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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 16 Nov 2003
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tyre choice for east coast of africa

for anyone who has done the trip what would be your choice of tyre knobbies or enduro im more concerned at the moment for the northern countries such as sudan ethiopia and northern kenya ive been riding dirt bikes since i was a kid and im pretty confident i could get through and over most terrain on a set of enduroes with the advantage of longer life and better all round capabilities but im going to have a pillion passenger which totally changes riding techniques and makes it impossible to get up on pegs over deep sand any suggestions would be appreciated and is it possible to buy knobbies in egypt or would israel be a better choice
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Old 16 Nov 2003
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Pirelli MT21 is a good choice, or go for the Michelin Desert. There is not much soft sand on your route, corrugation is a bigger problem and it will stress your frame, shocks, rims and passenger to the limit, or across…
I have no idea if you can get tires in Egypt or Israel but I would have started off with new tires and changed them in Nairobi.
Hmmm, it might be a problem to enter Sudan with an Israel stamp in your passport or carnet…

Good luck!
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  #3  
Old 17 Nov 2003
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Soft deep sand fully loaded with a passenger - hmmmm, I suggest a rethink on that one. NOT sensible. Real dirt bikes solo in sand is one thing - a fully loaded touring bike with passenger is a whole different game. And I don't care how good a rider you are. IMHO - forget it.

The Sudan route can be done with a passenger, done regularly, but as AliBaba says, it's very tough on them. Be prepared to take your time, lots of rest breaks.

Knobbies confer no real advantage when fully loaded with passenger. In fact I use a pure street tire for it's longevity normally.

For Sudan a high mileage type enduro tire would be a good choice, (possibly more puncture resistant than a pure street tire) and replace it in Nairobi. You can always get one flown in. Yes it's expensive, so what. You need a GOOD tire for two up, and there aren't ANY between Europe and Namibia (Windhoek). Reasonable enduro tires can be found in Nairobi, you may get lucky.

Israel and Egypt are not good for tires.

Make sure you have a quality shock. What are you riding?

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  #4  
Old 19 Nov 2003
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Hello Stephane,

I cannot comment on your issues regarding riding 2 up, but I also think it is a bit crazy in deep sand. Re. tyres, I fitted a new pair of Michelin Deserts in Togo (front and back), plus extra heavy duty tubes and then rode for 17,000 kilometres on those tyres with only 3 punctures in front, in total, none in the rear. I think that is pretty good performance and if I ever did a trip like this again would go for the Deserts again, well worth the price ! I rode a mix of deep sand, loose gravel, rocks and tarmac, mixed african conditions, not too heavily loaded XT600. I never went faster than 90 and never had a problem with the knobblies on tarmac, but must add that I was always very careful. They do wear fast on tarmac, faster than on dirt. I crashed once on an oil slick in Ethiopia, but think this would have also happened to me on Enduros.

Otherwise all went just great !!

Hope that helps,

hed
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  #5  
Old 19 Nov 2003
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with ref to the tread initiator's suggestion of purchasing tyres in israel and then heading through sudan... with any reference of having been in israel (incl. entry stamp to egypt from the joint border) the sudanese will make you a person non-grata.

ref choice of tyre for serious africa offroad: michelin desert. everything else is to quick wearing/ weak

cheers
ChrisB
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Old 20 Nov 2003
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I'm not sure about Mich desert in the front, it wears faster then MT21 and Metzler Karoo(?).
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  #7  
Old 20 Nov 2003
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I've just come via Nairobi, Ethiopia, Sudan and into Egypt and tyres and sand are a bit of a beef for me ...
- sand with pillion is stupid, but fun: enjoy! just make sure you have a casevac plan. seriously, I wouldn't recommend it. your pillion can go by train between Wadi Halfa and Khartoum. 2 days by train 2-3 by bike. or they can get off at Atbara and go pillion on the asphalt
- tyres: I've used MT21, Karoo and Desert and I'm inpressed that Hed got 17,000 on the back. I had a great time roosting through northern kenya, ethiopia and sudan, but was shocked at the rate of tyre wear on the desert. I ride at 80 kmh on the tar and 90-100 in the dirt (esp corrugations), but here are my conclusions:
- MT21 140 wide rear = 6500 on tar and gravel
- MT21 front = 17000 on tar and gravel, but I turned it around every 5-6000km to even out the wear
- Karoo = expensive for 6000 on tar and a bit of gravel, but it drifts very nicely on gravel
- 23US Mozambican 110 wide would have done 6000 plus, but I put the desert on for the Isiolo-Moyale route
- Desert rear = 6-7000, but thats with big abuse. you'd normally get 10 solo

for a good mix of road and rubbish, I would recommend Pirelli MT70 (there was an 18" rear at Tuk-Tuk, Dar Es Salaam in Oct - I wish I'd bought that instead of the desert)
you can get MT21s in Nairobi for 300US a pair. Ian Duncan's the man.
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  #8  
Old 21 Nov 2003
hed hed is offline
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Hi Richlees,

Re. 17,000 km on Desert on rear I must add that I rode the tyre smooooooth smoooooth, i.e. no knobblies left at all, just smooth rubber, only small leftover knobblies on the side of the tyre. It was a bit extreme, but it worked. I agree that 10,000 km in the rear is probably a good indication. I always pay lots of attention to avoid spinning.

hed
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  #9  
Old 5 Dec 2003
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cheers for all the replies ,the only reason it would be possible to go to israel is that i have 2 passports but still thinking of giving it a miss ,as for the 2 up on a bike my girlfriend isnt doing the northern leg of this trip anymore so that solves that problem aswell i think ill stick with the enduroe tyres it saves me carrying a set of deserts from france to egypt
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