Honda XRV 750, Africa Twin (1989-2003): The evolution theory applies to motorcycles, too.The bike tested is a 1999 one, in amost as new condition. The brake lines are steel, the rear disc brake is aftermarket. Braking pads are organic, front and rear. The high screen is Touratech , while tyres are Bridgestone Battle Wings.
Engine: The V twin engine of 742 c.c. produces limited amount of power, 62 bhp at 7500 rpm and 6.4 Kgm at 6000 rpm torque, nominal figures. Throttle response is totally linear and instant,which will satisfy the rider more than the horsepower - acceleration quest.
According to the selected gear more than 2000-2500 rpm will be needed for a clean pull. In the lower power band, up to 4500 rpm, throttle response is adequate for town and leisure rides. Keeping the revs high, the acceleration that is produced, is average for todayĘs standards.
Accelerating from 0 to 400 meters, Africa Twin is somewhat faster than Honda FMX 650 and much slower than Honda Transalp 650. Rev limiter intervenes at 8700 rpm. For a speed of 100 Km/h, 4500 rpm are needed, while for 160 Km/h, about 7000 rpm are needed. An indicative average fuel consumption figure is 6.7 l/100km (42 mpg Imperial).
Riding position: The seat for the rider is tall. After some hours of riding, it may be exhausting. Its relatively narrow in the front, which permits average height riders to step a foot on the ground, not really confident though. Rider is placed high , the traffic surveillance is unobstructed. RiderĘs hands are kept wide on the large handlebar. The comfortable riding position places rider a little in, mostly over the bike.
The width of the bike as well as the bulk is average compared to modern 1000 c.c. category standards. The bike feels heavy, 210 Kg dry, while centre of gravity is high. It produces a heavier sensation than modern 1000 c.c. bikes. The dimensions of the wheels are 90-90-21 in the front and 140-80-17 rear.
On the road: The suspension is soft. The steering lock is really huge, turning radius is little. This is a great advantage in traffic congestion, maneuvering the bike or off-road explorations, if that will ever be necessary. The leisured power output is another advantage for stress-free town rides. Generally, the Africa Twin will not object to town rides, if rider is familiar with the category standards. Most of the times, the increased agility compensates for the bikeĘs heavy feeling. Filtering is easy as the height of the handlebar is higher than car mirrors, except from the SUVsĘ. Compared with the modern standards, comfort to the rider is slightly less than the expected. Quite a few road imperfections, small or larger, find their way to the rider.
On low friction B roads, Africa TwinĘs agility is impressive, even on slow – tight bends. Rider is free to enjoy any ride. Handling s neutral, engine operation is smooth. Road imperfections will be felt.
At a higher pace, feedback to the rider is less and less. Feedback and confidence to the rider worsens, as riding gets faster. Turning in very fast, the front wheel tends to understeer. The comfortable riding position will not permit the rider to apply some weight to the front. The rear wheel is stable at the whole length of the curve.
On high friction B roads, agility is impressing, once more. Comfort to the rider is superb as well as riding quality, at a reasonable pace. At a higher pace, feedback to the rider is reduced gradually. The front wheel feels light, ready to understeer. Riding limits are quite vague, which is a drawback compared to todayĘs bikes. Engine may run out of breath at a pace like this.
On the highway, air protection is good for the riderĘs head and torso. Some air resistance is felt at the riderĘs shoulders. Riding provides confidence, although the speed of the bike is noticeable. The easy going power delivery will require travelling speed less than 160 Km/h, as revving the engine will not increase riding comfort.
On soil roads Africa Twin is relaxed, considering the dimensions and weight of the bike. However these result to a disadvantage, as in case that the bike slips, the rider will find it difficult to hold it upright.
Consequently, handling is good for a pace up to nimble, or just adequate for a fast pace, compared with modern standards.
Due to modifications that had taken place, braking was kind of peculiar. No safe results may be extracted for the AT braking from this bike.
The front, two disc brakes are powerful, feedback is average, no initial bite. The rear disc brake is very powerful, feedback is good. On low friction tarmac road, warm tyres, rider alone, some serious caution should be taken, as the rear wheel was about to lock constantly, on average braking.
Comments: The last factory modification concerning frame and engine alterations, was at 1993, some 17 years ago. Africa Twin has written a page at the History of Motorcycle book. It would be an exaggeration to expect the AT to be a competitive bike today. ItĘs a capable bike for average use in the category standards, revealing a unique combination of quality and character that made the bike well known at the era that dominated. One generation ago.
Price : -
-Riding at the fast pace.