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.