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Offline Ri

Alice in Hondaland: Not-A-Honda-Launch Report
« on: February 14, 2021, 09:54:40 pm »
"Has anyone ever told you you look like Alice Cooper?", Hardy asks Beserker aka Dave.
"Hasn't he been dead for like, 5 years?" Dave (now Alice) asks, non-plussed.
"That's why you look like him", 2StrokeDan teases. We all laugh at the banter.

It's about 09:00 and we're sitting around a table having coffee and Oros, discussing the CRF300L while we wait for the not-a-launch to get going.

I'd asked Dux if he wanted to come along, and he was very keen to be here very early. I of course sensibly told him there's no chance. Kaleo Guest Farm is 2 hours' drive away, I still had to pick him up, and I'm not getting up before 06:00. But insomnia has the last say. After losing the snooze, I reluctantly rise to the occasion, slightly thin-lipped. I drag all my stuff into the car, and phone Donald to tell him I'm on my way. Thankfully they are ready and we get going immediately.

When we reach Kaleo, the day is already hot with beautiful clear blue skies. We are buzzed into the scenic venue, and directed to the Manor, a stately house surrounded by lush lawns and huge trees. Dan and woody1 (Kobus) are here already and I wonder at what hour Kobus left Riversdale to be here so early on his stunning looking Honda XL. Dan rode here on his 701. Dave rolls in soon after us, and more bikes start arriving, many of them Quest contestants dropping in to say hi. Hardy and Chantal are lovely hosts, keeping us refreshed and entertained.


« Last Edit: February 14, 2021, 09:57:09 pm by Ri »
 

Offline Ri

Re: Alice in Hondaland: Not-A-Honda-Launch Report
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2021, 10:00:31 pm »
Team Honda rocks up in a red van and a branded bakkie, and on more toys for the guys to play with, including a 2019 CRF450L with the new ECU, a CRF250 Rally and an Africa Twin 1100 manual for everyone to drool over. They also bring us loads of excellent boerewors rolls and beer! I meet Johann Botha, the Honda DP, whom I'd seen but not met at the 2019 Tankwa XC Rally, and Jonathan Tee Lee, who greets me with "Are you the famous Ri?" Famous? LOL, must be thinking of another Ri.

The Honda guys are attentive, happy to discuss any and all aspects of the various bikes at our disposal.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2021, 08:43:58 am by Ri »
 

Offline Ri

Re: Alice in Hondaland: Not-A-Honda-Launch Report
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2021, 10:05:25 pm »
The early birds get the CRFs, and soon the buzzing of little bikes are heard all over the area as pilots throw them about to get a feel for them. On their return, every rider gives a short evaluation of their experience, and these are almost universally favourable. Amanda likes the way it pulls, although she doesn't seem convinced it would replace her BMW XCountry. Her husband JJ likes the little bike. Dave uses words like "carb-like" and "not snatchy" which make my ears perk up. This sounds like the kind of little bike I've been yearning for. I love my DR650 and will hear nothing against it, but I'd like to have something a little nimbler for the rough stuff, if only so I can pick it up more often easily.

As bikers do, we also gather round to talk about all the other rad bikes that rocked up, like a beautiful blue 900 Tiger. The Triumph 1200 Scrambler is eye-catching, and the owner of the Versys 300 can't stop singing its praises. It really sounds like a fantastic little bike, and I know Sardine really likes them.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2021, 08:42:24 am by Ri »
 

Offline Ri

Re: Alice in Hondaland: Not-A-Honda-Launch Report
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2021, 10:13:13 pm »
Dave takes the big Africa Twin for a spin, and comes back with a huge grin. "Hop on," he tells me, "I'll take you for a ride".

I hesitate. Pillioning is no fun when you can ride your own bike, and I find gear changes unpleasantly jerky. I decide to give it a go, but my stuff is still in the car. I drag a bit fetching and kitting up in boots and helmet. My recently operated-on foot is swollen and aching from the unusual activity, and I have to adjust the boot clasps. Dave's face is a comedy when he notes my blinding speed. "Geez I've never seen anyone so slow. Hurry up!"

Sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that. I've learnt the hard way that if I hurry, I forget something. I'm finally ready to hop on and hand Dan my gloves, thinking I won't need them for the ride, but when I'm seated on the bike, he kindly hands me the gloves to pull on.

I ask Dave where I should hold on. "Anywhere you want", he answers and I decide to hold on to him, thinking of Hondesekierie's instructions a while ago. We gather speed down the road, and since Dave is fairly slender, I interlace my fingers for a firm hold. Moments later Dave slows down for a bend and as he accelerates,  the bike goes over a bump. The back kicks up and I'm launched clear into the air, landing slightly skew on the pillion seat. Whoa!

Dave races on the straight gravel road, gearing up quickly and smoothly until he reaches about 180kph before decelerating as quickly and smoothly, shouting comments over his shoulder about the performance of the bike. At the gate, he effortlessly turns it around in the veld and we head back the way we came. "It's so well-balanced I don't even have to put a foot down!" he marvels.

I continue to hang on for dear life as he repeats the speed experiment on the way back.  I've only been pillioned on a Suzuki DR650, a Yamaha XT1200 Super Ten, and a few KTMs, but if I had to be a pillion, this bike would win hands down due to the smooth acceleration and gear changes.
 

Offline Ri

Re: Alice in Hondaland: Not-A-Honda-Launch Report
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2021, 11:17:22 pm »
Riders come and go, and we crane our necks, watching new arrivals with interest, speculating who they might be. A slender lady introduces herself to me as Rian, and it is a bit disconcerting when her friends call her Ri. We chat about a mutual friend from Eastern Cape who also happens to be family of another well-known WD. Rian feels the CRF300L's front is too soft. She is there with Kevin and Angus, from Honda. The Honda guys idly wonder about a girl on a DRZ400 who was at the Tankwa XC Rally in 2019.
"It was me, on a DR650. The back tyre was flat and Eddie2Race's team fixed it for me", I tell them, amused. DRZ400? I wish!
"Do you now John... um..." asks Jonathan.
"John Lanham? Yes, I rode with them in the bakkie".
"I read a while ago about a broken handlebar. That was you, wasn't it? What happened there?" Angus asks. Rian is also curious to know what happened and how I fixed it.

Whoa, he remembers that? I show them the photo's of the bike with the broken handlebar lying in the middle of the R356, and the twig and strap that held it together until I got to civilisation. "Hardcore", says Angus.

Lance and Zanie arrive, eager to test ride the CRF300L. First Zanie follows Lance around the track, then Lance and Murray go for a spin together. Zanie isn't too keen on the L, but Jonathan from Honda says that unless there's specific demand, Honda don't plan on bringing any Rallies. This is a pity, because the tank is 4l larger and it has LED lights, something Zanie really wants.

Later on, Lance and Zanie take the 450L and 300L on the tar road for a speed test. It seems the 300L can reach and maintain 120kph with ease, but develops a rather unnerving head shake. It could be the effect of the knobbly on the front though, which had been deflated a bit for the off road riding.

By this time our boerewors is braaied. Lunch is ready and we fall on it like a pack of wolves. Afterwards, Chantal spoils us with the sweetest watermelon.

I circle the CRF300L apprehensively. I want to take it for a test ride, but I'm nervous of everyone watching me make a fool of myself. I prefer to make a fool of myself by myself somewhere remote, and then writing about it. I'm being foolish though; everyone is enjoying their lunch and chatting to each other; no one is watching me.

I quickly don my helmet and gloves and approach the bike stealthily, but the moment I lay a hand on it, a crowd magically appears around me. Quasi-nonchalantly I ask Hardy to please lower the preload, which he told us earlier is on its highest setting. He insists that I get on the bike as is to see whether I'm comfortable. I'm on the balls of my feet, and he assures me it's enough, and encourages me to get going.

Murray appears next to me on the CRF450L and offers to take me on a little loop. I pull away and quickly disappear through the trees and down the wide gravel road. I take a wide turn on the road and then follow Murray around the other cottages, expecting gravel roads until we circle back to the Manor. But Murray suddenly turns off onto a little twee-spoor covered in sand.

I shudder to a halt start swearing at Murray in my helmet. I am wearing the minimum of safety gear - boots, gloves and helmet - because I only expected to do gravel roads, and now he takes me bundu bashing. He comes back and encourages me to get on the pegs, but I'm too nervous. Last time I saw terrain like this, I broke a fibula. Now, I'm also on a bike that is new and strange to me, and I'm not adequately protected.

I continue to swear at Murray as I tippy-toe along the sandy road, which apparently ends just around the bend. Sure enough the sand ends, but so does the road, which turns into mountain bike trail. The single track twist and turns through the fynbos and I follow it gingerly. Every now and then Murray stops to check up on me. I try to ride in 1st gear but it is too slow and the bike whines at me. I pull in the clutch a bit. Soon my hand starts burning, and I'm pretty sure I can smell the clutch burning too. The bike's fan kicks in, whirring earnestly. I tell Murray, worried that I'm killing the bike, but he just shrugs it off. "It'll be fine", he says.

We follow the track between two rocks and on the other side, I try to paddle the bike down, my legs against the rocks beside me getting higher and higher. I'm stuck. "Where do I put my feet to get down from here?" I ask Murray, who's come back to check on me yet again. He gives me a look of pure exasperation: "On the pegs."

I realise he is right. Or course he is. I put my feet on the pegs and push off with a prayer, coming to a shaky stop in the little dip below. The bike tilts and I kick out with my left foot to catch it. The foot bends and a fireball explodes through it. I hunch over the handlebar in agony, waiting for the burn to fade. Murray comes back again, and I decide to let him ride the bike down the last steep incline as I hobble down. I'm a bit disappointed with myself for letting someone else ride my bike down after I promised not to do it again, but then I remind myself that it's not my bike, and I'm not adequately protected, and I feel better.

Murray encourages me every time I stop, telling me how to tackle the bridge, the rocks, the ditches. I reckon he must think I'm an idiot who doesn't belong on a bike, but his support is unfaltering. When I make it over the harsh bits, he beams like a proud coach. Thanks @Fuzzy Muzzy , it really was a jol, and exactly the kind of terrain I'm eager to conquer. And this is definitely the bike to do it on.

When I bring the bike to a halt at the Honda gazebo, perspiration drips off my face. I park the bike, yank off my helmet and gloves and head for the cooler box, intent on getting a beer. They only have long toms and I grab one, then sit down and join the general discussion around the CFR300L and different brands of kit, MX boots vs Adventure boots, 250 Rally vs 300 L, and so forth.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2021, 09:23:14 am by Ri »
 

Offline Ri

Re: Alice in Hondaland: Not-A-Honda-Launch Report
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2021, 11:26:22 pm »
Donald is keen to ride the track I'd ridden, and from that moment Murray knows no rest, escorting rider after rider around the MTB track.

I ask Jonathan whether I could try to lift the bike, and he lays it down on the ground. I lift it with amazing ease, and lower it to the ground again to fetch my camera to capture another attempt.

Listen for the soundtrack provided by Honda:



A more professional review of the CRF300L performance:
http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=246651.0


Thank you Hardy, Chantal, and Team Honda for a great day, and thank you everyone who joined us, for the excellent company!
« Last Edit: February 14, 2021, 11:27:27 pm by Ri »
 

Online woody1

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Re: Alice in Hondaland: Not-A-Honda-Launch Report
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2021, 07:26:02 am »
 :ricky:

I WOULD RATHER BE AN HONEST ASSHOLE .... THAN A FLIPPEN LIAR !   


Ducati 100cc Mountaineer, Honda 550 K3, Suzuki Gs1000E, Suzuki Gs1000G, Suzuki 1100 Katana, BMW R1100RT, BMW R1150RT,,,,,All gone. Only 2014 ST in the garage at the moment... And Honda XL 600
 

Online swakop_toe

Re: Alice in Hondaland: Not-A-Honda-Launch Report
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2021, 07:27:54 am »
Love your writing style Ri.
How did I miss it? Was it by invite only?
I mean, even 2SD was there?

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« Last Edit: February 15, 2021, 07:41:48 am by swakop_toe »
 

Online woody1

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Re: Alice in Hondaland: Not-A-Honda-Launch Report
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2021, 07:36:17 am »
Hi Ri if you decide to buy tbis bike I am sure you will enjoy your travels much more.

You also will not need to take the whole workshop set of tools with as this is reliable Honda and it does not need tools :imaposer:

I WOULD RATHER BE AN HONEST ASSHOLE .... THAN A FLIPPEN LIAR !   


Ducati 100cc Mountaineer, Honda 550 K3, Suzuki Gs1000E, Suzuki Gs1000G, Suzuki 1100 Katana, BMW R1100RT, BMW R1150RT,,,,,All gone. Only 2014 ST in the garage at the moment... And Honda XL 600
 

Offline teebag

Re: Alice in Hondaland: Not-A-Honda-Launch Report
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2021, 07:39:43 am »
Jonathan Tee, who greets me with "Are you the famous Ri?"

I think you mean Jonathan Lee - I know who you are


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Offline Dux

Re: Alice in Hondaland: Not-A-Honda-Launch Report
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2021, 08:06:28 am »
Jonathan Tee, who greets me with "Are you the famous Ri?"

I think you mean Jonathan Lee - I know who you are


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Too many Jonathanís on the day
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Offline sidetrack

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Re: Alice in Hondaland: Not-A-Honda-Launch Report
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2021, 08:23:23 am »
This is going to be a great all rounder, commuting / adventure you name it.
Little by little, one travels far
J.R.R Tolkien
 

Offline Tom van Brits

Re: Alice in Hondaland: Not-A-Honda-Launch Report
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2021, 08:30:00 am »
Thanks for the entertainment Ri!
 

Offline Ri

Re: Alice in Hondaland: Not-A-Honda-Launch Report
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2021, 08:47:47 am »
Jonathan Tee, who greets me with "Are you the famous Ri?"

I think you mean Jonathan Lee - I know who you are


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Apologies, I'm so bad at remembering names :-[ Johann did mention Jonathan Lee but I didn't make the connection. :-[ :-[

 

Offline Ri

Re: Alice in Hondaland: Not-A-Honda-Launch Report
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2021, 08:55:35 am »
This is going to be a great all rounder, commuting / adventure you name it.

Surprisingly comfortable seat, and apparently even more comfortable than the 250 Rally. Some special foam engineering, apparently grows softer the longer you ride :imaposer:


Love your writing style Ri.
How did I miss it? Was it by invite only?
I mean, even 2SD was there?

Sent from my BBA100-2 using Tapatalk


Thanks. Yup you missed it. Maybe because the word HONDA wasn't in the title?

This:             http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=255577.0

lead to this:  http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=255730.0
« Last Edit: February 15, 2021, 08:56:22 am by Ri »
 

Online swakop_toe

Re: Alice in Hondaland: Not-A-Honda-Launch Report
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2021, 09:01:35 am »
This is going to be a great all rounder, commuting / adventure you name it.

Surprisingly comfortable seat, and apparently even more comfortable than the 250 Rally. Some special foam engineering, apparently grows softer the longer you ride :imaposer:


Love your writing style Ri.
How did I miss it? Was it by invite only?
I mean, even 2SD was there?

Sent from my BBA100-2 using Tapatalk


Thanks. Yup you missed it. Maybe because the word HONDA wasn't in the title?

This:             http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=255577.0

lead to this:  http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=255730.0
Correct, I skipped over it when I read the title...dang!


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« Last Edit: February 15, 2021, 09:05:44 am by swakop_toe »
 

Offline Ri

Re: Alice in Hondaland: Not-A-Honda-Launch Report
« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2021, 09:07:01 am »
This is going to be a great all rounder, commuting / adventure you name it.

Surprisingly comfortable seat, and apparently even more comfortable than the 250 Rally. Some special foam engineering, apparently grows softer the longer you ride :imaposer:


Love your writing style Ri.
How did I miss it? Was it by invite only?
I mean, even 2SD was there?

Sent from my BBA100-2 using Tapatalk


Thanks. Yup you missed it. Maybe because the word HONDA wasn't in the title?

This:             http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=255577.0

lead to this:  http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=255730.0
Correct, I skipped over it when I read the title...dang!


Sent from my BBA100-2 using Tapatalk

As Heimer likes to say, "Lees en presteer"  :spitcoffee:
 

Offline Ri

Re: Alice in Hondaland: Not-A-Honda-Launch Report
« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2021, 09:15:56 am »
Hi Ri if you decide to buy tbis bike I am sure you will enjoy your travels much more.

You also will not need to take the whole workshop set of tools with as this is reliable Honda and it does not need tools :imaposer:

 :spitcoffee:

My tools and tubes have almost always been used on other bikes. I've only needed it once to change a tube on my front tyre, and maybe here and there to straighten the bike after one of my falls.
 

Offline sidetrack

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Re: Alice in Hondaland: Not-A-Honda-Launch Report
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2021, 10:00:51 am »
Donald is keen to ride the track I'd ridden, and from that moment Murray knows no rest, escorting rider after rider around the MTB track.

I ask Jonathan whether I could try to lift the bike, and he lays it down on the ground. I lift it with amazing ease, and lower it to the ground again to fetch my camera to capture another attempt.

Listen for the soundtrack provided by Honda:



A more professional review of the CRF300L performance:
http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=246651.0


Thank you Hardy, Chantal, and Team Honda for a great day, and thank you everyone who joined us, for the excellent company!
Hardy how much for the dropped demo 300L ?  :biggrin:
Little by little, one travels far
J.R.R Tolkien
 

Offline 2StrokeDan

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Re: Alice in Hondaland: Not-A-Honda-Launch Report
« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2021, 06:59:25 pm »
Jonathan Tee, who greets me with "Are you the famous Ri?"

I think you mean Jonathan Lee - I know who you are


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 :thumleft: :imaposer: :imaposer: