Motorcycle News (UK) - - Feature -

“I own two Africa Twins – the original, Hrc-built XRV650 RD03 of 1988 and a 2003 XRV750 RD07A,” reader Paul Webb told MCN. “They have Honda re­li­a­bil­ity, great looks, a go-any­where at­ti­tude, re­mark­able econ­omy (60mpg+) and real road pres­ence. They've car­ried me around Europe and Morocco with­out fault. They’re true clas­sics now, with val­ues in­creas­ing steadily mak­ing them very sought after. I also started the Honda Africa Twin UK Own­ers page on Face­book!” R100GS. Ea­ger to re­claim the crown, Honda com­mis­sioned its new rac­ing arm, HRC, to come up with a win­ning ma­chine. The ex­quis­ite NXR750V V-twin was the re­sult, which in turn dom­i­nated the event be­tween 1986 and 1989. Then, to cap­i­talise on this suc­cess, a road-go­ing replica, also built by HRC but this time with a Transalpderived 650cc V-twin, was launched for the road. It was given the name Africa Twin (or XRV650 RD03, to give it its full moniker), painted in Honda Rac­ing red/ white/blue and al­though never of­fi­cially brought to the UK, a leg­end was born.

That bike’s pop­u­lar­ity led to it being suc­ceeded by the XRV750 RD04 in 1990 which did come to the UK, with ex­tra power, twin disc front brakes and a new trip com­puter which added to its ap­peal. In 1993 came the restyled XRV750 RD07; then, in 1996, came the mildly up­dated RD07A, which had a new nose cowl and seat. That ver­sion lived on to 2003 when it was re­placed by the Firestorm-en­gined XL1000V Va­radero – a ma­chine which, al­though hav­ing 93bhp com­pared to the Twin’s 61, never won as many hearts.

And that’s be­cause, as many own­ers to­day still attest, the original Africa Twin was sim­ply a beau­ti­fully built, good-look­ing, prac­ti­cal, well-bal­anced and ver­sa­tile ma­chine – very much like to­day’s more mod­ern, big­ger, faster ad­ven­ture bikes. Back in 1990, Yamaha’s Su­per Tenere may have been quicker, but it wasn’t as well built; BMW’S 100GS may have been longer­legged but it wasn’t any­where near as cool. The Honda, mean­while, did it all – and keeps on do­ing it all for a whole gen­er­a­tion of devo­tees to­day.

Reader Mike Blain is one of them. “I got the chance of this low-mileage '02 bike and from then on we were out all the time in any weath­ers,” he told MCN. “We fit­ted off-road tyres in win­ter, did my first trip to Europe last summer and it was fan­tas­tic. I now have the new CRF1000 and love it too!”

‘I keep up­dat­ing it – and it gets bet­ter ev­ery time’ AFRICA TWIN OWNER, TIM POOLE

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