Morocco 2014 - on- and off-road on a Moto Morini

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by sushi7474, May 14, 2014.

  1. sushi7474

    sushi7474 Starting up

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    Hello gentlemen,

    This is my first road report from a recent trip to Morocco. I published it already on the italian GP forum, but might be also interesting for the ADV folks :-)
    It was already my second visit to Morocco, but the first one on the bike. I did not prepare the bike in a specific way, aside from upgrading the front fork (Andreani cartridges/ Ohlins copy) and standard MM hand-guards and frame-guard obtained from Ebay.

    The trip
    I already knew, how vast the country is, but riding on a bike, you get to understand it in an intense way (i.e. butt-pain :-)). Overall, it was full 14 days of riding, covering over 4.000 km, 1.000 km of it ridden off-road.
    We drove without hard-cases, supported by a truck that kept our luggage and would be used as a recovery truck, should one of the bikes become irreparable (this became the case for a BMW 800 GS and a KTM 990 ADV )

    As for the actual trip - we started from Malaga and over Tanger entered the Moroccan land. The first few days went over populated areas, but at every opportunity we switched to “piste” – on the pictures below, I have tried to highlight nice off-road parts of the trip…

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    During the trip, the conditions changed swiftly from mediterranean “mild”

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    to alpine “bloody cold” - 1C and snowstorm during crossing the crest in Agoudal/ Dades (this is the day after the storm :D )

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    and to “hot as hell” in the south - pictures from Iriki and Merzouga as examples, but damn hot also elsewhere at the Algerian border :D

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    I am not a very seasoned off-road rider, but have some experience in dirt. We covered 100´s of kilometers on stone-covered single trails, pistes and sand. All the bikes did receive a fair share of abuse, losing bolts, breaking levers and plastics (no bones fortunately) :D

    The Granpasso was one of the exotics among the predictable BMW/ KTM stable. It performed fairly well and did get home without the help of recovery truck. Absolutely no technical issues on the single trail and on stones and brilliant performance on Moroccan tarmac! - I know, I know - there are still 3 mm on the edge, but still felt like a superbike hero on the Tizin Tes and Tizin Tichka passes :D .

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    On the other hand, the bike felt slightly desperate in sand - or fech-fech in our case...

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    Granpasso perfromance
    The upgrade of the fork cartridges was probably the best bike-related investment ever made, but still did not off-set some of the constructional flaws (at least for a hard-abused ADV bike). I will try to summarize them below – some of them will be addressed by myself I a few weeks, but some simply remain as they are. (Please understand these as my subjective point of view and other riders might think otherwise :D )

    1) Gearing – in technical parts I always drove in 1st gear – the 2nd was too fast (50+ km/h), resulting in constant engine overheating and difficulty in managing engine power. (We need a 49 tooth rear sprocket! :D ).

    2) Driver foot-pegs (construction) – I managed to break both foot-peg bases (but succeeded in repairing them!) On other ADV bikes (KTM, BMW), these are welded to the frame, on GP these are only bolted – this is fairly easily remedied and I will weld them as well). A real must-have mod for all overland riders.

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    3) Missing radiator protection – a must for every serious ADV rider. I managed to dent the radiator with flying stones but luckily did not damage it too much. A small coke-bottle filled with water was sufficient for a whole day riding.

    4) Foot-brake/ Gear-change levers – on GP these have a very specific design and are not so easy to replace once broken. Looking at BMW design on 1200 GS, I envy BMW owners how easy such replacement can be.

    5) Driver foot-pegs (location) – this is one of the major flaws for riding in sand/ challenging circumstances. Due to location of driver pegs to the rear, it is almost impossible to adapt an effective “desert-riding-position” (i.e. butt over rear seat and center of gravity over rear wheel). Thus, you are not able to “fly” over sand, but are always “plowing” it with front wheel :-)

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    6) Geometry – I consider the GP´s geometry very close to a streetbike. It falls into curves (which I LOVE), but in desert, you simply need certain level of “stability” (like 1150 GS). Again – this is a feature, so love it or leave it :-)

    All in all, the trip was great and enjoyed it much. However, next time AND for such difficult circumstances, I would choose a different bike – a KTM 690 enduro would probably be the right bike up to the the task ;)

    I have also made some video footage, so once ready, I will post it here as well...

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    Hope you liked - I will add some more pics later, since 100´s were made and need to be sorted out :-)

    P.S.
    Did I already mention that I love the country?

    :D
    Roman
    #1
  2. young1

    young1 Long timer

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    Thank you for sharing, I am in Spain at the moment and are heading to Morocco (via Lisbon where I pick my wife up who is flying in from New Zealand) so have found your post most helpful.

    Kiwi Mike
    #2
  3. PHILinFRANCE

    PHILinFRANCE Long timer

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    Well done that man :clap its a great place and so varied , been 3 times myself and recognise many of the places in the pics !!! you'd really enjoy it on a 690 ...........................when you're there...............getting there might sting:rofl
    #3
  4. Jorik

    Jorik Adventurer

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    Great trip!
    In the spring of 2012 I had about the same route in Morocco with bias towards mountain roads to the North-East from Qurzazate. Beautiful country and friendly locals.
    Thank you for sharing photos and induction good memories :nod
    #4
  5. sushi7474

    sushi7474 Starting up

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    Be aware that the road from Misour - Guercif - Ketama - Chefchaouen is in the middle of the "marihuana farms" region and locals might be hostile at times. The landscape is wonderful (imagine 250 km full of curves :D), but when pausing at the road edge, we were approached in 30 secs intervals with hash dealers, some of them fairly aggressive. (keep also in mind that buying stuff usually means being stopped by cops with 100´s of meters - so beware ;-) )

    The magic lies in "keeping moving" :-)
    #5
  6. keiPHadventure

    keiPHadventure Adventurer

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    In! Let it begin! Always wanted to witness an RR from Morocco as I'm asian and I haven't learned much about that country.

    Beautiful pix mate, and an even prettier motorbike! Wow! This is going to be fun! Cheers!

    :clap
    #6
  7. sushi7474

    sushi7474 Starting up

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    Hello gentlemen - few more photos from the recent trip without particular order - hope you enjoy!

    Roman

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    #7
  8. matus

    matus Adventurer

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    krasa!
    #8
  9. Gianp

    Gianp Adventurer

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    I have wondered how those bikes do when they are used in real offroad conditions. They are dream bike for me.
    #9
  10. sushi7474

    sushi7474 Starting up

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    Hello,
    as mentioned in the original post - on hardpack, gravel, stone, the performance is great - very stable bike. On the other hand, sandy ground and front-heavy geometry of the bike makes moving the weight to the back almost impossible (or you need to be a really big guy - ~1,90+). Thus you typically lose stability on sandy ground fast, start "plowing" and try desperately to save the bike :-)

    My other gripe is the gearing - in more technical passages, you are either too fast in the 2nd gear or striving with the 1st gear.

    It is a great bike for touring and light off-road, but if you really want go off-road, there are alternatives better suited for the task.

    Let me know, if you have more questions.

    regards
    R.
    #10