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