I loved my Triumph Explorer 1200, it was a big brutal machine that allowed you to look down on people and for the first time I got to experience what life was like driving a Range Rover but fortunately I didn’t adopt the Range Rover attitude!
Following an accident in 2015 I was fortunate enough to be in a position to upgrade the now repaired Triumph after it decided to slide down a French Motorway on the way to Nancy taking me with it. It was a unique experience and one I wouldn’t want to repeat in any hurry.
With cash in my pocket (bank account) I headed off in search of a new steed that would provide endless miles of hassle and worry free riding enjoyment throughout Europe and Africa.
I’d always had a soft spot for Africa Twins since they featured in the Dakar Rally in the 80’s and it was just my luck that Honda had launched the new Africa Twin CRF1000 only a month earlier, so I headed off to Honda and demanded I test rode this awesome looking piece of two wheeled engineering. As I approached the raspberry ripple ice cream coloured monster, I couldn’t help but shudder, a shiver flowed down my back and there was an immediate desire to get closer. I think I fell in love with it from a distance of 15 meters.
An hour later and the paperwork was signed, my Triumph Explorer was traded in and I was now the owner of a brand new 2016 Africa Twin CRF1000. I was ecstatic.
Like many grown men that have failed to grow up. I immediately took it off road, turned off traction control and ABS and went a bit mad to be honest, like a possessed school boy on a moped. I had a great time and although I didn’t think it was possible, I was falling more in love with this bike by the minute.
After the honeymoon period was over I tweaked a few bits to make it more suitable for my touring adventures. I added some crash bars, heated grips, taller screen, sat nav, nobbly tyres (Mitas E07) and so on.
My first adventure was ironically, Morocco, heading across to Spain overnight on board the ferry and spending a few days riding down to the Costa Del Sol via Salamanca, Badajoz and through Ronda. The ferry from Algeciras took me into Tangier Med and the following 10 days were an amazing array of mountain roads, dusty streets and towns and of course the intriguing culture of Morocco
But you don’t want to hear about that, you want to know what this bike has had done to it to keep its heart pumping for over 50,000 miles I’m sure.
Sorry to disappoint you but other than servicing, it’s needed nothing. It’s had 8 sets of tyres, 3 rear sets of brake pads and three sets of front pads, a new set of wheel bearings (replacement spoked wheels under warranty) a replacement kill switch under warranty, several oil filters and air filters plus an end can (Black Widow) but otherwise nothing else has been needed. It’s been reliable, faultless in fact and never let me down. From Romania, to Africa, the bike has performed well and kept pushing hard both on and off road. I’ve chucked it around some gnarly trails in Wales and even over sharp lumps of rock and across sand through the Sahara Desert and she keeps on pushing like an expectant mother… (hmmmm)
I don’t care about tarnished bolts or a bit of surface rust, to be fair I don’t have time to clean my bikes, so I coat them in ACF50 and then ride them endlessly, only cleaning them when I can no longer see the headlight, number plate or get to something that may be covered in mud or grime. I ride, I think more about riding than worrying about how shinny the bike is. I didn’t buy it to keep in a garage when it’s raining or ride 60 miles on a sunny weekend, I bought it to travel to far away places and the last, thing running through my head was how clean it looked. It’s used.
What I’ve loved more about the Africa Twin CRF1000 than anything else, is that it’s been trouble free riding from day one. I don’t worry or think about the bike breaking down, which gives me more time to enjoy what I set out to do on it. Explore.