Arniston South Africa to Shanghai China
Motorcycle Trip Reports
Rupert & Fanny
Start Date of Trip
Duration of Trip
Total Miles Covered
Total Cost of Trip
All the savings
England • France • Wales • Chile • Argentina • Faroe Islands • New Zealand • Iceland • Denmark • Sweden • Finland • Norway • Scotland • Netherlands • Turkey
Bike Make & Model
KTM 990 Adventures (R and standard)
Age of Bike
2 and 2
Mileage at Start
18000 + 1000
None, except for panniers, crash bars and a prayer
Bike Problems & Accidents
Broken starter relay on 2008 bike in middle of Nubian desert, replaced with Chinese generic one and later replaced in Egypt
Riding with Wildebeest in Masai mara
Not geting into Syria
Rupert & Fanny's Motorcycles and Kit for the Big Bike Trip.R
KTM 990 Adventure R - 2011
KTM 990 Adventure 2008
Extras for bikes:
Touratech aluminium 37 litre panniers and mounting frame; engine crash bars; KTM touring windscreens; heated handgrips; orange headlight protector; KTM tank bag; Touratach sump guard; heavy duty inner tubes; North Face water proof kit bags; Stotts steering dampeners; Ergo gel seat (except for Fanny who prefers the standard seat); Swing arm and front fork KTM Cape Town/WP protector stickers; Garmin Zumo 220 GPS (Rupert's bike only)
Tyres: Pirelli Scorpion MT 90 A/T front and back up to Nairobi. From Nairobi front tyre replaced with Pirelli Rally Cross MT21 and replaced back again in Egypt. ( We ordered Continental TKC 80s but these were not set by the supplier, KR Motorcycles in Polowane, RSA as they conned Fanny's aunt, Mina Song, and sent unsuitable road tyres instead ).
Fanny - Arai helmet (Tour Cross ECE 22 05); Dual Rocket adventure 2 layer trousers (200 RMB); Speed and Strength white and black 2 layer adventure jacket (350 RMB), Fox summer and winter motorcycle gloves (90RMB each.. 30% RRP); silk inner gloves; Chinese brand thermal balaclava, Rupert;s light balaclava for day to day use; Chinese brand thermal underwear set (90 RMB); Alpinestar Tech 3S boots ...size 8; Chinese team volley ball long socks; Chinese fakey sunglasses (30 RMB); Craighopper blue fleece (50 RMB); Tucano Urban water proof m/c suit (70 RMB); two pairs of trousers; "MC hammer trouser" (for Islam modesty) from Pam in Tanga; 4 T-shirts; 1 mini skirt; Salomon casual water proof fleece jacket given as gift from Jono Bean in Cape Town; an optimistically packed dress (haha); fake Croc flipflops; Asics running trainers; a beanie and a cap.
Rupert - Airoh helmet, Lookwell (RSA) 3 layer motorcycle trousers and jacket ...5 years old ; Mountain Equipment thin red fleece; black KTM water proof fleece jacket, Alpine Star Tech3 boots... size 13; Cape Union Mart long ski socks (x2), threadbare and patched up Jeep cargo pants with detachable legs; running shorts; assortment of underwear, socks and t-shirts; Cape Union mart thermal pants and vest; 1998 waterproof m/c overall; Fox summer and winter gloves (90 RMB from Fanny)+ silk inners; RHKYC sun hat; Bondi blu sunglasses (broken and held together with tape and now history sadly); real Croc flip flops (present from Fanny), Asics running trainers; bubble hat (birthday present from Fanny) as KTM beanie lost in Botswana.
Vaude MK II Light (950RMB ... 30 % RRP) + Chinese brand ground sheet (from China OEM manufacturer )
Thermal Comfort inflatable mats - 7.5 cms... both now broken and seriously patched up but surviving just with a blow up every 2-3 hours. Very comfortable while they lasted. Will need replacement as no guarantee with this SA brand.
Generic brand sleeping bags (three season)
Sea to Summit Thermolite 15 degree sleeping bag inners (excellent)
cheap inflatable pillows
cheap Chinese tent lamp
Two Chinese head lamps - bright, fairly cheap - but eat batteries
Cooking equipment - MSR whsiperlight and petrol cannister, pots and pans (bought in SA), knife, fork and spoon set (bought in China). Plastic orange bowl and mugs bought in SA
A KTM 990 Adventure has a 19.5 litre fuel tank, but ideally needs an extra 10 litres to extend range from current 250-300 Kms to 400-450Kms.. so I carry a 20 litre can (ex Exide battery acid can found in Nairobi); and Fanny carries a proper RSA standard 10 litre fuel can (used on previous trips ). We started with two cans but one fell off Fanny's bike in Zambia and was never seen again... hence the Exide battery fuel tank that lasted until the tough Moyale road in north Kenya where it got punctured and leaked fuel onto the hot exhaust and got dumped. Need to ideally buy another fuel can for Iran, Turkey, Xinjiang, Tibet etc..
One set of KTM issued bike tools, an assortment of small spanners, socket set and screw drivers, alun keys, knives, micro screw driver set, hammer (lent to us by South Africans in Namib desert and one day will be given back if we find them again), locktite, a piece of rope, 10 meter towing rope carried by Rupert, chain cracker and spare links, 4 long tyre levers, puncture repair kit, spare torch, WD40, various glues, multi -meter, 12-240v converter cannister, Power Monkey solar charger and cables, cheap electric tyre pump - (overhauled by Rupert and works, but takes an age to pump to 2.8 bars for rear), 2 tyre pressue gauges, The famous "Steve Thomas" hand made petrol filter (made in Kenya by Steve Thomas out of an generic fuel filter found in Nanyuki on equator and attached inside a Milton bottle with rubber seals. It is a must and has saved our hides (fuelfilter actually) across Africa because of dirty fuel.
Organising kit .. again
Steve Thomas - pre fuel filter (very important)
Three sets of Michelin Africa laminated maps (South, North West, North East Africa)
Garmin 220 GPS + world map software from China and Tracks on Africa;
Local more detailed maps as required, although usually poor quality.
Spares -- 2 litres of Motorex Power Synt 10-60 synthetic oil; Motorex clutch fluid; Motorex brake fluid; oil filter + "O" rings (x2); petrol filter kit (x2); spark plugs for both bikes (different set for R); chain cleaner & chain lube; chain links; octane booster; injector 3 in one cleaner; lock ties - various sizes; gaffer tape (so far 4 rolls - very important and useful); two sets of inner tubes ( one heavy rear tube given to the German bikers in Ethiopia as they were in panic having ruined several). Also, gave a spare pair of brand new white Fox motorcycle gloves to Spanish rider, Jose in Kenya who was wearing hippy gloves! Cant have that.
Washing kit + vitamens (run out) + Chinese made quick dry towels - 1 each. Other hygiene things bought when the rider feels the other rider really needs it.!!!
Ist Aid Kit
Very well stocked 1st aid kit from a South Africa pharmacy in carry case and supplemented with various medication (Mefliam anti malaria, pain relievers and assortment of antibiotics and antiseptic creams ), Malaria diagnostic kit, eye drops, disinfectant, iodine gunk etc..
Water --30 litre bag - given to us by Dutch riders moving south in Malawi. Also we are each carrying Hard Bone brand hydration back pack (sourced from China at RMB 160 each)... both very useful for ride. About 2-3 litres each.
spare 3 liter hydration bladder
water seriliser fluid
Communications and electrics
Two x 10.1 inch second hand PC laptops; Fanny's Nokia smart phone with Chinese Sim card; Rupert's iphone 3 (no sim card as no one ever calls me anyway) but it has Chinese lessons, music, foreign language dictionaries, spare camera and various other useful apps such as star maps for my nerdy night time astronomy; 2 Nano ipods and earphones (Rupert's now broken after a 15 meter free diving incident); Cheap Nokia basic and small mobile phone with local country SIM card (long battery life).
Also, an assortment of thumb drives, flash and memory cards; cables and chargers (which are a bit too heavy... roll on the universal charger and cable!).
Blue Tooth in helmet communication head sets broken on first day and dumped.. sadly not robust enough for us.
Oregan Slim FM walkie talkies from South Africa ... quite useful when we actually remember to charge them and turn them on... for when we get separated in towns or on the road. Not used while riding though, as I use hand signals which Fanny generally ignores unless it involves stopping for food or a fag.
Garmin Zumo 220 GPS on Rupert's bike
ECU Tune for KTM ECU diagnostics and mapping - free off the internet with different mapping programs for our bike (but no cable).
ECU Cable - connector under bike seat, other end of wire is a USB which attaches to computer
Garmin GPS world maps software bought in China (RMB 400) and also Tracks on Africa donated by Michael Heuchart from Canada in Botswana.
Our www.bigbiketrip.net website maintained by lovely Frau Doktoor Andrea Corbett from Derbyshire,England.
Fanny maintains a facebook account. Rupert does not as he thinks facebook is the devils work and he has no friends anyway.
Scanned soft copy of all documents on USB drive and PC directory + hard copy of all documents such as driving licences, carne de passage (25 page), bike manuals, passports, visas, banking details, insurance, pictures, and name cards.
Rupert had an excellent 5 year old Canon IXUS 860 (but it was lost/stolen in Namibia sadly), Fanny's Panosonic Lumix DMC-LX5 ..press and go camera (good pictures, but video not as good or easy to use as the Canon); GoPro camera (but lost screws and attachments as they vibrated off the bike and so have to carry on bungee cord). Fanny refuses to carry on bike so all video is from Rupert's bike.
Pepper Spray; 1.5 million volt zapper; long range CS pistol (oh yes) ; catapult; two foot Masai warrior sword ... given to us for towing the Spanish teams BMW bikes out of the Masai Mara. Scouser knife (stanley knife) and flick knife shaped like a AK47 from Tanzania (last two are tools really ). Only the catapult has been used in anger with some fruit stones fired in defensive retaliation after being assaulted by Geldoff's children with sticks and stones in Ethiopia. Everywhere else has been peaceful and hope it remains so. Bit worried about riding in the UK, as its the roughest place we will be travelling through and such stuff is illegal and so we'll have to bury our arsenal in Turkey and pick it up again before heading east. I'll leave "arse kicker" Fanny to sort out the feral hoodies and bike thieves in the UK.
Flatstone bob .. to put under the side stand so bike doesn't fall over or lean too much on uneven ground .. i.e. everywhere ... he changes shape and size often, and is currently a four by four piece of wood from a rail track in Ethiopia.
In retrospect I think we have planned the trip extremely well and kept both costs and weight to a minimum... however ideally (based upon research and recommendations from others) it might have been prudent to have brought or done the following:
- spare water pumps (although we had no problems)
- spare air filters (although bulky)
- replaced standard clutch slaves with more robust after market model (again no problems so far)
- ECU / USB cable (never needed to do anything to ECU but good to have just in case)
- carried spare TKC 80 tyres from Cape Town - easier and cheaper than shipping to Nairobi. Carrying the tyre is a bit heavy and a bit of a nuisance, but shipping them is expensive, uncertain and stressful and carrying them allows flexibility to swap between road and off road tyres as conditions require.
- after market fuel tank with 30-45 litres capacity as fuel is always a worry. That said carrying 10 litres extra is pretty much enough for most. Also, a spare can allows one to decant the fuel and help with filtering fuel into the tank.
- after market radiator protector (just precautionary measure as ours are fine, but it just takes one stone!)
- more spare fuel filters from cheaper supplier (KTM Cape Town and Nairobi were ridiculously expensive for what they are and a search of internet can locate some sets for considerably cheaper)
- electric heated vests in readiness for the European winter (yes we are wimps, but why be uncomfortable and cold)
- better computer and software for photo and video editing on the road (my old Mac was stolen from Mugg & Bean Windhoek in 2009 would have been ideal)
- robust in helmet communication system (still not sure about this as I like wearing my earplugs and occasionally listening to iPod and I am quite sure Fanny could do without - 'OH OH OH,LOOK LOOK ---A YELLOW BILLED HORNBILL' on the hour every hour.
- better quality sleeping mats.. getting a good nights sleep makes a big difference of such a trip and our Thermal Comfort 7.5s bought in the camping shop next to KTM in Cape Town, whilst very comfortable, started leaking in Kenya and were not up for the job.
All diaries at http://www.bigbiketrip.net and http://www.facebook.com/bigbiketrip
* BEGIN EDITOR REVIEWS
* BEGIN USER REVIEWS
Average user rating from: 4 user(s)
Chapter 8 - Ethiopia
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Success - Arniston on southern tip of Africa to Al
0 of 0 people found the following review helpful
Arniston to Alexandria on KTM 990 Adventures
0 of 0 people found the following review helpful
South Africa to China via Staffordshire
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful