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Honda kicked off their CRF1000L Africa Twin launch in Both Australia and New Zealand on Monday and Trevor Hedge from MCNews Australia got to take a crack at it on a 240km ride from Picton to Hanmer Springs. This is only day one so we can expect at least one more review from him as he’s testing out the AT again later this week.

Test Day Number 1:
• Ride of choice is the DCT version of the Africa Twin.
• 240km trail from Picton to Hanmer Springs but with the first 40km mostly on tarmac.
• The final 200km was through the Awatare Valley with loose and dusty dirt.



In order to gauge the Africa Twin’s performance, Hedge decided to go with a tarmac ready setup instead of one designed for off-roading. Maybe he wanted to feel a bit more excitement, slide around a bit more with the standard Dunlop Trailmax D610 tyres instead of a more off-road orientated set like the TKC70 or TKC80 (both available on test day). On top of the limited grip is a full Honda OEM set of hard luggage, those large side panniers and the top-box we’ve seen on their accessories list. His adventure boots were well exercised in order to get out of a few front end tucks.

Other than that, he gave the DCT Africa Twin a sparkling review but it takes some getting used to. For a first time rider on a DCT bike you may instinctively reach for that clutch lever only to find it missing and your toes wiggling around hoping to find the shifter. When you’re fast approaching a corner with a steep drop without being able to follow those instincts, “a slightly helpless feeling washes over you as realism dawns that neither are there to comfort you as you soil your pants.”



Except for that one instance the DCT shifter is actually better than the rider, at least better than Hedge and he’s by no means a new adventure rider. It’s intuitive when downshifting and you can feel the gears shift down in order. Braking lightly or giving it a bit more throttle to overtake? The DCT gearbox will adjust accordingly. DCT is also great for older riders with a bit of arthritis or with bodies that just aren’t as nimble as they used to be.

Already, more than 30% of the confirmed orders in Australia are for DCT Africa Twins and these numbers could increase once people take it out for a test ride. Stay tuned for part two of his test ride.
 

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Great review. I look forward to hearing what he has to say in the rest of the review.

I found this quote one of the most interesting.
I have covered probably close to 200,000km on a variety of machine in this genre, including all the KTM Adventure bikes (I owned a 990 Adventure R), BMW GS machines in various capacities and generations, and also have plenty of experience on the old school more basic way of adventure touring from an Acerbis tanked XT600 Yamaha I once owned, through to the post ’97 generation of DR650 machines. Including one particular DR650 that I covered 54,000km on in 15 months, entered natural terrain motocross events on it, and rode it to those events on the same Pirelli MT21 rubber I would enter the event on, then ride home.

Thus, I am not new to this riding big bikes off-road caper. And with that level of experience under my belt, I still say that this DCT in the Africa Twin is, for the most part, better than me.
Good news for those who've gone for the DCT.
 

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........sometimes makes me think that I, maybe, should have gone for the DCT going by all the very positive reviews.......
 

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I don't understand all these reviews of the DCT that make mention of crapping yourself when entering a corner realising there's nothing on the left side in terms of foot shift or clutch lever..............there's a great big switch under your thumb! Just bang it down a couple of cogs - works in all auto modes as well as manual and is WAY easier and faster than a clutch and foot shift

I'd never ridden a DCT bike, but borrowed previous generations of the system for a ride before ordering the CRF. Literally within a mile I knew DCT was the way forward for me
 

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Habit and routine are a big part of riding. Not having those controls available certainly would be weird for a while when riding. These testers only have a few hours or days to get used to something that is already automatic in their brain - shifting gears and using a clutch.
I bet with time and some distance it becomes second nature just as it was before.
I really wish that in Canada the DCT bike wasn't the silver and was the black or red. I would buy either but can't bring myself to 'enjoy' the silver.
I'm sold on the concept and function of the DCT - it makes sense.

I don't understand all these reviews of the DCT that make mention of crapping yourself when entering a corner realising there's nothing on the left side in terms of foot shift or clutch lever..............there's a great big switch under your thumb! Just bang it down a couple of cogs - works in all auto modes as well as manual and is WAY easier and faster than a clutch and foot shift

I'd never ridden a DCT bike, but borrowed previous generations of the system for a ride before ordering the CRF. Literally within a mile I knew DCT was the way forward for me
 

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Thanks for the link

I truly, 100%, took the previous DCT system out for a test ride convinced and wanting to hate it. I was a complete pessimist. I tried to fool it, I tried to break it, I tried to find fault with it

The realisation that it was the future (for me) came rapidly and was huge. Chucking gears at it far quicker than I could ever do initiating clutchless upshifts myself, with the throttle pinned and no let off in drive was addictive

The one single downside for me is that you can't blip the throttle, or rev it whilst filtering to make yourself heard. I imagine there will be a few who will forget to hit the neutral switch and rev it at the lights :)
 

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I have ordered a tri color manual , with abs .... now you are all making me rethink this ..hehe NEED TO RIDE ONE !!!
My only concern with the DCT is you cant "POP" the clutch , and 15 kg fatter ..
 

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Yes. I've already bought two 33L Kappa bags and SW Motech side racks.Adding a 52L Kappa topcase.

I think, in spite of the bitching about prices, I'll go with some of the Honda accessories because I like how it all fits together.

  • Crash bar/fog lights
  • 12 V socket
  • Higher seat? (gotta try the standard, although I'm tall)
  • Touring screen? (gotta try the standard first but I always seem to get buffeting at 6'1")
  • Centre Stand
  • Heated grips
  • Touratech skid plate (looks best so far)
  • GPS Mount above dash (probably Touratech unless a better one is available)
  • Trickle charger SAE plug-in
Pretty basic stuff. I don't think I'd change anything on the bike itself. The rest of the details are well-designed from what I've seen so far.

Have you started thinking through what modifications and accessories you want to get into as yet once taking delivery?
 
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I have a question regarding the 'crash bars' or 'cowl guards'. Do you reckon that they would be okay for a tip over or low speed drop? Or are they just for mounting the LEDs and for looks?
I saw them at the motorcycle show locally and they looked like any other that I've seen from aftermarket companies.
Just thought I'd see if you had an opinion.

Thanks,
Mike

Just found this forum, I am the tester that did the write up that was pasted in here to start the thread. I just posted my day three thoughts for those that are interested.

http://www.mcnews.com.au/honda-africa-twin-test-review-day3/
 

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Glad to hear that feedback since it's quite consistent with what i've been hearing overall; the media, real owners, show goers, etc.

But of course my own opinion is what i focus on with my decisions.
 
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