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DT May 2018

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22 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE

22 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE MAY 2018

THE AFRICA TWIN DCT: We were absolutely amazed at how popular this bike is amongst the European journalists. There was kind-of a rush to grab the bikes at the start. The only guys who seemed to steer clear were the shorties because the Honda is pretty tall with its 21 inch front wheel and very off-road bias. For the sake of a fresh photo, I reluctantly gave up the Multi and climbed aboard – only to discover that this one was a DCT – which, interestingly, despite various requests, begs and pleads, we have never been able to get from Honda SA. So that was something. We were in the sandy riverbed when I climbed on – and it has to be said that it felt a bit weird not using a clutch to get going. You hit the starter, open the throttle and off you go. Roll on the throttle and it pulls strong even though the DCT seems to shift earlier than we would like. I was constantly reaching for the missing clutch lever and it feels like my brain will never get used to it being gone. Instead there is a parking brake lever that is placed far away from your hand but still within eyesight. That works great when you need to hold the bike on a hill which is, of course, the reason it’s there. But the DCT goes into neutral when you shut the CRF off – so it will just roll if you don’t do something to stop it. It sounds really good when you get it the revs up, despite having the eco-friendly stock exhaust. “Where some big adventure bikes feel a bit unwieldy and like they’re leading you up the gravel path, when off-road, the CRF1000L Africa Twin is a bonafide impressive adventure bike from the word go.” Once under way, the Africa Twin feels tall, thin, light and softly sprung. We’ve always loved the AT in off-road conditions – and for this riverbed, or any dirt riding, the Africa Twin is absolutely the pick of the bunch. Where some big adventure bikes feel a bit unwieldy and like they’re leading you up the gravel path, when off-road, the CRF1000L Africa Twin is a bonafide impressive adventure bike from the word go. With the DCT, you can feel the bike shifting through the gears as you go along – and it’s really an awesome system… very impressed and we understand what everyone has been raving about. But - You have to ride this bike in sports mode – otherwise it is a bit lazy. Every time you stop and switch off, the Honda goes back to the factory set D Mode. D mode offers the best balance of fuel economy and comfort cruising whilst S mode gives three different, sportier shift patterns to choose from. After stopping for a photo, we headed up the mountain passes, and forgot to switch the mode to sports. On one of the corners, and the roads are really narrow, I moved to overtake a vehicle – shot into the left lane and opened the throttle… it lazily shifted down and caused quite a lot of alarm. Fortunately, there is a manual switch on the left bar where you can gear down – hit that and response was instant, there was suddenly power to overtake… but, it seems that the Honda’s brain was a bit fried because it then took quite a while to gear up again… In Sports mode it shifts a lot quicker and is so much more responsive. Just an observation and something that every rider will need to become accustomed to. This trip again confirmed why the Honda Africa twin has such a great global following. It is one of those bikes that quietly gets on with its business without any fuss. It is enormously brilliant off the beaten paths and more than capable on the road… DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE MAY 2018 23