Road Trip South Africa- Nov/Dec 2013


In the next few days, I’ll be heading out on more of a ambitious South African road trip than the last one I blogged about.  Hopefully, I’ll grow another pair of Indian balls and manage to get myself to do some offroading.  Last month this time I bought my first dualsport motorbike, a DRZ 400E.  I’ve had it for a month now, and its one beast of a bike.  It has Chowed several thousand rands more than I’d expected in tlc so far, but aint that always the case with a second hand bike?  Not going to get upset about that.  When I start to worry about spending too much money fixing a bike, I Always remind myself how I spent R10 000 fixing an old dinosaur (Suzuki GS 550) for no apparent reason a few years ago.   Not to mention all the thousands I spent on tyres and brakes and even a spare engine and who knows what else to do trackdays.   In life one just has to do a Johnny Walker, keep on keeping on.   I was hoping though to be able to save for a second dualsport (for Gaby for when she comes down next year).  For new readers, Gaby is my most awesome-est bikerchick friend whom I did an Indian roadtrip with last September (2013).  Read about it here.  She provided the bikes and made most of the plans for the trip.  But nevermind about that now,  money usually seems to sort itself out when the plans come together.

So the feeling I get thinking about this new trip is pretty much the same as when I head out to do something slightly adventurous. The feet start to go cold.  My worries are not unfounded I don’t think.  The fuel tank might be too small for the distances between petrol stations, I might fall, I might get lost without cell phone reception.  I might meet with an accident, I might have a breakdown on a desolate road, It may get too hot for me to cope with.  And then worst of all, I may die and then my mom will find all my kinky toys and stuff sorting through my things.  This is by far my worst fear.  I suppose its normal to be afraid.  But of course there’s the alternative.   Doing nothing, seeing nothing, going nowhere.  Specifically this week, I’ve noticed my mom’s sister in-law, not much of a life, nearly 60, her sole purpose, cleaning the house.  And no excuse for why she does it other than the house must be clean.  I see photos on Google Earth of the places in SA I want to visit, if thats enough to make me not change my mind.  Here’s the rough, overambitious plan mapped out.

The route roughly:  Cape Town northwards to Springbok, Then Eastwards to Upington, then downwards to Kimberly, Free, State, Lesotho, Swaziland, Maputo, and from here all the way along the East Coast back home passing through Durban, Port Elizabeth, Knysna, George etc.

The route roughly traced in red: Cape Town northwards to Springbok, Then Eastwards to Upington, Kimberly, Free, State, Lesotho, Swaziland, Maputo, and from here all the way along the East Coast back home passing through Durban, Port Elizabeth, Knysna, George etc.

What I know about the bike so far:  Its a Suzuki  DRZ 400E 2004 model.  Its quite a bit heavier than a full motocross bike.  There’s a fricken LOUD aftermarket scorch exhaust on, which I tried to swop with the standard exhaust (to save fuel) but the standard one caused the bike to feel like it has dirty carbs in the low rev, so I put the scorch back on.  Probably adjustments were made to accommodate the more powerful Scorch.   Its quite easy to get the covers, seat and tank off.  However the carbs look super complicated to remove, but If need be, I’ll get a friend to help me take it off.  The standard tank is only 10 liters, which is a bit of a worry.  I seem to get about 80 to 100 km from one tank which is not very far.  I’m still considering whether to attempt to get an oversized tank, but it costs alot, and I’ve already spent so much.  I’ve had to buy a new clutch cover, put on tyres, new levers, bribe the guy at the roadworthy station to ‘pass’ it so that I could get it licenced to me.  I fear for the sake of my finances, I should probably try to manage with the standard tank. Besides that, I’ve found out I need to get the rims re-spoked.  For this, I may have to cut one of my arms and one of my legs off to pay.  I’m hoping that the spokes are not too serious at this point because I’m considering just leaving it for later (maybe Feb next year).   But  the tank … 80 km, darned, that’s not very far at all.

Milnerton-20131022-00507.jpg

The bike: Suzuki DRZ 400E

On the plus side.   The bike handles really well.  Its quite high so its one foot on the ground in stationary position, which is ok.  What’s not ok is making a U-turn from stationary position.  But with the height it feels really good in traffic because you have a good clear view of everything.  Other motorists cannot help but see (hear) the bike coming on which is great for safety.  I think that the carbs have been tampered with, and sprockets changed to favour stronger acceleration, which is good for some and bad for some.  I like standard in general, but for now, this will have to do.  So far, I’ve had a few close calls already where I’ve needed to do strong braking, and it was a relief that I could brake hard enough to lock the back wheel up with the bike still feeling stable in a skid.  My ex bike (Honda VFR 400) would definitely have been sideways on the tar at that point.  I’m hoping to be brave enough to venture onto some mild dirt roads.  Its why I bought a dualsport.  Watch this space for more…

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5 thoughts on “Road Trip South Africa- Nov/Dec 2013

  1. matthias1982 says:

    looks like a reaaaally cool tour! but are you actually sure that there are gas stations every 80 km along the road?? and when I was in SA the roads in the northeast (south of Mozambique at the coast) were said to be extremely bad, but maybe I am not up-to-date!

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    • misschief101 says:

      I’m really not sure about anything. I’m monitoring my petrol usage now just to see how many km I’m getting out of one tank. I’m not sure about Mozambique. Really bad as in worse than India? … I’ll have to do do some googling. But hopefully if I do go, its good enough with the DRZ

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      • misschief101 says:

        Thats way more experience that I have. I’ll see how it goes, and ask for advice along the way. I can’t wait myself for the stories to start. East coast I’m sure is fine fuel-wise, its the west I’m worried about, and the section coming down to the east coast. How are the roads in Lesotho and Swaziland?

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