After having it for a month and putting 2100 miles on it; the love for my Africa Twin just hasn’t been what I expected...
Or should I say, HADN’T. Until this weekend that is; when I took it out to do what it was made to do.
We (yes, the bike is people now) went and played in the dirt in Gifford-Pinchot NF!
It took some time to get used to the size and weight, and getting full potential out of it will take a while if I ever can, but I got pretty comfortable after a bit! Started out with some basic gravel roads, with a bit of washboarding at worst, and worked my way up from there.
Before too long I was hitting doubletrack that was just littered with baby heads, balancing my way through sand, and making bro-trucks look silly!
Seriously though, one road I was on was real bad, like anything less than a Jeep would almost certainly bust an oil pan, or get stuck bare minimum. There was a lifted Ford bro-truck and its driver was looking pretty nervous. We crossed paths at a spot where water runoff made the trail super wide, he was crawling along, I “blasted” by at 25mph while standing up and gave him a thumbs up!
The spots I stopped for pictures aren’t even close to the worst of it. They were just the spots where I actually felt comfortable stopping and getting off. This whole area is mostly used by actual dirt bikes and quads, with some horseback riding and hiking thrown in. I stayed on NF service roads the whole time since I’m pretty new to this, but many of them aren’t maintained at all, many of those aren’t mapped, and some of them the forest is trying to reclaim.
There’s a little creek about 20ft behind my tent, and the Cispus River a couple hundred feet to the right. Real pleasant white noise to fall asleep to!
As for why I haven’t really been in love with the bike up until now. Well, it’s a perfectly fine bike at everything I had used it for. Enough power, good enough handling, good enough exhaust note. Perfectly fine and good at everything. But it was never inspiring.
But all of that translates to make it an excellent 500lb dirt bike. Power delivery is predictable and makes it a breeze to put the power down when the going gets tough. The suspension? Well that just laughs at the ruts and potholes that would bend a Raptor frame. 30mph on nasty forest service roads was a walk in the park. I used 8 out of 9 inches of available suspension travel hammering on this thing. Yeah, I checked. And it wanted me to go harder. Turn off traction control, on the fly, drop a gear, and twist that wrist. She’ll bite and pull, and kick up a beautiful rooster tail all at the same time.
This bike is so so so good on dirt. Even with the stock 90/10 Dunlop tires. I can’t wait for them to wear out so I can put something knobbier on. I already know of some trails I want to hit when I have more traction.
As for the less exciting stuff? She carried more gear than I needed, and she carried it well. Averaged 47mpg. And I can comfortably ride for hours without needing to stop.
Who needs an enduro when Honda makes the Africa Twin?