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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 22 Jun 2012
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UK to Gambia on two XR125s?

Im beginning to think about doing my first transcontinental trip.
Ive previously ridden around Europe and England on my Triumph Street Triple but have always dreamt of going further.

I'm 24, 8 years exp riding on road, 2 years competing in MX and a professional bike mechanic by trade.

My girlfriend has around 2 years experience on a Honda CBR125 and she wants to come along. She's only 5'5 and slim so a tall 650 would be too much for her.

I have narrowed my choices down to either Honda XR125s or Honda City Fly 125s.

What are people's experiences of 125s in Northern Africa and would they stand up to the conditions? How challenging is the riding and could you get away without a tent?
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  #2  
Old 22 Jun 2012
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Hello,

i saw that you responded on my "topic" about the xr125,and i have
responded there to your question.
Highway is a bit challenging i think on a 125,take a scenic route!
I have ridden a lot of big and fast bikes,but am really enjoying the slower pace.You are less exhausted and seeing more.
Having sad that i still love driving a 100+hp motorbike,
but for traveling it is the slow pace that i have beginning to love.
I don't know much about Africa ,but i know that you can bring a small tent
on the back of the honda.
Have a great trip!!

Saludos
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  #3  
Old 22 Jun 2012
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Originally Posted by Pancho110 View Post

I'm 24, 8 years exp riding on road, 2 years competing in MX and a professional bike mechanic by trade.
Man, if you now tell me you speak fluent Arabic and French, then I'd say your destiny in life was this trip (and beyond)! Wow!

Read the Sahara Travel forum and look for updated info about the safety in the area. I haven't been beyond Morocco, but South of that is getting tricky.

Happy travels,

Esteban
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  #4  
Old 23 Jun 2012
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If you're not in hurry then the XR125s will be great bikes for that trip. There's no longer huge offroad sections where you need to carry huge amounts of water and fuel and the 125s lower cruising speed will give you a chance to look around. I've done it twice on an XR600 and my average cruising speed was probably only around 45mph. I've been planning a third trip for a number of years now (family, finance etc etc) and will probably use a 250 next time.

Just don't take the terrain and climate lightly. Most people go in our winter for a reason. As other have mentioned, the politics in the region have been in a bit of a downward spiral but as far as I'm aware the basic Atlantic route to The Gambia is still doable with a bit of care and thought over the paperwork requirements.
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  #5  
Old 23 Jun 2012
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I know somebody who did a 6 month tour of Southern Africa on an XR125 and they thought it the ideal bike for the job, go for it.
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  #6  
Old 24 Jun 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estebangc View Post
Man, if you now tell me you speak fluent Arabic and French, then I'd say your destiny in life was this trip (and beyond)! Wow!

Read the Sahara Travel forum and look for updated info about the safety in the area. I haven't been beyond Morocco, but South of that is getting tricky.

Happy travels,

Esteban
Well I do speak reasonable french, regular trips to France for MX, snowboarding and other excuses for piss ups over the last few years.

Thanks for all the encouragement. my three road bikes will be up for sale and I'll be hunting for two XRs tomoro morning!

I would love to do it on something with a bit more poke, but if she can't handle it, it'll ruin the trip. And you don't see much from the motorway anyways, the point is to see the countries you travel through, not the motorway
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  #7  
Old 25 Jun 2012
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gambia trip

go for it mate , me and my wife in senegal on drz 400 and my old dr 350 , left over three months ago from oxford , wicked trip especially on the smaller stuff , parts are a plenty for hondas especially the 125 take spare links for chain as ours broke in the sahara (both bikes0 and had to tow (very interesting!!!)off to gambia next few days if you get here would love to meet up , you cant usually go more than 45 mph anyway , only advice would be is avoid rosso for crossing border into senagal as its a education in fixers etc use HU communities to help you out especially in europe for parts etc slimline jerry can is useful ( for boats holds gallon )and ask anyone if you can camp in their place as they are really relaxed in africa (we have wild camped most of it)staying currently in Dakar cercle de voile its a sailing club!!! £6 a night wi fi and showers bar sorted , good luck Sean and Mary Logan , blog is motorcycling adventures and mugs of wine , have a looksee if your interested .
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  #8  
Old 25 Jun 2012
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Gambia trip

Adding to the 'go for it' comments, I'm the other half to Sean, the post immediately above, and just wanted to add something re your worry about your partner's riding experience. Sean has eons of experience but I'd only ever commuted so was worried about handling right hand side, different riding conditions, off road, etc. You adapt very quickly and it is no where near as tough or scary as I'd imagined. Both of you will adapt really quickly and it's far more fun than anyone can actually convey in a book, vid clip, HU message, etc - go for it.
A tip - buy tug straps and fit one to the front of each bike, don't pay for the expensive Krieger ones, get the ones made for dingy's, they're about £9 each on ebay. They're invaluable for pulling the bikes out of sand, across rough terrain, etc, and you can use them on the front or the back of the bikes.
Would recommend a tent, even a small one will ensure that if you're ever stuck somewhere with no hotels, auberges, etc. you'll at least be able to sleep.
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  #9  
Old 28 Jun 2012
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I was hoping to avoid taking camping gear but if you guys reckon its handy then i'll take that into account.

Sounds like your having a fantastic time, Im incredibly jealous.

We won't be going this year or maybe even next but Ive got the bug and I can't help myself.

How fast do chains and tyres wear out in sand? Google Maps says its a 3500 mile trip to Banjul, I want to work how how many spare tyres, chains and sprockets we'll need.

As a couple were you both mad keen on a big trip before you planned it or did one come up with it and the other get into it? I ask because although my girlfriend says she'd like to do it, after a day riding in the rain I get the feeling she might get annoyed, let alone stuck in sand in a desert.

Would like to leave tomoro if i could!
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  #10  
Old 24 Jul 2012
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Definitely take camping & cooking gear, apart from preventing you being completely stuck it will really help keep your costs down.

It was a joint decision to go, both of us were keen to travel the world.

Don't worry about spares for a Honda 125, you will be able to pick up tyres, chains etc. Do bring split links, loads of oil filters and a basic tool kit that carries only the tools that fit your bike.

Best way to get a feel for whether or not living on a bike would suit is to go on a week or two camping holiday - gives you a good feel of what it's like to live on what's on your bike etc.

Any questions, just ask.
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  #11  
Old 25 Jul 2012
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small bike

Does it need to be a 125 ? I'm thinking of a yamaha serow as it's low ride hight would suit your girl, it has great off road abilities and would be a bit more able for cruising the less intresting roads with your touring gear.There are plenty of good reports about these little bikes, lois on the loose springs to mind, she traveled from Alaska to Argentina on one. Just a thought, good luck with you trip...marty
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  #12  
Old 25 Jul 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pancho110 View Post
I was hoping to avoid taking camping gear but if you guys reckon its handy then i'll take that into account.


How fast do chains and tyres wear out in sand? Google Maps says its a 3500 mile trip to Banjul, I want to work how how many spare tyres, chains and sprockets we'll need.
Just put on a new chain and a set of good quality sprockets before you go and they'll be fine. I don't remember having to adjust my chain more than a couple of times (on an XR600) last time I did that trip. Similarly with tyres. On 125s you're not going to have high wear rates so one set will easily get you there.

Camping gear is bulky but there are parts of the route where evening will arrive when you're nowhere near a hotel -

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  #13  
Old 27 Jul 2012
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From the fabric those xr125 are very very chocked,
you need to open up the airflow in the air box and make it run a little bit richer.You will feel the difference.( now there is a difference between the 4 and 5 gear hahahaha.
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