Having attended the launch of the Honda Africa Twin in South Africa at the end of last year, I knew what I was getting when my long-term test bike arrived, but that didn’t make me any less excited!
It came from Honda fully loaded with top box, panniers, crash bars, spot lights, heated grips and a tall screen. First up I think it’s a great-looking bike and I’m proud to say it’s mine for the year ahead. It’s purposeful without being unnecessarily big and has an underlying quality that defies its pretty reasonable £10,499 price tag.
The bike arrived run-in with 600 miles on the clock and in my first two weeks of ownership I’ve clocked up just over 1000 miles. It puts a smile on my face whenever I see it. I love the fact it’s a real adventure bike, seriously focused to off-road rather than a road bike with an aesthetic off-road makeover.
The 21in front and 18in rear wheels do, in theory, restrict tyre choice for road riding but with excellent options available from Dunlop, Bridgestone and Pirelli it’s really not a problem. The tall screen offers good wind protection, and my 130-mile daily commute is free from noise and buffeting, but despite the comfort it provides I want to change it. Unfortunately there is no adjustment and I am at a height where the top of the screen is right in my line of sight, meaning I am either looking through the top of it or straining to peek over it.
Performance from the 93bhp parallel twin is enjoyable and engaging, but it’s not fast. It could benefit from a few extra horses so I’ve started looking into aftermarket exhaust options, which will also save a few kilos.
The biggest surprise to me so far has been the tank range... or lack of it. It only holds 18.8 litres so I knew it would be limited, but in the mainly motorway miles I’ve done so far I’m only getting to just over 150 miles before the fuel light comes on. I guess it shows that you can’t have it all – even with the new Africa Twin!
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