Last year, we received the 2017 CRF1000L Africa Twin (AT) courtesy of Bob Butler and Honda Canada for our Enduro Course and the instructors loved it. When a rider thinks 1000cc, they associate with heavy weight and poor handling. As soon as we sat on the Africa Twin, it felt more like a middleweight 800cc motorcycle. The standard seat height of 34.3 inches can be lowered to 33.5 quite easily by sliding the saddle into different mounting slots. The Africa Twin felt comfortable and stable in our lot, leading the road rides downtown, and off-road.
This year, we received the 2018 CRF1000L DCT version (in matte black no less!). What is a DCT transmission? The simplest explanation of this system is that the bike (can) shifts automatically, just like an automatic car. At first, all the instructors nervous to take out the new Africa Twin (AT), one because it was so pristine, and two, worried about riding a motorcycle without a clutch lever. One instructor even played with the AT for 10 minutes prior to taking it for the road ride with the students so that he didn’t look silly in front of the students. He tried reaching for the clutch and shifter a few times which makes for great fun as the left lever is now the parking brake! Slowly but surely, all the road ride instructors became familiar with the DCT system and are pleased with how it assists with our road rides in heavy traffic. No longer having to worry about the clutch, we can go as slow as required, while using our Push-To-Talk buttons to communicate with our students. One instructor did favour the manual shifting to downshift, but we think he just missed shifting.
Overall riders looking for a non-intimidating large tourer / adventurer, the Africa Twin should definitely be on your list. If you do buy one, don’t be afraid to play with all the traction control modes and get your bike dirty in the hills! And for technical off-road riding, tired from a trip, have a passenger or just unanticipated terrain, the DCT makes your life so much easier.