Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Bike of the Week -The Honda XRV750 or Africa Twin motorcycle

The Honda XRV750 Africa Twin motorcycle was one of the first Japanese monster trail/desert rally bikes which you really could take off road, and to this day it is still one of the best and one of the best looking to boot. It was originally based on the NXR-750, a bike which won the Paris Dakar Rally four times in the late eighties.

Africa Twin - This Is Your Life:


Made in the image of the giant Dakar rally racers, the Africa Twin is a big dual sport bike which is ultimately really fun to ride.  Built to withstand desert race conditions it has an aluminium bashplate underneath which protects the engine from debris on the road - a feature which would have been particularly relevant on desert trails but which gives it an edge when off roading anywhere. Added to this it comes with long-travel suspension, which insulates the rider from uneven surfaces. It has a windscreen as standard, to protect the rider and pillion from the weather, and twin headlights.  The brakes are twin discs at the front and single disc at the rear. Its long dual seat stretches back from the tank to the grabrail and luggage rack, which provides plenty of space but can lead to a little bit of pillion creep - tell them to hang on tight!

Engine wise the Africa Twin has a 742 cc, 6-valve, four spark plug, liquid-cooled softly tuned V-Twin engine which produces good low rev torque but is not that speedy.  Honda claims 60bhp for this bike but the actual measured figure is more like 52, with a three valve per cylinder design which is reliable and economical.

This bike is stable and pleasant to ride on the road, with a narrow front tyre and wide handlebars which make manoeuvring easy.  The balance is good and the brakes are snappy compared to its peers although maybe not as sharp as modern brakes.

From 1992 onwards Honda XRV750 Africa Twins gained an on board computer with a range of extra electronic timers and trip meters which is fun if rather simple. 


Reliability and maintenance

Ultimately the handsome Africa Twin is one of the most reliable bikes you can buy with a bulletproof engine and the ability to clock up huge mileages without going wrong.  Generally it doesn't need massive amounts of maintenance but sometimes some of the steel parts can go rusty and need to be maintained or replaced.  It is a tough, robust motorcycle which owners say can survive a tumble and is a great expedition and adventure bike which can cope with many terrains.

Here is a rough chronology of the evolution of the 742cc dual sport Honda Africa Twin

The original Honda XRV750 Africa Twin was launched in December.

The Tripmaster computer was added to the Africa Twin.

This year there was a major re-design including new frame, plastics, tank, engine modifications and the seat was lowered.

This year the seat and clutch were improved, a larger silencer was added and the upper fairing and luggage rack were modified.

The Honda XRV750 Africa Twin ceased production - aah.



The Honda Africa Twin is still a popular and sought after bike and much loved by afficionados who respect it for its versatility, reliability and rugged good looks.  If you have one or have ever owned one let us know how yours performs/performed and what you think of them.


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