Wild Dog Adventure Riding

General => General Bike Related Banter => To Buy or Not To Buy => Topic started by: wilfwalk on January 31, 2018, 10:10:23 am

Title: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: wilfwalk on January 31, 2018, 10:10:23 am
Hi everyone,

I need advice about whether I could realistically consider buying an Africa Twin. My concern is that I'm short (1,72m) and light (66 Kg) and 62 years old. Up to now I've owned several bikes, none bigger or heavier than a 250 (Honda Tornado) and CRF230F's. My initial feeling is that its not a good idea, I don't want to end up a cripple at my age !

I'm sure that while its upright I'll enjoy the bike, but what about on gravel / wet dirt roads, etc. ? I would like to do a lot / most my riding on gravel / dirt roads.

Your practical experiences will be appreciated.
Thanks.
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: Casting from Turd on January 31, 2018, 10:50:51 am
From what I have heard, is that the new AT feels like a 650 for the balance and light feeling.
I went from a 650 XRL to a 1200 GSA and I must say it feels lighter on gravel and handles better.

just my 2 bob's worth
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: DavidMorrisXp on January 31, 2018, 11:01:22 am
On the lowest seat setting it is about 850mm but with it being narrower than my experience with GS's I can put both feet flat.

I am 1.78 and have about a 30" inseam
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: Koet on January 31, 2018, 11:05:11 am
I love my AT.  It handles very well (I'm no riding god) while riding.  But it's not light when lying on it's side.  In my experience the 1200GS picks up easier as it can pivot a bit on it's pig pods. 
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: Bikerboer1973 on January 31, 2018, 11:51:02 am
From what I have heard, is that the new AT feels like a 650 for the balance and light feeling.
I went from a 650 XRL to a 1200 GSA and I must say it feels lighter on gravel and handles better.

just my 2 bob's worth

Verraaier!  >:D
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: Ri on January 31, 2018, 11:59:02 am
A slender gentleman of about 75, a friend who previously rode DR650s, switched to the Africa Twin recently. He says it is exceptionally well-balanced and handles like a smaller bike. Apparently with the lower seat option, even I (1.63m) should be able to ride it comfortably.
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: dieseldawie on January 31, 2018, 12:52:04 pm
My Girlfriend rides my AT with no trouble on lowest seat setting with me as pillion drinking a beer.
She is shorter than you but probably heavier as well  :peepwall:
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: Casting from Turd on January 31, 2018, 12:54:05 pm
My Girlfriend rides my AT with no trouble on lowest seat setting with me as pillion drinking a beer.
She is shorter than you but probably heavier as well  :peepwall:


Brave brave man you are, Squire  :imaposer:
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: wilfwalk on January 31, 2018, 12:55:59 pm
My Girlfriend rides my AT with no trouble on lowest seat setting with me as pillion drinking a beer.
She is shorter than you but probably heavier as well  :peepwall:


Brave brave man you are, Squire  :imaposer:

VERY brave indeed ! Ha Haaa.
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: wilfwalk on January 31, 2018, 12:59:39 pm
Thanks to you all for your inputs, much appreciated !! Decisions, decisions !!. Will try arrange a decent test ride to help me decide, might opt for the smaller 250L if the AT seems too much to handle.
Thanks again.
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: DavidMorrisXp on January 31, 2018, 01:32:01 pm
Thanks to you all for your inputs, much appreciated !! Decisions, decisions !!. Will try arrange a decent test ride to help me decide, might opt for the smaller 250L if the AT seems too much to handle.
Thanks again.

Don't forget to confirm the lower seat setting, as there are two
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: Scalpel on January 31, 2018, 01:39:59 pm
The standard seat has a low and normal setting. Then you get an optional extra at Honda for a low seat. This seat makes the AT quite rideable for shorter people. I am 1.76 and I ride the AT on the standard seat height. When the riding gets really technical I will consider the lower option of the standard configuration.

https://www.motosport.com/honda-genuine-accessories-africa-twin-low-seat
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: Crossed-up on January 31, 2018, 02:03:16 pm
Buy it if you want it.

Just remember that small bikes are so much less effort and much cheaper when they fall over.

The AT would be brilliant on the longer rides and a bit of a pain going to the cafe.
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: eberhard on January 31, 2018, 03:43:05 pm
My Girlfriend rides my AT with no trouble on lowest seat setting with me as pillion drinking a beer.
She is shorter than you but probably heavier as well  :peepwall:

She's a keeper!
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: Grunder on January 31, 2018, 03:45:14 pm
My Girlfriend rides my AT with no trouble on lowest seat setting with me as pillion drinking a beer.
She is shorter than you but probably heavier as well  :peepwall:

She's a keeper!

I concur  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: dieseldawie on January 31, 2018, 04:24:40 pm
My Girlfriend rides my AT with no trouble on lowest seat setting with me as pillion drinking a beer.
She is shorter than you but probably heavier as well  :peepwall:


Brave brave man you are, Squire  :imaposer:

True that. You know the mother :laughing4:
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: Oubones on January 31, 2018, 04:46:24 pm
My Girlfriend rides my AT with no trouble on lowest seat setting with me as pillion drinking a beer.
She is shorter than you but probably heavier as well  :peepwall:


Brave brave man you are, Squire  :imaposer:

True that. You know the mother :laughing4:
I know both mother and daughter and they are both :thumleft:
I should know after my incident at the last kzn bash. :peepwall:
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: Hardy de Kock on January 31, 2018, 04:49:39 pm
Buy it if you want it.

Just remember that small bikes are so much less effort and much cheaper when they fall over.

The AT would be brilliant on the longer rides and a bit of a pain going to the cafe.

You fall over a lot when going to the cafe? :imaposer:
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: Dux on January 31, 2018, 05:00:03 pm
Just buy the AT and be done with , it is one of the best balanced bikes I have ridden , the seat isn't high at all and what weight it does have it hides very well [quote

author=Crossed-up link=topic=220312.msg3991895#msg3991895 date=1517400196]

The AT would be brilliant on the longer rides and a bit of a pain going to the cafe.
[/quote]

John , the DCT is a blast for shooting down to the cafe , it is like a scooter on steroids , just put it into gear and open/close the throttle  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: Crossed-up on January 31, 2018, 05:30:14 pm
Buy it if you want it.

Just remember that small bikes are so much less effort and much cheaper when they fall over.

The AT would be brilliant on the longer rides and a bit of a pain going to the cafe.

You fall over a lot when going to the cafe? :imaposer:

Don't you just know it!  ;)  No, I enjoy fairly technical slow stuff, where falls, scratches and bumps are the norm.


I've seen you, Hardy. You make that AT look like a 125, so it's unfair to project your easy handling of a quarter ton bike onto someone of a little more than half your weight.

And Dux, you know what I mean. It's much easier to move a little dirtbike in and out the yard, to bump onto the pavement and slip through narrow gaps etc.  You can knock panel pins in with a four-pounder, but it's just easier with a little upholstery hammer. 

I've ridden the DCT and it's a truly great bike. I'd buy one like a shot if I needed one. But right now my little bike is all I need.
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: Dux on January 31, 2018, 06:04:30 pm
John , you know my old saying , the best bike is the one in your garage  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: jaybiker on February 01, 2018, 09:22:55 am
I can't tell you what to do, I don't have the disadvantage of being a 'shorty". But I do have the disadvantage of being a slowed down, weakening, deacaying 73 year old.

And yet my preference would still be for the bigger bike. Even if you don't want to ride particularly fast, it's still greatly satisfying and often advantageous to have plenty of 'grunt' available.
The size and weight of the Africa Twin does not seem to be a drawback to anyone who has written or reported on it, so for what my advice is worth it would be, "if you're gonna have one, have a big one".  :)
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: wilfwalk on February 01, 2018, 09:32:09 am
Thanks a lot jaybiker, thats sure encouraging ! Go safely !
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: wilfwalk on February 01, 2018, 09:35:16 am
Buy it if you want it.

Just remember that small bikes are so much less effort and much cheaper when they fall over.

The AT would be brilliant on the longer rides and a bit of a pain going to the cafe.

Both very valid points, making the decision even more difficult !
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: wilfwalk on February 09, 2018, 11:11:56 am
I went and had another look at a 2nd hand AT at the local dealer. We lowered the seat setting but even then only my toes were on the ground, not able to flat foot. So even on the level showroom floor I wasn't confident that I could handle this bike with its size & weight etc. so I've canned the idea of an AT.

So those guys who are tall enough to safely and confidently ride an AT, know how lucky you are, and how envious I am !!

I could take a risk and buy one, but I don't want end up a cripple at this stage of my life, as a result of being reckless. A scaled down AT (around 450cc) for us short folk would be ideal.

Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: m0lt3n on February 09, 2018, 11:44:52 am
I went and had another look at a 2nd hand AT at the local dealer. We lowered the seat setting but even then only my toes were on the ground, not able to flat foot. So even on the level showroom floor I wasn't confident that I could handle this bike with its size & weight etc. so I've canned the idea of an AT.

So those guys who are tall enough to safely and confidently ride an AT, know how lucky you are, and how envious I am !!

I could take a risk and buy one, but I don't want end up a cripple at this stage of my life, as a result of being reckless. A scaled down AT (around 450cc) for us short folk would be ideal.



not reaching the ground would increase the risk of falling OVER, not falling. Not making you a cripple. Get fit and adapt your riding style if you really want the bike?
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: Ri on February 09, 2018, 04:04:27 pm

I agree, having your feet touch the ground firmly is a great confidence boost. I tippy toed on my DR, and had to choose a side when coming to a stop. All good, but over rougher terrain where a toe down would've helped a lot, I had to put the bike down - unnecessary damage to bike and limb  :-[

Since dropping to lowest link and lowering the front, I haven't fallen over yet. Even caught my bike in some hairy situations, like a steep slanted dirt road turn on a plantation road.

I'm sure there's a lower seat option (not just a low setting on the current seat) for us short folk. A friend of mine who rides a DR650 met a short guy on an AT and had the opportunity to sit on his bike. He told me it was lower than the DR! But mentioned that it was a low seat option.

But I could be wrong.
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: Omninorm on February 09, 2018, 04:11:18 pm
My one mate is a short shit as well, when the bike starts going he just lets go. He mostly always lands on his feet with the bike laying on its side. Laughter ensues and we help him back up.

I do however agree that a light/ nimble bike is just more fun in 90% of the situations than a big bike. But don't let apparent size be the only motivator. Go test ride it.
A 1200GS is a lot less of a behemoth than it looks like when you are pushing it around, picking it up or riding it. The Africa Twin doubly so by what I've heard.


Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: DavidMorrisXp on February 09, 2018, 04:35:02 pm
My one mate is a short shit as well, when the bike starts going he just lets go. He mostly always lands on his feet with the bike laying on its side. Laughter ensues and we help him back up.

I do however agree that a light/ nimble bike is just more fun in 90% of the situations than a big bike. But don't let apparent size be the only motivator. Go test ride it.
A 1200GS is a lot less of a behemoth than it looks like when you are pushing it around, picking it up or riding it. The Africa Twin doubly so by what I've heard.

Have owned various GS's and I must say there is not much in it between the AT & a standard GS whether it be LC or Oil cooled
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: Omninorm on February 24, 2018, 06:52:01 pm
My one mate is a short shit as well, when the bike starts going he just lets go. He mostly always lands on his feet with the bike laying on its side. Laughter ensues and we help him back up.

I do however agree that a light/ nimble bike is just more fun in 90% of the situations than a big bike. But don't let apparent size be the only motivator. Go test ride it.
A 1200GS is a lot less of a behemoth than it looks like when you are pushing it around, picking it up or riding it. The Africa Twin doubly so by what I've heard.

Have owned various GS's and I must say there is not much in it between the AT & a standard GS whether it be LC or Oil cooled

Thought as much. Good to know thanks.  Pretty equal weights and I think both have very good center of gravity and weight distribution.
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: wilfwalk on March 05, 2018, 03:04:42 pm
To conclude the thread, seeing I started it, let me give an update.
I decided to get a CRF 250 Rally. Will help me get back into the biking way, its light, easy to handle (compared to an AT),  light of fuel, and if I decide the adventure biking "thing" isn't what I'd hoped it was, will loose less to get rid of it all again.
Did my "first" ride on Sunday morning early(ish) - cool, roads dust free from a light shower on Saturday night. Getting used to the bike jacket was an experience in itself. Really enjoyed the bike even at running-in speeds.

Thanks to all for your inputs, much appreciated.
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: zebra - Flying Brick on March 05, 2018, 03:18:04 pm


Quote from: Crossed-up on January 31, 2018, 05:30:14 pm (http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=220312.msg3992114#msg3992114)


>" You can knock panel pins in with a four-pounder, but it's just easier with a little upholstery hammer...."

very nice analogy, John; this shows the benefit of a 'University' education (no, I did not go... ;D )
Chris




Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: sidetrack on March 05, 2018, 03:29:40 pm
From what I have heard, is that the new AT feels like a 650 for the balance and light feeling.
I went from a 650 XRL to a 1200 GSA and I must say it feels lighter on gravel and handles better.

just my 2 bob's worth
Light single comes into it's own on more technical terrain. On good gravel a heavy bike is more stable and more comfortable. Off course the shock comes when you have to pick it up  :biggrin:
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: m0lt3n on March 05, 2018, 03:41:38 pm
To conclude the thread, seeing I started it, let me give an update.
I decided to get a CRF 250 Rally. Will help me get back into the biking way, its light, easy to handle (compared to an AT),  light of fuel, and if I decide the adventure biking "thing" isn't what I'd hoped it was, will loose less to get rid of it all again.
Did my "first" ride on Sunday morning early(ish) - cool, roads dust free from a light shower on Saturday night. Getting used to the bike jacket was an experience in itself. Really enjoyed the bike even at running-in speeds.

Thanks to all for your inputs, much appreciated.

Thanks for the feedback

and solid reasoning.

I had a short friend interested into getting on a bike. no prior experience. Salesman tried hard to sell him a 1200GSA. I advied against. I advised for a 700 or 650 but that was also not cool enough so he ended up getting a new 800. 6 months later it was sold with little a few new scratches and even less mileage.
Oh, and adventure biking was dubbed as being not worth the money.

This 250 would have been perfect for him as well
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: DCR on March 05, 2018, 06:10:21 pm
My one mate is a short shit as well, when the bike starts going he just lets go. He mostly always lands on his feet with the bike laying on its side. Laughter ensues and we help him back up.

You know, I do read the forum from time to time ;)

But yeah, that is what crash bars are for. That said, Iíll soon be switching to a smaller bike (though not really lower).

It is actually quite disappointing to find almost all bikes are suitable for taller riders only. Like the OP said, a scaled-down single cylinder version of the big ones would be grand, but they tend to be just as high. I wonder why?
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: Omninorm on March 06, 2018, 03:17:50 pm
My one mate is a short shit as well, when the bike starts going he just lets go. He mostly always lands on his feet with the bike laying on its side. Laughter ensues and we help him back up.

You know, I do read the forum from time to time ;)

But yeah, that is what crash bars are for. That said, Iíll soon be switching to a smaller bike (though not really lower).

It is actually quite disappointing to find almost all bikes are suitable for taller riders only. Like the OP said, a scaled-down single cylinder version of the big ones would be grand, but they tend to be just as high. I wonder why?

 :imaposer:

To conclude the thread, seeing I started it, let me give an update.
I decided to get a CRF 250 Rally. Will help me get back into the biking way, its light, easy to handle (compared to an AT),  light of fuel, and if I decide the adventure biking "thing" isn't what I'd hoped it was, will loose less to get rid of it all again.
Did my "first" ride on Sunday morning early(ish) - cool, roads dust free from a light shower on Saturday night. Getting used to the bike jacket was an experience in itself. Really enjoyed the bike even at running-in speeds.

Thanks to all for your inputs, much appreciated.

Fantastic choice. Enjoy it.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: Tom van Brits on March 06, 2018, 03:45:21 pm
To conclude the thread, seeing I started it, let me give an update.
I decided to get a CRF 250 Rally. Will help me get back into the biking way, its light, easy to handle (compared to an AT),  light of fuel, and if I decide the adventure biking "thing" isn't what I'd hoped it was, will loose less to get rid of it all again.
Did my "first" ride on Sunday morning early(ish) - cool, roads dust free from a light shower on Saturday night. Getting used to the bike jacket was an experience in itself. Really enjoyed the bike even at running-in speeds.

Thanks to all for your inputs, much appreciated.

Sensible choice I'd say, much easier to handle and you can do some lekker trail riding on the 250. I am around 174 and have short legs. Had a lot of difficulty trying to handle a 1200 Triumph at some stage of my life on more technical sections. Left leg not as strong due to an old accident, and topped over often. Picking up a heavy bike a couple of times on a ride and the damage to the bike is not fun. Many guys fracture ankles when the bike falls over. Given your age, weight and height you have made a sensible decision. Once ver 40 the bones just doesn't mend that quick and well anymore and you are just never the same again.

Enjoy your Rally!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: Advice about coping with an Africa Twin
Post by: wilfwalk on March 08, 2018, 09:24:43 am
Thanks Tom, appreciated !