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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On Thursday while my standard 2017 AT was going through its 16k service, Honda Newcastle loaned me their AT Sport DCT so I rode it for about 110 miles and here are some of my thoughts in no particular order of importance.
By the way - I never go off road so many of the points I see as negatives would probably be seen as big plus points by trail riders.
  • It's very tall but not impossible for a 5'10 person with a 31 inch seam measurement. And I would imagine with the low seat in the low position it would put me about where I am with my current bike (standard seat in high position). But my current seat and riding position is the best I have had on any bike ever and I can easily do 450 miles per day with no bum ache, so I am loathe to change that. The standard seat on the Sport is taller and therefore slightly narrower, but it also felt harder. Being higher they have made it flatter which many find a bonus but I think the slight angle of my current seat is perfect. I could only manage 110 miles on the At seat and by then I was sore.
  • Buffeting was bad - but I am used to the better protection from the MADSTAD. However I suspect that if the Sport had been fitted with both the upper air deflectors and the deflector visors it would have been fine. It was OK-ish when I took off my peak. I don;t think the screen fitted to the Sport is as tall as the optional touring screen I got with the 2017 bike (which was useless BTW)
  • Have they fixed the heated grips - well they worked, which is more than can be said for the two pairs I had fitted before scrapping them in favour of Kosos. But it was 11 deg and they didn't get very warm even on maximum so I'm guessing people will be unhappy as per the 2016 bikes. One irritating thing they have done is remove the heat setting number from the diplay. It's there briefly when you press to change the heat level, but then it goes away (why?). Honda have done an excellent job in making the heated grips the same diameter as non-heated grips - but again why? Perhaps if they had made them slightly thicker with bigger elements they would have done the job.
  • The suspension is 'harder' whatever that means, and Honda have probably done this in response to criticisms from hard core riders. But for me the 2017 bike had the most sublime suspension for my purposes and I hope the 2018 standard bike is unchanged (it might not be as it has now got dung coloured forks instead of the gold ones that matched the wheels. I found the harder suspension pretty tiring after 110 miles mainly on back roads. (One point worth noting the forks are fitted straight - on many of our bikes they came from the factory with a slight right twist)
  • The display screen is different - apart from being smaller it shows more information - not a brilliant idea. What's worse though is that in catering for the trail riders - who presumably couldn;t see important stuff when standing up they have made it worse for the road-only rider. Now the screen reflects a lot more light from the sky. They have incorporated a very long sunshade but I suspect that may interfere with those people using GPS's on the little front rail (if you are by the way, then Vlad's screen brace is brilliant and it looks like it might still fit the 2018 standard bike). I noticed that they have changed the software and included more sensible ways of displaying stuff - when I picked the bike up it told me I had 224 miles range)
  • The miles per (UK) gallon averaged 50.2 which is identical to the mpg I have just got on my bike on a trip of 2380 miles. I didn;t get chance to check whether the speedo is now accurate (nowhere to fit my satnav) but it looks like they have fixed the ambient temp sensor.
  • The back brake was noticeably better than my bike - can't work out that one.
  • The engine is snatchier than my bike - I can only put this down to the ride by wire as I don't think they have had to lean it off for any newer Euro regulations have they?
  • BUT .... but .... the improvements to the engine and power delivery are very real. If I can notice them they must be more than subtle. The responsiveness is improved, and the engine just sings with a much creamier delivery. In fact because of this and despite all the negatives above, I am going to buy a 2018 standard bike rather than a 2017 one which would have been cheaper. (I am also assuming that they have taken the opportunity of 'fixing' the 4 or 5 warranty issues which they will not have done on new 2017 bikes. But also I can fit the new deflector visors and maybe dispense with the Madstad. My centre stand, upper air deflectors, and OEM luggage will transfer straight over - the top box doesn;t fit the Sport by the way.)
If anyone has any other information on model differences please shout up before I press the button.
Mike
 

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My manual ATAS has 500 miles on it. I am getting 61mpg
The bike is indeed 'snatchy' at low speeds when going through towns. On the open road however it is amazing. The best engine I have had in 49 years riding. It is so smooth and actually gets smoother the faster you go.
I find the seat OK. Yes its very tall and swinging your leg over is not easy with panniers on, even at six foot five.
I have set up the rear pre load but damping is still factory settings front and rear.
If anyone has changed the ATAS damping settings I would be interested to hear how it went
 

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Good personal view on the new bike Mike. A lot of what you say will be very dependant on the individual, but it’s good to get feedback from someone who currently has the previous version. One thing I have found with my Adventure Sport, having fitted the spoiler and deflector kits, they do make a slight difference, but not a definitive improvement, well not for me personally, although I didn’t have a major issue start with, whereas my brother, same height 5 11”, same 31” inside leg, did, but we do have different helmets. I’m going to try the BigKev sponge mod, on my next ride, so looking forward to that.

As for the jerky slow speed, it was something that Jonathan at Rugged Roads warned me about, and now having done 700 miles, had first service, I was keen to get a Fastbike Easy module fitted. I have found out that currently, DimSport who make the Fastbike Easy, currently don’t recommend fitting it, as they haven’t tested it on the 2018 bikes. I emailed them to see when they will approve it’s fitment, but haven’t had a reply as yet. I guess it’s not a priority for them, but if more potential customers contacted them, they might get their act together! One other consideration, with the new TBW, cruise control is a possibility, as I know a company in Australia has already done this for the KTM 1090, at a reasonable £350 ish mark. Something I will consider, and expect other will, just dependant on price. It’s a lot easier for them to do with the TBW system.

As for suspension, I haven’t experimented yet, other than increase the preload at the rear. As far as I know, the new 2018 standard AT’s come with the new suspension, it’s just not as long, so worth considering on the new bike, as I’m sure your be able to tune it more to your liking. I’m hoping to do some experimenting with the suspension, when I get a week off work, mid May.

Concerning Vlad’s screen brace, received mine yesterday, tried fitting it today, but it doesn’t quite fit right on the new dash/instrument area. I have emailed Vlad, waiting for his response. He did say that my brother and I were the first 2018 ATAS owners to try it, so I have sent some photos back to him and hope that these will help him adjust the fitment, so they work on the new dash. Here’s a photo of it fitted, but now removed, until Vlad gets back to me. It’s very well made and looks like it could of been an OEM item, hopefully Vlad will modify the area that needs it, which shouldn’t be too much of a problem and send out a replacement. I’ll need to see what Vlad wants to do with the ones my brother and I have, maybe can send to onto someone in the UK that wants one for their 2016/17 bike.

Update: Vlad has got back to me and is sending another prototype for me to try. Excellent communication and he wants to get it product that fits the new bike correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
i'm tempted to fit one of the cam action throttles that make it much less sensitive at the closed-throttle end of the turn. However, I'm worried that if I do, I may lose that responsiveness that both Kev and I have noticed and liked. Also I want the heated grips, and don't suppose they will fit over the cam-action throttle, and there's no guarantee that it would work with my Kaoko cruise control - which was a godsend on my trip last week.
So I too may be looking at the FastBike Easy as a solution to the snatchiness - if I can be convinced it works - and stays working even when the ECU system tries to take it back to how the engineers wanted it.
Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I hope you are wrong Shedracer about the suspension on the 2018 standard bike. My careful reading of all the releases that I can find implies it's just the Sport that has been stiffened up. If they have put stiffer springs in the standard bike I will be very annoyed (they did it with the NC750 X and ruined it - I had to spend a fortune to get it back to how the earlier bikes were sprung)
Mike
 

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I hope you are wrong Shedracer about the suspension on the 2018 standard bike. My careful reading of all the releases that I can find implies it's just the Sport that has been stiffened up. If they have put stiffer springs in the standard bike I will be very annoyed (they did it with the NC750 X and ruined it - I had to spend a fortune to get it back to how the earlier bikes were sprung)
Mike
Mike I don’t know when the standard bike arrives at the UK dealers, but it can’t be long now surely, test ride if you can. As for the suspension, I can’t say and your probably right about the springs. Has the press tested the 2018 standard bike yet, might they have an opinion on the suspension, I haven’t looked, but surely they must have by now, worth a look to see if they have.

If your unsure, best to wait for a test ride on the Standard bike.

Found this review, suspension sounds like it’s still soft.

https://www.carolenash.com/insidebikes/reviews/honda/first-ride-2018-honda-africa-twin/
 

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I am not a suspension expert but the 'hardness' of the suspension I believe is more a function of damping than spring rate. The spring stiffness will dictate the amount of movement for a given load and hence the load carrying capacity. The 'hardness' of the ride can be tuned with the compression and rebound damping.
The front Compression and rebound factory damping settings for the ATAS are:
COMPRESSION 4 clicks from hard and total clicks available is 12
REBOUND 2.25 turns from hard and total turns available is 3.0

Incidently I have fitted grip puppies to the grips. The rubber grips are rather small and the puppies need a bit of glue to stop them moving. They also convert the heating function from pretty poor to really poor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I am not a suspension expert but the 'hardness' of the suspension I believe is more a function of damping than spring rate. The spring stiffness will dictate the amount of movement for a given load and hence the load carrying capacity. The 'hardness' of the ride can be tuned with the compression and rebound damping.
The front Compression and rebound factory damping settings for the ATAS are:
COMPRESSION 4 clicks from hard and total clicks available is 12
REBOUND 2.25 turns from hard and total turns available is 3.0

Incidently I have fitted grip puppies to the grips. The rubber grips are rather small and the puppies need a bit of glue to stop them moving. They also convert the heating function from pretty poor to really poor.
Haha - yes I did that with the grip puppies Kev - eventually the heat gets through though. I didn't put them back on the Koso heated grips as they are slightly bigger diameter but I thought the grips on the demo Sport were too thin for me.
If it was just damping rates that they changed between models, it would be easy enough to dial back in the ride I wanted, but that wasn't possible on the NC750, so I assume they changed the springs - they definitely did on the front because I was able to measure the amount of sag and it was quite different from the earlier model.
Mike
 

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I hope you are wrong Shedracer about the suspension on the 2018 standard bike. My careful reading of all the releases that I can find implies it's just the Sport that has been stiffened up. If they have put stiffer springs in the standard bike I will be very annoyed (they did it with the NC750 X and ruined it - I had to spend a fortune to get it back to how the earlier bikes were sprung)
Mike
Springs are cheap, if you’ve got the adjustment in the damping, you can fit springs to suit your weight and riding style. I was told by someone :wink2: that the 18 AT’s are being held back for a bit for certain reasons (16/17) :wink2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Springs are cheap, if you’ve got the adjustment in the damping, you can fit springs to suit your weight and riding style. I was told by someone :wink2: that the 18 AT’s are being held back for a bit for certain reasons (16/17) :wink2:
But it's impossible to get information out of Honda as to what springs they do fit to their bikes and if they change them at any point. It's therefore difficult to recreate a suspension that you were very happy with.
You may be right about them holding back 2018 bikes because they have still got big stocks of 17 bikes. If you go on the pricing section of Honda UK's website either bike can be specified and at the same price.
Mike
 

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On Thursday while my standard 2017 AT was going through its 16k service, Honda Newcastle loaned me their AT Sport DCT so I rode it for about 110 miles and here are some of my thoughts in no particular order of importance.


In fact because of this and despite all the negatives above, I am going to buy a 2018 standard bike rather than a 2017 one which would have been cheaper.
I'm confused. I thought you already own a 17... Did you end up getting the 18?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm confused. I thought you already own a 17... Did you end up getting the 18?
I was considering buying another 2017 model bike simply because I was worried about the depreciation when I hit 20k miles. As it happened, even with 17k miles the depreciation in one year was a horrendous £5700, so I decided to keep the existing bike for another year (second year depreciation predicted at a further £1400)
Mike
 

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Hi im ising a quad lock on my 17 bike! Can you get the quad lock and phone on with that new sun shade in the way?
Good personal view on the new bike Mike. A lot of what you say will be very dependant on the individual, but it’s good to get feedback from someone who currently has the previous version. One thing I have found with my Adventure Sport, having fitted the spoiler and deflector kits, they do make a slight difference, but not a definitive improvement, well not for me personally, although I didn’t have a major issue start with, whereas my brother, same height 5 11”, same 31” inside leg, did, but we do have different helmets. I’m going to try the BigKev sponge mod, on my next ride, so looking forward to that.

As for the jerky slow speed, it was something that Jonathan at Rugged Roads warned me about, and now having done 700 miles, had first service, I was keen to get a Fastbike Easy module fitted. I have found out that currently, DimSport who make the Fastbike Easy, currently don’t recommend fitting it, as they haven’t tested it on the 2018 bikes. I emailed them to see when they will approve it’s fitment, but haven’t had a reply as yet. I guess it’s not a priority for them, but if more potential customers contacted them, they might get their act together! One other consideration, with the new TBW, cruise control is a possibility, as I know a company in Australia has already done this for the KTM 1090, at a reasonable £350 ish mark. Something I will consider, and expect other will, just dependant on price. It’s a lot easier for them to do with the TBW system.

As for suspension, I haven’t experimented yet, other than increase the preload at the rear. As far as I know, the new 2018 standard AT’s come with the new suspension, it’s just not as long, so worth considering on the new bike, as I’m sure your be able to tune it more to your liking. I’m hoping to do some experimenting with the suspension, when I get a week off work, mid May.

Concerning Vlad’s screen brace, received mine yesterday, tried fitting it today, but it doesn’t quite fit right on the new dash/instrument area. I have emailed Vlad, waiting for his response. He did say that my brother and I were the first 2018 ATAS owners to try it, so I have sent some photos back to him and hope that these will help him adjust the fitment, so they work on the new dash. Here’s a photo of it fitted, but now removed, until Vlad gets back to me. It’s very well made and looks like it could of been an OEM item, hopefully Vlad will modify the area that needs it, which shouldn’t be too much of a problem and send out a replacement. I’ll need to see what Vlad wants to do with the ones my brother and I have, maybe can send to onto someone in the UK that wants one for their 2016/17 bike.

Update: Vlad has got back to me and is sending another prototype for me to try. Excellent communication and he wants to get it product that fits the new bike correctly.
Sent from my SM-G928F using Tapatalk
 

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Just to let you know, you can't use a quadlock and phone on the bar on the ATAS as the sunshade is in the way. I've had to mount it on the mirror.

Btw I bought the bike the original poster was reviewing.
 
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