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2017 Africa Twinge

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Jim Mc
Nearly there...

Joined: 28 Dec 2010
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PostPosted: 22:08 - 17 Sep 2017    Post subject: 2017 Africa Twinge Reply with quote

I sat my clunge on an Africa Twin today, Newcastle Motorcycles/Honda were doing a completely no commitment demo up at Hartside Cafe, so up I trotted, and followed a group of approx 10 riders out for a 40-50minute ride around the back roads surrounding Alston, it was actually pretty good fun. They promised even if I rode it sideways down the road it wouldn't cost me a penny, sign me up I said.

I ride a 600 sports so the Africa Twin was a lot heavier and taller than I'm used to. I'm aging now, bought the sports bike when I was 27 I think, I'm now 34 so I'm turning into an old fart and prefer using the car. I thought the Africa Twin was very comfortable though, very much an upright position. Bloody heavy though, and very unsettling as I'm an avergely tall person but was using my tippy-toes to keep upright and it was pretty dodgey.

I rode the DCT (dual clutch) automatic -- it's the first time I'd rode an automatic motorcycle. It's pretty swish, I mean easy to use so while you're cruising down fast roads, into twisties, or even slowing down to enter towns it does take a lot of the workload away from you. Which is nice, hill starts are especially easy although there's an unsettling feeling of "do I trust it not to stall?" when performing a hillstart.

Do I like automatics? Nope. There was one occassion where it was very dodgy. Number 1, turning right at a tight country junction, normally you'd have the clutch depressed, so you're fairly safe and aren't going anywhere. I was looking left-then-right at this junction, and when I twisted my body to look down the road, I must have blipped the throttle by a fraction, the bike lunged forward to the left and I almost went arse-over-tit since I am tip-toeing and it's bloody heavy. Your natural reaction is to pull the clutch in -- there isn't one! -- so it takes a split second for your brain to then think: hit the brake!

After that unsettling event, I also noticed it is very hard to smoothly pull away from junctions. Since there's no noticable slippage on the clutch, it's all-or-nothing, and as soon as you turn the throttle the bike pulls hard, causing neck-jolting accelleration from junctions.

Generally the bike felt planted, there was a definite feeling of weight, which meant cornering felt very safe, and you could get some nice lean in, especially on the twisty roads up to Hartside. We didn't go offroad as such, but took on some cobbles, heavily pot-holed and gravelled roads, it could feel squirrely. But was easily managing speed-bumps and pot holes at 40 without much discomfort. Some of the riders were tarting around standing up on their pegs, so I gave it a go, but it was uncomfortable, if you stood up on the pegs you found yourself very much leaning awkwardly forward with your weight down onto the bars like a sports bike, and at 40mph going over speedbumps, it was uncomfortable.

I think one of the things I'd read about the original Africa Twin was that it couldn't do high-speed? This thing was a 1000cc parallel twin, and it could easily and smoothly sit at 80, it had much more to give, got its second wind at 9krpm like the CBR but I couldn't ride it to its full potential due to the group (and the fact I've not riden a bike for months and am an old fart).

There was no belly pan for rock protection, it might be an option? Seems like it would be a requirement as there's a massive radiator sitting wide open to damage at the front of the bike -- if off road was really your thing I think this could be a problem.

Back to the auto box, it has 2 main modes, D and S, D is generally for cruising on fast roads, S is for around town, S (sport) has 3 submodes, 1-3. I successfully managed to get it to go from 1 to 3, but could not for the life of me figure out how to get the modes to return down to S1 or S2, only back to D. Seemed a bit dodgey. Is possible to put the bike into manual mode only, but I don't think this would be overly practical as the gear selector is on the switch-gear (there's no pedal) and is a bit fiddly to use. You can use the gear selector while in automatic and it's fun for down-shifting but is quickly over-riden by the autobox after a few seconds.

Regarding the instrument panel -- couldn't see the display at all, it was really reflective and I actually found it really hard to read. I don't have this problem on my own bike, I also note that on their website it's a multi coloured display, but the one I had was black-and-white and fairly impossible to read.

Lovely bike, lovely weather, props to the group leader as he took us down some very interesting routes.

12k I think for one of these new.

Last edited by Jim Mc on 22:39 - 17 Sep 2017; edited 8 times in total
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World Chat Champion

Joined: 16 Jun 2014
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PostPosted: 22:18 - 17 Sep 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

34? Aging? Old fart?? Do me a favour. I've got ten years on you and I don't feel old at all. So its just a massive scoot then?
Currently enjoying products from Ford, Suzuki and Yamaha
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Super Spammer

Joined: 24 Feb 2007
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PostPosted: 23:52 - 17 Sep 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are those graphics paint or stickers cause for a 12 grand bike it just looks cheap.

We had a sort of discussion about the bike on another thread due to the PCP deal going. I don't thing I'm a fan.
Triumph Trophy Launch Edition
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World Chat Champion

Joined: 19 May 2012
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PostPosted: 00:08 - 18 Sep 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm 5'11* and didn't find the AT too tall - Was the seat in the low position? The only issue I had was with the height of the grab handles. Smacked my shins a few times. I didn't think it felt that heavy either. The bike felt very natural to ride, none of that "Oooh, this is weird." - To me it just felt like a bigger more powerful NC700X ( with better suspension).

I liked it, but I'm not keen on the price Smile

I don't like DCT at all.

*and a bit
Honda CBF125 ➝ NC700X
Honda CBF125 ↳ Speed Triple
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Jim Mc
Nearly there...

Joined: 28 Dec 2010
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PostPosted: 10:34 - 18 Sep 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep works just like a massive scooter, although I've never ridden one.

I think the graphics are vinyl, in some of my photos you can clearly see the decals wrapping around the edges of the panels, so I doubt a paint job would do this? I didn't pay close enough attention to be honest though.

They didn't size the bike to me before I went on the run -- which was a mistake -- they did tell me afterwards it could have been easily lowered. Think I have 32" inside leg and it was precarious for me. I was physically having to relocate my arse from one side of the seat to the other just to be able to reach the floor. And since it's not a sports-seat, it's a deep comfy seat you can't just slide your arse, you've got to properly shift your weight.

Don't recall smacking my shins but I wore full height booties which have quite a bit of protection.

Felt mighty heavy to me, my 600 sports is a lot lower so that helps keep the weight comfortably between my thighs, on this while stationary I was physically straining to push the bike back upright on the occassions it leaned over, if I had an accident and it wobbled a bit too far, I'm pretty sure it would take me with it, and there'd be no stopping it, which is why my arse puckered at the junction when I snagged the throttle.

Natural enough to ride, once it's going it's fine, very stable and comfortable to ride. Take it down tight country roads with tight junctions and it's a bit stressful, but I think half of that issue is familiarity with the bike.

I liked the auto box in a way, I can see it would be a benefit in countries like the USA where they've got large open roads and they could just cruise about without thinking about gears.

I'm not sure there was any benefit on the country roads, I'd rather have the finesse of a slipping throttle on tight corners, but going up hill it did take a lot of the workload off you, there was one particularly steep up-hill junction where I could just get the bike to lurch forward towards the junction not having to worry about gears, if anything though it was a bit dangerous because the DCT is so fierce on stop-start it encouraged me to not want to stop and take my time.

I think it'd be an ideal bike for touring on, but not sure how practical it is as a commuter. My sports is much more flickable at slow speeds, in traffic and around the doors.

I believe it has traction control and ABS but never felt either kick in -- weather conditions were relatively dry.

Not sure how I feel about the build quality, someone said cheap and I agree in some respects but I think it's a trade of between making the bike look more exciting and less boring. I think the multicoloured seat fabric and bright gold forks are questionable.

I don't much like the look of the Nissin calipers, but they tend to use them on all Hondas and they've been fine on the CBR.
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Scooby Slapper

Joined: 13 May 2016
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PostPosted: 20:21 - 18 Sep 2017    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your seat position was at top setting.
Yes the DCT isn't my cup of tea either to be honest but can see where it would suit some.
Graphics are mostly stickers but really look shit on red one for some reason but ok on others.
I really like the one I bought and only negative is tyres which seem to divide opinion in the wet so probably will be changed for something else later.
Honda Africa Twin
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