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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 11 Sep 2010
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Royal enfield standard 350cc africa overland?

Hello All,
Planning on buying a old Royal Enfield (1970s or 1980s model) for over landing in Africa. I have read lot of trips being done in India, but wondering what difficulties I will face with this choice out of India. I don't really have a choice except for planning well for the eventuality, if any.

Thanks in advance any advice, constructive criticism given by the members of the forum. I have recently joined the forum, although i have been following the forum for a while.

Regards,
Pare.

Last edited by pare.raviraj; 13 Sep 2010 at 03:53. Reason: spelling corrections
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  #2  
Old 13 Sep 2010
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Wanted to add further data on what I like about the Enfield and why i am choosing it,
- Highly repairable...The machine is simple and a novice can fix most of the usual problems with little trouble.
- The price of the bike is low...considerably low to any of the Western or Japanese bikes and buying a old one makes it even more cheaper. Older bikes are not any more worst than the new one's.
- Carnet prices are going to be dead cheap.
- military versions come with a reliable pannier rack (tested in rugged conditions for couple of decades).
- and finally its a locally available bike. I will have a lot of choice. Skilled and friendly mechanics are all around. Personally know Nandan from Banaglore, who is well know around bulleteers circle.

So, there is the reason for my choice. what do you guys/gals feel?
Will keep adding to the post as and when i learn more.

Regards,
Pare.
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  #3  
Old 13 Sep 2010
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Hi Pare , I think the Enfield will do fine as long as you prepare for the trip by overhauling the bike to a high standard . You should ,of course, have a good knowledge of the bike and be able to fix it yourself .Don't rely on fiinding mechanics in Africa who know Enfields as well as the mechanics in India .

Nandan is a great source of knowledge and you will learn a great deal from him .Even though the bikes are simple ,there are many things that can cause trouble and it's essential to rebuild the bike with quality parts and pay attention to detail .Enfields are often criticised because of the poor quality of replacement parts which lead to failure .

If you operate the bike within it's limits ,[take it steady !] it should get you where you want to go .
People have been riding them across Africa for nearly sixty years ,so you won't be the first ,or the last.

Here is a couple who rode their 1955 Bullet into Africa .
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/tst...els/002242.php

Best of luck !
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Old 13 Sep 2010
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I agree with Dodger. Don't forget to take a bunch of spare parts as they will not be available in Africa and.... go for it!
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  #5  
Old 13 Sep 2010
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By the way, when do you plan to start your trip?
Also where are you going to start and what's your final destination?

Oh and... if you have a blog please let us know.
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  #6  
Old 13 Sep 2010
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Hi Dodger and icarus,
Here is one more link I found long back about a couple who did africa overland on a bullet. The site has some good photos. They have written a book, but its in Dutch, i believe.

Two up on a Bullet 350 from Capetown South Africa to Zaanstad the Netherlands

A couple of years ago i used often visit Nandan who thought me the basics. I will surely go back to him for advice.
As icarus mentioned, spares could be a problem. Even OEM parts dont last much longer than the fake parts. Anyhow i think i will have to ask friends to post me spares if i have an unexpected part failing.

I still have some time before i go. Early in the planning stage as of now. So early that i am hunting for a bike now.

Thanks guys for the insight.

Pare.
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  #7  
Old 13 Sep 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by icarus View Post
By the way, when do you plan to start your trip?
Also where are you going to start and what's your final destination?

Oh and... if you have a blog please let us know.
Hello icarus,

I dont yet have a blog. I am planning to ship the bike to Cape town and ride up north along the east coast and finally across the sea to Marseilles. Well thats the rudimentary plan. Plan to take off by april next year. If my budget, leave and a lot of other"ifs and buts" go right
Have a map stuck on the wall with pins for where i want to go, and reading up as much as i can on several things which can be of use.

Pare.

Last edited by pare.raviraj; 13 Sep 2010 at 08:34. Reason: more info added
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Old 19 Sep 2010
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hi pare.
i don't know about other peoples experiences, but i'm not sure if the enfield is reliable enough for africa. ofcourse, i could be wrong, but i'd guess that you'd have less headaches with a hero honda or a something jap brought in south africa.

i have a bullet in india, which i'd like to ride back one day, but in africa i'm not sure how it might fare.

good luck with your trip and don't let my comments put you off - just food for thought.

hutch
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  #9  
Old 19 Sep 2010
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Originally Posted by Hutch View Post
hi pare.
i don't know about other peoples experiences, but i'm not sure if the enfield is reliable enough for africa. ofcourse, i could be wrong, but i'd guess that you'd have less headaches with a hero honda or a something jap brought in south africa.

i have a bullet in india, which i'd like to ride back one day, but in africa i'm not sure how it might fare.

good luck with your trip and don't let my comments put you off - just food for thought.

hutch
I have to agree with Hutch here.
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  #10  
Old 20 Sep 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hutch View Post
hi pare.
i don't know about other peoples experiences, but i'm not sure if the enfield is reliable enough for africa. ofcourse, i could be wrong, but i'd guess that you'd have less headaches with a hero honda or a something jap brought in south africa.

i have a bullet in india, which i'd like to ride back one day, but in africa i'm not sure how it might fare.

good luck with your trip and don't let my comments put you off - just food for thought.

hutch
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caminando View Post
I have to agree with Hutch here.
Hello Hutch and Caminando,
I agree with you that the realiability of enfield being less than a jap bike. But, it also has higher repairability. I mean to say, atleast i feel more confident to fix a enfield than a jap bike. And, since i enjoy riding slow and soaking in the culture and people, enfields low speeds should not be drawback.
But i am still worried about the spares that i have to carry and the meagre 18bhp engine on dirt track.
@Hutch: which bullet do you have in India!??

Pare
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Old 25 Sep 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pare.raviraj View Post
Hello icarus,

I dont yet have a blog. I am planning to ship the bike to Cape town and ride up north along the east coast and finally across the sea to Marseilles. Well thats the rudimentary plan. Plan to take off by april next year. If my budget, leave and a lot of other"ifs and buts" go right
Have a map stuck on the wall with pins for where i want to go, and reading up as much as i can on several things which can be of use.

Pare.
Hi Pare,

Are you going to make this trip on your own? Will the trip end in Marseille or will you go further north (Belgium for example)?
Maybe we can meet 'somewhere' in Europe then? Are you also going to ride the bike back to India?
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  #12  
Old 25 Sep 2010
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Originally Posted by pare.raviraj View Post
Hello Hutch and Caminando,
I agree with you that the realiability of enfield being less than a jap bike. But, it also has higher repairability. I mean to say, atleast i feel more confident to fix a enfield than a jap bike. And, since i enjoy riding slow and soaking in the culture and people, enfields low speeds should not be drawback.
But i am still worried about the spares that i have to carry and the meagre 18bhp engine on dirt track.
@Hutch: which bullet do you have in India!??

Pare
Why don't you take one of those new 500cc EFI bikes? More reliable and more powerful (more expensive though). As for the spares I would just take the usual stuff. Missing parts can always sent after by your friends/relatives or you could contact Hitchcock (UK). I take it you will use the classic Indian Bullet luggage rack?
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  #13  
Old 25 Sep 2010
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Just in case you didn't know... here's a link to the best Royal Enfield forum on the net... enjoy!
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  #14  
Old 26 Sep 2010
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The problem with older bikes is that in many cases they are not simpler and easier to fix.

Look at brakes - disc brakes have considerably fewer moving parts than a drum, and if you have a failure then you can replace parts from just about any bike e.g. master cylinders are almost universal, calipers are also interchangeable if you are prepared to fabricate a mount.

Ignition - modern systems don't fail. By comparison, points cause regular difficutlies, never mind weight based ignition advancers.

Wheels - spoke wheels bend their rims and snap spokes. Tubes burst and you have to remove the tyre to fix a flat. Cast wheels are much, much stronger and can run tubeless tyres - fixing a flat is a 2 minute job using an externally fitted mushroom plug.

The list goes on and on. To each his own as far as the type of bike you like to ride, but do understand the implications of your choice.

Relying on local mechanics to be able to repair your vehicle is never a good a thing - often they are the cause of further failures - so you want something that either is unlikely to break, or if it does break, then something you can repair yourself.
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Old 26 Sep 2010
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Originally Posted by farqhuar View Post
The problem with older bikes is that in many cases they are not simpler and easier to fix.

Look at brakes - disc brakes have considerably fewer moving parts than a drum, and if you have a failure then you can replace parts from just about any bike e.g. master cylinders are almost universal, calipers are also interchangeable if you are prepared to fabricate a mount.

Ignition - modern systems don't fail. By comparison, points cause regular difficutlies, never mind weight based ignition advancers.

Wheels - spoke wheels bend their rims and snap spokes. Tubes burst and you have to remove the tyre to fix a flat. Cast wheels are much, much stronger and can run tubeless tyres - fixing a flat is a 2 minute job using an externally fitted mushroom plug.

The list goes on and on. To each his own as far as the type of bike you like to ride, but do understand the implications of your choice.

Relying on local mechanics to be able to repair your vehicle is never a good a thing - often they are the cause of further failures - so you want something that either is unlikely to break, or if it does break, then something you can repair yourself.

Some good points there Gary ,especially concerning local mechanics.

But one good thing about drum brakes is that they don't have seals that can let you down ,also a primitive repair shop could reline the shoes if necessary .Apart from a cable there is not much else to break .

Points ignition can be replaced with a Boyer type sytem .Modern sytems are more reliable but need a good battery voltage .Older systems can have a capacitor fitted that will ensure the bike starts with a flat battery .
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