HONDA ADVENTURE CENTRE- EXMOOR UK- Best 2 days ever - Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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HONDA ADVENTURE CENTRE- EXMOOR UK- Best 2 days ever

HAC write up- warning, long post but worth a read for anyone interested in going:
Thought I’d do a little write up of my experience at theHonda Adventure Centre in Exmoor National Park. Long story short, it was anamazing two days and I already want to go back next year to do some even harderstuff. I had never done proper offroad on any bike, especially not one the sizeof the AT. By the end of the first day, I was doing things with the bike I didn’tthink possible, and by the end of day 2 I was racing around corners, uphills and through muddy pools with a mad smile on my face.
DAY 1: Arrived for 9am to the centre, met some fellow ATowners, a nice couple on new matching KTM 790’s, Varadero owner etcetc. One guyhad come all the way from Slovenia for this course. We met the instructors, whoare great guys, get kitted out with endure boots, knee protectors, trousers. Iused my own jacket and gloves. Waiting outside was a beautiful fleet of red AT’sand a few ATAS. The ATAS’s are only really for people with experience offroadalready or who are too big for the AT. On the course, the bulk of the ATAS wasnot an advantage. 2 guys got ATAS’s and had a slightly harder time. All the guyswanted manual except one, and 2 went on the crf250 rally (which is good funtoo).
We ride out on some beautiful roads to the first offroadlocation. This is mainly a long winding gravel track, a river crossing, some muddylanes and a few little hills. We start out with a slalom course on gravel, forthem to assess our skill with control of the bike etc. Stand up riding was newto many. A few people fall already at this stage, caught out by the deepergravel and weight of the bike. This part allows you to get to grips withstanding up, using the pegs to turn and grip, moving your body around etc. Thenwe get split into 3 groups based on our level. Group 1 has guys with offroad experiencealready, group 2 for people who have good control of the bike but little or nooffroad experience and group 3 for those that need a bit more work. I go togroup 2.
We start going up and down the gravel lane, about 1km long,each time working on something different. Turning, braking, balance, differentgears etc. We test out the different traction settings, doing big accelerationsin 4-3-2-1-off. Most of us start playing around more in the corners letting theback slide out and having fun. Quick lunch at a local pub after some moreamazing winding roads and then back to the gravel track. We do some hill climbsand descents, some camber turns, deep ruts, dips, a river crossings, hillu-turns and muddy tracks. It’s amazing how you can go up a steep hill in 4thgear using the torque, momentum and not even spinning the back wheel on looseterrain. Some more falls here and there in the mud especially, a few big mudroosters to have fun, some acrobatics on the gravel lanes and before we know itthe first day is over. Also learned how to do a standing start next to the bikeand how to jump off the bike when you come to a stop without the kickstand.
The BIKE:
Quick word on the bikes. They were all 2018models, with ride by wire, 7 TC settings, 3 power settings and 3 enginebraking. By the end of day one I was in user setting, 1P, 2EB and 2TC,occasionally putting it in 1 or off. This setting was good for everything, youcould slide the back out a fair bit before tc would kick in and had all thepower. No one touched gravel mode because with EP3, it doesn’t push enoughalthough you can still go anywhere on it and could be good for the more prudentrider.
I ride a 2017 AT. In comparison, the 18 model felt really similar,but with a great exhaust note (as in it sounded like an aftermarket compared tothe 17, nice throaty growl that made you want to open the gas all the time),very smooth throttle and great responsiveness. The bikes were COMPLETELYSTANDARD, apart from the tires, which were Metzeler Karoo 3’s, and they all hadthe oem crash/light bar and acerbis steel handguards (although the 2 ATAS stillhad oem). The tires were very impressive. On the road (nice sunny dry day) theywere smooth, turned in nicely and felt very grippy. There were sections of roadwhere some of us at the front were hitting 95mph and going around tight bendson little b roads that had dirt and gravel in the middle. Not one loss of grip.I’m told they perform very well on wet roads too. On gravel they were great,lots of grip. In dry mud and stone they worked very well too, feeling safe evenon steep uphills and descents. In the mud they did quite well all thingsconsidered. We went through some deep ruts, some big muddy pools and squishymud. They seemed to shed the mud well and got us all over the place, so can’tfault them. A very good 50/50 tire and if I lived outside of London with trailsnearby I wouldn’t hesitate to use them all year long. In total we did about 115miles of riding, on and off road (at which point I was well into the reserve J aka riding like mad).
The oem crash bars… Many people dropped their bikes, in themud, gravel, rocks, one on the road, even one who crashed his ATAS which went overthe trail and almost fell down a very steep hill on the side of a trail (took 5of us to get it lifted up and back on the trail. Bars a bit bent, front fendercracked along the top but still holding, nothing else damaged, not even the oem handguards!)).NO BIKE WAS UNRIDEABLE AFTER any of the crashes. Ofc, the bars would not havebeen enough to protect the engine casings from a big rock, but, the bars didtheir job very well, protecting the radiators and important parts. Somefairings were cracked slightly, but the bars were just bent back into positionand ready to go again. One of the instructors said the rubber mounted bars areway better than solid aftermarket ones because they flex and won’t damage theframe of the bike. So yes, some fairing damage but at least the bike isn’t awrite off and you can ride it back home after a big fall. No footpegs (rearwere removed) were broken either over the 2 days. A bit of slight bending but nothinga kick wouldn’t fix. The steel peg mounts are therefore much stronger than the17 alu ones, although again, risk of frame damage in the wrong fall, whereasthe 17 alu ones would not damage the frame (but you'd have to ride home without a peg).
The stock side stand was just fine in most places exceptdeep mud, and even then you could always find a high bit. Once again, showingthat Honda did their job and provided a good side stand that doesn’t reallyneed an extender (although I still like mine, it’s shiny and pretty )
All bikes had stock sump guard. You could hear pings all thetime but no damage to the headers (although they had a nice coating of mud toprotect them too after a bit).
Overall I was super impressed how well they held up. Ofc afall in mud or even gravel is gentler than on roads, but they went through alot of abuse and most came out nice and sparkly after a wash down at the end.Mine was left as I found her, since I luckily didn’t drop the bike once in the twodays, although there were a few close calls, where maybe a shorter rider wouldhave struggled. There was probably a range of riders between 65/70 and 120kgs. The stock suspension did just fine for everyone. I'm 95kg and never bottomed out even hitting some deep dips quite hard.
DAY 2:
Early start again, ready to go at 9. Epic ride to a place nearRoadwater along beautiful twisty roads until we arrived at the bottom of an almost1 mile long climb. Time to put into practice everything we learned on day 1.The start was muddy and wet, transitioning to loose dirt and rock with somegravel bits. We were told to go up as we felt best, with a few tips re gear andtc setting. It was a great way to start the day. The climb was really fun, withsome technical bits and some faster areas. At the top we split into our groupsand went off. In my group the instructor told us we’d be riding non-stop and toturn off the rear abs because of the decents we’d be doing. As soon as the lastperson in our group of 5 caught up we’d be off again. We spent the next 3 hoursor so going up, down, up, sideways, across, over and through every bit of trailin the place. Some of the descents were a bit scary at first but the bikeshandled them really well. There were some muddy lanes with big pools to splashthrough and get dirty, some steep uphills, slanted downhills, rocky sectionsand lots of fun to be had. If you wanted to go slower or faster, you couldchange groups. Fair bit of helping people pick up their bikes on this day, easyjob for 2 even with the bike leaning downhill.
After another quick lunch we go to a third riding area,where we spend 2 hours riding up and down a long trail with all types ofterrain, big ruts, holes, roots, deep muddy pools and fast sections. Keptwanting to go again and again but finally we had to sadly stop for the day. Bythis time, we and the bikes were covered in mud but we all had massive smilesplastered on our faces. We rode back to the centre via an old style petrolstation (I was almost empty after 115 miles) and had the final debrief andgoodbyes, while the bikes were being powered washed outside (no one seemedworried about high jet water near any part of the bike lol).
The course was worth every penny for me, especially with the15% discount I had from MCN bike show. I am already planning to go again nextyear. They cater for all abilities and even people with experience of big bikesoffroad can learn something and enjoy. Can’t recommend it enough and reallyenjoyed the people and company too. Was pretty sad getting back to London aftera whole day riding along the south coast stopping at various beach towns alongthe way.
I don't want to start a discussion over what Honda should have done to improve the bike or not, but all I can say is that the bike did very well on and off road and exceeded my expectations. Just shows that when a brand like Honda puts millions of $ and lots of hours into making a new bike like this, they do a good job of it. Ofc some things can be improved, and you can spend thousands if you want, but it's really not mandatory.
Will add some pics later

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 04:38 PM
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My experience was very similar to that of VaraderoTwin - same course, same sequence, same locations. The only difference was that I was one of two or three on DCT bikes, and unlike VTwin I dropped my bike. A lot. (I should say that the instructors were really patient and supportive, and that there was no pressure.)

Like VaraderoTwin, I was surprised by how much these big and heavy bikes were able to do even when ridden by novice riders, and also by how tough they were. It was a great experience and I would definitely go again. The course really sold me on the bike.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 01:20 PM
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So your verdict on the updated bikes vs your original ones? Worth paying the extra for new or get a leftover/used bike?

Thanks for sharing your experience it sounds like a **** blast!!!!!!
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 06:34 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Strider78rr View Post
So your verdict on the updated bikes vs your original ones? Worth paying the extra for new or get a leftover/used bike?

Thanks for sharing your experience it sounds like a **** blast!!!!!!
You’re welcome I’m still happy with mine because I got such a good deal on it, a huge saving on a brand new bike which has allowed me to add some nice extras and will still pay for a lot of services, tires and petrol. Riding wise though they are pretty much the same.

But say if you can get a 2018 one for £ 500-1000 more only, go for the 2018 and you get the extra gadgets and stuff. The dealers will want to get rid of them so negotiate hard, nothing is non negotiable these days.
And you can already get used 2018 bikes for good prices
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 07:58 PM
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Sounds like a really positive experience and chance to build skills.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VaraderoTwin View Post
You’re welcome I’m still happy with mine because I got such a good deal on it, a huge saving on a brand new bike which has allowed me to add some nice extras and will still pay for a lot of services, tires and petrol. Riding wise though they are pretty much the same.

But say if you can get a 2018 one for £ 500-1000 more only, go for the 2018 and you get the extra gadgets and stuff. The dealers will want to get rid of them so negotiate hard, nothing is non negotiable these days.
And you can already get used 2018 bikes for good prices
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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Sounds like a really positive experience and chance to build skills.
It really was I went from being worried about small patches of mud to racing through huge boggy pits trying to throw the biggest roosters by the end of the 2 days lol. Massivively improved my confidence in my own capabilities and those of the bike while off-road and even a bit on road

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-07-2019, 04:57 AM
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Originally Posted by VaraderoTwin View Post
It really was I went from being worried about small patches of mud to racing through huge boggy pits trying to throw the biggest roosters by the end of the 2 days lol. Massivively improved my confidence in my own capabilities and those of the bike while off-road and even a bit on road
Great write up. I have been considering the course but no longer. I will book it for next spring. Have you become comfortable with doing power slides?
Sorry to ask but what is throwing a rooster? Spinning the rear wheel?
Good to hear there is no big diff between 16 and 18 version.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-08-2019, 06:12 PM
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would love to do this, looks like great fun and useful too.
one day

2 wheels is always enough!
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-07-2020, 08:40 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by silverfox966 View Post
Great write up. I have been considering the course but no longer. I will book it for next spring. Have you become comfortable with doing power slides?
Sorry to ask but what is throwing a rooster? Spinning the rear wheel?
Good to hear there is no big diff between 16 and 18 version.
Sorry for the late reply, haven't been back to the forum in a while.
I wouldn't call them "power slides" exactly, because that makes me think of a huge motocross/Dakar rally drift through the sand with the bike leaning over and the throttle fully open lol, but yes was comfortable with letting the back slide out a bit in a tight corner to turn quicker or in the gravel sections when hitting the gas hard.


Throwing a rooster tail means spinning the back wheel in the mud and sometimes spraying the poor guys behind you


Did you book the course?
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old Today, 03:39 PM
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Sorry for the late reply, haven't been back to the forum in a while.
I wouldn't call them "power slides" exactly, because that makes me think of a huge motocross/Dakar rally drift through the sand with the bike leaning over and the throttle fully open lol, but yes was comfortable with letting the back slide out a bit in a tight corner to turn quicker or in the gravel sections when hitting the gas hard.


Throwing a rooster tail means spinning the back wheel in the mud and sometimes spraying the poor guys behind you


Did you book the course?
Thanks a lot for the reply. Course Not yet booked as we are planning to go to Corsica in April or May. Once That date is set I am definetly going. Flight cost just over 100 quid return not a big deal.
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