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  #1  
Old 13 Dec 1999
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shipping spare parts

Hi there!

I'm going on my transafrican trip soon and am right now investigating how to ship spare parts from Germany to Kenya (tires, filters etc). I'll prepare everything and ask my relatives to send it at a certain time. What were your experiences? Is the normal post / poste restante reliable? Or should I talk to a local kenyan dealer if the stuff could be sent to them? Or should I rather ship it by air and pick the spares up at the airport? Actually, how do you long-time travellers organize spares if you know in advance when and where you are going to overhaul your bike?

Any tip is welcome. Thanks in advance!

Kwa heri,
Krid
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  #2  
Old 13 Dec 1999
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Hi Krid,

We generally have found that the only reliable way is with an international courier, such as Fedex or preferably DHL.

Check that there is a Fedex/DHL office, not just a local agent, at your destination. This is VERY important. If it is handed off through an agent it can add days or more to the time it takes to get the package.

DHL is the most expensive, but reliable delivery makes it worthwhile. A week chasing a lost package is expensive!


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  #3  
Old 15 Dec 1999
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Hi Grant,

I just checked the prices on the internet - wow, there must be many Rockefellers out there! I thought about shipping a set of tyres from Germany to Kenya, but it would take twice as much to ship them as they cost.

Delivery time is not a problem as I could ask my relatives to send them a week or two before I arrive there..

Do you always get your spare parts by DHL/FedEx? Or do you organize them from local dealers? What about tires?

Kwa heri,
Krid
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  #4  
Old 15 Dec 1999
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Hi Krid,
Yes, you'll find that tires are too expensive to ship unless you MUST. Our method with tires is to pick tires that will get us from one tire store to another!

Also, try to get out of the habit of thinking you have to ship them (anything) from "home" - wherever that may be - and find where the cheapest is from. To Kenya may be from USA or South Africa or UK, (Kenya was British once, so there are lots of flights and commerce between).

It was easy for us to get out of the habit because Canada is a long expensive way from anywhere.

I put a Continental rear tire on in Marseille, but it turned out to be faulty in Tunisia, so I shipped a tire from London, and it wasn't too bad a price. A tire store in London (Chas Bikes) gave it to a courier who took it to the airport and air shipped same day. It was in Tunis next day, and total shipping courier etc was much less than the cost of the tire. Well, maybe not MUCH less, but less.

We run a Metzeler Marathon ME88 120/90-18 on the rear - yes it's a street tire, very high load/mileage design, and it lasts us one continent, even two up, and we run pretty quick on good roads. Even in terrible conditions we never had a problem with traction, the bike - any fully loaded bike - is too heavy to have wheelspin problems. If you were to try the Sahara maybe, but then you wouldn't be as heavily loaded would you -you couldn't be and make it!

Off-road in the mud in Ecuador was no problem either. The one time I ran out of traction was the same time I decided that a serious trials bike was going to be needed anyway! We just chose a different route.

A Bridgestone Trail Wing 101 90/90-21 also did all of Africa for us. That's all around Tunisia, across Libya, Egypt to the Sinai Pen. annd back to Cairo, air to Nairobi, then south through Tanzania, all over Zimbabwe, Caprivi strip to Namibia and Cape Town. And it still had reasonable tread on it.

Tires are available in Windhoek, Namibia, and all over South Africa. If you only need a plain 400-18 cheap dirt bike tire you can probably get them in Nairobi and possibly Harare. 3.50-18 easily, which will do in a pinch, 400-18 or x-17 harder.

Fedex/DHL best for smaller expensive parts that are a lot of hassle if they go missing.

Naturally I buy from local dealers where possible, but sometimes they don't have and it's faster to get them sent in than wait for regular parts shipments. Time is money too, so you have to balance it off at the time.

I carry all the basic standard parts that I might expect to need between good known dealers. In other words, for Africa I carried all the oil filters etc that I would need between Tunisia and South Africa. I use the standard ordinary cheap motor oil from any service station, no synthetic special stuff. I carry a reasonable selection of known and obvious high failure rate parts,and plan on local ingenuity (often very impressive)and my own ingenuity or DHL for the rest if I'm really stuck.

For an old Beemer I can give you a list of failure bits, for other brands ask your dealer what he stocks and sells a lot of for your model!

If anybody wants to give me a list of bits for other bikes I'll put together a spare parts page for the website.

------------------
Grant Johnson

Share the Dream!
at: www.HorizonsUnlimited.com
__________________
Grant Johnson

Seek, and ye shall find.

------------------------

Inspiring, Informing and Connecting travellers since 1997!
www.HorizonsUnlimited.com
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