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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello

I am new to biking at the age of 49, I was looking for advice on the Africa Twin. I have bought a new Kawasaki Z650 to learn on, with the intention of moving up to the Honda when I get some experience.
I have a modified Jeep which I use off-road and had intended to do some long trips abroad now that my kids are grown up. My oldest boy persuaded me to get a bike after he bought one, I then got the idea of doing some travelling with a bike rather than the Jeep as it would be a lot cheaper than using the Jeep.

I planned to do some off-road courses on the bike, but after sitting on an Africa Twin a couple of days ago, it seemed to fit me well and I felt as though I could have ridden off on it.
I was close to part exchanging my new Z650 on the spot, but my question is how suitable is the Africa for a new rider to be learning on, the salesman did not think it would be a problem, but I would like to hear from someone impartial who knows what they are talking about.

I have no intention of pushing the bike anywhere near it's limits either on or off road. I am currently jumping through the hoops to get my license, theory test completed on Monday and I have had to do a CBT again as my last one expired, my only real experience is on a 125 I bought for one of my boys about 4 years ago and a 50cc when I was 16.

Cheers
Chris
 

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Hello 67. Welcome to the forum!

As a veteran rider, in my opinion the AT is a big, heavy beast. Lots of power, lots of FUN!

Dumping this thing-on road or off will be painfully expensive. It's heavy and believe me, you don't want to have to pick it up.

However, I would not let that stop you from buying it. Just remember the learning curve may be steep.

It attracts a lot of positive attention anywhere I go on mine, so be sure and lock it up!

If you can ride one, you can ride them all. Good luck.
 

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The AT is not a difficult bike to road and although it has a lot of real world performance it is controllable. Despite it being heavy it carries the weight low down and provided you treat it with respect and don't let your right hand take control of your brain you should have no problem if you already have the basics sorted on the 650.
 

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Hello Chris and welcome to the forum, I just got my AT about a month ago and my situation was similar to yours. I grew up riding XR's and at one time I considered myself a pretty good rider. I just turned 50 and have been riding ATV's for the last 20 years while My kids were growing up.
I decided last year that I wanted an Africa twin so I dug out my old XR-500 and started riding it to see if I still had it. I only have 600 miles on the bike so far but here's what I've learned so far. The bike is awesome around town on pavement, at highway speeds above 50 mph the wind is more annoying than I thought it would be, I just bought a windscreen riser and it helps but this bike is no Gold-Wing at highway speed. The bike is also great on dirt roads and two track roads.
The worst thing that I've found is that even though it is a "lighter" dual-sport bike, it is still a heavy bike. I notice that I am a bit wobbly at low speeds and when I come to a stop or when I have to back up or push it around. I have also dumped the bike in a rock pile already and It's nearly all that I can do to pick it up.
I think that as long as you take your time getting used to it and avoid getting into situations that are beyond your skill level then you will probably be ok.
One other thing, I bought the DCT and I'm glad that I did, but I find myself wishing it would shift sooner or later than it does sometimes, it has several different shift modes and you can upshift or downshift even in auto mode, but it's not perfect for every situation.
I hope this information helps, good luck.

Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks (PJM, ISHIFT, Highdesert) that's good know, I weigh 107kg and used to do some heavy weights, sounds like I better start working out again though(if I am able!). I think my skill level is pretty low, but after sitting on that bike I felt an excitement of a magnitude I have not felt in years. I have had 4 ribs (boats) and a bunch of 4x4s. The great thing for me is that there are still new things to try. Just hope I am not too old to pick up the skills. Gonna do my best to learn though cos I love that bike!
 

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Hi Chris and welcome.

Having passed my test at 16 and now being 72 I consider myself pretty experienced. I have owned several different styles, makes and models over the years. OK - let's cut to the AT, without doubt this is the best bike I have EVER owned or ridden. It is well balanced, responsive and with the best gearbox I have ever used.

Just be careful, it is a tall bike so make sure you can plant your feet firmly, and mount safely, even at 6 foot tall I stand on the footpeg to mount and have no probs. Never intentionally go off road but on single track, poorly surfaced roads ( plenty of those up here ) it handles well.

Perhaps the DCT may be a bit too steep a learning curve if you are used to a manual.

Have fun !!
 

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cckelly67,
the AT is a great bike and my favorite to ride. I have a Goldwing which I love on the road and a couple of Transalps I used for off road until I bought the AT. The AT is good for around town and running to the store because of it's size and easy handling. It is great for off road ( a little heavy but as long as you pay attention you should be OK ). It is also, with a few additions and mods, good on the highway. The Goldwing is the king of highway cruisers but on really hot days I stay cooler on the AT. The Wing is not much fun around town because of the weight and overall size.

Therefore the AT is the best all around motorcycle for me and I think you will come to love your's. Mine is a DCT which I love most of the time but miss the clutch for slow maneuvers and sometimes off road, but that is a learning issue on my part. Starting out I would suggest the manual.

Get some good training. Both on road and off road. They are different and nothing replaces good training. Here in the US it's fairly easy to find groups you can ride with. This is a great way to get experience and good advice as well as support if things go wrong. I will not ride off road (anything challenging) by my self. Picking up the AT by yourself is very tiring and I'm in my mid 60's.

When riding stay focused. Cruising down the road is easy, just pay attention to the traffic around you and drive defensively. The problems come when you slow down. Slow riding such as in parking lots is when you must be focused. When your tired or distracted is when you will have a problem or drop the bike. Nearly every time I have screwed up it was because I was not focused on what I was doing. Picking up the Wing by yourself is a motivating experience to remind you not to do that again !!!
Practice slow riding often. Find an empty parking lot and practice turns, figure eights, weaving etc. I sometimes will go for a month or more without riding and when I start again I go back to the parking lot for some practice.

You can find lots of training online especially for off road riding. I think dirt riding is where you really learn to handle a motorcycle.

I have been distracted while I was writing this but I hope it will help you with your riding and motorcycle choice. A little plug for the AT and all Hondas is their excellent quality, durability, and performance. Nothing is perfect but day in and day out Honda is known for reliability.

Ti04
 

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G'day from Sydney, Australia Chris. I'm a Brighton boy originally so I know your local area. The AT is a great bike, and I'd have no reservations recommending it. But the question you have to ask yourself is whether you are going to use the bike predominantly on or off road. If you intend most of your riding to be on road then I'd suggest the manual and you can pretty much leave as is - although personally I'd junk the tyres and get some decent 80/20 rubber. If, however, like me you intend to spend most of your time off the tarmac then I'd suggest that you get decent 50/50 or 40/60 tyres, some crash protection, a steering damper and set the seat low enough to be able to flat-foot it. Also bear in mind that riding off road is a whole different ball game. If you have little or no experience of off-road on two wheels, then I'd suggest you spend some time at an ADV riding school (a good one is money well-spent) and get the DCT version. The DCT is twist and go. I have the manual, but there have been many times off-road where I wished I had the DCT - especially in tricky terrain. If you ride it off road, the chances are also quite high that you will drop it at some stage (I've dropped mine a few times) - but it will probably be a low-speed stall (unless you have the DCT) and a 107kg bloke who has done weights will find it a piece of piss to pick up again if you use the correct technique. Get it and go for it...broaden your horizons...YOLO, as the youth of today say!
 

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Hi Chris
I love my Twin. It is my second bike my first being a Honda Shadow. Night and Day in comparison. They will have to pry my cold dead hands off my Twin when I Die I ride it every day. Alot of people say it is heavy and I have dropped it twice and no problem picking it up. I am 6.3. and 55yrs. I would recommend body protection as mine doesn't show a scratch on the bike just the engine guard. I would guess if you do take the plung you will not regret it
 

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Hello

I am new to biking at the age of 49, I was looking for advice on the Africa Twin. I have bought a new Kawasaki Z650 to learn on, with the intention of moving up to the Honda when I get some experience.
I have a modified Jeep which I use off-road and had intended to do some long trips abroad now that my kids are grown up. My oldest boy persuaded me to get a bike after he bought one, I then got the idea of doing some travelling with a bike rather than the Jeep as it would be a lot cheaper than using the Jeep.

I planned to do some off-road courses on the bike, but after sitting on an Africa Twin a couple of days ago, it seemed to fit me well and I felt as though I could have ridden off on it.
I was close to part exchanging my new Z650 on the spot, but my question is how suitable is the Africa for a new rider to be learning on, the salesman did not think it would be a problem, but I would like to hear from someone impartial who knows what they are talking about.

I have no intention of pushing the bike anywhere near it's limits either on or off road. I am currently jumping through the hoops to get my license, theory test completed on Monday and I have had to do a CBT again as my last one expired, my only real experience is on a 125 I bought for one of my boys about 4 years ago and a 50cc when I was 16.

Cheers
Chris
First off, 49 is young! I won't be popular saying this but I would keep the Z650 for now, (still a decent size bike) and if you fancy a bit of off roading why not invest in a 2nd hand smaller capacity off road machine, anything 250-400 cc.

If you have not done off-roading before even seemingly mild routes can be quite taxing. You will be glad you had a 250cc then. The AT is a poor choice for a newbie off roader, I think you will be wasting your money, especially if you decide off-roading isn't for you. You can always get one later if you get mad into it.
 

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First off, 49 is young! I won't be popular saying this but I would keep the Z650 for now, (still a decent size bike) and if you fancy a bit of off roading why not invest in a 2nd hand smaller capacity off road machine, anything 250-400 cc.

If you have not done off-roading before even seemingly mild routes can be quite taxing. You will be glad you had a 250cc then. The AT is a poor choice for a newbie off roader, I think you will be wasting your money, especially if you decide off-roading isn't for you. You can always get one later if you get mad into it.
Have an Africa twin, totally love it but 100% agree with the above post. Now you have some road riding skills it's very much worth while taking time to develop some off road skills. This is a LOT easier to accomplish on a used 250cc - 400cc bike, as dropping the bike many times is considered part of the learning experience. Light dirt-bikes are designed to be dropped, have flexible plastics, are pretty easy to pick up and if you do break a part they are very cheap to replace. The Africa twin (as great as it is) has NONE of these things going for it. In fact a good (used) learner dirtbike can be had for less than the price of replacing the plastics on an Africa twin.

Just a thought.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I have bought a brand new AT Clive after your inspirational words, the shop picked up my unused Z650 and my new AT is being delivered the 1st September when the new plates come out. Just a bit confused on the tyres as a lot of people saying the standard tyres are not great. I took some pictures of my bike in the shop but I cant make out what the tyres are, Can you advise? I bought the tricolour DCT You only live once right! My oldest boy called it a Giant Moped! He has a Yamaha MT07
 
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