THE GLOVES ARE OFF
We go a few rounds with the new adventure motorcycle in town to see if it has what it takes to take on the big boys in the category.
It’s three in the morning, five hours away from the deadline for the submission of this piece about the 2017 Honda Africa Twin, and I’m browsing through a sports Almanac (I could have googled, but I’m old school like that). I’m looking for some inspiration. Somewhere between the pages of this book full of athletes in their prime, I should be able to find something to compare the motorcycle with. Why athletes? Why not other motorcycles? Read on.
When you set out to review a motorcycle, you judge them Ceteris Paribus, or all things
constant. Basically you assume that it has fundamentally most of the things that all motorcycles possess. Two wheels, an engine, brakes, transmission, gears, clutch etc. You then judge them by how many cylinders, whether they are parallel or V-twins, the sort of brakes they have, the gear ratios etc. But the Africa Twin has no clutch or a gear lever.
“What? No gear lever? No clutch?” The purist in me ran over to the green, environment friendly, organic-waste dustbin and heaved. “Good Lord! Whatever will they think of next?”. In a Brexit and Trump universe, something abominable was bound to happen to the motorcycling world. But an electronic transmission on a 1000cc, adventure motorcycle? An off-roader with electronic gears? A cross-country tourer with no clutch? A trail rocket without… you get the picture. Sacrilege!
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