There seems to be a lot of talk about this new African Twin by Honda, and as I can see from the car show, it is well deserved. After taking a slow walk around examining the bike, fittings, and so on, it was an impressive bike. It seems to be a typical Honda build where everything just fits perfectly. And of course did I mention its a Honda? It is and therefore reliable, low maintenance and it would most likely have being my choice if it were for sale last year.
The seat seem to be very very comfortable and seemed to invite my butt for a long ride through the mountains. The instrument cluster was updated and modern with today’s choice electronic features. The one odd part about the bike at the show was that it was automatic! Yes you heard that correctly. There was just a well positioned foot lever on the left side to rest your foot void of any clutch lever. However, I was told that they are available with a manual transmission as well. The automatic may be a game changer for some who have left hand issues or left foot issues but still want to ride off and on the road.
The size, weight and balance was very comparable to my F700GS and an F800GS. They do not offer the bike lowered so for my wife the F-700GS still remains the best choice because of the factory lowering options. It comes with some aggressive looking tires that seem more like 40/60 dirt/road rather than the 20/80 that comes with the F-700GS.
I could not ride the bike at the show but I plan to test ride one at one of the Honda Test Ride Days this summer. Not that it will change my mind about the F700GS that I presently ride but it just might be a fun day.
My brother-in-law however (Wayne Groom) may have his eye on this bike since he is a devoted Honda Rider and presently has a rather large Honda XL1000V Varadero for his size and this may be his perfect bike. However, my brother-in-law never gets rid of anything so it actually may be an addition to his rather extensive collection of vehicles. He still has his first JEEP YJ from 30 years ago and every other jeep, pick-up, motorbike, scooter cars that he has had since then (except for a couple of non-interesting cars like a Chrysler Horizon I believe).
Perhaps next visit I should do a little story about his collection with the history and pictures.
African Twin Specifications
The following were taken from Honda’s Web Site at www.motorcycle.honda.ca
David Reese said:
I have been riding a Vespa 250 for several years now. It’s perfect for around town purposes, even for some touring of New England.
But I am planning to ride the Transamerican Trail, an off-road dirt trail across America, in some of the western states next year. I have been looking at the African Twin for some time. It is likely to be my first choice for riding the Transamerican Trail. The timing for the African Twin’s appearance could have been better.
David Reese said:
Typo in my first post. It should read: The timing of the African Twin’s appearance could not have been better.
Peter Sanderson said:
Its a nice bike. For dirt roads many of my friends are starting to feel that a smaller lighter dual sport bike is preferable such as the Suzuki DR-Z400S? I personally am not an expert in this area.
David Reese said:
I certainly am not an expert on dual sport bikes either. The advantage of a relatively big bike, like the African Twin, is that I could use it for cross-country touring as well. We’ll see.