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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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  #1  
Old 18 Aug 2010
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Spare parts availability on the East coast of Africa

I've just packed my DRZ400 and the weight of spare parts is unbelievable..I just cant do it.

I'm going to have to ditch my spare chain, piston/rings/, cam chain, valves ,stator, coil and brake pads (bar one set)...

I know I am going to need a chain (im bringing sprockets), brake pads, tyres etc

I know of The KTM place in Niarobi but what is the availabilty like in other cities on the way to Capetown ???


Also, whats DHL servie/costs like to Africa (approx)

Cheers, Ted
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Old 18 Aug 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
I've just packed my DRZ400 and the weight of spare parts is unbelievable..I just cant do it.

I'm going to have to ditch my spare chain, piston/rings/, cam chain, valves ,stator, coil and brake pads (bar one set)...

I know I am going to need a chain (im bringing sprockets), brake pads, tyres etc

I know of The KTM place in Niarobi but what is the availabilty like in other cities on the way to Capetown ???


Also, whats DHL servie/costs like to Africa (approx)

Cheers, Ted

Hey Ted,

In regards to Suzuki specific parts, nothing really until South Africa. There is a small dealer in Windhoek that could help you out in a pinch, but they just order their parts from South Africa where you would be shortly after. In Cape Town, Suzuki South are good folks.

Along the coast, there are a couple of small bike Suzuki dealers (for example in Addis) but they only sell 125cc sized bikes so usually aren't any help for overlanders.

In regards to general motorcycle parts (tires, etc.), Nairobi has the KTM dealer you mention and Jungle Junction will have some accessibility to certain items. Cairo has some bigger street bike stuff, but most of it is quite road orientated. Addis, super small tour operator that runs KTM but his spares are for his operation only.

A couple of options are to ride your bike as far south (lugging as much of the spares as you can while the roads are good) and then changing. I rode with spare tires to Aswan and threw them on and they got me to SA. If you put on your chain and sprockets there you would be fine. I made the mistake of carrying sprockets and chain from Europe and waiting for the old ones to wear out and they made it all the way to Cape Town so I don't know what mileage you expect out of yours but if they are high quality they might last further than you think.

The other option is to do a gear drop and either pre-send it to a place like Jungle Junction or wait until you are part way down and add or subtract to the list of items you want.

For cost examples, I DHL'ed some sprockets up from South Africa to Cameroon on a separate trip and it cost a hundred and fifty bucks if I remember correctly. Heavier items like chains and tires could really add up and at that point rather than the money going to a courier company, I would really consider just flying back home for a quick trip or inviting your girlfriend down to visit you if that's an option. Many a kind, significant other has acted as a motorcycle mule in exchange for a holiday to Zanzibar. Have fun.
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Old 18 Aug 2010
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Thanks for all the info Mountain man..

Thing is, I've bought all the spares !! I'm going to leave them wrapped up and labelled and have my sister ready and waiting to post them to me if I need them. Thing about engine spares is, you never know if/when you will need them. I just know I probably will on this battered old DRZ.

Things like the engine spares... Any ideas how much from Uk-Africa (ish), and how long it takes ??? Any clue ??

I'm also guessing you will be able to get a 520 chain and 18/21 inner tubes on the road in the bigger cities ??? They aren't really bike specific are they !

I really dont like the idea of not carrying spare tubes, but I just don't have the space.
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Old 18 Aug 2010
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Ted,

I think I'd want easy fix but "show stopper" spares with me.

Tubes and patches
Wheel bearings
Chain and sprockets (a couple of fronts)
Air filter
Oil filters.
Spark plug

If I was needing to strip the engine down I think I'd be willing to wait for spares to be sent out to me.
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Old 18 Aug 2010
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Originally Posted by Big Yellow Tractor View Post
Ted,

I think I'd want easy fix but "show stopper" spares with me.

Tubes and patches
Wheel bearings
Chain and sprockets (a couple of fronts)
Air filter
Oil filters.
Spark plug

If I was needing to strip the engine down I think I'd be willing to wait for spares to be sent out to me.
I have a full puncture kit.... Tubes are going on the maybe list. there is very little you can fit on a DRZ400 !!

I have sprockets, they're ziptied to the subframe ! There is a new set on so im hoping just one change will do it (I have a scottoiler)

Airfilter yes, oil filters yes, spark plug yes !! Wheel bearings No, they're new too and bearings are bearings at the end of the day. I doubt i wont be able to get them somewhere if I need to.

The engine spares and stator concern me ! These DRZ's don't last... Many of them fail on such a trip (why am I using it again???) I think they will have to stay at home though.
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  #6  
Old 18 Aug 2010
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Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
Thanks for all the info Mountain man..

Thing is, I've bought all the spares !! I'm going to leave them wrapped up and labelled and have my sister ready and waiting to post them to me if I need them. Thing about engine spares is, you never know if/when you will need them. I just know I probably will on this battered old DRZ.

Things like the engine spares... Any ideas how much from Uk-Africa (ish), and how long it takes ??? Any clue ??

I'm also guessing you will be able to get a 520 chain and 18/21 inner tubes on the road in the bigger cities ??? They aren't really bike specific are they !

I really dont like the idea of not carrying spare tubes, but I just don't have the space.
Hey Ted,

In regards to general bike spares like tubes and chains, it is probably more accurate to assume that a person can't find them. Or at least in the quality and size that you are used to. I'm sure you could track down some tubes, but most spare parts are for the local bikes (which are typically small) and with market is local which means that pricing is everything and the quality will be low and almost certainly from China. Hate to say it, but brand new high quality tubes before I left, plenty of patch kit stuff and a spare tube would be high on my list of necessary spares.

In regards to a chain, in most countries there are a few 'big' bike riders but not enough to support a business so the way most people deal with this is that they either bring in their own spares and have a set at home or they order them and have friends/relatives bring them in. Having a high quality DID would pretty much beat anything that you would be able to get locally, if you could find it.

Great planning that you have the engine spares ready to go. DHL is the easiest solution and will delivery to every capital city on your way down. Timing of delivery depends on the country and I don't know from the UK specifically but while the website may claim 48-72 hours in reality I assumed a week or so. In many places (Addis, Yaounde) DHL is very close to the custom office so actually clearing customs is fairly straightforward by African standards.

How many miles are you figuring from your house down to SA? If you are going to take the ferry to Egypt, I'm thinking that starting off on a new chain and sprockets could get you the whole way unless your bike is a real chain eater. If worried, I would do the install enroute as I mentioned before and would try to avoid the need to ship anything is possible.
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Old 19 Aug 2010
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Wheel bearings No, they're new too and bearings are bearings at the end of the day. I doubt i wont be able to get them somewhere if I need to.
I'm only going by what I've had fail on me. I had a rear wheel bearing fail that had only done about 40 hours. A bearing and seal kit doesn't weigh much or take up a lot of space.

I don't envy the situation you are in as far as what to take and what to leave and still have a bike that's light enough to move under it's own power.

Regards

BYT
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Old 19 Aug 2010
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You will probably have a stop in Nairobi and service the bike.
The post-system in Kenya works pretty good and you can send parts poste-restante through the ordinary post-system (cheaper then DHL). When you are in Addis Abbeba check the bike and ask your sister to ship the parts you need to Nairobi.
If you bring your Carnet to the post-office you don't need to pay tax for the parts. Just remember that packages doesn't show up at the main post-office (like letters do).
From Norway a package to Nairobi usually takes less then two weeks.

It's also possible to get thing shipped to Dar Es Salam but it is a hassle to "reduce" tax.

What parts you need depends on your bike and route. Right now it's possible to drive to Cape Town with only 500kms offroad, and less then 20kkms total, but it's also possible to extend it with many thousands kms offroad.
If you want to leave the main-route you need to be self-sufficient or enjoy walking.

In "chain vs cardan discussions" some people claim that a chain and sprocket will last far longer then your planned distance but I would have carried a set of sprockets (at least the front) and some links and locks for the chain.
It might be possible to get a chain in Nairobi or from the dirt bike guys in Malawi or maybe from the police in Zambia (they have F650).
From Zambia you can even take the buss to Johannesburg to buy parts.

This incident killed 10-15 links on my chain:


As MountainMan says it's close to impossible to find decent tubes and tires but IMHO you have to bring a set of spare tubes and if you change tires in Nairobi you should be okay.
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Old 19 Aug 2010
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Well i've "modified" my luggage. I've converted a seat lock bag to mount on my front mudgaurd. Works well and fits the chain and two tubes. I'll probably stuff the old wheel bearings in there too as they were still good when I changed them.

Cheers for the info Alibaba ! It's been takenn on board

fyi, the DRZ needs an oil change every 1000-1500 miles !! I've no issues on mechanics. I can strip and rebuild the whole engine from their component nuts and bolts if need be.

I'm going to try and persuade my travel partner to carry some spares too. Also on a DRZ I have ALL the tools which are the heaviest part of my luggage but he's carrying the notebook, video camera etc etc !

I think he got the long straw !!
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Old 19 Aug 2010
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fyi, the DRZ needs an oil change every 1000-1500 miles !!
That will be something like 10 oil-changes (or 20 for both bikes), do you change filter(s) every time?
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Old 19 Aug 2010
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That will be something like 10 oil-changes (or 20 for both bikes), do you change filter(s) every time?
Every 2-3 oil changes. Im taking 5 filters ! They're only "ickle"

Highway miles are less harsh on oil than dirt biking so I'll probably go to 1500 miles on the road. But without knowing what type of oil is about, i'll probably be only doing 1000 miles if the quality isnt great.

Having NEVER ridden in Africa before, this is all rather new to me !
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Old 19 Aug 2010
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Having NEVER ridden in Africa before, this is all rather new to me !
Africa is the best, no doubt.
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Old 19 Aug 2010
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Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
I'll probably stuff the old wheel bearings in there too as they were still good when I changed them.

Cheers for the info Alibaba ! It's been takenn on board

fyi, the DRZ needs an oil change every 1000-1500 miles !! I've no issues on mechanics. I can strip and rebuild the whole engine from their component nuts and bolts if need be.
You are one prepared dude, Ted You should be able to negotiate free merely for being the go to mechanic for the trip. A a day shoulds like a fair starting point...

In regards to wheel bearings, I don't know about the size that fits your bike, but as a general suggestion about bearings one can take the details and make a quick call to an industrial bearing place and see if it is a commonly occuring size for industrial uses. If in the off chance it is, you stand a very good chance of finding replacements in places like Cairo, Khartoum, Addis, Dar, and Nairobi. I was looking for a fork seal and the oil seal and bearing shops are attached or close by so can attest that you can track down a pretty decent selection of industrial bearings with Nairobi probably being the best of that lot. If a person is lucky, one can perhaps avoid the need to carry spare bearings.

As for oil filters, again can't say for your bike but on one of the user forums they had a list of equivalent filters that would fit from automobile manufacturers and after market manufacturers and for the DL1000, there was at least 10. Again, if lucky, can be somewhat reassuring to know that you can access backups if need be.

Have a great ride.
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Old 20 Aug 2010
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What's the availability of imported good quality oil (thinking Castrol car oil) over there?

You can look at stainless filters. I use them on my travel bikes. All good so far. My maintenance schedule says it needs new oil every 6000km.

As for sprocket and bearings. Although I understand taking some, I probably wouldn't. My chain and sprockets are nearing 20kkm and has had only 1 adjustments. Use ATF to lube. Bearings are still good OEM, but I'd change all this over before I leave.
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Old 20 Aug 2010
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Cheers again for the replies !!

That's the thing with chain and sprockets isnt it ! It can be quite a lottery. I've made space for them now so they can come on along. The sprockets are invisibly ziptied under my rear rack. Chain and tubes in my "new" fender bag.

Stainless oil filter... I should of thought of that !!!! Too late now though, I leave in a week.

Bearings.. yes, bearings are bearings are bearings. I buy mine from a local bearing manufacturere. Many peope thing they're bike specific. The wheel bearings on the DRZ are brand new. I think they will make it ! I'll see if there's space left when im all packed up. They are little as you say !

I forgot how crazy T-minus 7 days was !!!
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