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Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
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Old 6 Dec 2013
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Which bike to bring to Morocco 3-4K budget

Hello everyone,

I'm currently working in Morocco. Staying in Tarfaya, It looks like I will be here until next summer, anytime from May until August.

I need some advice on which bike to buy.

I might be driving a van back to Ireland(home) for the Christmas holidays, therefore i might be driving said van back to Morocco, in which case i would put a bike in the back of the van and bring it into Morocco that way.

If i do it like this i was thinking of bringing a motocross bike like a CRF450 Honda, to play in the dunes with. I have a pick up that i could move the bike around in so it would'nt need to be road registered.

That's one option.

If I'm not driving a van back to Morocco from Ireland, the other option is to buy an enduro bike like a Honda XR650R(road registered) put a high capacity fuel tank on it and ride it out to Morocco, if i do this I'll only be able to keep the bike in the country for 6 months at a time or pay the customs duty and permanently import it.

Or I could buy a bike in Morocco.

I want a bike i can ride hard off road for sure, but if I had a bike I could ride on road and travel around the country on I think it would be fun also.

So It's either an offroad bike(CRF450 etc) or an offroad biased road registered bike(Yamaha WR450/Honnda XR650R etc).

I know i have to weigh up the pros and cons of each choice and ultimately make the choice myself.

Must consider
Customs Dutys
Insurance, for a road registerd bike
reliability/parts availabilty

If anyone can give me any advice on which bike/s i should be looking at and any other advice in general it would be very much apprieciated.

Budget, 3 to 4K Euro
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Old 8 Dec 2013
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Annoyingly most riders only ever seem to recommend the bike they currently own or bikes they have owned in the past. Although it's always helpful to know about a particular bike, it's NOT helpful to ignore all other bikes which may tick the boxes.

In my humble opinion there is ONE modern (current) bike which stands out in the sand -

Yamaha XT660 Tenere.

It ticks all the boxes for a trip to North Africa.

Just look at the XT legend and the pedigree of all older XT models.

Another possibility is KTM but in my (humble) opinion they are over-expensive for what they do and are too highly strung (over-complicated) and expensive to fix. But if money isn't a concern, they do tick all the boxes. They certainly have a huge following here on the HUBB.

But like I said, The Yamaha XT660 Tenere makes ultimate sense for a trip of this kind.

What about the little Suzuki DRZ400? Another excellent off-roader with a huge following here on the HUBB. It performs well in the sand.

The Yamaha is good enough to ride all the way down from the UK. It will cruise all day at 70 MPH. The DRZ400 will struggle a bit at motorway speeds though.
Triumph Bonneville 800 (2004), Yamaha XT600E (1999), Honda XBR500 (1986).

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Old 8 Dec 2013
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Even if you bring a bike in with a van you are limited to six months in country as a temporary import, any more and it will be confiscated.

Buying a local bike is problematic, you need a residency first which will take three months or more.
"For sheer delight there is nothing like altitude; it gives one the thrill of adventure
and enlarges the world in which you live,"
Irving Mather (1892-1966)

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Old 10 Dec 2013
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maybe a WR250R ?

- street-legal
- very reliable
- fun

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Old 15 Dec 2013
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640 Adv

Dunes are fun indeed, they call for HP at the wheel, lightweight and water-cooling. In the desert you need to inflate/deflate tires and need to carry a small compressor or air pump, water and some tools as well, so you need basic carrying capacity.

For the budget you have you can find a good second hand 640 Adv and still have money for installing Michelin Desert or Dunlop 908RR tires, heavy duty tubes and new chain and sprockets before entering the country. It's a no brainer for me, that bike is hard to beat in the desert, including for playing on dunes. Other japanese bikes either lack HP, or are just so heavy that you'll hate yourself digging it out of sand.
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Old 17 Dec 2013
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You want light weight. Once you are south of the High Atlas, you will hit sand when you leave the pavement. Hint: the pavement doesn't go to many places.

KTM 250, KTM 400, KTM 520, KTM 525, KTM 530,KTM 620, drz 400, dr 650, xr250, xr 400, xr 650, wr 250...

These bikes are all under 150 kilos (I think..)
In the sand, weight is your enemy. "High strung" is more fun

That's a Tenere

That's a light bike

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Old 17 Dec 2013
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Buy in Spain

Why buy in Ireland or UK? Very expensive.
I think you may find more choice and find better prices in Spain. Also, IIRC, Spanish registered bikes may have a "special" deal with Morocco regards temp. import, not sure on this.

I've been to Spain a couple times, traveling around for a month on each trip.
Spain has easily 5 times the number of bikes Ireland or UK do. It's a BIG deal there. Yes, mostly scooters but lots of all kinds of bikes there. Look around, ask in a few shops.

Since you're not looking for a RTW Overlander type bike, you have lots of choice for a good enduro. All the Japanese dealers are represented in Spain plus a couple good Spanish made bikes and even the Euro brands are there too. Some Japanese bikes are made in Spain ... forgotten which now, but several I remember from Honda and Suzuki are "assembled" in Spain.

I believe a decent KTM may go above your price limit ... but certainly good bikes. I'd look around for a nice XR250R or XR400R, a DRZ400(E) Suzuki would be nice too. Other affordable options: XT600, XR650R (or L version).

Take a few days in Spain, shop around, or use the net to have a look at local adverts.

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Old 22 Dec 2013
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See this for some inspiration:

Motomarrakech - YouTube

I would choose a light bike, not an XT660 or the like.
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Old 25 Dec 2013
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i would go with a drz,youl get a great buy for 2000euro if you look,but your going to need minor mods.Its water cooled,light,reliable and economical,throw a safari tank on,18lt will be fine + a rear rack for gear and off you go,i would think an xt might be a tad heavy for sand if your a newbie to desert riding,its around 180kg wet but drop another 30kg or more for a drz and youl have a ball of fun minus the anxieties of breaking down or getting bogged in 50 degrees of heat on your own,bare in mind riding in the desert can get you killed from heat exhaustion pretty quickly,dont be a fool and get stranded or lost,do some research before you get too adventurous.

best of luck.

Last edited by brian p; 29 Dec 2013 at 12:14.
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Old 7 Feb 2014
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Thanks guys for all the replies and advice,

After a lot of consideration, research and exploring with 4x4s in the local surroundings I have bought a Honda XR650R.

I'm currently bidding on an Accerbis 6.3 U.S gallon tank on eBay, that should take care of any range issues for a days playing in the sand.

A few of the guy's I work with go out into the desert at the weekend with 3 land cruisers so I'll tag along with them to stay on the safe side.

I bought the bike in Ireland, it was on an Irish website, bought from a reputable dealership, so I have some come back, as opposed to buying private.

The main reason for buying at home is to get a few mods done before getting it out to Morocco, I can leave it with my brother to fit parts as they arrive.

I have researched a couple of company's in Ireland that ship bikes to Spain, so I think I'll go that route and and ride from Spain back down to Tarfaya.

The only issue I need to sort now is insurance, I know I can get up 6 months insurance in the port in Tanger when I get off the ferry.

Are there any other companies I should check out?

thanks again for all the help
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Old 7 Feb 2014
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Have a look at AnyVan Ireland which is an auction delivery website. You can check the feedback on any of the companies that come back to you.

I'm currently using the UK version of this site to ship from London to southern Spain
- Yamaha Tenere
- three-seater leather sofa
- two single beds with divans

all for about £450. James Cargo, the specialist company, charge £600 for just the bike!
"For sheer delight there is nothing like altitude; it gives one the thrill of adventure
and enlarges the world in which you live,"
Irving Mather (1892-1966)

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Old 7 Feb 2014
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That's great Tim,

Thanks very much for your help.

I'll check it out
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