If you’re looking for a capable, full-size adventure machine with the big 21″ front wheel, but don’t want to spend big money on a bike with all the gadgets, then the chances are you’ll be in the market for a middleweight.
For some time now Triumph’s Tiger 800 range and BMW’s F800GS have been the bikes to beat in this sector of the market, but enter for 2016 the new Africa Twin from Honda.
With a bigger engine, but available for less money than some of it’s main middleweight rivals, the Honda is already a big hit.
Adventure is all in the mind of the rider, and it’s down to the individual to decide what kind of ride suits them – but for many ADV owners, there are certainly dreams of bound down a distant, dusty trail, even if that doesn’t become a reality for some.
Over in the US, Motorcyclist Magazine recently fitted these three top middleweights with some of our tried and trusted TKC 80 tyres and took them off-road to see just how capable they really are.
The XCa variant of the Tiger built around their superb 800cc triple engine was superb on the road, and took the loose gravel and potholes in it’s stride as the team ventured towards the tough stuff. On the more severe terrain the bike started to feel out of it’s comfort zone, seeing it finish in 3rd place on test, more suited to touring than enduro-style adventures.
The BMW F800GS first entered the market in 2008, and in 2014 the German brand added the F800GS Adventure to the range, which was the bike tested here. Feeling it’s age on the road, the bike was transformed once it hit the rough stuff, the rider’s confidence growing with every bump and jump. The tight turning radius and overall balance of the bike scored highly with testers, as did the riding position which was excellent on rough terrain.
Honda’s new Africa Twin however, in this case the DCT version, ruled the roost when it came to riding off-road. The easy-to-use, linear power was ideal in the dirt, and the off-road technology worked well including the ‘Gravel’ mode. An adventure bike for the modern world, which allowed testers to attack some sections with real gusto, where others had to gently maneuver their way through just moments before on the Tiger. The more aggressive riders in the group also gained the most from the DCT, although some of the less experienced riders actually found it more of a hindrance than a help.
As Motorcyclist Magazine say; “When Honda first unveiled the prototype for this bike it was called simply ‘True Adventure’. After riding it and testing it, we couldn’t say better ourselves.”
Find out more about the TKC 80 tyres they used on test here.