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Country Trax Adventure Riding Tips 2 - 'Doodsakker Ekspedisie' Trip (2010)


This morning as I was driving to work, I saw the full moon lighting up the sky. The previous full moon I saw was at a place called Flamingo Lodge, on the West coast of Angola. I was lucky enough to be part of a group of seven riders on an expedition of a lifetime though Angola. The purpose of the ride was really two-fold: To ride across the bridge at Cuito Cuanavale, and to ride along the coast through that famous narrow section of beach called the “Doodsakker”.

written by Stefan Boshoff (Senior Instructor - Country TRAX Off-road academy, Free State)

Yamaha SA was brave / bold / mad enough to give us a Yamaha 1200 Super Tenere to “test” as part of the trip with two BMW 1200 HP2’s, three KTM 950 Super Enduro’s and a KTM 990 Adventure S. The big day came after what felt like eternity and the team finally congregated in Rundu. We crossed the border into Angola, and were immediately treated to the some of the best adventure riding I have ever experienced. Challenging in places, but great fun. The terrain varies from sand to rocks to ruts to jumps to good gravel and even some smooth tar. We got to see the bridge in Cuito Cuanavale. And we gave a Portuguese Bible to the Governor of Cuito Cuanavale.

The signs of the destruction that the war left are still visible everywhere in this part of Angola. We continued West to the coast, and the “Doodsakker” was the next challenge. Another amazing experience. What a ride! Not many of us ever get the opportunity to be on the bike all day every day for two weeks, and we fully realized and appreciated the privilege. We made the most of it! Read the full story with all the detail and pictures at http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=52625.0.

The riding calendar is quite full for the remainder of the year. Country TRAX is hosting the cream of the world’s BMW GS riders for the GS Trophy Event in November, in association with BMW Motorrad. Tomm Wolf, the BMW training guru from Germany is in charge and there is a lot of excitement building with ten countries having already entered their teams. Tomm is being assisted by Jan du Toit and a group of Country TRAX instructors and all indications are that the teams will have more than enough memories to take home with them. In the mean time, there is the BMW Eco Challenge and KTM Festival in September and the Alfie Cox Dual Sport Festival at Sierra Ranch, Mooirivier (21 to 24 October). There is no shortage of events, so no excuse to sit at home and watch bikes on TV!! If you have not become a player yet, now is your chance to stop being a spectator, and LIVE your dream. The first step to fully enjoying and using your bike to the maximum, make sure that you start by building the skill and competence by attending one of our courses. We still guarantee “halving your fears and doubling your skills” in one weekend – try it…. See www.countrytrax.co.za for all the details.

Making next summer a memorable one starts with preparing your bike properly before any of the bigger rides.

Probably the most “consumable” item on the bike is the tyres. “Adventure riding” is a loosely used term to cover a very wide spectrum of terrain you might encounter, and therefore it is impossible to define an ideal tyre for this purpose. There are so many different types and brands on offer, and they all serve a purpose somewhere between open tar and proper off-road. The main thing to remember is that any tyre you buy contains an element of compromise. The better its road holding on tar, the worse the traction on dirt will be. There are excellent road tyres out there, and there is little you can fault them on.

Good traction in wet and dry conditions, good mileage, smooth control in corners and all that goes with it. At the other end of the terrain spectrum, you have the “real” off road tyres. Nice and aggressive knobbly with a soft compound that bites into the dirt, cleans itself in mud and flexibility to “stick” to rocks and the like. The sad part is that a good road tyre is no-good off-road and a good off-road tyre is no-good on the tar. And us “Adventure riders” do both. The manufacturers fully realize that, so they developed the so-called 50/50, 70/30, etc tyres, which indicates their suitability for tar / dirt respectively. These tyres supposedly solve a problem on the one hand, but the compromise remains. A 50/50 tyre is marketed as “good for both, but not as good on the tar as a road tyre and not as good as a knobbly in bush”. So we could also say that it is half OK in most places, but not good anywhere. You now ride with compromised ability everywhere. So, before we go for the 50/50 solution, think a little more carefully about the terrain where you ride most, and get a tyre that is more biased to that terrain. This brings maximum enjoyment in the area where you ride most, and you only have to live with increased compromise in terrain that you do not encounter that often.

If you do and enjoy off-road riding more, use the right knobbly tyre and just take it easy on the tar. And the flip side is also true, it is no good having a knobbly tyre if you commute 100 km every day and do 50km on wide gravel on the weekend. A 50/50 tyre combination may therefore not always be the best solution for “Adventure Riding” and it dictates a little more thought to ensure optimal enjoyment of your machine in the terrain you like to ride most.

Happy rubber burning till next month!

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