HONDA XRV750 AFRICA TWIN (1989-2003) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

"One of the first Japanese monster trail / desert rally bikes and remains one of the best"

Honda XRV750 Africa Twin motorcycle review - Riding

"One of the first Japanese monster trail / desert rally bikes and remains one of the best"

  • At a glance
  • 742cc  -  61 bhp
  • 38 mpg  -  190 miles range
  • High seat height (860mm)

Overall Rating 3 out of 5

Big trail bike you really can take off road. The Honda XRV750 Africa Twin was one of the first Japanese monster trail / desert rally bikes and remains one of the best. Power output is much lower than the latest machines but the slimmer seat makes it easier to manage one you leave the Tarmac. It’s not light though and even gentle drops can be costly.

Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5

The Honda XRV750 Africa Twin's smooth and stable on the road. The narrow front tyre and wide bars make it quick to turn and it’s excellent in town with excellent balance, visibility and steering lock.  Brakes are better than other big trail bikes of the early 90s but out performed by the latest crop.

Engine 3 out of 5

The Honda XRV750 Africa Twin's very softly tuned V-twin produces reasonable low rev torque but is far from swift. Claimed power is 60bhp but a measured rear wheel figure is more like 52. That’s 600 Diversion territory and much less than a 600 Bandit. Three valve-per-cylinder design is economical and reliability superb.

Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5

The Honda XRV750 Africa Twin's one of the most reliable bikes you can buy. The engine’s derived from the bulletproof VT500 and six figure mileages are quite possible.  is generally good but a few steel parts (such as the front frame that supports the clocks / fairing) can rust if neglected. A good choice for an overland expedition.

Value & Running Costs 2 out of 5

Used values are high of the Honda XRV750 Africa Twin. You could buy a far superior Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom or Aprilia ETV1000 Caponord for the same money, on the same reg-plate. Why? They look awkward and the Africa Twin still looks superb. You’ll pay quite a lot for the Honda, especially considering rival models performance but you shouldn’t loose too much when you sell. Find a Honda Africa Twin for sale.

Insurance group: 12 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

1992 onwards Honda XRV750 Africa Twins get an on-board computer which is fun even if the functions aren’t mind blowing. Headlights aren’t superb – hi-tech bulbs boost output. Comfort’s slightly disappointing – the riding position’s great but the seat’s too thin for long days in the saddle – an after market variant such as Corbin improves thing no end.

Owners' Reviews

9 owners have reviewed their HONDA XRV750 AFRICA TWIN (1989-2003) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.3 out of 5
Engine 4.3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.1 out of 5
Equipment 4.2 out of 5
5 out of 5

Fantastic

21 March 2014 by JustChillOut

Compared to modern bikes, it is thirsty, underpowered, heavy and generally over-priced. Having wanted one since 1994, I finally bought one 2 years ago and I wish I'd done it sooner. The Africa Twin has more character than a crate full of modern... Read more bikes. It is properly capable off-road with a genuine round the world pedigree and also a joy on the road. There is a great community of like minded owners (xrv.org.uk) who are more than willing to provide technical assistance with maintenance (not that it needs much). Parts are easy to get and there are loads of aftermarket upgrades available. Other bikes might come and go but I can't imagine ever parting with my Africa Twin.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Real world biking

14 February 2014 by cbrpilot

I've owned this bike some years now and its always been my choice for rides out. Even with much quicker bikes in the garage, the twin is still my preferred ride. Not without faults. Fuel pump has been changed, as has the rear shock and every... Read more bearing on the bike at some point. Seat gets annoying the other side of 250 miles, but obviously not that bad that I've bothered doing anything about it. Cheaper than a GS, and more capable than a lot of pretenders, although I have to say some of the prices being asked today are rediculous for an old bike. Cult status? Yeah your are a cult if you play £5k for one. Main problem is, there isn't a Honda replacement. Sure there are rumours, but they either won't materialise or it will be another 1200cc over weight pig. So I'll keep this one. Keep putting fuel in it and watching the miles going up. To be honest, even at £3-4k you would be balmy not to do the same. It won't break the bank and the values ain't going down.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Superb tourer

07 November 2011 by grumbleweeduk

I have had my 1991 AT since September after passing the DAS. The bike is very surefooted and has been very reliable having used it everyday to commute the 40 miles each day. I am getting around 35mpg and have covered about 2500 miles in a couple of... Read more months with no agro. Tyres are cheap, the bike is easy to maintain and has enough go to keep me amused!

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5

18 months and counting...

07 January 2010 by sibarksy

Owned my AT for about 18 months now and loving it. I decided on an AT as I was in danger of losing my licence on my VFR800 (far too easy to go silly quick). The AT is great for long distance touring with a few mods and fairly rare (unlike GS') the... Read more only time I see others are at the owners club meets. Super reliable, well put together, and once your used to the handling fun on twisty roads. Sometimes it could do with a few bhp more but not often. A full list of mods is below but I must mention the addition of the cases means it really feels the effects of side winds, especially at motorway speeds. Mods; 1. Taller givi touring screen (I'm 6ft+) 2. Comfier seat. 3. Airhawk seat for seriously long distance. 4. Laser exhaust (twins should be heard!!!). 5. 12v accessory socket. 6. RAM mount for TomTom Go widesceen, waterproof and MUCH cheaper than bike specific GPS. 7. Alpos 36l aluminium boxes, with bags 100% waterproof and so easy to carry kit. 8. 1/2 inch risers for rear rack so I can use the Honda 40l top box with the cases. 9. Halfords heated grips, cheap and effective (all bikes should have heated grips as standard in the UK). 10. Scott Oiler, again should be standard.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Long term review

30 December 2008 by matt250red

Excellent bike which hasn't let me down once in 4 years, taking me plus 1 for a round trip around France (4k miles!) and back and fore motorway commutes. Ok the engine is a touch underpowered for the cc size but as pointed out in previous posts it’s... Read more got plenty of grunt. Honda should make a new model.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A REAL review!!

21 November 2007 by theearlof87

Anyone who knows anything about bikes can tell you that V-Twins are more about torque than power, this bike has pleanty of torque!! It catapults you out the bends with ease. And very smooth all the way through the gears. Just about manages to pull... Read more away in third and away to 75mph(ish). I don't know where MCN get there fuel consumption figures but I get 55mpg average. I fill up every 200 miles with plenty in the tank to spare. "could buy a far superior Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom or Aprilia ETV1000 Caponord for the same money" They may out-perform the XRV on the road, but as this was originally a road-going version of the Dakar winning VT750, it can't really be put in the same category as the "designed, built and bought for the road" Capo and V-Strom. Off-road this bike feels light and agile and so easy to ride. You don't have to rev very high, just keep the bike in second at low revs and let the torque of the engine pull you up any hills, flies up 1 in 1 gradients or even steeper!! The suspension may feel a little wallowy on the road but it really makes sense when you hit the gravel!! It really aids the bike to keep a straight and true path without causing the rider any dis-comfort whatsoever. After trading in my ZZR600 3 months (about 5,000 miles) ago for an Africa Twin, for real life riding I can't rate this bike highly enough. The only thing I must say is be careful when choosing your tyres for this bike. There are lots of styles to take into consideration, from out and out mud/sand, to sticky tarmac!! BTW I'm 5'7" and have no trouble with it so I don't know what the rest of you are complaining about!! LOL

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

My Review

29 April 2002 by John Harris

This bike is TALL! If you're under 5'10" make sure you try before you buy. Otherwise a great bike - big road presence and ability to see over the car in front make for a safer ride.

Read more

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

My Review

10 January 2002 by grovesjo

Had a weird teething fuel supply problem, spluttering on hills - dealer cured it by switching to reserve and back!! I'm a newbie and this bike is a doddle to ride, not to mention, great fun. Suits me fine, but it's VERY high - no good for... Read more short-ar$es!

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
3 out of 5

My Review

17 October 2001 by nerdbiker

A great bike. I've only owned it a month and still grinning. It's deceptively quick because of the low revving engine and can beat pretty much anything off the lights if you want to (even if it loses out on top end). I have no intention of taking it... Read more trail riding but I bought it to go to Europe next year, for which it should be perfect. It's also great when in a lazy riding mood as for a bike it's size it's easy to handle on the move.


Overall Rating 3 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 2 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
Read all 9 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1989
Year discontinued 2003
Original price -
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 12 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 61 bhp
Max torque 46 ft-lb
Top speed 110 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 13.9 secs
Average fuel consumption 38 mpg
Tank range 190 miles
Specification
Engine size 742cc
Engine type 6v V-twin, 5 gears
Frame type Steel perimeter
Fuel capacity 23 litres
Seat height 860mm
Bike weight 202kg
Front suspension Preload
Rear suspension Preload, compression
Front brake Twin 276mm discs
Rear brake 256mm disc
Front tyre size 90/90 x 21
Rear tyre size 140/80 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

1989: Original Honda XRV750 Africa Twin launched in December.
1992: Trip computer added.
1993: Major re-design including new frame, plastics, tank, engine mods, lower seat.
1996: Improved seat and clutch, larger silencer, modified upper fairing and luggage rack.
2003: Honda XRV750 Africa Twin deleted.

Other versions

 
Honda XRV650 Africa Twin: Lighter, higher spec version made in 1988.
Honda XLV750R: High spec shaft driver version made to compete in the Paris-Dakar Rally.

Photo Gallery

  • Honda XRV750 Africa Twin motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda XRV750 Africa Twin motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda XRV750 Africa Twin motorcycle review - Engine
  • Honda XRV750 Africa Twin motorcycle review - Top view
  • Honda XRV750 Africa Twin motorcycle review - Suspension
  • Honda XRV750 Africa Twin motorcycle review - Engine
  • Honda XRV750 Africa Twin motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda XRV750 Africa Twin motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Honda XRV750 Africa Twin motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Honda XRV750 Africa Twin motorcycle review - Front view
  • Honda XRV750 Africa Twin motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda XRV750 Africa Twin motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Honda XRV750 Africa Twin motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda XRV750 Africa Twin motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda XRV750 Africa Twin motorcycle review - Engine
  • Honda XRV750 Africa Twin motorcycle review - Top view
  • Honda XRV750 Africa Twin motorcycle review - Suspension
  • Honda XRV750 Africa Twin motorcycle review - Engine
  • Honda XRV750 Africa Twin motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda XRV750 Africa Twin motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Honda XRV750 Africa Twin motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Honda XRV750 Africa Twin motorcycle review - Front view
  • Honda XRV750 Africa Twin motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda XRV750 Africa Twin motorcycle review - Rear view