Back in the day

RiDE (UK) - - Contents -

SINCE ITS LAUNCH in 2015, Honda’s cur­rent Africa Twin (tested on p60) has quickly built a fan­base with its good­look­ing, go-any­where, do-any­thing ver­sa­til­ity — it’s prob­a­bly the best bike Honda makes. But three years be­fore, back in Oc­to­ber 2012, the world was still lament­ing the de­par­ture of the old Africa Twin and the sub­se­quent void it left in Honda’s line-up. In RIDE’S Peo­ple’s Long Term Test fea­ture, it was clear the gan­gly old V-twin was still very much loved but, also, a new Africa Twin would be ap­pre­ci­ated, thank you Honda.

Back then, RIDE read­ers and Africa Twin own­ers Sheila Mcqueen and Mark Van Blommestein waxed lyri­cal about their bikes and ex­plained why they adored them so much. Mcqueen had al­ready owned her 1999 XRV750 for two years when we spoke to her, but she still en­joyed it. “I love the fact my bike has plenty of pres­ence,” she said. “I also like rid­ing bikes, not clean­ing them, so I ap­pre­ci­ate the build qual­ity lets me get away with it. And I like that it has car­bu­ret­tors, not fuel in­jec­tion, and it’s quite tall and so com­fort­able to ride.”

The dis­tinc­tive graph­ics also ap­pealed; “It’s a bit more out of the or­di­nary than the BMW GSS and KTMS that have taken over the ad­ven­ture-rid­ing mar­ket.”

Mark Van Blommestein had owned his 2002 XRV750 for ten years when we spoke to him in 2012, and had racked up 40,000 miles on it with­out any ma­jor is­sues. “There are many things I like about the bike — the looks, for one — but also the tank range, the good mpg (55-57mpg and 215-225 miles on a tank), the high seat­ing po­si­tion, the sim­ple de­sign and me­chan­ics for home ser­vic­ing, as well as the very durable fin­ish.”

Both Sheila and Mark found their bikes hard to fault. Mcqueen’s only grum­ble was that she hadn’t mas­tered the art of haul­ing her Africa Twin onto its cen­tre­stand, while Van Blommestein pointed out the Honda’s tubed tyres were a has­sle on the rare oc­ca­sion he got a punc­ture.

Van Blommestein’s part­ing wish was that Honda would re­lease an all-new Africa Twin. The old model was pro­duced from 1989 to 2003 and, af­ter a decade away, it looked like it would

“I like rid­ing bikes, not clean­ing them”

never reap­pear. “I can’t see my­self ever trad­ing my Africa Twin in, though I like the idea of get­ting a mod­ern equiv­a­lent.”

Three years later his dream would come true when, fol­low­ing a long teaser cam­paign, Honda fi­nally re­vealed their all-new Africa Twin. If you’re out there Mark, let us know if you bought one!

Sheila Mcqueen loved vir­tu­ally ev­ery­thing about her Africa Twin Looks and fuel range were the clinch­ers for Mark Van Blommestein

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