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Choosing a motorbike

Once again, I was looking for the ideal motorcycle for our expedition in Africa and Middle East. Based on my experience from my previous adventure, I set four requirements to be fulfilled by my next motorbike, which I present in order of priority:

1. Having both an electric and a kick starter

For all of you who have been following me on my previous journey, you probably still remember of the times I was regretting not having a motorcycle with a kick starter. I had to push my bike dozens of times to start the engine, every time its small battery went empty. Without doubt, a kick starter is more than necessary.
On the other hand, an electric starter is very useful, as it makes starting the engine a piece of cake. Besides, in hard conditions (e.g. on a steep slope or with an aching leg) it is very difficult to use a kick starter. In addition, on a journey like this, my motorcycle is more than a vehicle to me. It is my home, so an electric circuit is necessary in order to charge my camera, mobile phone, GPS device, intercom headset, laptop and so on.

2. Having a carburetor

With such a poor fuel quality in those countries I am traveling in, there is no chance for the fuel supply system not to choke up. It is easy to open and clean the carburetor anywhere. A fuel injection system, on the other hand, is hard to clean in the middle of nowhere and it is impossible to repair it there. It is not rare for those systems to fail, even in Greece, let alone in the extreme driving conditions we expose our motorcycles in such a trip.

3. Having an air-cooled engine

A liquid-cooled engine has many more parts that may break: radiator, pipes, thermostat, pump etc. Especially when riding off-road, breaking the radiator on a fall is not that difficult to happen.

4. Having an engine working in low compression

Because of the poor fuel quality we mentioned before, it is important for the engine to work in low compression, in order to last thousands of miles in such conditions. I should remind you that, on the mountains of Tajikistan, the only fuel I could find was of 73 octanes! Even in the rest of the areas where I was riding, it was not much better.


Naturally, what I seek on a motorcycle for such an endeavor is its reliability, and not its performance. I do not race. I make a long journey, during of which the stamina of the motorcycle is being tested. Always focusing on off-road riding, a light enduro is what I need.


I have tested many different motorbikes: Honda Dominator 250, Yamaha Serow 225, Beta Alp 4.0, Honda XR 400, even the latest Honda CRF 250X. Guess with what I ended up…

Honda XR 250 S

Does it ring a bell? Of course! It’s a Honda XR 250 S, just like the one I had during my previous trip! But this one has an important difference…

It has a kick starter too!

Have a closer look… It has both an electric and a kick starter! This makes it the vehicle of my dreams! No matter how many motorcycles I’ve tried, there is no other matching all my requirements.


On this video you can check out how we rebuilt our motorbikes!


Baobabis (the bike of Elias)

Leonida (the bike of Christina)


Where is mad nomad
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