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Old 09-07-2017, 05:16 PM   #1
Just Ed
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Default Took Africa Twin Demo Ride. Keeping KLR.

What a surprise. My local dealer started offered test rides two weeks ago.

Are you considering trading up to the Africa Twin? Here's my comparison:

My KLR is 10 years old and I sometimes ask myself if it will be, "'Til death do we part," or will I go out in a blaze of glory on a younger newer bike that's faster, smarter, better looking, etc.

I took a 30-minute demo ride on a beautiful Africa Twin, the white model with the golden rims. It did feel incredible to ride. The handling and power really are outstanding. Clearly better than the KLR, at least on the street. If you twist the throttle hard, you'll need to hang on much tighter to the Africa Twin. I also leaned it pretty hard into a couple of corners. It felt more planted than the KLR in both slow and high speed curves. It seemed a little more stable going straight at highway speeds too.

Comfort and ergonomics seemed similar to the KLR. I've got a 38" inseam, but the foot peg configuration and angular sculpting of the tank accommodated me just fine. It looked and felt about the same size as my KLR, but the AT is noticeably heavier when not rolling. I'd hate to drop it in the dirt and have to pick it up.

The quality, engineering, and fit/finish of the Africa Twin appear to be superior to the KLR. In fact it seemed almost perfect. The suspension and brakes were much better too. I could see myself owning and enjoying Africa Twin. It would be expensive, but I could go out in a blaze of glory.

On my way home, my KLR seemed more sluggish and sounded more like a tractor than ever. Had I been seduced by the beautiful new Africa Twin?

Nope. Maybe in a few more years when the price is better on the used ones. Or perhaps if I ever wear out or destroy my old KLR. I remember on this forum that Chuck B once suggested not trading a KLR for an Africa Twin because they were too similar. Now that I've ridden both, I would have to agree. Most of what you might do with an Africa Twin could be achieved and enjoyed on a KLR, and it wouldn't hurt so much financially if it fell over. I also enjoy drilling and welding stuff to my KLR. I would be reluctant tarnish an Africa Twin, or risk taking it off road.

One last thing I thought of on my way home was weight. Even though I'm a large guy, I think I might actually like something lighter than the KLR. My wife recently bought a DRZ-400 SM and I have found it to be a blast to ride, even though I probably look ridiculous.

Conclusion: I still like the KLR. I've now done demos on the AT, V-Strom 1000, V-Strom 650, Versys 1000, Super Tenere', and FJ-09. They're all nice, but there's something about the KLR that fits with my personality. I also once had a F-100 truck for 27 years.

I hope you find this helpful if you're thinking about the Africa Twin.

Just Ed.
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Old 09-07-2017, 05:23 PM   #2
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Default Re: Took Africa Twin Demo Ride. Keeping KLR.

Hi Ed,

Thanks for the review.

I have similar thoughts about "upgrading" to something like the Africa, but the extra weight is a deal breaker for me.

Best,

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Old 09-07-2017, 06:43 PM   #3
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Default Re: Took Africa Twin Demo Ride. Keeping KLR.

+1 Thanks, Ed... great information. I too have been toying with the idea, those ATs are pretty. But complicated and heavy. Sticking with the KLR as well.

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Old 09-07-2017, 07:42 PM   #4
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Default Re: Took Africa Twin Demo Ride. Keeping KLR.

When I ride my KLR after riding my Honda NX250, I feel it's bigger, and heavier too.
It only takes me a few seconds to get re-accustomed to the bigger bike.
However, when I have to pick the KLR up from a nap, it takes me a week, or more to recuperate.
I can't imagine how long it would take me to recuperate if I had to pick an Africa Twin up.
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Old 09-07-2017, 08:17 PM   #5
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Default Re: Took Africa Twin Demo Ride. Keeping KLR.

And to drop that pretty paint onto the rocks? Ouch. Think about your monthly expenditure on the KLR vs the AT and, well, I'm not rich nor do I eat seafood often but I enjoy not sweating the pocket book as often as I would with an AT in the garage.

They do ride fantastic and the dual clutch transmission shifts like lightning but I like doing things the old way too.

AT ride was nice, but not that nice. Plus I don't know how to operate the computer that tells you what's wrong when it breaks.
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Old 09-09-2017, 09:53 PM   #6
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Default Re: Took Africa Twin Demo Ride. Keeping KLR.

Many report striction problems on AT front suspension, even with very low miles. Honda thus far seems to be in denial. Be interesting to see how this ends up. Sorta reminds me of Chevy's denial of any fault in spite of the widespread valve train problems on the LS7 engine. Chevy prevailed of course.
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Old 09-09-2017, 10:34 PM   #7
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Default Re: Took Africa Twin Demo Ride. Keeping KLR.

Quote:
Originally Posted by clogan View Post
Many report striction problems on AT front suspension, even with very low miles. Honda thus far seems to be in denial. Be interesting to see how this ends up. Sorta reminds me of Chevy's denial of any fault in spite of the widespread valve train problems on the LS7 engine. Chevy prevailed of course.
I don't know on the AF as I've only ridden it a few times but often, in my experiences, stichtion in the front forks is often caused by improper wheel mounting. Done wrong and you can bind the forks. This is common on many bikes. There is a step by step procedure to do this properly. MotionPro actually makes a tool so you can double check yourself.

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Old 09-10-2017, 12:05 AM   #8
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Default Re: Took Africa Twin Demo Ride. Keeping KLR.

One year ago I demo'd the AT and decided to keep the KLR.....Today I traded the KLR for the AT. It was time. Why?

As the OP noted, the AT has a riding position that is not that different than the KLR, and that's a big plus.

The AT has just the right amount of power. Some reviewers complain that is lags behind the 125 ponies put out by the 1200GS, or the 150 ponies put out by the 1190. For me, 95hp is more than enough. It is silky smooth useable power.

I wanted the technology of the AT. Not only did I get ABS, traction control and ride modes.....I got the DCT. WHAT? An automatic??? I am so ashamed.....Seriously, the only reason I got the DCT was for off-road. I am a 57 year old unskilled off-road rider. I have had 3 back surgeries and a few months ago suffered my first ever knee injury, while riding my KLR off-road. Fortunately the injury was only a strain. No torn cartilage or ligaments. But it took a month to heal and candidly....It scared me. The DCT is an amazing advantage for the novice off-road rider. If you're Chuck B or Dave P......you don't need or want it. But for me, it is amazing. Riding standing up is so easy. You can't stall it. You just pick a line and go. Amazing technology.

Regarding the weight of the bike.....Although it tips the scales at over 500lbs, you would never guess it weighs that much. The weight is carried so low and the balance is superb. This too makes off-road riding with it a lot easier than you'd ever think it could be.....Same goes for the 1200GS, which I also very seriously considered. Candidly, it was the DCT that put me over the top with the AT.

Regarding the front forks, I researched the AT exhaustively before I bought it. There is no issue with the front forks. In fact, if you're interested check out what Rick at Cogent has to say about the AT suspension. He is very complimentary.
https://www.motocd.com/honda-crf1000-...sion-upgrades/

It is a high quality design and very well-engineered, both front and rear. That doesn't mean it can't be made better by Rick and his team. At some point I will enlist their expertise to make my AT perfectly set up for me.

I loved my KLR and I will definitely miss many things about it, especially the simplicity. But I do believe the AT is and will be the perfect bike for my needs, at least in the foreseeable future......However, I suspect it is only a short matter of time before I find a really nice lower mile Gen 1 to make into a project bike. If only I had more garage space and more time. Oh well.

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Old 09-10-2017, 12:24 AM   #9
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Default Re: Took Africa Twin Demo Ride. Keeping KLR.

Thanks for the review, I'm also interested in the CRF1000. Not as a replacement , but for the longer trips that the KLR just sux at.. (no offense, Fat Fanny... my KLRs nickname..)
The AT would be a perfect addition to the stable.. (along with a CR250 and soon to be dualsport KDX220)


I might need a sportbike next... sigh..
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Old 09-10-2017, 12:46 AM   #10
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Default Re: Took Africa Twin Demo Ride. Keeping KLR.

Quote:
Originally Posted by "Mitch" View Post
One year ago I demo'd the AT and decided to keep the KLR.....Today I traded the KLR for the AT. It was time. Why?

It was my initial road test I posted wasn't it?

Congrats on the new ride! I had the new Husky 701 (motard) in my shop last year. Somewhat like my Aprilia SXV550 its a special bike indeed. With the new(er) KTM thumper in the new new Husky 701 I've gotten a scratch I may have to go itch...
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Old 09-10-2017, 01:23 AM   #11
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Default Re: Took Africa Twin Demo Ride. Keeping KLR.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck B View Post
It was my initial road test I posted wasn't it?

Congrats on the new ride! I had the new Husky 701 (motard) in my shop last year. Somewhat like my Aprilia SXV550 its a special bike indeed. With the new(er) KTM thumper in the new new Husky 701 I've gotten a scratch I may have to go itch...
Thanks Chuck......It was your demo and review that prompted me to check it out last year. This Spring I couldn't get it out of my mind. I knew it was just bike lust, but that demo stuck in my mind.

Then a month ago I went out to work on my gravel riding and especially my cornering while up on the pegs. I was tired of being so timid in the corners. I was getting the hang of it. I was up over the tank and sliding the rear wheel pretty well. I was feeling a lot better about myself......and then.....I got a little too hot into a corner. I knew I was in trouble and I did the absolute worst thing. I cut the throttle. The pig decided she was tired and it was nap time. Then I did the next worst thing.....I saved it. I dropped onto the saddle, put my foot down, pushed off, and hit the gas. I saved it.....and holy crap did my right knee hurt. I rode straight home and very carefully climbed off the bike. I iced it down and loaded up on ibuprofen. Fortunately, I didn't tear anything. It was just a moderate strain. As I rehabbed the last month I had a lot of time to think and evaluate......I decided it was time to go back and check out the AT again, and especially the DCT. That second ride was all it took.....I was sold.

So about that Husky.....Is it really similar to the 690?

Man that bike lust is brutal. If I had more garage space and more time there is no question I would own a dozen bikes. It's tough.

Thanks for the congratulations!

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Old 09-10-2017, 01:53 AM   #12
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Default Re: Took Africa Twin Demo Ride. Keeping KLR.

I've had at least 4 or 5 severe knee tweaks and have torn my ACL twice followed by surgery to repair. Currently, I have no ACL and no PCL. All of this in my right knee. I've never hurt my left knee...knock on wood. I feel your pain AND anxiety!

As I had posted I liked the AT far more than I expected. How Honda managed to keep that much CRF in a 500lb bike is amazing. It would run circles around my Tenere offroad. Not to make you second guess but I did recently spend some time on KTM's new 1090. Its that much better off road to the AT. Granted, the difference is when pushing the bikes given their weight. The AT 'feels' lighter/smaller but the KTM engine is slightly better but suspension is a couple steps better out of the crate. KTM certainly doesn't have a DCT and frankly Honda has improved the DCT tremendously when they put it in the AT. Twist the throttle and it somehow knows what to do and when to do it.
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Old 09-10-2017, 11:11 AM   #13
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Default Re: Took Africa Twin Demo Ride. Keeping KLR.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck B View Post
.........Not to make you second guess but I did recently spend some time on KTM's new 1090. Its that much better off road to the AT. Granted, the difference is when pushing the bikes given their weight. The AT 'feels' lighter/smaller but the KTM engine is slightly better but suspension is a couple steps better out of the crate. KTM certainly doesn't have a DCT and frankly Honda has improved the DCT tremendously when they put it in the AT. Twist the throttle and it somehow knows what to do and when to do it.
Having demo'd the 1190R, I intentionally chose to not demo the 1090. I did not want to cloud my thinking or feed any illusions of eternal youth and off-road competence. I had to get real. I have never quit at anything in my life (I thank my dad for that), and I firmly believe that over 90% of what limits us is between our ears. But at some point we have to acknowledge that we're not going to be 30 something again, we don't have the same reflexes or flexibility that we once had, and we don't bounce so well anymore. For all of those reasons I chose the AT with the DCT.

However, I did read a lot about the 1090 and watched the YouTube reviews and comparison tests. I have no doubt that for guys like you and Dave P, who have high levels of off-road skill, the 1090 would be the better bike. KTM lives darn close to their motto of "Race Ready" and the 1090 is reported to be a better bike than the 1190....lighter, better front suspension, better balance, etc. Sounds like an awesome tool in the hands of a craftsman. But in the hands of an aging weekend warrior, it sounds like a quick trip to the ER.

I have no second thoughts about my AT. It's the better bike for me.....but I do have my eyes on a WR250R for that truly off-road itch. So many bikes. Too little time and garage space.

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Old 09-11-2017, 05:17 PM   #14
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Default Re: Took Africa Twin Demo Ride. Keeping KLR.

Congrats Mitch. I honestly think you'll really like it and I agree that 90+ hp is plenty for an ADV bike.

Yes, of the two, I'd lean to the 1090R because of my background but I think both are great bikes. Me? ....I'm still too stubborn to stop riding places that have me lifting my bike (over/under logs, after crashes, etc.) so I'm sticking with sub 400lb dual sports for now.....maybe one day...



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Old 09-13-2017, 04:04 AM   #15
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Default Re: Took Africa Twin Demo Ride. Keeping KLR.

If my Gen1 gives out, it's likely gonna be a parts-out party then...
Gen1, or Gen2 2014.5 or newer but not quite as desireable, Honda NC700.

That Honda doesn't make immediate sense, but it has suspension throws similar to the KLR, center of gravity is lot lower, weight about the same, better gas mileage but smaller tank for same range, FUEL INJECTED, trunk where the tank belongs, tank under the seat, tappets for valve adjustment that can be done on side of road in 30 min, a raised front fender is available. Still have to look into water crossings but 2 feet deep isn't critical for my riding. Would not touch one with DCT. Engine guard and other parts for offroad are available.

If anyone knows of a reasonable $$$ fuel injected dual-sport the above list would change quickly.
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Old 09-13-2017, 10:47 AM   #16
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Default Re: Took Africa Twin Demo Ride. Keeping KLR.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WiRider View Post
If my Gen1 gives out, it's likely gonna be a parts-out party then...
Gen1, or Gen2 2014.5 or newer but not quite as desireable, Honda NC700.

That Honda doesn't make immediate sense, but it has suspension throws similar to the KLR, center of gravity is lot lower, weight about the same, better gas mileage but smaller tank for same range, FUEL INJECTED, trunk where the tank belongs, tank under the seat, tappets for valve adjustment that can be done on side of road in 30 min, a raised front fender is available. Still have to look into water crossings but 2 feet deep isn't critical for my riding. Would not touch one with DCT. Engine guard and other parts for offroad are available.

If anyone knows of a reasonable $$$ fuel injected dual-sport the above list would change quickly.

I'm the first to say that there is no perfect bike and that all bikes are compromises; particularly dual purpose/dual sport and ADV bikes. I've looked at the Honda and I'd point out that:

- it's about 60 lbs heavier than a Gen2 KLR and closer to 90 lbs heavier than a Gen1 (no fuel weights)
- At 5.4" front suspension travel and 5.9 rear, it's got 2.5" less fork travel and 1.4" less rear suspension travel than a Gen2 KLR and 3.7" less fork travel and 3.2" less rear travel than a Gen2 KLR.....and more importantly, the KLR's budget suspension can be easily upgraded unlike the Honda's.
- the layout and ergonomics would seem to preclude standing
- the 17" cast wheels are definitely pavement pces.

Not trying to talk you out of anything but I don't think the NC700 is a direct comparison to the KLR or any other dual purpose/ADV bike....it's pavement only IMO.

Cheers,
Dave
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Old 09-13-2017, 11:41 AM   #17
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Default Re: Took Africa Twin Demo Ride. Keeping KLR.

The things that turns me off about the AT are the price, the weight, and the complexity of the various systems and all those lovely electronics just waiting for a good soak in a body of water near me. Not that I frequent bodies of water mind you, but I remember talking with the parts manager of a Toyota dealership on the coast. He loved when a PU owner would drive on the sand, become trapped, and when the water got inside the cab, the bucks started adding up quickly.
I'm just saying this girl is a follower of the KISS plan, Keep It Simple Sweety!
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Old 09-13-2017, 12:59 PM   #18
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Default Re: Took Africa Twin Demo Ride. Keeping KLR.

Weight is now a much bigger factor regarding my bike purchase selection than it was when I was younger. Just the feel of the bike when lifting it off the side stand is important to me.

The AT's published weight with fuel is 511 lbs whereas a new Gen2 KLR weighs 432 lbs with fuel- 79 lbs lighter than the AT. That's a significant difference to this old guy.

Best,

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Old 09-13-2017, 02:42 PM   #19
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Default Re: Took Africa Twin Demo Ride. Keeping KLR.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WiRider View Post
If my Gen1 gives out, it's likely gonna be a parts-out party then...
Gen1, or Gen2 2014.5 or newer but not quite as desireable, Honda NC700.

That Honda doesn't make immediate sense, but it has suspension throws similar to the KLR, center of gravity is lot lower, weight about the same, better gas mileage but smaller tank for same range, FUEL INJECTED, trunk where the tank belongs, tank under the seat, tappets for valve adjustment that can be done on side of road in 30 min, a raised front fender is available. Still have to look into water crossings but 2 feet deep isn't critical for my riding. Would not touch one with DCT. Engine guard and other parts for offroad are available.

If anyone knows of a reasonable $$$ fuel injected dual-sport the above list would change quickly.
If you want to go the NC700 route, I tend to agree with Dave P.....as usual.... It's really a street-only bike. However, you might want to consider a CB500X. Rally Raid makes a nice package for that bike that can make it a fairly capable off-roader....within reason.

https://www.rally-raidproducts.co.uk/honda-cb500x-cb500f

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Old 09-13-2017, 02:52 PM   #20
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Default Re: Took Africa Twin Demo Ride. Keeping KLR.

I have obviously drank the Kool-Aid, having written the check for the AT. However, I will be annoyingly redundant and say again that the weight of the AT is remarkably disguised. Taking the AT off the stand is easier than taking a KLR (with a full tank of gas) off the stand. The weight of the AT is down near the kickstand.

I plan to install my SW Motech stuff, including crash bars, on Friday. When I do, I am going to have my lovely little wife help me lay the AT down in the grass. I want to see just how heavy this sucker is, before I have to lift it all by my lonesome in the middle of nowhere. We'll see just how heavy she is. It's one thing to feel light when vertical.....but when horizontal, it's a LOT harder to hide the pounds. Same goes for me.....
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