Back in the day
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