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Discussion Starter #1
Only read this if you’re bored or have a lot of time to waste…

Off work for a while now so my mind is freed up to run amok. Please forgive this somewhat long and involved rambling!

I have a test ride planned for early January here in the UK - or at least that's when my dealer is hoping to get one in. He's opted to get a DCT demo bike. There is another dealer a bit further away that is getting a manual demo in around the same time. So I may be able to try both bikes. But until I've ridden it myself it's too soon for me to know what it is really like from a few journalist reviews and one member (thanks erey) - a point that lots of people have made already but just thought I'd mention it before the next bit which is a summary of my current thoughts! Please don’t shoot me down – they are very personal points.

One of my personal worries about the AT is that Honda may have opted to put slightly too much emphasis on off-road ability out of the crate. Or rather, their decision to replicate the original's off-road talent in the Dakar-type arena means that the new bike’s on-road capabilities are somewhat less than I was hoping for. I know they are touting it as a go anywhere bike and I’m sure it will be able to do that quite easily. I know the reviews and test rides seem to indicate it’s probably better off-road than a 1200 GS but ultimately it’s ended up being more or less the same weight so will face the same problems when confronted with more extreme conditions maybe?

I was basically hoping for a reliable and fuss-free GS-like competitor – a bike that would be great on the road but let me do a little bit more than a VFR1200X off-road. (In fact if Honda bought the rights off BMW for the 1200 GS, used the electronics and suspension with the new parallel twin engine and built it in Japan I would be ecstatic – dream on). I live in the ludicrously over-crowded and over-regulated South East of England where green-laning and riding off-road is considered heresy unless you’re doing it on your own Estate, I have to travel a reasonable distance on A-roads and motorway to get somewhere interesting for off-roading. And I want to go touring in Europe so a bit of long-road tedium is often inevitable. So the on-road bit is fairly important to me – especially as this will be the only bike I have.

But what Honda are offering (I think) is a bike that will be a lot of fun when I arrive at an off-road destination but will possibly be not so great at getting there – no cruise control, an hour of terror trying to change a tube at the side of the motorway/autobahn/dual carriage way/mountain pass, perhaps some suspension twiddling to be done to make the most of road and off-road and maybe not quite enough power to enjoy the Alps two-up with luggage.

I know for a lot of you that is exactly what you wanted. If you live in Alpine European areas, South Africa, Australia and, I guess, parts of the US and Canada, then this will fit the bill – you ride off into the wilderness safe in the knowledge that the bike is unlikely to go wrong and that you can cope with a bent rim/puncture easily and that no complex electronics (optional DCT, traction control and ABS aside) are going to shaft you (forgive the pun!)

But for me I’m not so sure at the moment. I’m feeling a little bit like maybe I'm waiting for the wrong bike! Maybe I’m in the minority – I think so judging by what a lot of you guys are saying...

And before anyone mentions the Yamaha Tenere, I am still looking at that one but for some reason the Honda is more attractive. Perhaps it’s new-bike syndrome.

Sorry, that’s a lot of words to say that I’m wondering whether the on-road abilities combined with the tech-free nature and tubed wheels will do it for me. It's actually helped me clarify a lot of my thoughts writing this so please forgive my indulgence. I'm looking forward to the test ride though!

I’ll get my coat…
 

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I suspect that after a test ride all thoughts or apprehensions about its capabilities, what ever they may be, will go out the window.
 

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I find myself having similar concerns to Yromulus, specifically:

" Honda may have opted to put slightly too much emphasis on off-road ability out of the crate"

I wonder if it might be worthwhile to do what Triumph did with their Tiger XR - have a version with a smaller front wheel that is a little more road focused.
 

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Amongst the plethora of bikes that have passed though my hands, two that stand out are a BMW 12GS and KTM 1190 Adv with the 1190 being the last and now traded in to my dealer against the Africa Twin. So the AT has big shoes to fill and my worries are the power (or lack off in many people's eyes) and tubed tyres.

But thinking back many moons ago,I owned a Yam 750 Super Tenere. It had the 21" front wheel, tubed tyres and only 70 odd hp and I did a few good trips abroad on it with no problems.

So in reality, I don't think I've got anything to worry about at all.
 

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I think it all depends on where your priorities are. If I wanted a good tourer for Western Europe / North America that could do a little off-road I'd get the BMW or the KTM if money were no object. If money were an object, I'd get the Super Tenere.

But I want a bike that genuinely can do places a little more off the beaten track, while still being able to get there quickly on road. So the Africa Twin seems like the right compromise for me.

Still, I'd say try to arrange a back-to-back test ride of the African Twin and Super Tenere for the same day. That direct comparison will show you what you'll miss on the road by getting the Africa Twin, and whether it's worth it for the extra off road ability.
 

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I think you need to own more than one bike. My plan to to buy an AT in a couple years, but keep my current bike (VFR) for street use. Totally different bikes for different purposes.
 

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I think you need to own more than one bike. My plan to to buy an AT in a couple years, but keep my current bike (VFR) for street use. Totally different bikes for different purposes.
Totally agree.

We have a Grom for local riding and doing errands around the area and its fun for that, rewarding in small stretches of road as you can imagine.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I think it all depends on where your priorities are. If I wanted a good tourer for Western Europe / North America that could do a little off-road I'd get the BMW or the KTM if money were no object.
I guess that's what I was really trying to say - I want a Honda for the reliability but I want it to be like a GS/GSA or a 1290 SA. I'm slightly tired of reading about faults on BMW and KTM bikes though - although many bikes are fine I'm sure. You sort of expect a Honda to just get on with it.

I think you need to own more than one bike.
I think I need more than one bike too - sadly SWMBO, garage space and wallet are all conspiring against me on that one.
 

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I think you need to own more than one bike. My plan to to buy an AT in a couple years, but keep my current bike (VFR) for street use. Totally different bikes for different purposes.
If you're looking for a dedicated off-road bike why not opt for something smaller, possibly a DS of some sort?

I just feel that the AT may be overkill if you're just looking for a 'dirt bike'
 

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I guess that's what I was really trying to say - I want a Honda for the reliability but I want it to be like a GS/GSA or a 1290 SA. I'm slightly tired of reading about faults on BMW and KTM bikes though - although many bikes are fine I'm sure. You sort of expect a Honda to just get on with it.
I also have a Moto Guzzi California, and that brand doesn't have a great reputation for reliability, but I've put 15000 miles on it in 18 months and it has been fantastic. And even if it had been unreliable, it was sold with a warranty same as the BMWs and KTMs are. A few bad reliability reports wouldn't put me off owning either of those brands if I was just sticking to Western Europe / North America. From what I hear, the new GS and the new KTMs are better for reliability than the previous generation of bikes too.

But another option for you if you want more power but don't like the idea of BMW KTM is the Triumph Tiger Explorer. I've ridden it and the water-cooled BMW GS, and my view is that the BMW is a better bike in almost every way. But I will say that the engine in the Triumph is superb.

If it absolutely has to be a Honda, then I agree with erey that the Crosstourer sounds more like what you're looking for.
 

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I think you need to own more than one bike. My plan to to buy an AT in a couple years, but keep my current bike (VFR) for street use. Totally different bikes for different purposes.
I'm in the same page as you, will keep the VFR and the only difference is that I've already ordered the AT.
 

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I'm in the same page as you, will keep the VFR and the only difference is that I've already ordered the AT.
Strange here the same , keep the VFR1200F and buy the AT but I think a DCT. First test ride it. But have to wait on the dealer. Test ride possible in Mars 2016.
 

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I currently own and ride a Yamaha Super Tenere amongst others but I am on the opposite spectrum. I do mainly off road type of rides and therefore wanted a bike that leans in that direction. I have a pre cruise control Tenere and I find that to be almost a necessity here in California where I reside. I've done a few 500 mile days on the Tenere and my butt and right hand hated it. I've for the most part resolved the butt issue with a new seat from Seat Concepts and a cheap throttle lock for my hand but dedicated cruise would be nice. My suggestion would be for something a little more street worthy. I owned a R12GS before the Super Tenere and liked it better for slabbing. Super Tenere is better for me off road.
 

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Yromulus,
You are asking the right questions. I too am dismayed at the weight of the AT. I was hoping for 450 lbs. Sadly that was a pipe dream. I am also not so pleased with Honda cheap-ing out and fitting spoke wheels that will not handle tube less tires, er tyres for you. I want spokes and 21" and 18" is fine and I am good at changing tires. I did want the convenience of just plugging a flat tire and riding on. My current favorite ride is a KLR and has taken me (slowly) to some very remote locations. It is not a great long distance/fast road bike, but will get you there and back on 36 HP. You can see that for me the AT will be a quantum leap in performance and cannot be any worse as a long distance ride from my perspective. I have some friends riding the Suzuki V-Strom 1000 and they love that bike. It is more street oriented, but okay for the occasional gravel road. Cheaper than the AT and it has 19" and 17" tube less tires and might be what you need if road worthiness is a higher priority than off road. good luck on your choice.
 

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For a group of people who, for the most part, have yet to lay eyes on an Africa Twin, much less ridden one, a lot of us have strong opinions about it’s performance capabilities, on and off road. We might believe they are, or will prove to be, correct because of the numerous reviews and videos of the launch in South Africa. Since we can’t ride every motorcycle model that comes out every year, road test reports have been the time honored way for us to form our opinions.

There is one tiny difference in reports on the Africa Twin and other motorcycle tests. That being, for the SA launch Honda provided test riders’ AT’s with 80/20 street tires for the day riding tarmac roads and changed over to 60/40 dirt focused tires for the day riding dirt roads. Six months ago, I might not have considered this to be unfairly stacking the deck to favor the AT, but I recently removed knobbies and put 80/20 street oriented tires on an ATK 605 dual sport. It was transformed from being a great handling dirt bike to downright scary in sand, off-camber hardpack and rocky sections (we don't get much mud here). I can’t help but wonder how an Africa Twin, GS, VStrom, KTM. etc. with those tires would have fared on those roads or conversely, how they'd do with TKC-80's.

Before drawing any conclusions about the Africa Twin compared to any other 500+ pound adventure bike, the playing field needs to be leveled; all contenders fitted with the same tires and ridden on the same roads. Otherwise, just consult a crystal ball to judge the motorcycles.:laugh:
 

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That still creates a level playing field for all bikes though, doesn't it? Presumably the same testers who thought the AT was better off road than a BMW GS also had TKC80s or similar provided by BMW back when they did the off road portion of that launch.

Where I do think it will be interesting to see real world reports though is that Honda didn't let the testers tune the suspension settings for road riding. Therefore, fork dive may be less of an issue in reality than it appeared to be on the tests.

But some things you can figure out from the specs. Is a bike with a 21/18 wheel combination, 90ish horsepower and standard long travel forks going to be as good on the road as a bike with a 19/17 wheel combination, 150ish horsepower and semi-active suspension that firms up the forks under braking (like the BMW does)...? Probably not.

The unique selling point of the AT is that it can do long road days (albeit not quite as well as some of the competition), but can also do off-road better than the competition if reviews are to be believed. If you just want a road bike, I think you're probably barking up the wrong tree with the AT in my opinion.
 

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The sad truth here is that for the overwhelming majority of us this bike will far exceed anything and I mean anything to can dish out. Honestly over the last 30 years the present 2014 semi-active etc etc etc motorcycle I have does not really handle any better (don't split hairs here now) then the 93,97,97,99,01,03,07 etc motorcycles I have had. I could/can lean them over just as far etc. The thing that has improved is the complexity of them. The braking is a bit better. The weight is a bit lighter. More of them have cruise (but **** my K1200RS had cruise). For the majority of us the new AT can and will handle anything we throw at it whether it be long or short distance / dirt or highway or anything else. Most of us will have an opportunity to buy a bike that we have dreamed about for the last 20 years. Go buy one and ENJOY IT!!
 

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If one really wants a street oriented bike that will be challenged off road, there are plenty to choose from. I want an off road oriented bike that will challenge me to push it to its numbers.
I could not care less about cruise control or tubeless tires. The 18 / 21 wheels are the hallmark of off road orientation. Back in the late 70s and 80s, before there were "dual sports" our XT and XL "enduros" would keep up with the best sport bikes in the twisties.
There is nothing about this bike that concerns me. And I am glad to see a departure from the antiquated Vee motor. I had a Yamaha TDM 850 parallel twin, and it was a very capable motor. I look foreword to Hondas modern version. I have a deposit holding the first delivery at my dealer.
 
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