Honda CRF1000L

I suppose it all really started in September 2017, I was in the Three Moors Tour party (well worth it) on my well trusted Suzuki GSF 1200s Bandit (yes the Bronze bandit) which I passed my advanced test on and have been riding since 2013. But you get to thinking maybe it’s time for a change, in the following couple of months I started to look around and although my heart was saying go for the BMW GS1200 (yes the club tractor) the budget was a limiting factor.
So from armchair surfing and visiting some show rooms I was looking at Yamaha MT07/MT09 Tracer, Suzuki V Strom, BMW GS 1200. Then one of those Facebook adverts popped up, North West Honda were advertising a deal on a Honda Africa Twin (£1270 reduction, 0% APR, £1 deposit and free delivery, order before the 23rd December), so with a few days to go it was a check round the local dealers but none of them could match the deal, so after work one evening I visited Kestrel Honda in Coventry, from the first climb aboard the bike felt comfortable easy reach to the bars (might need the low seat option though) well balanced it seemed the right bike for me. The next evening, I made the call to North West Honda, within a couple of hours the order was placed and everything was in line for a New Year delivery.
It was January 10th I was able to work from home, the garage was cleaned out and prepared for the new arrival AT 15:30 in the afternoon it had arrived in the back of LWB van, so it was unloaded and wheeled into the garage we went through a delivery check and signed off the paperwork it was all mine now but being January it was cold and dark so I closed the doors and sat in the garage familiarising myself with the controls and dials before I started it up not having a twin before the sound from the exhaust was deep and thumping quite a pleasing sound to me, with 3 delivery miles on the clock and the fuel gage flashing orange at me and saying there was 7 miles in the tank I switched off and looked forward to my first ride out.
Saturday came around and although it was cold and the forecast wasn’t brilliant I got kitted up and went out for my first ride, instantly it felt light on the controls and nicely balanced with a great riding position, I only got about a mile down the road on the way to the petrol station and the dry day turned into a snow and hail storm I thought how typical so I had a gingerly trip into the petrol station and filled up with 95 Ron Octane, by the time I had filled the tank and paid the blizzard had stopped and the roads were wet but manageable so I set off on an initial road trip, it was responsive to the throttle nice power delivery light clutch and gear change, it held the road well in the conditions and I didn’t feel uneasy on the OEM Dunlop Trailmax Tyres.
My first proper ride out was on Andy Johnsons FMR in March, as the bike was still in its running in period I opted to be Last Man, we had a bright sunny day and the bike felt good again the LED display gives clear legible information it’s easy to see from the seating position and switching through the modes for trip miles, average fuel consumption, total miles is simple, it has a nice touch in that the front LED indicators are illuminated as running lights along with the dipped LED headlight but in a less powerful mode than when being used as the indicators, comments were made on the presents it seems to give the bike when its approaching, Even though it was still within its first 600 mile running in period you could feel the torque from the engine and its smooth delivery, keeping it around the 4500rpm area we still kept up with the group and cruised along at 70mph were permitted.
The only issue I have noticed when riding with the standard screen is some buffeting to my head which by the end of a day’s riding starts to make your neck and head a bit weary, I bought a Honda touring screen easy to fit but this didn’t suit me I was either truing to look through it or over it and when it rained you are looking through two wet pieces of plastic and this produced a buffeting to the top of my helmet (like somebody was tapping you on the head), the next choice was a puig race screen, this produced quite a bit more wind on the upper body and helmet, so I guess it a bit more trial and error with some deflectors.
At the end of April with the running in miles done and fist service covered (£175) I was able to take Graham Hay’s place on the North Yorkshire Moors Tour, the day started with a wet ride to Morrisons at Hinckley but the grip from the tyres was good and even with that extra bit of luggage the balance and handling was superb, the 177 miles to Pickering were rain soaked and I was glad I had Oxford heated grips fitted the hand guards offer some protection but it was WET. I was able to explore the bike a bit more using more of the rev range and the differing roads meant a good test for cornering skills, for which it felt solid in the corners not moving around or feeing to soft I had left it on the stand suspension, the brakes are strong and pull you up if needed (all of a sudden) !. I didn’t need to change the traction control settings but if you got a little bit keen pulling away you could get the little orange light to flash briefly, most A and B class roads you could quite happily just use 3rd and 4th gears it pulls from 4500rpm with a power band around 7500rpm. So even with some spirited riding it returns an average of 54mpg and you can get 175 miles out of a tank before the reserve kicks in then around another 30 miles till empty.
So in all I am pretty pleased with the choice, some nice standard fitments, there is a choice of additional equipment
and a complete luggage set which clips straight on, good build quality, comfortable and easy riding position, gives a feeling of control even on slow manoeuvring turns, plenty of torque and power, feels safe in the corners and look petty great.

Kevin Songhurst

kevin songhurst

The website design team working with BAM, from UK Design Group. Also do work with TUI formerly Thomson Holidays and First Choice holidays.

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