HONDA AFRICA TWIN

My de­mons are in th­ese de­tails

Motorcyclist - - Garage - —Zack Courts

in the words of Shake­speare, “To know ad­ven­tur­ous joy we yearn for func­tion and for sparkle; alas, to farkle is to frus­trate.” He was a man ahead of his time. I’ve been driz­zling lit­tle af­ter­mar­ket pieces over the Africa Twin and hav­ing pretty good luck over­all—case in point, the top-box, wind­shield, and most re­cently the Doubletake mir­rors (MC Tested, page 96), which were all sat­is­fy­ing plug-and-play op­tions.

Where I got into trou­ble was with the seat and the lug­gage rack. First, I dropped the Tourat­ech Com­fort Seat on (tourat­ech-usa.com; $530), which was ex­actly as easy as you’re imagining. Then I thought I’d try a beefier lug­gage rack. The am­bi­tious peo­ple at ATO En­gi­neer­ing in Ohio built a stain­less-steel rack (ato­eng. com; $495) for the AT that is stronger—a few pounds heav­ier too—and has nifty fea­tures like re­mov­able pas­sen­ger grab han­dles in or­der to ac­cept throw-over lug­gage more smoothly.

In­stal­la­tion re­quires a mi­nor dis­as­sem­bly of the rear of the bike, but the rack slid on just fine with­out al­ter­ing any­thing and even ac­cepted the mounts for the SHAD top case with no prob­lem. But then the seat didn’t lock in place. I started by wig­gling and jig­gling it to get it to fit, and it es­ca­lated all the way to beads of sweat on my fore­head and the even­tual use of an an­gle-grinder. In the end the seat fit into place (with a ground-down lo­cat­ing flange that fits into the front of the lug­gage rack) and I rode hap­pily to La­guna Seca and back. The sad­dle is much more com­fort­able, by the way—stiff in­stead of soft like the stocker, and my back­side was in much bet­ter shape af­ter 1,000 miles.

But, herein lies the Shake­spearean quandary: How much trou­ble is it worth to try to make your bike bet­ter? It de­pends on the rider. If you’re a hard­core Africa Twin rider, you would likely ap­pre­ci­ate the ATO Rack’s more com­pact de­sign and op­tions. The seat, like I said, was much bet­ter—but I’m still go­ing to re­search other cheaper op­tions.

Aside from me mess­ing with it, the bike’s been flaw­less. And a staff fa­vorite. More mods might make it bet­ter but, as I found out, that’s no guar­an­tee. On­ward through the af­ter­mar­ket!

wrist Zack Courts

msrp (2017) $13,299

miles 9,154

mpg 50

mods Lug­gage rack, com­fort seat, mir­rors

up­date 4

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