Adventures Guaranteed

Tyre Choice For Morocco

Most of the planning for my trip to Morocco this year has been out of my hands. The boats, dates, itinerary has been dictated by the group I’m travelling with. It makes it easy for me but at the moment it also feels like I’m doing an adventure by proxy.

One important decision I will have to make sooner or later is tyre choice. All the other bikes are being taken down to the south of Spain in a horse trailer, however, I’m going to be riding my R1200GS all the way down. Doing such a long distance on knobblie tyres for off-road desert riding would be pretty un-thinkable. Luckily I’ve got two sets of wheels: the first is the cast wheels that came with the bike; the second is a set of spoked wheels I managed to pick up on eBay for the bargain price of £600.

The cast wheels will be used for riding down to the south of Spain and are fitted with Metzler Tourance tyres. These will also be taken in the back of the support vehicle, just in case the worst should happen to my spoked wheels in Morocco. Having the cast wheels means that I’m less limited in the choice of tyres for the spoked wheels.

Until yesterday I thought I’d managed to decide on Continental TKC80 tyres. Thats what I’ve got on my spoked wheels at the moment and I’ve been pleased with them so far. Until recently I’ve only had one set of brake discs, so switching front wheels has meant a lots of messing around swapping discs. As I’m doing a lot of beach riding at the moment the result is that most of the winter I’ve left the spoked wheels on the bike. The TKC80s have been superb as a knobblie commuting tyre, only have problems when it’s been really cold and very wet.

Yesterday, however, I started reading some reviews of Metzler Karoo tyres (not the Metzler Karoo T!). The general consensus about these tyres is that they’re better than the TKC80s for off-road riding but not so good on the road and that their life expectancy is less that the TKC80s. With the knowledge that most of the riding in Morocco is going to be off-road and that I’m going to have to be keeping up with much smaller 650cc bikes, I’m thinking that the Karoos might be the wiser choice.

I’ve also been thinking about whether or not to get the tyres fitted with inner tubes. Whilst the R1200GS wheels are normally tubeless, it is possible to have tyres fitted with tubes. The benefits of this is easier roadside repairs, should you get a puncture. The drawbacks is that the it causes the tyres to run hotter which can result in punctures and, in the worst case, and blow-out. Not knowing how hot it’s going to get, I’ve decided that the best course of action is to get the tyres fitted without tubes – I’ve also got tubeless puncture repair kit – but take an inner-tube so that it can be used in case of an emergency.

So far the best price that I’ve found these tyres for is on Motorworks.co.uk. I have used them several times in the past and have been very happy with their service. They’re very knowledgable and are happy to help customers, wherever they may be – as Graham Styles (aka. @Brainrotting, http://www.brainrotting.com/) found out in the middle of the jungle in South America!

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About The Author

Adrian Ritchie

Aidy has been riding motorbikes since just after he left university in 2003. His first bike was a 1988 Suzuki GSX-R750 bought for £1000. His second bike was a Suzuki GSF600 Bandit, bought for his adventure to Norway in 2005. Two years later he sold the Bandit to Shane (for him to learn on) and upgrade to a BMW R1200GS... which was promptly trashed one month later by a SMIDSY. Having had the R1200GS repaired, Aidy has spent the next three years giving it a damn good thrashing off-road. 2011 saw the R1200GS take to the remote tracks and desert pistes of Morocco... it managed to keep up with the 650 enduro bikes that make up the rest of the group and made it back to Guernsey in (mostly) one piece. In January 2012, he traded in the R1200GS for a new R1200GS Adventure, planning to use the Pegaso 650 for off-road racing. However, the lure of smaller enduro bikes proved too strong and in April 2012 purchased a BMS G450X