Living with the Africa Twin (Part 2)

Seeing Leon on his Africa Twin, I felt there was a lot more to the bike than just reading off the spec sheet or watching other people review the motorcycle on Youtube,singing praises on just how terrific the machine is. After all the machine is taking on mainstays like the Adventure scene heavy weight, BMW’s R1200GS, almost 3 years since its launch and still ever popular, the workhorse Yamaha Super Tenere, KTM’s bonkers 1290 super adventure, Ducati’s dark horse Multistrada Enduro and Suzuki’s price point Vstrom.

Each has its own attributes which Honda engineers knew they had to match or better. Hence re-injecting life into the Africa Twin, Honda creatively delivered the 2016 Africa Twin, while at the same time deciding “let’s do something different”, offering DCT along with its suite of electronics to match. So with all Honda’s virally driven hype and teasers, it was a welcome a surprise to see Leon in my mirror during a group ride and the bike nut in me had to find out more about the anticipated machine.

Here’s part 2 of our interview:

A key feature of any scrambler or adventure model should be easy DIY maintenance. Does the Africa Twin meet this requirement or are the parts hidden away and difficult to access?

Leon: The air filter is easy to access, just minutes and dismantling or removing anything like the tank is not a requirement. (Take that KTM!) If you are a little more adventurous you can also change the engine oil yourself. As with any OEM ECU, you will still need to go back to Boon Siew Honda to access diagnostics.

Being an offroad focused machine, do you find the bike easy to clean or does it hide dirt from you?

Leon: The Africa Twin to me is just a big scrambler. I’ve washed my own scramblers many times so it wasn’t an issue. (my note: good practice! washing your own bike helps you spot loose nuts, premature wear or material faults!) I can’t believe Honda made a mistake on the pegs though. They are quite skinny and don’t provide much surface to grip when off road. Luckily there are aftermarket options.

Rubber covered adventure footpegs on the Africa TwinBigger footpegs needed on the Africa Twin

How would you describe the pricing? Bang-for-Buck?

Leon: The machine is priced reasonably and competitively against the other Japanese adventure bikes. Boon Siew is asking for 34K, while I got mine from Mah =p. I have heard rumors that some of the shops are increasing their asking price.

How would you describe the build quality of the bike? Premium parts or parts-bin bolt ons? Did you find any questionable gaps or fuzzy rust spots?

Leon: Again, Honda has built and released a bike with premium feel to it. No gaps between the panels or sneaky rust spots. Iā€™m a little worried about the spokes though. I’ve read in the Advrider Africa twin forum, that there have been reports of spokes getting rusty within a few months of riding. I’ll need to keep an eye on that.

Wide two piece seat on the Honda Africa Twin

(Holes in the plastic dust cover don’t count!)

Chain Adjusters on the Africa Twin

(Nifty little colour coded indicator for chain replacement, pity if you’re colour blind!)

And there you have it, Leon’s proud take on his 2016 Africa Twin. More to the machine than meets the eye and hopefully some different information than what you get on other reviews of the bike.

Not forgetting, Leon stands 1.85m tall. Well suited to the machine and also keep both feet planted firmly. But Honda have been nice enough to tailor it that at stock, my 1.75m frame can do the same and so moderately vertically challenged riders should find some solace in being able to place more than just toes on the ground.
(feature photo taken off MCN.com)

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