‘I STARTED THE OWNERS CLUB!’
“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