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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there!

I'm currently on a trip from the very top of Alaska to the bottom of Argentina with my friend, and both our Kawasaki KLR650s. So far, we have driven about 20.000 miles the last seven months and we're currently in Panama waiting for our sailboat to Colombia. Then we have another 5-6 months of riding in South America.

That said, we've had a ton of problems with our KLRs and they both have more than 62.000 miles on the odometer each. We have a serious love/hate relationship with the bikes, they're fun and you are able to go pretty much where ever you want to even tough they keep on breaking down every other week (no kidding, been to 23 mechanics so far).

After we reach the bottom of Argentina this summer, we will ship our bikes to Cape Town, South Africa. From there we will ride up towards Kenya, cross from the east side of Africa to west by going through either D.R. Congo or Central African Republic and then do most of the countries along the Ivory Coast (West-Africa) northbound to Morocco, take the ferry to Spain and then make our way to Nordkapp in Norway, and if time allows it we'll make a detour through the middle east as well. We plan about 12 months for this trip, and an estimated distance of about 34.000 miles/55.000 km.

Anyhow, our KLRs are not trustworthy enough. Even tough we know them in and out and can fix alot by ourselves we're still surprised by all the different things that breaks down all the time. It's like we woud need a full spare KLR to get us trough a challenge like that.

That's why we are looking at replacing them with two 2017 Africa Twins instead. I have not seen many people do far travels on the AT yet, but I reckon it would do so in a excellent way. Our goals for Africa is to ride as much dirt and gravel far off the beaten tracks as possible. We like the offroad aspect but need the comfort of having reliable motorcycles that actually start in the morning, and this bike is also very well suited for some long days of road riding as well.

So, if any of you know of some "hard core" footage of the Africa Twin in action, I would love to see that. Not just the normal "review" videos from bigger companies or magazines, but actual footage from owners on enduro trails and other extreme roads! Would love to see have this bike handles roads like that. If you know of someone else also traveling the world on a African Twin, please post!

If we land on the Africa Twins, we would do some upgrades and make a build thread while doing so. Will keep you posted on this process and what we'll do in Africa.

Thank you!
 

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Well thats not the normal first post. Have you a website or online blog?
 

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Well. The Italian Mario Ceci completed the Africa Eco Rally with his CRF 1000. And he did very well against a sea of lightweight KTM 450 Rallye and other 690 and 990. He only had two problems.

Bad fuel on day three. Nothing anyone can do. The machine can't be blamed.

He burned the clutch in a sand bowl. His bike being 50Kg heavier than the competition, it was difficult get over the dunes in Mauritania and he burned the clutch from running too hot. Not having an oil cooler really didn't help. Ceci mentioned that would be his next improvement on the bike. He could have done a podium if it were not for these problems.

It is worth mentioning that he kept his stock fuel tank but had auxiliary rear fuel tanks.



 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
A bigger gas tank will be a definite necessity! Sounds like an amazing trip, post some pics
Safaritanks is actually in the process of making a bigger one for the Africa Twin. It's a possibility, but I do think that a Rotopax mounted on the inside of the rear frame is probably the cheapest solution. http://www.safaritanks.com.au/home/news/205-new-safari-tank-for-honda-africa-twin


Well thats not the normal first post. Have you a website or online blog?
Our website is almost finished, we're having so much fun on the road so it got delayed a little while. We're mostly active on our Instagram meanwhile - http://instagram.com/chasingborders


check this site

http://www.threesomewithtwins.com/en/bikes/

To do at least:
- protections
- review the suspensions
- handguards to change
- windscreen - spoiler or new one
Thanks for the link! Will look closer into it. The stock suspensions should be good enough I assume. We're going to pack super lightweight. The shocks we have on our KLRs now are shot, and is always 3/4 compressed. Still, we manage to do proper dirt riding, haha. Seems like there is common problem with the windscreen brackets on several ATs as well.


Tremendous adventure in progress, will be watching this.

Have fun
That's right. Thank you, hopefully we'll get to meet up with you in Joburg with two Africa Twins!


Appreciate it, thanks!
 

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BTW if you intend to do soft sand and muddy tracks in Africa, you already know that the less packed you do it, the easier it gets. ;-)

Have you checked Suzuki's DR650SE ? They are 149kg stock, and weight can be easily reduced by 9kg. The bike is ultra reliable and light. It has a huge oil cooler too.
 

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Hi chrrod,

The KLR is a tough cookie! I have ridden with many guys that have them, and they really do go everywhere. We do quite serious riding in Southern Africa, mainly in the 'block' of South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania and Mozambique, if you can picture that in your mind. In a months time we will be doing quite a technical tour around Lesotho. Maybe you can do that when you are in SA :)

To get the bike to where I believe it will be suitable for the riding we do, I have done the following, and a few are still outstanding:
1) Rockfox upper and lower tank and engine protection.
2) Barkbusters.
3) Rockfox bash plate. (I am not sure if you will need this. You will have more of a sand issue on your journey)
4) H&B pannier frame. (You just need something to support bags. I presume you are using soft bags)
5) Larger rear luggage plate. (The std frame footprint is too small)(You may look at having a plate to replace the rear seat a well)
6) Tool tube. I am in the process of manufacturing a system so that I can attach the tube to the inside of the left pannier frame. It needs to be sturdy enough, and supportable, so that the plastic does not crack.
7) Front fender raiser. On previous bikes we have had the problem of the front wheel locking up, due to the clay build up. I see there are raisers available for the AT. I still need to select one.
8) Maybe because I am only 5'7", I find the heat behind the screen too much when riding in 30 degree plus temps. I am looking at getting a shorter screen.
9) Fuel range. This is a real problem:( I have done a couple of weekend rides specifically to test the consumption. My worry is that in 'Adventure Riding' mode the consumption is worse than sitting on a highway at 120. It may be because of the continuous throttle movement? I am taking it in for a checkup during the next week. Safari tanks are in the process of making a tank. I believe it is going to be around the 30L. I think for the AT it is too big. 25L will be a good size. I thought of the rotopax, but where to mount it is the issue for me. For my Lesotho trip I going to carry a 2L coke bottle for emergency.

Enjoy your adventure, no matter which bike you choose...
 

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<snip>
Have you checked Suzuki's DR650SE ? They are 149kg stock, and weight can be easily reduced by 9kg. The bike is ultra reliable and light. It has a huge oil cooler too.
The Suzuki is everything you said Lee, but curb weight is 166 kg compared to the KLR's 196 kg curb weight (which includes 10.2 ltrs. more fuel than the DR).The Africa Twin curb weight is 240 kg.

While I would LOVE to see a pair of Africa Twins put to the ultimate test by real riders in real world conditions, if I were one of the riders I'd consider that I started with a used bike (40K miles) and put another 20K miles on it over pretty tough conditions and would put a fair amount of blame for breakdowns on wear and tear not inherent flaws in the KLR. Frankly, I'd be looking for a brand new KLR650 with which I was already extremely familiar to complete my ride. I'd save the Africa Twin for my next world tour.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Sorry for being inactive the past days, been without internet here in Panama.

Well. The Italian Mario Ceci completed the Africa Eco Rally with his CRF 1000. And he did very well against a sea of lightweight KTM 450 Rallye and other 690 and 990. He only had two problems.

Bad fuel on day three. Nothing anyone can do. The machine can't be blamed.

He burned the clutch in a sand bowl. His bike being 50Kg heavier than the competition, it was difficult get over the dunes in Mauritania and he burned the clutch from running too hot. Not having an oil cooler really didn't help. Ceci mentioned that would be his next improvement on the bike. He could have done a podium if it were not for these problems.

It is worth mentioning that he kept his stock fuel tank but had auxiliary rear fuel tanks.
BTW if you intend to do soft sand and muddy tracks in Africa, you already know that the less packed you do it, the easier it gets. ;-)

------

Have you checked Suzuki's DR650SE ? They are 149kg stock, and weight can be easily reduced by 9kg. The bike is ultra reliable and light. It has a huge oil cooler too.
Great share, thanks! His bike looks awesome, and we're in no rush or race, so burning out the clutch is something we'll try not to do. Anyway, always a good idea to bring a set of spare plates on long adventures! We're packing light for Africa, switching to soft luggage and bringing less stuff than this travel. The Suzuki DR is great, pretty much identical to the KLR and you can even use many of the same parts on the KLR as well, haha. But we'll either keep the KLRs or switch to ATs :smile2:

Hi chrrod,

The KLR is a tough cookie! I have ridden with many guys that have them, and they really do go everywhere. We do quite serious riding in Southern Africa, mainly in the 'block' of South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania and Mozambique, if you can picture that in your mind. In a months time we will be doing quite a technical tour around Lesotho. Maybe you can do that when you are in SA :)

To get the bike to where I believe it will be suitable for the riding we do, I have done the following, and a few are still outstanding:
1) Rockfox upper and lower tank and engine protection.
2) Barkbusters.
3) Rockfox bash plate. (I am not sure if you will need this. You will have more of a sand issue on your journey)
4) H&B pannier frame. (You just need something to support bags. I presume you are using soft bags)
5) Larger rear luggage plate. (The std frame footprint is too small)(You may look at having a plate to replace the rear seat a well)
6) Tool tube. I am in the process of manufacturing a system so that I can attach the tube to the inside of the left pannier frame. It needs to be sturdy enough, and supportable, so that the plastic does not crack.
7) Front fender raiser. On previous bikes we have had the problem of the front wheel locking up, due to the clay build up. I see there are raisers available for the AT. I still need to select one.
8) Maybe because I am only 5'7", I find the heat behind the screen too much when riding in 30 degree plus temps. I am looking at getting a shorter screen.
9) Fuel range. This is a real problem:( I have done a couple of weekend rides specifically to test the consumption. My worry is that in 'Adventure Riding' mode the consumption is worse than sitting on a highway at 120. It may be because of the continuous throttle movement? I am taking it in for a checkup during the next week. Safari tanks are in the process of making a tank. I believe it is going to be around the 30L. I think for the AT it is too big. 25L will be a good size. I thought of the rotopax, but where to mount it is the issue for me. For my Lesotho trip I going to carry a 2L coke bottle for emergency.

Enjoy your adventure, no matter which bike you choose...
Hey John! Thank you for this great reply, you're pointing us in the right direction regarding gear for the AT and sharing very useful tips, will look into all of this! Regarding point 9, I've seen custom made Rotopax-mounts for the inside of the left pannier frame. I would rather put it there, and mount the tool tube on the engine guard if it fits.

How do you like the Africa Twin on the technical roads?
I'll also send you a message when we get to SA in August/September, we would love to meet up and maybe do some riding together.

The Suzuki is everything you said Lee, but curb weight is 166 kg compared to the KLR's 196 kg curb weight (which includes 10.2 ltrs. more fuel than the DR).The Africa Twin curb weight is 240 kg.

While I would LOVE to see a pair of Africa Twins put to the ultimate test by real riders in real world conditions, if I were one of the riders I'd consider that I started with a used bike (40K miles) and put another 20K miles on it over pretty tough conditions and would put a fair amount of blame for breakdowns on wear and tear not inherent flaws in the KLR. Frankly, I'd be looking for a brand new KLR650 with which I was already extremely familiar to complete my ride. I'd save the Africa Twin for my next world tour.
Yes, the KLR is heavy enough as it is and is very similar to the DR in many ways. We did land on the KLR because it's said to be more comfortable, have not tried the DR myself but I would think it performs better in technical terrain. We did buy the bikes with 37.000 miles, and they were well maintained by the previous owner who had them both. But the "wear and tear" we've experienced so far is beyond whats normal, even for this type of riding that we're doing. If we switch to AT we'll put them through some real African roads on purpose to actually see what this bike can do, and we'll document it very well for your enjoyment :smile2:

And someone gotta be the first ones, right?
If we go for the ATs, we would still keep the KLRs in Africa, and save them for another trip through Africa some years later.

Glad I dont have a DR:grin2:
 

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"Hey John! Thank you for this great reply, you're pointing us in the right direction regarding gear for the AT and sharing very useful tips, will look into all of this! Regarding point 9, I've seen custom made Rotopax-mounts for the inside of the left pannier frame. I would rather put it there, and mount the tool tube on the engine guard if it fits.

How do you like the Africa Twin on the technical roads?
I'll also send you a message when we get to SA in August/September, we would love to meet up and maybe do some riding together. "

Hi chrrod,
The tool tube will fit on the engine guard. I have not used that spot because I have 2 soft bags fitted to the side. This is for the rain suit. I am sure if I have to I could make a plan. I made quite a neat setup for the tube, inside the pannier frame. I am sure I can modify it to carry the Rotopax instead. Hmm.. you are giving some things to think about...

I am absolutely loving the bike on the technical stuff. It has taken a bit of time to do the setup, but I am happy with it. Specially coming from a BIG bike with 19" front wheel. My trip in March will be more 'loaded' and this will take the setup to the next level. No matter what I pack, I will still not be loaded up like you.

When you get here, give me a message and we will get together. I have a friend who used to do 4X4 tours into Africa, he also rides bike, and has a wealth of good information.

Take care.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hi chrrod,
The tool tube will fit on the engine guard. I have not used that spot because I have 2 soft bags fitted to the side. This is for the rain suit. I am sure if I have to I could make a plan. I made quite a neat setup for the tube, inside the pannier frame. I am sure I can modify it to carry the Rotopax instead. Hmm.. you are giving some things to think about...

I am absolutely loving the bike on the technical stuff. It has taken a bit of time to do the setup, but I am happy with it. Specially coming from a BIG bike with 19" front wheel. My trip in March will be more 'loaded' and this will take the setup to the next level. No matter what I pack, I will still not be loaded up like you.

When you get here, give me a message and we will get together. I have a friend who used to do 4X4 tours into Africa, he also rides bike, and has a wealth of good information.

Take care.
Smart. Our setup would be similar if we go for the AT. Soft luggage both front and rear, mounted on a solid luggage rack, and a mid sized pelicase on the top for camera equipment and other stuff that needs to be locked in. Most of the space in our luggage system now are spare parts, tools, cooking and camping gear.

I'm glad you like the bike! The main advantage as I see it is how low the weight is put on the bike, the KLR is really top heavy. I have two of those tool tubes on my KLR right now, one mounted on the engine guard and the other one on the inside of the pannier rack. I do think this is a better option

CLICK FOR PICTURE

Take care, and I'll hit you up when we get over there :smile2:
 

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Glad I dont have a DR:grin2:
It was easily fixed, I sent the complete transmission out of my DR to Nova Racing Transmissions in the UK in 2012.
They then designed a billet 3rd gear set, I got the first pair, the world got the rest.
The KLR is a good bike also. I figure if someone can ride from Australia to London on a 110cc 'postie bike you could probably do it on near anything.
 
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