A good friend of mine purchased a brand new Africa Twin this year and was kind enough to let me take it on a Colorado mountain road adventure! Adventure bikes are one of my favorite types of machine, I have a need to wander everywhere and anywhere the roads and trails can take me so it’s great when one machine can let me explore both! The Africa twin definitely has this capability.
The 1000cc engine is pumping out 93.9hp and 98 ftlbs of torque! This is a machine that you can feel the rear tire dig into the ground as you crank the throttle. It comes with a 3 setting traction control feature that is adjustable in motion depending on your terrain and needs. The ABS can be turned on and off for your preference and riding style. Lets face it sometimes we want to let the rear wheel slide side to side and skid to a stop and other times we like to keep things a bit more under control.
On the highway the Twin glides along smoothly with little vibration and plenty of speed and power. The curves and U-turns are easily negotiated it doesn’t feel heavy to lean one way or the other with its light weight of 534 lbs wet, and the turning radius is superb! When climbing the steeper inclines off-road I kept the traction control at level 2 and it allowed me to sail right over the wet loose rock without kicking the tire out from under me. On the straight gravel road I found it more fun to leave that feature off and get the wheel dancing around a bit behind me slinging some dust. The ground clearance is more than adequate for any terrain and if you happen to get in over your head, so to speak, the skid plate is there to save the day!
The downward slopes were easily navigable with the ABS making sure that I didn’t lock up and go sliding out of control from my 12,000 ft descent. This bike crawled along like a Trials machine with excellent balance and then when I decided to twist the throttle and fly it was right there ready to dig in and climb in all gears at all rates of speed! That’s about the time I decided I was in love. Quick response from zero to let’s go steals my heart every time!
I am 5’9″ and the stock Twin is too tall for me as an off-road vehicle but luckily there are suspension options to modify that problem if I decide to purchase one for myself. Bruce is 6’2″ and the bike seems to fit him perfectly though he does want to put wider pegs on it and may opt for risers for the handle bars. He chose a Delkevic exhaust (an Englewood CO company), Wolfman luggage, Puig windshield, and Givi racks as add-ons so far. A neat little feature I noticed was the plate added to the bottom of the kickstand for better stability on soft ground. I carry around plates for kickstands on my street bikes but this little gadget is a permanently mounted accessory and was only $23.95 online! Unfortunately there is no brand name on it so i can’t give anyone credit for their product.
There is more than enough room for luggage and passengers on this bike. It seems there really isn’t much it isn’t capable of! The earlier models in the late 80’s were 650cc’s and then through the 90’s into early 2000’s they came as a 750cc model, I have read many stories of people literally traveling around the world on them. Now with the 1000cc model the possibilities really are endless.
This machine spends most of its life in the San Juan mountains around Silverton CO so heated grips are a feature that will be added. The head light is very bright but could have a wider range. Compared to the Twins list of awesomeness I’d say the shortcomings are very minimal and some are simply rider specific in this case. That’s another great thing about motorcycles, they can be molded and modified for each riders wants and needs.
If I were to saddle up and hit the trails or the highway I would be damn proud to do it on this machine! Thanks for hitting the nail on the head once again Honda!