I was one of the lucky few that finagled a new Africa Twin out of Honda. I knew I was going to get the bike after I saw the first render a year ago. I put money down on a red manual transmission US spec model at Hinshaws in Auburn WA in late February 3rd on their list but the first red MT. I have been obsessively reading this forum and any information on the bike since then.
I even ordered parts from Touratech back in February, upper and lower engine guards, bash plate and the rear brake protector. I also sourced some Pivot Pegz and an aluminum radiator guard from Rugged Roads in the UK. Would somebody stateside start manufacturing and selling some stuff already!!!
So long story.... uuh long, I was bugging Hinshaw's every few weeks, but their first AT came in late May and alas, it was not mine.
Forlorn, I continued obsessively looking far and wide for a bike. I would have taken any color or transmission at that point. I searched on Craigslist and lo and behold, a RED MT was advertised over the mountian (Ellensburg, WA about 2 hours away). Better yet, no freight, no setup, and 8% tax (the lowest in WA).... Hinshaws was definitely going to stick it to me they quoted me "over 15,000". So it was Sunday morning when I found the ad, and like most bike stores they opened on Tuesday Morning at 9AM. I set my alarm because i was sure I wasn't the only one who saw this ad.
9:01AM tuesday (I didnt want to appear desperate) I called up and asked if it was still there. IT WAS. I said "I'll take it, do you need all the money now or just a deposit" and they held it for me for 500$- one catch, there was a missing bag of nuts and bolts that wasnt included from the factory in the crate so they were waiting for that to come in before they could sell the bike. I had a 9 day vacation planned in between when it would be in so I was on break hoping that it wasnt all too good to be true. I talked to the dealer and asked them since it was in the shop anyways if they could throw some more dirt oriented tires in. I opted for Metzler Karoo 3's.
The day after I get back from vacation my childhood best friend drove me over the mountian and I laid eyes on an Africa Twin for the first time in the flesh. It was glorious. I would put it on a wall. The dirt tires really make it pop too. I wrote the check and thumbed the starter for my 180 mile trip... TO WORK (ugh! I wanted to just ride and ride past that **** place!)
The bike is everything people say it is. And something more, it has a feeling of joyfulness to the whole package that is hard to put in words. I rented a KLR 650 for a weekend last year when I was pondering if i wanted to cheap out, and the motor and suspension of that bike can best be described as "agricultural". The Africa Twin feels almost Italian as i am riding it. Maybe its the red paint or the 270 degree crank, but it just seems playful. The stock exhaust note is fantastic. I'm not sure why anyone would get rid of it until they break it given the off road nature of the bike, but to each their own. I tilted the bar forward a smidge and standing up on the bike is nearly ergonomically neutral to my frame. Thats weird because I cant ever find a car where the pedals and the steering wheel work for my arms and legs. I cant wait to put this thing in the dirt, but I am trying very hard to be good until my crash bars get in from Germany, and until I have a very good handle on the nature of the bike on road. Touratech cant even offer a guess on when my crash bars will be over here, I ordered black ones and they said those will take longer than the silver ones. I will wait, I think the silver ones ruin the aesthetic.
So after a week or so my toys that I have ordered from across the pond start to show up. The bash plate and brake reservoir protector from Touratech and the pegs and radiator plate from Rugged Roads.
An interesting point before I begin: The US spec AT has a somewhat decent bash plate already installed, as well as bark busters, and even a plastic radiator guard. They arent really as good as the aftermarket ones, but they do provide some modicum of protection. I didn't know that any were included or i might have waited on the bash plate.
Before any mods other than tires:
Touratech Bash Plate: this thing is stout. I was a little disappointed with some tooling marks and a bit of excess slag on a couple welds, but for a dirt bike I think it is a good start on future damage. Install was pretty easy, but I think i will take it back off when i take it to the local shop for its break in oil change and inspection (I could do it myself, but I want to establish a relationship with the closest Honda service dept in case of warranty stuff)
TT Rear Brake Guard:
With cheapie Amazon topcase and new bash plate:
The topcase is actually pretty great for 80$. Im not sure i would want to do any serious off road with it because it is a removable case, but its pretty sturdy if you throw away their mounting screws and drill your own holes in the plate that comes with the case. I put some yoga mat on between the luggage rack and the new luggage mounting plate, as well as in a few places to take a rattle off. I have the wiring all terminated in some delphi connectors and waiting for my Eastern Beaver brake light splitter.
Pivot Pegz w/ removable covers
These things are stout! Although it seems obvious now that i know it, the Pivot Pegz also pivot front to back about 10 degrees either way. Its a little weird at first when you are standing up but i can see how it will be awesome in the dirt. Very nicely made and easy to install.
Rugged Roads radiator guard
This is way more protection than the stock for branches and even bugs. Highly reccomend they seem very nicely made. Easy to install, cheap insurance from getting a busted radiator out in a bad spot.
Thanks for reading! I will update as more stuff comes in.