooter like moped) are fine as well and more resistant and have a better second hand value. They cost +/- 350.000 Fcfa. Bikes in Nigeria might be cheaper.

p.s. 1 euro = 656 Fcfa

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