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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 15 Mar 2011
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What are the "best" tyres for touring Southern Africa

Ok people. I KNOW this is a personal decision and it all depends on where I'm going, what type of roads I expect to come across and how I ride. BUT I'd just like some opinions on what tyres to use (and possibly avoid)

I'm on a BMW 1200GS currently I have Avon Distanzia tyres which I intend to use as I ride around South Africa (mainly on tar). Then I think I'll get some new tyres to use as I head up Namibia and across Botswana, Zimbabwe and Malawi towards Tans. and Kenya. Again, mainly on tar but obvioulsy not always.

I'm thinking of Michelen Anakee tyres, but could go for Metzeler Tourance or TKC 80. I believe Anakee's are very good and slightly better that Tourance as Metzeler have a reputation of being really good but hard to get on or off.

I'm also assuming I'll get about 8-10,000 miles out of a new set of Anakee (Obviously depends on road tyre but is this a good guess) and more from the front. So as I expect to do 6-10,000 miles getting to Nairobi I only need one spare rear and no spare front tyre.


To those in the know - does this all make sense?

Cheers (as ever)
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Old 15 Mar 2011
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Anakees are great on ta but not much else..

I'd recommend some TC80s, K60's, Sahara 3 etc ! You will at least have a decent chance when the tar ends !

Even if you stay on tar roads all the way, camp sites or hostels are usually down sand tracks or gravel roads

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Old 15 Mar 2011
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Cool

It wouldn't be Tourance for me. Too slippery on the dirt.

Sahara 3 rear and TKC80 front is what I'm considering for my BM658. I've run this combination on a KTM640 and it was fine up to 120kmhr. I would even think about more off road ability for touring Africa.

Sure, there are tar roads but there's lots of places that tar is nominal and has great big holes in it, let alone all the roadwork teams, rain, sandstorms and those other things nature throws at you.
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Old 16 Mar 2011
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Hey Dom,

I was about to write a rambling answer to your query when I remembered that the same question was asked recently by an intrepid traveller in Africa...and when I looked it up, it was asked by you

http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...554#post324461

Same answer mate, K60. Happy riding.
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Old 16 Mar 2011
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Tyres

I use Heidanaus K60 I do not think TKC's last very long at all, and would steer
well away from them. But others have give them a rap.
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Old 16 Mar 2011
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Smile

K60 again and again and again
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Old 16 Mar 2011
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Hey Dom,
I'm in Jhb at the moment and planning on putting on a set of K60's before leaving and carrying a spare rear for both bikes as well.

For those in the know - do you think a front (K60) will last me all the way to Egypt or beyond or should I plan on arranging a front shipped ahead?
Daryll
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Old 16 Mar 2011
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Hey Daryl,

Your front should make it beyond, I made it from Aswan to Cape Town on a TKC80 front which is a quicker wearing tire.

You mention carrying a rear spare, I had a Tourance and a TKC80 rear on the east coast and swapped back and forth. The slight hassle of carrying a spare was the main reason that I switched to a single tire solution, a K60, for heading up the west coast. I'm guessing that if you carry your battered old spare the whole way, you won't need to use it at least until Europe, if at all.

Happy travels, Canucks still in first overall.
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Old 16 Mar 2011
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Thanks for the help guys. Mountain man - sorry about the duplicate post. I'd totally forgotten that I'd asked this question already. Worrying really. Oh well.
Now I'm even more confused than ever. Too much choice!!
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Old 16 Mar 2011
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No worries Dom, it's a good sign that you are happily adjusted to travelling life and hopefully drinking plenty of and enjoying yourself. We are all jealous
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Old 17 Mar 2011
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Tom,
Thanks always for the tips. Great to be back home, but itching to get going again.
Dom,
Where are you at the moment?
Daryll
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Old 17 Mar 2011
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Daryll,

I'm in Cape Town. Picking my bike up tomorrow (Hurrah) Then in a weeks time I'm heading to lesotho then back down to Cape Town and up to Namibia.

Any chance we might cross over?
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Old 19 Mar 2011
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Dom,
We are looking at leaving sometime next week to go over Sani Pass and head down to the coast, making our way to Cape Town as well and then on to Namibia. I'm sure we will cross paths along the way. There are also 2 other HU members that attended the Can West Meeting that have just arrived in Jhb heading the same way as well.

Tom,
In your opinion, can I fit a 140/80 on the DR650 rim? The stock tire is 120/70 and I normally run a 130/80. They aren't any 130/80 Heidenau's in SA.
Daryll
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Old 19 Mar 2011
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I've done over 150,000 miles on R1200GS and GSA using TKC80s and find them fine for sealed roads even in the wet. There are better offroad solutions but the TKC is a good compromise.

If you ride gently you can get as much as 9000 miles from a rear TKC on a 1200GSA, though I'm aware that others have trashed them in as little as 3000 miles on lighter bikes!
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Old 20 Mar 2011
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Hi People, I'm presently in KwaZulu Natal doing the battlefields before heading over to Durban tomorrow to check on shipping the bike (1200GS) back to the UK in 5 weeks. This is my 2nd trip down to South Africa and although I fitted TKC 80s in Turkey on the first one mainly for the run down to Nairobi I limped into the BMW shop in Jo'burg on slicks. There I fitted Tourances and wandered all over the south on them including the Sani pass, Baviaanskloof, Prince Albert and Arthur passes, all must do routes, and lots of the normal dirt roads in Namibia but not Botswana where they seem to have cornered the market in sand and the only problems were my crap riding skills. I now have a Tourance on the front and due to my rear tyre getting badly cut up in northern Zambia, you avoid the potholes and run over metal scraps, I have a Michelin ---kee2 or some such thing on the back, according to the BMW shop in Nelspruit that's what all the SA 1200gs riders use as a general purpose tyre and it appears to be working OK basically I think that as long as you stay away from deep sand/gravel/mud you don't need to specialize overmuch. A quick tip, if you want to do something different, go up to Northern Zambia to Lake Tanganyika and get the 3 day ferry north before you fight your way through Burundi, Rwanda, and Uganda to Kenya. Daryl, after Durban I'm going to drift a bit further south probably down to Oudtshoorn 'cos I like it there before heading to the bike shipping ceremony. It would be nice to meet up again for cocktails. Ride safe.
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