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103 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Quick write up with initial impressions:

After a couple of hours with a manual tricolour CRF1000 today, here are my first thoughts. I already ordered a DCT in November and this was my first ride, and first sit on one since the bike shows. The test ride was in the UK in wet and cold conditions. The machine had not turned a wheel, just built, zero miles and hence brand new tyres so I couldn't really explore the handling that much and only did 38 miles in total. It was fitted with tall screen, centre stand and Honda luggage options

I'll start by saying that in the flesh in daylight the bike, particularly in tricolour scheme is stunning. The more you look at it the more you admire the details. Far better out in the open that under the lights of a bike show

I did not like the Honda luggage, felt flimsy and had already been marked. The 'aluminium' is very thin, and seems to be just stuck onto plastic boxes. The top box in particular is quite ugly, total afterthought, and does nothing for the rear aesthetic of the machine. I didn't bother opening the panniers up, but don't imagine you'd get much in the right side one. Personally I will wait and see what the 3rd parties come up with. In the meantime I'll use roll bags and Rokstraps. The mounting system for panniers is smart, as in no frame / scaffolding is needed

The rider's footpegs are seriously tiny. Very short, stubby and narrow. I was riding in SIDI Crossfire 2's (size 12) and I almost daren't stand up on the machine. Hardly anything there. I will try to remove the rubbers and see if it's better. Confused as to why the pillion gets better pegs than the rider? For me the pegs will be the first change (yes I know I have big feet!)

Speed is highly deceptive! The machine runs incredibly smoothly, there is never any vibration through any part of the CRF including the mirrors, and rolling resistance felt non-existent. I found myself well into triple figure territory often without trying or realising, the tall screen adding to the deception of speed. I ride in a Schuberth C3Pro and suffered zero buffeting at any speed

Torque curve. Despite the dyno graphs, the torque delivery did not feel particularly linear to me. There was a noticeable sweet spot within quite a narrow rev range, and to make progress I was short shifting up the box to enjoy this zone. It made quicker progress that way, as opposed to holding onto the gears for longer. This characteristic that I experienced fills me with confidence that the DCT will be a good choice. I was dancing all over the gearbox on roads I knew far more than on my other machines, but this may have just been me enjoying the buzz of a motor that was new to me. Saying that, the gearbox on the manual is the sweetest I've known Honda to produce - very very positive, clutch action so light and sweet

Rear brake lever needs adjustment for me, kept catching my right boot on it inadvertently, seemed a bit big - probably bigger than the daft pegs - but that's an easy fix

Seat height: I had concerns that I was going to need to splash £300 on the optional high seat and be left with a redundant standard seat however at 6'5" with the standard seat in the upper position it felt very good. I didn't adjust the rear pre-load, just got on and rode. Am sure there was more suspension sag in the ones at the show as they felt really low

Instruments. Forget what you may have read about them being illegible in strong light. They are great, informative, not a distraction and getting at the data you want on the fly is very very easy. Everything is clear and concise

Riding aids. ABS is switchable on the rear as you know, and takes a good long press of the button at a standstill to dis-engage. Traction control (HSTC Honda Selectable Torque Control) is easy to manipulate on the move. Even on it's most intrusive setting, I didn't feel it once - even on filthy roads on brand new rubber, so can't really comment anymore other than to say that it resets itself to TC level 3 each time you stop and hit the kill switch. Probably a safety thing

I like the 'passing / flashing' switch being integrated into the 'high/low' beam rocker - very convenient. I also liked the starter being integrated into the kill switch

Brakes felt great, but on new rubber and poor conditions I can't really say much more than they felt fantastic - as any new machine's should

Sound. The bike sounds great everywhere in the rev range. Something weird I spotted is that when you first fire it up you get a beautiful deep tone for a couple of seconds, and then it disappears on it's own - without any inputs or changes in rpm. Don't know what or why this happens. On the move it's audibly tuned beautifully, particularly when lugging a high gear. Very much sounds like my XRV750 with Laser Produro. Probably the first bike where I could (potentially) live with the soundtrack of the standard silencer

Performance. The new AT gets up and boogies. A world apart from the XRV as you'd expect. It is a deceptively quick machine, by that I mean it pulls hard without drama or fuss and at relatively low revs. It won't make your hairs stand up on your neck, but it seems highly capable and oozes that feeling of dependability - and that's what I want from this machine. I disagree that 6th is an overdrive as a couple of magazines stated. At motorway speeds I didn't feel the need to drop a cog to blast past anything

Fuelling was just beautiful. Soft and smooth in slow traffic from tickover, no snatching, hunting - very very impressed

Ride quality / suspension: Due to the conditions and new rubber I didn't do any hard cornering, but the machine felt sprung with quality components and the ride was plush and predictable. I didn't fiddle with anything - I weigh 105kg and it felt great

Overall I was seriously impressed by the CRF1000L. I can only imagine it's better when ridden a little harder than I dared on the new rubber today. This machine felt worthy of the name she inherits and I think deserves to wear the moniker with pride

The very clever thing, is that despite it being a brand new bike, despite it sharing little with the XRV750, within 50 metres of being aboard..........I KNEW I was riding an Africa Twin

Very well done Honda!

PS - could not get the effing instrument display to switch from kmh to mph


· Registered
111 Posts
The one I rode had a key more akin to my SAAB. I'm rather glad because the key on other Hondas I've owned were entirely too easy to bend or twist.
That's why I asked it. Have a lot of problems with my VFR1200F also water in the contact. I have to grease the contact 3 ,4 time a year. Difficult to get the key in the contact.

· Registered
103 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks all

I didn't pay any attention at all to the ignition key, so can't confirm - sorry

My super squeaky boots are SIDI Crossfire 2's - awesome footwear with the sole replacement system

Yes, I recorded my ride with a helmet cam - however the footage is very, very dull! I'll edit up a quick highlight reel with a voiceover for you - but I warn you now, it's not exciting

Thanks for the instruction Erey - (nudge nudge, wink wink)

As for writing about bikes, I've never really thought about it. I live and breathe motorcycles, and am passionate about anything with two wheels (just bought a C90 - haha) - not sure I can make a living out of it though

See you all soon
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