Honda Africa Twin First Ride: For the Adventurer in You
Here is the first ride experience of the new Africa Twin 1000 cc. We take the bike to the roads of Udaipur to test
When I found out that I had been invited by Honda India to experience the Africa Twin, I was really excited. There were some preconceptions I had about Honda’s adventure bike, but as soon as I got my hands on the bike, it was really a surprise for me, what the Honda Africa Twin had to offer.
- Displacement: 999.11cc
- Max power: 87 bhp@ 7500 rpm
- Max torque: 91.9 Nm@ 6000 rpm
- Transmission: 6-speed automatic
- Fuel injection
- Clutch type: Dual clutch transmission
- Liquid cooled
- Max speed: 190 kmph
- ABS: Front & Rear
- Kerb weight: 245 Kg
- Fuel tank capacity: 18.8 ltr
The beautiful city of Udaipur was all ready to host a motorcade across a stretch of 90 km and I was treated to a scenic journey through the wet and seemingly rough roads of the city.
The bike is heavy with a kerb weight of 245 kilograms. You won’t feel it while riding, but while reversing or picking it up after a fall is a back-breaking experience (sprained my knee while pivoting), which almost led to me falling down.
The bike stands tall at 1478 mm with the seat at 820 mm. While riding, I was mostly on my toes during traffic interruptions. Ground clearance at 250 mm is enough to tackle the most uneven terrain.
The real game changer about the new Twin is the DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission). This basically means that the bike is fully automatic and you don’t have to do the hard work while shifting gears.
The automatic mode is further split into 4 sub-modes being D (drive), S1, S2, S3 (sports). The instrument panel caters to all these different modes, for which you need at least 15-20 minutes to get accustomed to.
There is also a G mode that helps improve traction throughout all the modes. When I was traversing steep inclines, G mode really helped a lot.
There is also an option to disable the rear (auto-braking system) ABS if you want traction gone from the rear wheel which helped drifting through rough terrains.
What I really liked about the Twin is the paddle shifters marked as ‘+’ and ‘-’ on the left side of the handle bar which helps you to change gears manually (as it doesn’t offer a gear pedal near the foot peg). There is also a switch to decrease or increase the traction which I rarely used while riding.
I was also able to upshift and downshift manually in the automatic mode. This works great when you want to overtake on highways.
The bike comes with dual LED headlamps with a DRL strip running beneath the reflectors. The 21-inch front and the 18-inch rear wheel never delivered the surety you’d need when going off-road. One is advised to switch to tougher set of rubber to ride along tough conditions.
On tarmac, the bike holds a firm grip and feels planted, but if you are planning for a series of off-roading trips, it’s better to get a set of more beefy tyres. The bike comes with dual-piston calipers in the front and the single piston caliper on the rear.
The braking initially is a bit soft, but again, once your in motion it grows on you. Fuel tank capacity of 18.8 liters means that you won’t be stopping often to refuel.
Although my ride and the experience was amazing there were a few things about the bike that put me off. The information on the instrument panel is barely visible in bright sunlight.
Also the front visor, at many times, distracts and blocks your vision of the road. We advise you to make sure the adjustment of the visor is fixed as per your need. If you set the bike to drive mode and then turn the ignition off, the modes reset themselves and you have to set up your driving mode again. It doesn’t offer any preset options.
Also, the bike can do with more protection for the engine and the sides. A heavy off-roader like this needs more protection!
So who is the bike for? I’d say it’s for someone who wants to traverse long distances and go off-road with their buddies over weekends.
You might find the Honda Africa Twin a tad bulky and the automatic might take time to get used to, but once you get the hang of it, just let the DCT kick-in, and you are in for one hell of a ride! Oh, and you’ll have to spend somewhere close to 14 lakh to get this in your garage.
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