The new Honda Africa Twin is the UK’s best selling adventure motorcycle to date in 2016.
Lighter and less expensive than it’s bigger rivals it’s already got a huge following, from those who have owned every model since it’s inception to riders taking their first foray into the world of ADV machines.
In this week’s edition of MCN, they’ve been pitting the new Honda against it’s middleweight competition in shape of the Tiger 800 XCX from Triumph, and the BMW F800 GS.
Taking the three bikes on a 900-mile round trip to Scotland, Sports Editor Michael Guy joined GS Trophy team-mates James Berrill and Oliver Twigg, with plans that included some serious off-roading. To help them on their way, we supplied three sets of dual purpose TKC 70 tyres, ideal for packing in the miles on the road, but more than capable when you decide to venture off it!
On the road, the Honda scored very well. It is stable, planted and comfortable – with a more expansive cockpit than the other two bikes, which have a more minimal and lightweight feel to them. It was the clear winner when it came to covering big miles on the motorway.
Tinto Moto Park was the destination on day two of the test – a vast off-road facility located off Junction 13 of the M74. Heavy rain the night before meant minimal grip, but with all the bikes running a 21″ front they are more than capable, with the larger, narrower wheel making it easier to negotiate bumps and stay on the desired line. Leaving Tinto, mile after mile of twisty A and B roads to Fort William were a great test of handling.
The Tiger was felt the most out of it’s comfort zone, with the BMW matching the Honda in almost every aspect, despite being an 8-year old bike. Impressive engine characteristics allowed it to punch well above it’s weight, despite being the least powerful bike on test.
Being the latest bike on test, and up against two smaller 800s, the Africa Twin was always expected to win – but the fact that it was only marginally better in some areas surprised the trio of riders. It certainly says something for the BMW and Triumph – and perhaps the Africa Twin is a more of a middleweight than a big ADV machine?
Reviewing the tyres, MCN said:
“Aimed at being a good compromise between long distance road mileage and off-road capabilities, they performed well in each discipline. The blocky tread pattern – especially on the front – takes some getting used to on turn in and under braking, but once you understand that the ultimate grip is good, you can ride with a reasonable amount of confidence. Solid off-road performance is combined with great grip and feedback on wet roads.”
To read the full article, pick up this week’s copy of Motorcycle News!
Find out more about the TKC 70 here.