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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 27 May 2002
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Tyre availability

Could fellow motorcyclists please tell of their experiences with obtaining tyres throughout Africa.
cheers Jeff
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  #2  
Old 27 Aug 2002
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Hi, It depends on what your tyre size is and how fussy you are about particular brands, in general though the size you want will be unavaiable where ever you need it. Having said that I am travelling through Africa a bit latter this year, already on the way and plan on being in Turkey in about 3 or 4 weeks and Egypt a month or so after that, I am not carrying any spare tyres, my first rear replacement ( On a 1986 R80G/S) was at 7,500 miles in Helsinki and the front at 9,000 in Riga, so I figure on getting two new ones in Turkey and hopefully carrying them to the Egyptian border where I will fit them, the next rear will be needed in Kenya where I hope to find something, not too fussed, anything 18" will do ( as the actress said to the bishop) probably fit a road tyre or if nothing available I will wait while something is shipped from the UK, there used to be a nice little campsite at Malindi where I won't mind hanging out for a few weeks till it arrives. I have worked for three years in Africa and know that you can never find what you want but can usually find something that will do.
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  #3  
Old 27 Aug 2002
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Kenya/Nairobi:
-There is a KTM-guy (Ian Duncan) that sells Michelin and Pirelli. You have to pay a LOT and he only has 18-19-21
-If you send tyres to Nairobi it will end up at the big post office in Haile Selasse Ave, not at GPO. Bring your carnet and a big smile and you don't have to pay import-tax.

Malawi:
Someone told me you can get good tyres at a mx-shop. Haven't tryed but I guess it's only mx-sizes (18-19-21)

Tanzania:
They don't have good tyres and usually you have to pay some import-tax. (20-200%)

Namibia/South Africa
You can get all you want...

It's possible to buy cheap tyres in most countries. IMHO they look bad. I would never put them on a heavy bike and go to the jungle/dessert/Nairobi, but it's your trip...

Good luck!
AliBaba
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  #4  
Old 29 Aug 2002
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Hi, whats the address for the KTM guy or general area of town to start looking, as I expect the tyres I fit just before Egypt will be shot by the time I get to Nairobi,Cheers Chris
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  #5  
Old 29 Aug 2002
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Hi
On my Trans African trip I had a lot (unfortunately) of experience in sourcing bike/tyre shops. Here are some things I remember.

A few Nairobi tips: At Upper Hill Campsite you’ll be able to get directions to bike and tyre shops.

Tyres in Kenya are expensive. Nairobi is the only place you’ll get any. However Ian Duncan’s (KTM man, mentioned above) prices are more than expensive. Extortion would be a better description.

In the industiral estate, try the official Michelin Importer. Definitely not cheap, but not extortion either. Also try in down town, an Indian tyre man (near the Suzuki dealer) who has lots of bike tyres. I bought an IRC 5.10x17 for US$100 off him. He also has Made in China/Korea type stuff. With a 18 inch rear wheel, you will have more choice.

There are quite a lot of tyres around East Africa, but nearly all are for 125cc bikes and not for big overlanders.

Also visit the official BMW dealer. He has a German bike mechanic. Helpful.

Also try Ric of Ric’s Bikes (out of town). Helpful if you need work done.

Also try Vic Preston Ltd. (workshop above a petrol station in down town). They repair cars, but employees/son(??) rides motocross, so might be able to help with work on bike.

Everybody knows everybody else, so ask around.

As AliBaba said, South Africa has pretty much all you need. I found the Yamaha (or was it Kawasaki??) dealer in Cape Town to be very helpful. Just take a tour of the shops. Also, try John at the BMW dealer (Trefco).

I would be very very surprised if you found anything worthwhile between Kenya and RSA. Also Ethiopia is a dead loss ref. tyres.

Good luck,
ChrisB
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  #6  
Old 31 Aug 2002
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I don't remember the name of the area in town. It's close to the Norwegian School and the Giraffe-center ;-)
If you go to the BMW-dealer (Chris, German) he will draw you a nice map. That's the best place to start anyway, he might have some good info.

The price...... I paid 12.000 KSh for a Pirelli MT21 with a Heavy-duty tube.

I'm in Khartoum now and the road from Isiolo to Moyale and all the dirt-roads in Ethiopia they realy ate my tires. I use to go 15-20 kkm on Pirelli MT21 rear, but this time maybe 10 kkm. :-/
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  #7  
Old 3 Sep 2002
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Thanks Chaps,
I think Ill make it to Nairobi before I need to purchase new ones. Im still wearing 3/4 worn trail wings and have a pair of Deserts up my sleeve. Im in Tozuer and plan to cross into Algeria in a couple of days.
See you there, Jeff
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  #8  
Old 12 Sep 2002
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Hello guys,

Anyone passing through Mali who needs a hard rubbered, no-name brand 18 inch rear, thick knobbly contact me at link above before the 4th of October. I have one spare one here that I cannot take with me when I set off in October. I will give it away to the locals otherwise. I can forward it to any address in Bamako.

Cheers,

hed

[This message has been edited by Grant Johnson (edited 12 September 2002).]
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  #9  
Old 8 Dec 2002
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Hi Guys,
I saw above that it is difficult to get 17" tires so I started wondering... Is it best to have a front/rear of the same diameter? My GS1100 (Suzuki) has a 19 up front and a 17 in the back but if I switch to wire wheels I can have anything I want I figure. With eBay anything can be found for under 20$US
What would be the easiest size to find in
a)South America
b)Europe and the rest of the east?

Cheers, Steve
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  #10  
Old 9 Dec 2002
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Stephen, leave your wheels alone - you'll mess up the handling, could easily run into clearnace problems with fenders etc, and the hassle and cost of the change won't be worthwhile vs any extra hassle getting tires on the road.

Tires ARE available - just sometimes not where you want! Read all the posts re whats where and plan ahead.

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  #11  
Old 23 Dec 2002
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Hi All,

I am in Accra on a Ténére, which has 18 inch in the rear and 21 inch in front. There are lots of old Tenere's driving around here, I asked several owners and all told me that they had no hassle in sourcing knobbly and other tyres, plus spares in Accra. These are local gus, not travellers. The one took me to a shop where I bought a Korean or other cheap Asian import, will be OK until I get closer to Sudan, for sure. I lost the address, but will try to find and post. Just ask around, as I said, no real problem here.

Good luck all,

Heye
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  #12  
Old 10 Jan 2003
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Hi, just managed to get a real heavy duty Russian tyre in Addis Ababa after the roads in Ethiopia ate my TKC80, big hole in it, it was new in Turkey and had covered about 5000 miles only. Other tyres available here are Indonesian and Tiawanese 18 inch and one shop had a 17 inch rear, 21 fronts easy to get but not really very good, tyres about 40 USD.
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  #13  
Old 11 Jan 2003
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Almost in Capetown,
carrying a pair of Michelin "Deserts" and only using them when Ive really needed them, ie keeping them off the tar routes has worked out very well for me. Still have good knobs when it counts and a pair of trail tyres to throw on for the bitumen. Tyres are also handy storage containers for bits and pieces and no problem to carry. Potatoes fit snugly in my spare front.
The security guys at Upper Hill, Nairobi have a stash of various bike tyres, got a near new Bridgestone for 600 shillings and a near new Metzeler from Rics boys on the sly for 1500 shillings, very cheap.
Dont go to Motorcycle Importers in town, they try to charge unsuspecting tourists almost double which is often the case in Africa.
Basically you needs will be met if you keep your eyes open.
What a ride!
Jeff
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  #14  
Old 17 Jan 2003
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Any advice on finding tires (Michelin Deserts preferably) en route between Togo and Cameroon?
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  #15  
Old 26 Feb 2003
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Just for info - found a very well equiped KTM dealer in Lome (Togo) about 2km from the Ghana border on the coastal road. Stocked a few new nobblies. I spoke with Michel (3 time Dakar competitor) who went far out of his way to help us.

Their phone number is +228 2220 4316.

If you give them enough warning I'm sure they'll be happy to get you whatever tyre you are looking for. I bought Michelin Deserts at less than what I had paid in London!
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