Turkana MadMules expedition to the Richtersveld
Advenduro motorcycle expedition – Searching for freedom and being pioneers in our own minds.
In the far north, close to the Namibian border lies a vast barren landscape. A place we have all explored in some shape or form, but never traversed it unsupported.
The idea was simple – three friends, three bikes kitted with the new Turkana MadMules rackless soft luggage and five days to go do epic shit. Riding from sunrise to sunset carrying everything we need with us. Searching for freedom and being pioneers in our own minds. Or like I like to put it – Expedition leaders of our own expeditions.
When riding in such remote places with no support and having to be totally self-sufficient there are two things in my mind that is important.
Reliability of your equipment and a positive attitude. The positive attitude we knew we had, we just had to ensure that we had the most reliable tools to get us there and back.
Because of the technical terrain and the distances, we had to cover each day, big bikes would not have made sense. So, we opted for some lightweight 500cc bikes. They are easier to handle in sand and rocks, lighter on fuel with long range tanks and we could fit mousses to avoid punctures. In other words, the perfect tool for the job.
But everything in life comes with pros and cons. Where you can load a big bike with everything you own plus the cat, the smaller capacity bike is limited.
For one the 500 does not really have a sub-frame so adding luggage is a challenge.We looked at all the available options. Riding with Backpacks – which would impact our water carrying ability, strapping bags to the back and all sorts of soft luggage systems available on the market.
After seeing a picture of the Turkana Mad Mules on a KTM 500 and knowing that the designers themselves have first hand experience of travelling for prolonged periods of time, I had to get in contact.
We managed to get hold of two 15L sets. We fitted them to two of the bikes and divided our luggage between them. At first, I was a bit sceptical as I am very weary of strapping anything to a motorcycle. It must be 100% safe and secure before I would even consider doing so.
Setting off and following in the dust of my friends I took it easy. Watching the other bike with Mad Mules ahead of me to see whether it is moving around or impacting the handling of the bike at all. After hitting the first ruts and a dead-end we pulled up next to one another pointing at the bags, giving a simultaneous thumbs up and raced off into the distance.
If there is one thing other than functionality that sets the Turkana gear apart from the other products on the market it is the quality. They come with a lifetime guarantee, and for a damn good reason. These things are sturdy enough to survive a small nuclear blast.
As we had no set route and only followed waypoints on the GPS, we unintendedly took them through 5km of thorn trees, rocks, dust, water and whatever nature could throw at us. Not once did they move or impacted the handling of the bike. The bags fit snugly to the bike and is 100% dust proof.
Not even the gnarly thorns could penetrate the MadMules rackless luggage
Unfortunately, the trip ended a day early with a nasty crash, but the Mad Mules, or Insane Mules as I like to call them was a revelation. As we all know the more space you have the more nonsense you pack. In that regard the 15L is perhaps a bit of an overkill for one person.
For our next expedition we have already decided on the perfect set-up. We will have three sets of 10L Mad Mules fitted to each bike. It is more than enough space for a week’s comfortable travel and will allow for better weight distribution between the three bikes.
I am a firm believer that one should try different products and set-ups until you find what works for you, your riding style and the trip you have planned. The Turkana rackless MadMules is just that for me. It is so versatile that you can fit it to any bike, and in my case even my bicycle now that I cannot ride a motorbike for a few months.
I cannot wait to see what appears under the Christmas tree this year
Article and photos: Charl du Plessis
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