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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 4 Jan 2009
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To Africa Twin or not?

Hi

I'm planning a Mondo Enduro type tour but going to Vladivostok instead of Magadan due to the impossibility of transit out of Magadan since 2005, although still very much in the thought stage I intend to leave July 2009 , question is would you take an Africa twin? ... a RD04

In that my concern isn't the reliability, its not the maintenance as I know how to fix it having owned a bike with an identical engine, but the sheer weight of the bike, its said to be 210kilos dry and getting heavier as you read this as crash bars went on , and some more bits will tip the scales a tad more.....and I want to stick at least 30 kilos of equipment on it (mostly spares + tent + sleeping + cooking).

It is a collosal bike I put it next to my CBR and the CBR looks like a toy...

I'm thinking of changing it for a 1990s XT600 , or something based on the DR350/400...

My primary concern isn't dropping it as I have refined my technique to pick up any bike (I used to pick bikes up facing them now I do it with my back to the bike)..... but air shipping it as I need to get somehow from Vladivostok or S Korea to the US continent, and from South America over to South Africa, and kilos = £££££, with DR350s and XT600s being at least 60 kilos less weight than the Africa....

My alternative thought is to ship by ship the bike out to Korea, and ride the Russian bit backwards come back through the Stans , and go down to South Africa by land.

Any thoughts?

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 4 Jan 2009
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My thought is this: You own the Africa Twin, it is a proven world tourer, you are familiar with it, why not ride the wheels off it? Sure there are lighter bikes out there. I think you'll find the hardest part of world touring is getting out of town :-). Once you're on the road you'll think any bike is brilliant. Sounds like a fun trip!

Cheers,
John
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  #3  
Old 5 Jan 2009
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The XT600E seems a better bet than the Africa Twin idea. Spare parts for the big Africa Twin will be hard to source and there is more to go wrong with it. You need a basic bulletproof engine - a single air cooled XT is about as simple as it gets. The XT has plenty of power to haul you and your gear round the world and beyond.

The Africa Twin will perform better on tarmac but once the road runs out you will need a lighter more offroad orientated steed. The XT600 ticks all the boxes in this respect -

Completely trustworthy and about as straightforward as motorcycle engines get. The world may now have moved on with liquid-cooling, fuel injection and multi-valve systems, but for honest, trustworthy poke you could drive across deserts, I know which I’d take. The Yamaha XT600E is limited (to about 90mph) as a road bike, though…

Expect to pay about £1,800 for a low milage minter in the UK (private sale). This represents a GREAT deal and you won't find a better "bang for bucks" bike anywhere. You can still find good minters too. You will need to get a Acerbis tank and a good set of luggage. Use a Sheepskin on the O.E.M seat.

If I was intending to do this hardcore RTW on a smaller bike I would look at using a good Suzuki DRZ400. You will need to change narrow the "cheese Wire" seat and add a larger fuel tank though. This is a light little bike which produces about 32 HP - enough to haul you and your gear round the globe in reasonable comfort.

Other bikes worth looking at -

1. KTM 640R (costly)
2. YAMAHA XT660
3. Kawasaki KLR650
4. Honda XR650
5. BMW F650GS (costly)
6. Kawasaki KLE500 (some great deals in the UK for this little gem - £3,000 new).

Finally - Get yourself a copy of Chris Scott's excellently written "Adventure Motorcycling Handbook" it contains everything you need to know - ISBN: 978 1 873756 80 5 (£12.99).
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  #4  
Old 5 Jan 2009
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I had the AT and I was driving it a lot off road, two times in the desert. It is extremely reliable very god off road for as long as there is no mud or sand dunes. But it is hardly to say that it is a "lot of fun" off road, it is more likely to say "it will get you there if you can drive it"

I changed for the old XTZ660 and it is much better off road. You can say that it is "a little fun off road".

So if I was planning for your trip and AT was in my garage, then I would probably go with it, but in the other case, if money was no question the KTM ADV640 1st choice and the new Tenere 660 my 2cnd choice.

If money is an issue, the old XTZ 660 has it all. It is Light, reliable, powerfull for a single, smooth for a single, it has wind protection, and it is very cheap.
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  #5  
Old 5 Jan 2009
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hi thank you for your replies,

The thing is I've not had the Africa Twin long , I saw one fairly cheap and bought it 2 days later.. I can probably get rid of it for a bit more than I paid for it since I've cleaned her up a bit and fixed some of the issues on it. As well as added crash bars and such like.

I am pretty sure this bike will take me to the moon and back , TWICE, but the issue is one of shipping more than anything else as with the Africa it appears to cost such an insane amount of money being so big and heavy for shipping that it is out of the running.

Money is sort of an issue though as I have a maximum of £6000-9000 to spend for the entire trip (with 9 months max time) , and thus I can't go out there and buy an F800 BMW. Nor can I ship the Africa anywhere, which means out to Vladivostok and back (bit too hard core for me) and curl down in to Africa.....


I originally thought a heavy bike will be able to handle hefty luggage better than a small bike (with their weak subframes) as on any bike I decide to take I'll need to add fuel tanks , tools camping/cooking kit.

completely forgetting about the shipping issues!. But as the time draws near and as I read the HUBB more , it appears as if the Africa isn't that good a choice.


Thanks
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  #6  
Old 5 Jan 2009
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Good luck in your prep

Last edited by mollydog; 21 Mar 2009 at 23:20.
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  #7  
Old 5 Jan 2009
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The XT is one of my favorites, but the Africa Twin is a good bike if you take care of the known faults. It’s probably more reliable then a most 15 year old XTs.

The cost of shipping is often based on the volume; will the XT-box be significant smaller?

If you are familiar with your AT then why not use it. It handles pretty well offroad, the bike is usually not the problem….
YouTube - How to handle a Africa Twin

Last edited by AliBaba; 5 Jan 2009 at 20:39.
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  #8  
Old 5 Jan 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
With a single you will be somewhat limited with the amount of gear you can realistically carry. Take care not to over load. You've seen Mondo Enduro/Terra Circa so you've got good insight into loading up a small bike.
(those guys were just amazing!)
Ha it is not without irony that I was thinking of reducing my luggage load to an absolute minimum ie a single 35 litre top box and a 10 litre tool box on the pillion seat to keep the weight down!.
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  #9  
Old 6 Jan 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AliBaba View Post
The XT is one of my favorites, but the Africa Twin is a good bike if you take care of the known faults. It’s probably more reliable then a most 15 year old XTs.

The cost of shipping is often based on the volume; will the XT-box be significant smaller?

If you are familiar with your AT then why not use it. It handles pretty well offroad, the bike is usually not the problem….
YouTube - How to handle a Africa Twin

Cool Vid AliBaba, here's the other ide of the coin....

YouTube - XRV in Action
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  #10  
Old 6 Jan 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AliBaba View Post
The cost of shipping is often based on the volume; will the XT-box be significant smaller?
I was going to add to this - I've shipped two bikes across the atlantic now, and there seems to be a ratio when volume takes over from weight or vs.vs. - certainly for air-frieght anyway..

While it was based on weight in both instances for me, it was stepped in bands - eg. under 200Kg, up to 300Kg etc. so (together with the weight of the crate itself) the price wasn't any different as both times the total shipment (inc. crate) was over 200Kg, but under 300Kg...

Have you got quotes from your proposed shippers yet? It might be worth asking what their weight bands are?

xxx
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  #11  
Old 6 Jan 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Yellow Tractor View Post
Cool Vid AliBaba, here's the other ide of the coin....

YouTube - XRV in Action
Yes, it’s possible to get stuck on the AT or it’s possible to drive it places where no one think it can make it.
It’s all up to you, but personally I think it’s wrong to rule out the AT because of it offroad-capabilities. The bike is more then capable.
That said, I’m not a AT-fan.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JMo (& piglet) View Post
I was going to add to this - I've shipped two bikes across the atlantic now, and there seems to be a ratio when volume takes over from weight or vs.vs. - certainly for air-frieght anyway..

While it was based on weight in both instances for me, it was stepped in bands - eg. under 200Kg, up to 300Kg etc. so (together with the weight of the crate itself) the price wasn't any different as both times the total shipment (inc. crate) was over 200Kg, but under 300Kg...

Have you got quotes from your proposed shippers yet? It might be worth asking what their weight bands are?

xxx
I’ve only shipped a bike once, with Ethiopian Airlines. I had to pay for the highest of volumetric and “real” weight. When you ship a motorbike the volumetric weight will always be higher (at least with the factor EA used).
They also used bands on the volumetric weight and the price was the same between 1-2 square meters, so price was equal for almost all kind of bikes.

My impression is that this is handled different around the world, and you never know the real cost before you exit the airport but it’s worth trying to check it out.
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  #12  
Old 6 Jan 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMo (& piglet) View Post
I was going to add to this - I've shipped two bikes across the atlantic now, and there seems to be a ratio when volume takes over from weight or vs.vs. - certainly for air-frieght anyway..

While it was based on weight in both instances for me, it was stepped in bands - eg. under 200Kg, up to 300Kg etc. so (together with the weight of the crate itself) the price wasn't any different as both times the total shipment (inc. crate) was over 200Kg, but under 300Kg...

Have you got quotes from your proposed shippers yet? It might be worth asking what their weight bands are?

xxx
Shippers charge on Volumetric weight. For each cubic metre they expect a certain weight. If you are equal or below that weight, they charge for the volume. If you exceed it you are charged on the weight.

I can't remember the exact forumla as its buried in a spreadsheet somewhere on a PC that is not working!! Its something like the dimensions in CM (HxWxL) divided by 6000 or something....

With the motorbike that we shipped plus stuff packed around it on all side we still were within the weight limit and so were charged for the space it took.
This translates as there is an optimum packing that you can do: you get the bike as small as you can by removing the front wheel, bars, forks (?) to make it as compact as possible, so you get as close to the weight per M3 as possible. Make any sense?

PS: just read the whole of Aliaba's thread and he covers it all, so my frantic typing before work is a bit obsolete!!
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Last edited by Warthog; 6 Jan 2009 at 08:14. Reason: over eager posting!
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  #13  
Old 6 Jan 2009
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AT shipping

An AT will get you there (where ever 'there' is) but if it's offroad you'll certainly be tired! Road/dirt-road however they're a dream!

See our website (the presentation) for a picture of an Africa Twin being shipped back from Cape Town on volume - a great effort by my mate Dan.

Regards,
Ed
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  #14  
Old 6 Jan 2009
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The Africa Twin is an absolutely HUGE beast!

Honestly I had problems picking one off the ground with a mate to assist! Just think how difficult it would be loaded with luggage! I'm a former owner of a 1979 Suzuki GS850 (with a bloody awful Rickman FULL Fairing when bought) and a Laverda Jota so I know what a BIG bike is...

There is no way I would take this beast on a hardcore RTW trip for this reason. I'm not saying it won't do it but I am saying you have other far better options available to you...

Yes I know that the A.T was designed and widely used for the Dakar (in a straight line it's fine)...

If you intend to stick to tarmac then yes you can take the Africa Twin although parts WILL be hard to find and shipping costs expensive (compared to a single).

A adventure prepped XT6E would be my own no1 choice for the reasons I set out above - but mainly cost v performance. I totally dis-agree that the A.T engine is likely to be better than that of a 10 year old XT. The XT engine is simply legendary in terms of simpleness and utter reliability. The A.T engine is good, but it aint as good as a XT. Remember that you can easily find low milage mint 2004 XT's out there (£1,800) whereas A.T's will ALL be high milage and generally quite long in the tooth now...
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  #15  
Old 6 Jan 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AliBaba View Post
They also used bands on the volumetric weight and the price was the same between 1-2 square meters, so price was equal for almost all kind of bikes.
Thanks guys - Ali and Warthog seem to have explained in more detail what I was trying to say... Basically hat it didn't make any (price) difference whether my crate was 200Kg or 300Kg, as long as the size was within the limits (which is was) - therefore, shipping an AT or an XT (or I imagine even a Serow) would cost the same if the dimensions of the crate are similar?

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