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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
A friend and I are dead set on entering the Scram Africa rally in Morocco the year after next (2023). It looks like paris Dakar lite for yuppies but we're OK with this.


We have no real experience off road and even less in sandy conditions but will take the time to train and learn.

In the meantime, we've already had a lot of fun comparing bike ideas and scouring the classifieds.

He's keen on an 80s or 90s jap bike like a 600xt. They were built for this sh*t and are cheap, a tenere makes a lot of sense.

Unfortunately, good sense isn't my forte.

It's purely hypothetical at this stage but I love daydreaming about this sort of thing.

If it had to be a classic triumph, I could go stock with my t100c with a rebuild next winter and some discreet but judicious strengthening and upgrades or buy a tr6 project and go full desert sled.

What do you reckon, 500 or 650? Desert sled or stock (ish)?

E
 

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Long distance has been done many times on old Triumphs. Down to your preparation like John Youngs trident iron butt ride. I would make sure i had good ground clearance as a first step. I have been around North Africa area and it was flat but with a Mountain range in the background with snow peaks although 85C on the flat ground. Roads were quite good and locals use mostly 50cc mopeds. Dusty and grass with goats sheep and cattle wandering around.
I suppose preparation would include tyres and tubes,new chain and clutch at the least. Battery and electronic ignition ,fuel filter. I would not want to go on a new build and would not unbolt a good running bike. Just check it over and do some good riding for 500 miles locally before setting off.
A 500 will be a lot smoother and still good power at near 40BHP for a Daytona. I would take a 4 speed 650 as first choice. An oil in frame version as it has longer suspension travel than a pre oil in frame .
Be interesting how your challenge works out.
I did advise a local rider on a journey from end to end of the UK in under 24 hours. He did very little preparation and failed after just 150 miles so carried on with a modern bike. I dont think he looked over the 1971 TR6 at all. That would have just been a ride on main roads and he would have to keep below 65mph to avoid fatigue. He did make it there on the new bike and it was supporting a charity for his very ill Daughter. The man rides every day throughout the year so not a wimp. I doubt i could ride that far in 24 hours.
Ideal to take your known T100C with preparation though.
 

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Ted Simons went around the world in “Jupiter’s Travels” using a reasonably young (new?) Daytona.
He broke down a couple of times afaik.
Any older bike is a bit more prone to break down and all sorts of ancient bikes see to run with shade tree maintenance in places like India.
i don’t think I’d do it but I wouldn’t fancy it on a new bike with a factory back up team!
 

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What do you reckon, 500 or 650? Desert sled or stock (ish)?
I would go with a 650 Bonneville modified in every way for the terrain, endurance and climate. You may or may not finish, survive or win, who knows, but your pics and vids documenting your first Moroccan Scram will be cooler on a vintage Bonneville than any other make of motorcycle by far.
 

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Good for you, I wish you all the luck in the world. I am going to be a bit sacrilegious and suggest (gasp) a Norton. A Norton desert sled as in a N15 or P11. If you insist on Triumph I'd go with a single carb & I would think real hard about an oif as their oil capacity is minimal.
 

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Suspension, needs to have as much travel as you can get and be well damped, otherwise you’ll be fighting the bike over bumps and having no fun at all.

Bike needs to be set up so you can stand and you want a fairly high seat so you can transition from sitting to standing easily.
Practice riding standing up.

Air filter, if you’re in dunes, dust or feshfesh, you’ll need an air filter that works and that you can service quickly and easily every evening.

Think about fitting mousses or get good at fixing punctures, choose the right tyres it will make all the difference to how much you enjoy the riding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I suppose preparation would include tyres and tubes,new chain and clutch at the least. Battery and electronic ignition ,fuel filter. I would not want to go on a new build and would not unbolt a good running bike. Just check it over and do some good riding for 500 miles locally before setting off.
A 500 will be a lot smoother and still good power at near 40BHP for a Daytona. I would take a 4 speed 650 as first choice. An oil in frame version as it has longer suspension travel than a pre oil in frame .

I did advise a local rider on a journey from end to end of the UK in under 24 hours. He did very little preparation and failed after just 150 miles so carried on with a modern bike. I dont think he looked over the 1971 TR6 at all. That would have just been a ride on main roads and he would have to keep below 65mph to avoid fatigue. He did make it there on the new bike and it was supporting a charity for his very ill Daughter. The man rides every day throughout the year so not a wimp. I doubt i could ride that far in 24 hours.
Ideal to take your known T100C with preparation though.
Thanks. My 500 acutally completed a round the UK ride for charity with a PO, although it did burn a hole in a piston half way through!

I use the bike several times a week and am getting to know it well. I've fitted a new wiring harness, coils, rebuilt the carb, fitted a new oil pump after a wet sumping episode, new front axle bearings and brakes, changed the gearbox sprocket, added a cartridge oil filter...Its all knowledge that is transferable to another britbike of the same era.

I'm 5'9 so the 500 is a good fit for me and having recently had to pick it up after a low speed fall, it's reasonably light for a lump of old steel.

I have to sort out a stripped rocker bolt but other than that she's running nicely. I've had the gearbox apart but haven't touched the engine.

Ted Simons went around the world in “Jupiter’s Travels” using a reasonably young (new?) Daytona.
He broke down a couple of times afaik.
Any older bike is a bit more prone to break down and all sorts of ancient bikes see to run with shade tree maintenance in places like India.
i don’t think I’d do it but I wouldn’t fancy it on a new bike with a factory back up team!
It's all Ted Simons fault, I tore through his books recently. Graham Ham (daisys dairies) is also a terrible influence. Ted Simon had a nearly new T100 in police spec. The bike coped admirably well considering the punishment he meated out to it. 1600mi of rough terrain and desert over a week will be brutal but nothing compared to what he went through.

I would go with a 650 Bonneville modified in every way for the terrain, endurance and climate. You may or may not finish, survive or win, who knows, but your pics and vids documenting your first Moroccan Scram will be cooler on a vintage Bonneville than any other make of motorcycle by far.
I don't know about looking cool but the eccentric idiocy of the challenge of doing this on an old triumph makes me smile. It's not a race by the way, I think someone even did it on a moped one year.

Good for you, I wish you all the luck in the world. I am going to be a bit sacrilegious and suggest (gasp) a Norton. A Norton desert sled as in a N15 or P11. If you insist on Triumph I'd go with a single carb & I would think real hard about an oif as their oil capacity is minimal.
They're beautiful but I think out of my price range and it would be a shame to trash a survivor. The P11 power to weight specs are impressive though!

Suspension, needs to have as much travel as you can get and be well damped, otherwise you’ll be fighting the bike over bumps and having no fun at all.

Bike needs to be set up so you can stand and you want a fairly high seat so you can transition from sitting to standing easily.
Practice riding standing up.

Air filter, if you’re in dunes, dust or feshfesh, you’ll need an air filter that works and that you can service quickly and easily every evening.

Think about fitting mousses or get good at fixing punctures, choose the right tyres it will make all the difference to how much you enjoy the riding.
Thanks. So you're saying avoid stock forks?

It really comes down to this: do I risk trashing my trusted t100c which is in a nice original condition or do I take the plunge and risk with a project bike (which would almost certainly be a TR6)?

Thanks everyone for the advice

This a fun writeup of a previous edition: https://www.cycleworld.com/story/bikes/crossing-the-sahara-desert-on-a-harley-sportster-883/
 

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Doing a ride like this on a whim is almost sure to end in failure, but some failures are more and exciting fun than others.

In this case, in order to have a reasonable shot at even finishing, you'd need to either start with a classic Triumph that has already been meticulously built and prepared for it, or meticulously build and prepare one yourself.

Even "fixing up" a good-running bike is well below "step 1" for a major distance event.
 

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ah Just thought of another not so cheap alternative.
Matchless G80CS. Don't know how much they're going for where you are, but they seem to be less expensive than one would expect over here.
 

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More reading, learn how to fix your bike with string and wire.. ;)



Then there’s Mondo Enduro of course.

Suspension needs to work and have sufficient travel to work off road. Whether you can get standard forks to behave decently I don’t know. I’ve taken my Thunderbird up down a few easy byways and I wouldn’t like to do it for more than an hour or so, the forks which I imagine are similar to yours, are basically just bouncy things with marginal damping (I think the oil is just to keep them from going rusty inside )
At the very least, rebuild the forks with modern seals and fit new springs and replace the rear shocks with something decent.

If you’ve not ridden off road before then definitely do so before you go or you will be broken half way through the first day.
Maybe do an off road sampler day or weekend on a proper trail bike to get an idea of the skills you need. Then try these skills out on your Triumph.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Doing a ride like this on a whim is almost sure to end in failure, but some failures are more and exciting fun than others.

In this case, in order to have a reasonable shot at even finishing, you'd need to either start with a classic Triumph that has already been meticulously built and prepared for it, or meticulously build and prepare one yourself.

Even "fixing up" a good-running bike is well below "step 1" for a major distance event.
As cheesy as it sounds, it's the taking part that counts

There isn't a shortage of bikes with a lot of work already done that would be good starting points. Finished bike still needs to be built not bought though or there will be no glory in it for me.

1968 Triumph T120 TR6 Desert Sled Scrambler 650cc For Sale | Car And Classic

1969 Triumph Bonneville “Desert Sled” For Sale | Car And Classic

1966 Triumph Trophy TR6 Desert Racer Spec For Sale | Car And Classic
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
More reading, learn how to fix your bike with string and wire.. ;)



Then there’s Mondo Enduro of course.

Suspension needs to work and have sufficient travel to work off road. Whether you can get standard forks to behave decently I don’t know. I’ve taken my Thunderbird up down a few easy byways and I wouldn’t like to do it for more than an hour or so, the forks which I imagine are similar to yours, are basically just bouncy things with marginal damping (I think the oil is just to keep them from going rusty inside )
At the very least, rebuild the forks with modern seals and fit new springs and replace the rear shocks with something decent.

If you’ve not ridden off road before then definitely do so before you go or you will be broken half way through the first day.
Maybe do an off road sampler day or weekend on a proper trail bike to get an idea of the skills you need. Then try these skills out on your Triumph.
Saw the movie years ago, will try the book. Thanks!

I'll definitely spend a lot of time on trails (mostly muddy tractor paths) here next spring.

I'll add that there is a chase van with mechanics that follows the riders and there are loads of places to do makeshift repairs in Morocco (I've driven there quite a lot). It's not going to be complete autonomy, far from it.

I've got 20 years of experience driving old land rovers and triumphs all around Europe, have experienced most types of breakdown and generally manage to bodge a repair and keep going :D

This is going to be something else physically and mentally but the basic premise remains the same: getting an old vehicle from A to B ;)
 

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You’ve got the right attitude and that goes a long way

I did Morocco on my 950 Superenduro, it was absolutely superb except in deep sand when I didn’t have the nerve to go fast enough to keep it floating. At one point I swapped with one of the younger lads to ride through a waddi, riding his Honda XT 650 was a revelation, weight distribution was so much better I could just sit at the back of the seat and steer it.
Oh I also misjudged the crest of a dune down in Erg Chebbi, we were actually playing in the little dunes by the road getting used to going fast enough. Sun was quite high and no shadow to show the drop off and I went over the bars and broke two smallest fingers in my throttle hand, that was on day 3.. luckily (or not) I’d broken the same two on the other hand the year before so knew how to deal with them and I had the splints and kit to fix them up and was able to brake with the two big fingers

Somewhere in the middle of the Atlas. Sheepskin is essential

 

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I would imagine your t100c would do well in Morocco ,enough power, quite lightweight, and simple to maintain. I have done classic rally’s over there in a 1968 Vw Baja bug . One thing you need to do is seal the engine really well as the super fine dust over there gets everywhere, use top quality air filters designed for dessert racing. Expect to do many miles over rocky terrain that gives you vehicle a real pounding ,Rocky terrain is far more common than Sandy terrain over there.
The buzz you will get from running a classic in the event will be huge and be so rewarding !
 

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As cheesy as it sounds, it's the taking part that counts

There isn't a shortage of bikes with a lot of work already done that would be good starting points. Finished bike still needs to be built not bought though or there will be no glory in it for me.

1968 Triumph T120 TR6 Desert Sled Scrambler 650cc For Sale | Car And Classic

1969 Triumph Bonneville “Desert Sled” For Sale | Car And Classic

1966 Triumph Trophy TR6 Desert Racer Spec For Sale | Car And Classic
Very worthwhile consideration should go into one of those three and get started!
 

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No one, on any round the world trip, trans-continent ride, ever said "I need a heavier bike".

Me, I took a year to ride around the world on a, wait for it...................................... a Honda CX500! This was in 1980 when BMW /7 series were the ride of choice largely because of the shaft drive. The CX had a shaft drive so I thought why not? It did the job but I do recall getting stuck in sand in the desert in Iran and being helped by an Australian who was returning home to Sydney from London on a Honda 50 step thru. You really do meet the nicest people on a Honda.
 

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Hi Eli,
seal the engine really well as the super fine dust over there gets everywhere,
+1.

Bear in mind the gearbox breathes around the clutch cable. That'll need sealing so you'll need to devise a gearbox breather you can put a dust filter on.

Final-drive chain lubrication - Using the standard chain oiler from the tank is probably unwise - ime, hot engine oil is a rubbish chain lube but will cover the back of the bike in a sticky mixture of oil and dust; otoh, as engine oil is good for lubing the engine, you almost-certainly don't want what amounts to a controlled oil leak? :sneaky: Fwiw, I've used the Scottoiler for about thirty years - carb. vacuum-operated pump (I drilled the T100's manifold before Fraser came up with his electric- or motion-operated pumps) mounted with an additional reservoir behind the rear numberplate. Can provide details if you want to test a similar mounting during your practising?

Hth.

Regards,
 
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