Choosing bike for African tour and beyond

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
tdhuria
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Joined: 7 Jul 2015, 12:21pm

Choosing bike for African tour and beyond

Postby tdhuria » 7 Jul 2015, 12:38pm

Hello there

Please help deciding a suitable bike

I am planning to paddle length and breadth of Africa mostly through dirt roads. As I have a very tight budget I was planning to buy a second hand Ridgeback mountain bike. what do you suggest if this is a good enough bike for the task? Seller is offering this bike for £150.

Thanks

Details:
- RIDGEBACK 6061-T6 Heat Treated Alloy 26" wheels;
- 19" Lightweight Hei-Ten Steel Frame
- 21-speed gearing allowing easier hill climbing; SHIMANO Rapidfire Gear Shifters
- SHIMANO SIS Front and Rear Derailleur
- SHIMANO Alloy Cranks
- SHIMANO V-brakes
- 26 x 1.90 City slick tyres in good condition but will replace with Schwalbe Marathon PlusTour
Image Attachments
Ridgeback.JPG

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jardine
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Location: London

Re: Choosing bike for African tour and beyond

Postby jardine » 7 Jul 2015, 1:57pm

Looks OK- things to ask yourself are:
1) Is it comfortable? You won't know until you've ridden a couple of days on it. I would venture that a couple of days into your Africa expedition would be a bad time to find out. The saddle might actually be the most important component.
2) Is there anything on it that's exotic/fragile? In West Africa (Mali/Niger) in the mid '90s the locals used to just take the gears off any fancy-dan Western mountain-bikes that found their way there... the village mechanics are smart, skilled and resourceful, but you may find their methods and resources somewhat alarming.

Good luck!

m-gineering
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Re: Choosing bike for African tour and beyond

Postby m-gineering » 7 Jul 2015, 2:06pm

tdhuria wrote:Hello there

Please help deciding a suitable bike

I am planning to paddle length and breadth of Africa mostly through dirt roads. As I have a very tight budget I was planning to buy a second hand Ridgeback mountain bike. what do you suggest if this is a good enough bike for the task? Seller is offering this bike for £150.


Even in good nick 150 is too much, but this bike is toast. It has been in a collision, just look at the fork.
Marten

Touring advice for NL: www.m-gineering.nl/touringg.htm

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horizon
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Re: Choosing bike for African tour and beyond

Postby horizon » 7 Jul 2015, 2:08pm

Don't think bike, think frame and parts. Is the frame OK? Steel, takes wide tyres, V brakes, all standard and simple. Could be repaired if it buckles under the strain. Is everything else simple, common and replaceable?

Think too about the weight you will carry, how you will carry it and the racks you need. Your luggage and how you carry it will be vulnerable points in terms of breakages and the effect on wheels, spokes and frame.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

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horizon
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Re: Choosing bike for African tour and beyond

Postby horizon » 7 Jul 2015, 2:10pm

m-gineering wrote:
Even in good nick 150 is too much, but this bike is toast. It has been in a collision, just look at the fork.


The bike looks quite nice (worth £100 + maybe) but I too looked and looked at the fork - is it the photo?
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

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Si
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Re: Choosing bike for African tour and beyond

Postby Si » 7 Jul 2015, 3:19pm

nope, if you enlarge the photo it looks even more bent.....

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cycleruk
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Re: Choosing bike for African tour and beyond

Postby cycleruk » 7 Jul 2015, 5:21pm

+1 forks look bent - don't touch it.
You'll never know if you don't try it.

mercalia
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Re: Choosing bike for African tour and beyond

Postby mercalia » 7 Jul 2015, 5:40pm

yep forks look bent, had a nasty head on collision.

tell tale sign is the front wheel rim same as rear? I bet not as has been replaced after the collision?

makes me really angry when some one tries to sell some thing like that and dont tell the buyer. depending on ignorance to move it along.

tdhuria
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Joined: 7 Jul 2015, 12:21pm

Re: Choosing bike for African tour and beyond

Postby tdhuria » 7 Jul 2015, 5:58pm

Thanks a lot guys for very helpful feedback.

cheers

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horizon
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Re: Choosing bike for African tour and beyond

Postby horizon » 7 Jul 2015, 6:29pm

So that still leaves the question: "Had the forks etc been OK, was this bike OK for the intended purpose on that budget?"
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

chocjohn9
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Re: Choosing bike for African tour and beyond

Postby chocjohn9 » 7 Jul 2015, 7:30pm

No, it is not good value, when there is a quite good looking Dawes Sardar on fleabay currently going for £99.50.
Yes, it will go up, but I doubt by too much and I'd feel much happier with this than the Ridgeback. The frame and components are better and this is generally a well thought of bike, no? It's the better steel version, too. The OP should consider this, if it is the right size.

As for the £150 bike budget, though, I don't really understand why there is such a tight financial constrain. Why go to all the expense of getting there and starting out on a long and probably quite hard trip, only for a sub-standard/old/poorly working bike to fail on you, within the first 100 miles? Better to spend a bit more and make it around, enjoying yourself rather than either being forced to give up, having to constantly worry that it will break any moment or having to go to huge time/financial cost of fixing the damn thing, once there?

thirdcrank
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Re: Choosing bike for African tour and beyond

Postby thirdcrank » 7 Jul 2015, 7:54pm

Forum member takeonafrica might have useful advice.

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horizon
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Re: Choosing bike for African tour and beyond

Postby horizon » 7 Jul 2015, 8:11pm

chocjohn9 wrote:
As for the £150 bike budget, though, I don't really understand why there is such a tight financial constrain.


This is the elephant in the room, to coin a phrase.

It often comes up on the forum but most members of this forum are too polite to challenge it. I've tried in the past but you are asking someone to re-shape their vision of their trip while they are simply asking whether the £50 bike they found in the neighbour's garage is right for their trip to China. It makes me cross too because bikes are either seen as too ridiculous to spend any money on or are consumer objects that ridiculous money must be spent on. It makes no sense.

The obvious solution is for the OP to spend a lot more on his bike and either cut down his trip or raise his budget. The normal response to this is that the trip destination is sacrosanct and "if I worked for longer I wouldn't have time to do it" - so it has to be this budget for this trip and the bike is the first thing to go. And the airfare?
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

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shane
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Re: Choosing bike for African tour and beyond

Postby shane » 7 Jul 2015, 8:49pm

horizon wrote:
The obvious solution is for the OP to spend a lot more on his bike and either cut down his trip or raise his budget. The normal response to this is that the trip destination is sacrosanct and "if I worked for longer I wouldn't have time to do it" - so it has to be this budget for this trip and the bike is the first thing to go. And the airfare?


Fly to Africa, Buy a local Chinese made pigeon( or whatever the local name is) bike and start pedalling. They cost about $150-300 new and only have one gear. But...Every village then has spare parts and nothing is impossible on those things.

What an adventure.....

ImageP1010088 by Shane Cycles, on Flickr

ImageP1010112 by Shane Cycles, on Flickr

ImageP1030120 by Shane Cycles, on Flickr

ImageP1030163 by Shane Cycles, on Flickr

ImageP1030157 by Shane Cycles, on Flickr

ImageBegging in Malawi by Shane Cycles, on Flickr

ImageCargo bike by Shane Cycles, on Flickr

ImageP1030175 by Shane Cycles, on Flickr

ImageP1030178 by Shane Cycles, on Flickr

Small print: I cycled through Africa for a year on a very expensive custom made bike without regret, But when I go back it will be on a mountain bike or a pigeon 8)

MartinBrice
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Re: Choosing bike for African tour and beyond

Postby MartinBrice » 7 Jul 2015, 10:08pm

A daft question. This is a trip costing thousands and the OP wants to do it on a crap bike from eBay: given that they know so little about bikes that they need to ask on here, they should phone Thorn and buy something new from them, after taking their advice. The bike needs to be in tiptop condition: steel racks front and rear - not aluminium. Good quality wheels, 26 inch so they can be replaced. Bottom bracket that can be changed in Africa. Saddle that fits and is comfy for several months at a time. And good tent/sleeping bag/stove, etc. Lots of experience if you're going to cross Africa, which the OP obviously does not have. My advice is get a job, save loads of money, get a brand new top of the range expedition bike, do many camping tours and only then, go to Africa. It takes years to pick up the needed skills.
The most important thing is your language skills - if things with hotels/tents/bikes/tummy/money/passport go wrong, it's not a crap bike off eBay that will save you, it's your language skills. Learn French for Africa, Spanish for South America, and as much Mandarin as you can for China.