Unless you live in a cave far, far away, you probably already know that Honda have finally launched their long-awaited Africa Twin. Pretty much every magazine, website and Internet TV show has done a review on it, with some famous riders giving their views. Well here’s the opinion of someone who’s not famous, but does ride quite bit in the terrain this bike was built for.
I was lucky enough to be loaned the DCT version of the Africa Twin by Grafton Motorcycles who are Honda main dealers out in the Kingston area of Milton Keynes. DCT? It stands for Dual Clutch Transmission, which basically means it has a pretty much automatic mode known back in the day as Twist and Go.
I must admit, when I heard Honda where bringing out a new version of the Africa Twin, I was a bit concerned about all the hype coming from all angles long before the release. I wanted to wait and see for myself if this was going to be a true “Adventure” bike or if Honda were just launching a lookalike, as many others had done, but with the iconic name. Today I have been pleasantly surprised.
Picking the bike up in the morning while it was pouring with rain was always going to put a dampener on the ride (see what I did there?). Having had the “auto” gear system explained to me, I headed off to find some roads to play on. My first thought was that the small screen wasn’t going to give much protection from the wind. However, it did seem to do the job and even with a peaked lid on i didn’t really suffer any head shake. As for the lack of clutch and gear lever – that was very strange to start with and I found myself kicking thin-air a couple of times.
At first the auto box was hard to get my head around and it seemed to change up to 6th gear far quicker than I would do on a manual. This did mean that at some points I was riding in 6th at 30mph and it didn’t want to drop down to accelerate away. I did learn that it is possible to drop the gears manually from a button on the left of the bars. It has plenty of pull just in normal drive and I would imagine it has fantastic response once switched into Sports mode.
Because of the conditions it was difficult to push the bike too hard, so I can only comment on what I have done on it today, but it certainly ticked a lot of boxes. It’s a nice height for me, the seat is very comfortable, and the heated grips where a nice addition today. It’s light and easy to handle, and gives lots of rider confidence. Would I own one? In this country, yes, along with a whole lot of others.
Obviously today’s ride was a lot different to the conditions I normally ride in. I would love the chance to take it out and ride it across Southern Africa just to see how well it shakes down and handles that terrain. (Honda SA if your reading this!)
If you are thinking of getting one then you should just go ride one. It’s typically Honda. Looks nice and easy to ride. As far as specifications go then its quite easy to get a leaflet or go online to find them. In my opinion, specs are for the geeks. Get on it and see how it suits you. If you are in the area, then Grafton Motorcycles have an open day for test rides on Saturday 9th April 2016.
Like I said, this is just my quick opinion. In short I enjoyed it for the time I had it. Now it’s your turn to see for yourself.