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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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  #1  
Old 26 Dec 2013
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Most common motorcycle in Africa and Eastern Europe

I'm planning on purchasing a motorcycle in the UK for a trip that may take me through Africa and Eastern Europe (Turkey, stans, Russia).

Something small, Japanese-branded and with emphasis on parts availability in remote areas (my Latin America trip it took 6 countries to find a front tire, would not like to do that again).

In Central/South America the 125ish bikes are king. YBR125/CG125/GN125. Having never travelled through Africa or Eastern Europe I have no idea what's common. This will likely be an extremely long, tough trip so easy spares (and perhaps a new engine at some point) would be wonderful.

If I lived in a perfect world (which I do not), it would also be kick/electric start, 3+ gallon tank, offroad suspension, centerstand, luggage rack and a bit more comfortable for the taller person (I'm 6'5").
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Old 26 Dec 2013
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You answered your own question!

I suppose if you want to do it on a smallish 125cc motorcycle, your best bet will be a:

HONDA CG125 (12 BHP) or modern copy of same. They can be found in the UK for pennies although genuine older CG125's are pretty hard to find in decent order. Most have been ridden to destruction by now. What you need is a more modern version of the Honda CG125, I'm pretty sure these can be easily found.

£500 will get you something perfectly capable of doing the job but £1,000 ($1,600) would get you a low mileage minter.

If I wanted to do this trip the little Honda would be top of my list.

That said, it can be done on almost any bike - It's even been done on Puch Maxi's (50cc) and Honda C50-90 (Stepthrus).

I guess it's down to the speed you intend to travel, time you have to complete it, your budget (important that one), level of comfort wanted and amount of luggage you intend to take with you.

I don't envisage you will need a complete engine change during the trip either - The CG125 is bulletproof even when abused.

A 125cc bike will do up to 100 MPG which is reason in itself to choose one. Compare this to a 600cc bike which does 45 MPG. Do the math.

I would add a bash plate to protect the sump and use soft luggage with large roll bag. Keep your speed sub 50MPH (on tarmac) and try and change the engine oil as often as you can and the bike won't complain.

I wish you luck.
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Old 27 Dec 2013
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Yea, I'd be happy with a CG125, I just wanted to make sure they were commonly used in Africa/Eastern Europe. I assume so but I have no direct experience.

Yamaha YBR125s are much easier to find than the Hondas (and they always come with kickstarter). How common are the 125cc Yamaha's in Africa?
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Old 27 Dec 2013
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No doubt about it, this little gem of a bike will get you where you want to get but you can't do it in a hurry.

Plenty of these throughout Africa and indeed the whole world. Nearly all the locals will have come across one including the expert bodgers. Parts are plentiful.

Alongside the venerable Honda C50/C70/C90 Stepthru's it's THE most popular 125cc motorcycle EVER invented.

You will need to travel light on such a small engined bike. Remember this bike only produces 12 BHP at the rear wheel therefore it will protest if you overload it.

Try not to overload the engine or rev it to death. If you look after it, IT will look after YOU.

Think how much you will save doing the trip on one of these -

Cheap to buy the bike (compared to larger bike).
Half as much fuel.
Simplicity of a single cylinder 4 stroke air cooled engine (less to go wrong).
Cheap parts.

It's a win win situation for anyone doing a RTW on a budget and not in a hurry.

I have vast experience of Africa (working all over Africa over many years). I rode a Yamaha XT600E in South Africa, Sierra Leone, Kenya and Nigeria.

Go for it.
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Old 29 Dec 2013
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I think most if not all Japanese engined 125's will be well known throughout Africa.

It's a perfectly logical plan you have here. GO FOR IT!

By using a 125cc bike you will complete the trip for less than half the cost of a larger capacity bike. Like I say, the only thing you need keep an eye on is amount of luggage.

Stop worrying about the reliability thing too - These little Jap designed (Brazilian made) bikes are absolutely bulletproof (and simple to fix to boot).


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Old 30 Dec 2013
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I cannot comment on what are the most common 125ccs in Eastern Europe and Africa but I have have the direct comparison between riding a 125cc (Honda Scooter) and a 500 cc (Suzuki GS500E) because I happen to own both of these rides.

If high speed is not crucial and you have a GPS to follow the routes off the motorway by all means go with the 125cc. I have done almost identical trips on both of my rides (400 km´s around most of the Black Forest in one day). By the end of the day my scooter was more fun and way less exhausting to ride. The GS 500E (to me) has it´s huge advantage only in being highway capable. OK, it is also a cooler ride and I can wring her if I feel like it.

As far as luggage is concerned, the 125 cc will give you ample opportunity to carry gear, no problem in this department.

The Honda XR125 might be something to look for as well. It is closely related to the CG125.

I am partial to EFI, so the Yamaha YBR 125 in the "G"-configuration would be cool for me. Also the Honda 125CC Varadero, but this is probably not the simplicistic ride you have been asking about.

Whatever you do, happy trails and good luck!
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Old 30 Dec 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pete3 View Post
As far as luggage is concerned, the 125 cc will give you ample opportunity to carry gear, no problem in this department.
Perhaps I should have pointed out that the likely problem with luggage is WEIGHT of same.

A 125cc engine developing only 12 HP is simply simply NOT man enough to pull you and heavy luggage out of deep ruts and mud easily. For this reason you need to limit amount of luggage. If you don't you will kill the little thing very quickly.

With regards to a Honda 125cc Varadero - This is a very expensive (and limited) 125cc tool. It won't do much more than a much much cheaper bike. A Varadero is not cheap to buy.

My advice is to go with the CG125 idea...
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Old 30 Dec 2013
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Has anyone felt the weight of a varadero 125?....it's a bit of an eye opener..
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  #9  
Old 1 Jan 2014
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Maybe BikingMarco and klous-1 could elaborate on which bikes are common in Africa?
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