How fast do you really want to ride a
500-pound bike off-road? As it turns
out, faster than you think.
ADVENTURE: HONDA AFRICA TWIN
Of course, it’s crazy fast. The torque is excellent, and
the bike revs out to a sick top-end punch. If you’re a dirt
rider, you’ll find it hard to believe anything is faster. If
you’re an experienced street rider, though, you’re used to
extreme power levels. The Honda clearly isn’t as powerful
as the big KTM or the BMW, and it might even give up
a little to the Yamaha. All of those bikes have around
200cc of displacement advantage, but they pay for it in
mass and lack of maneuverability. If you like numbers,
horsepower specs from European sources claim 90 for
the Suzuki V-Strom 1000, 93 for the Honda, 108 for the
Yamaha, 120 for the BMW and 148 for the KTM. But,
when it comes to this kind of power, it’s all just bragging
rights anyway. The Africa Twin can keep up with freeway
traffic in first gear—and it’s got five more that go faster.
On our intro ride Johnny Campbell said that he saw
109 mph on the speedometer after a short dirt straight.
Reports from others who are braver than we are say top
speed is around 130.
We don’t have enough saddle time to say much about
fuel range, other than it falls within expected norms for a
bike this size. The fuel tank is 5 gallons deep and should
be able to go 200 miles. The comfort factor definitely
doesn’t limit your range. The seat is just firm enough, and
wind protection is okay. The windscreen isn’t adjustable,
but the seat height is. Handguards are standard, and the
motor has a pleasant pulse. Even the sound of the bike
is pleasing on long rides. At low rpm it makes an irregular
beat, sort of like a V-twin. When you rev it out, it sounds
more like a Trophy Truck.
Right now the Africa Twin is in short supply. The April
16th earthquake in Kumamoto, Japan, damaged the
Honda factory, so supplies are limited to one per dealer.
MSRP is set at $12,999 for the base model and $13,699
for the DCT version. That puts it closer in price to the Euro
800s from Triumph and BMW, and well behind typical
1200 prices. Our advice: make friends with the guys at
your Honda shop. ❏