My Honda Africa Twin RD07a

Submitted by Jo on Mon, 06/13/2022 - 21:15

Despite the fierce competition in the land of all-roads, there is a star of yesteryear that still shines as brightly as in its heyday, the Honda Africa Twin.
Not as a new machine, but as a favorable, stable centipede. Likewise with me, the dream of owning an XRV750 only grew over the years.
For years I have been scouring the second-hand market for a decent one.
The Africa Twin is known as particularly valuable, even for an approximately twenty-year-old RD07 with an odometer reading of more than 60,000 km, 4000 euros is still asked without batting an eyelid.

Some of the used Africa Twins offered have experience, because as globetrotting pack mule they have seen just about every corner of this earth.
They got everything done: goat paths in the savannah, mountain slopes, coastal roads or the boulevard of some metropolis, Honda's all-rounder swallows it all for sweet cake.
And that they have accumulated a few traces of use during their service life, that is quickly forgiven or worn as an badge of honor.
After all, the adventurous path is not always neatly paved.

Also for others, usually younger and less ridden specimens, the shine has somewhat faded.
From a technical point of view, the former trendsetter in the all-road segment is at least increasingly turning into a crumbling memorial.

At the end of the eighties, two years after the Dakar victory of the factory machine NXR750, Honda introduces the primal twin XRV650 Africa Twin, type RD03, a street-legal envoy of the rally machine.
The 57 hp two-cylinder engine with an extremely stable chassis set a new benchmark in the off-road world.
The design caused a certain sensation and the success of the XRV would spawn new derivative products to this day.

Tomonon Mogi, the chief designer of the Africa Twin, wanted "his" Dakar replica to be as close to the factory NXR as possible.
To that end, he reused a twin aluminum radiators, stainless steel exhaust, modular instrument panel, protective hood, quick-release couplings and the HRC color scheme.
The project was almost canceled because the large tank was lower than the carburettors, so a gas pump had to be added.
The gas tank itself was a brain teaser, requiring four steel plates to fabricate it instead of the traditional three.
Currently, a type RD03 is a true collector's item for the true enthusiast, the 650 is a very rare appearance these days.

The first 750, labeled as model RD04 from 1990, continued this success on the asphalt and the Africa Twin established itself firmly in the all-road scene.
Now 59 hp and 238 kilos, double front disc brake, longer swingarm and modified fairing.
At the end of the it`s production in 1992 the signature Tripmaster computer was added. Indicated the time and, in addition to a stopwatch, it also had three tripmeter functions.
And with the RD07 from 1993, Honda crowned its work and created the perfect all-rounder.

It was a major redesign including a new frame, body work plastics, fuel tank, engine modifications and a lower seat.
The larger carburettors provided more torque and a full horsepower gain (now 60 hp).
New tank (24 liters instead of 23 litres) with recessed fuel cap, different muffler, radial instead of diagonal tires and a 140 millimeter wide rear tire ensured an engine that "yes" everywhere without complaint; against said: highways, winding serpentines or eroded gravel tracks.
That enormous versatility, including excellent ergonomics for the passenger, made the two-cylinder a true sales cannon.

In 1996 the XRV gained an improved seat and clutch, larger silencer, modified upper fairing and luggage rack, becoming known as the RD07a model, which is the last model in the range up to and including 2003.
The adjustment options for the compression damping of the rear shock absorber and the air chamber support of the front fork are omitted.
After sales numbers fell sharply for a few years, Honda pulled the plug on the extremely successful project.
For the many of the Africa Twin fans it is therefore incomprehensible why Honda relegated its debauched Africa Twin in 2003 without a dignified goodbye and honorable successor to a piece of history.

Of course, compared to the current generation of potent all-roads, the almost 220 kilo heavy and only 60 hp strong Africa Twin looks rather poor.
He must also miss the electrical gadgets such as ABS, injection, traction control.
However, anyone who has riden it once will immediately know that clinical values ??on paper are not everything.
The sum of all virtues makes the XRV, even today, a brilliant motorcycle. And in that regard, I was tired of waiting forever.

A trip to Ghent in Belgium made me a happy Africa Twin owner. Not yet super happy, because I haven`t riden a meter with the legend, but that will come soon.
What should you pay attention to if you want to own the legend yourself?
Of the three padded Africa Twin models, the RD07 was the real bestseller. It is therefore not surprising that the offer of these is still the largest.
There are fewer of the RD04 to be found, and the primal Africa Twin, the RD03? A rarity with a price tag to match.
The weaknesses are rare, but even the Africa Twin has them.
With the RD07 this is the fuel pump. Connoisseurs replace these with electrical copies.
Because the Africa Twin does not shy away from rough terrain, you should be extra wary of copies that have been converted or that have been given a new layer of paint.
More than once this indicates a past marked by accidents both off- and on-road and rough handling.

In 2016, Honda brought the Africa Twin back to the dealer floor. The CRF1000L had a whole new block: a parallel-twin 998 cc block with a 270° crankshaft.
The rest of the bike counting from the front wheel to taillight and everything in between was also completely new.
The new Africa Twin was to be Honda's alternative to the BMW GS1200, Ducati Multistrada and Triumph Tiger.
Where the competition looked rather thick and hefty, Honda sought it more in a balance between low weight and less power.
And you could choose between a normal gearbox and a DCT version, which is unique in this segment.

My adventure with my personal R07a has just begun - and will be documented here soon ...