The Africa Twin CRF1000L Owners' Thread

Discussion in 'Japanese polycylindered adventure bikes' started by erey, Dec 20, 2015.

  1. Woody469

    Woody469 Been here awhile

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  2. Marotte

    Marotte Been here awhile

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    I'm sure they can put the tape on the wheels. But what about going at speed on a freeway with no safety beads on the front wheel?
  3. Marotte

    Marotte Been here awhile

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    That's off-road only, and the AT is hardly a dirt bike.
  4. twinrider

    twinrider Pass the catnip

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    Plenty of reviews out there if you take time to search. Ducati, Triumph, BMW, etc. Just one example here: http://www.ninetowners.com/forum/wh...-thumbs-up-outex-tubeless-conversion-kit.html

    Could just do the rear as well, that's what suffers the vast majority of punctures.
  5. Woody469

    Woody469 Been here awhile

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    So are most of the aftermarket exhaust systems folks are gonna be using!! It's about corporate liability.... Lemme see, tape or a Tubliss system.... , no brainer if I was going either way but personally tubes don't bother me one small bit...

    By the way, mine will be seeing far more dirt than pavement!!
    lex491 likes this.
  6. twinrider

    twinrider Pass the catnip

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    I've been running tubliss on my KTM for more than a year. It works well enough offroad but still can suffer punctures in the inner tube, which complicates the repair. And tire changes have to be done by hand.
  7. MegaRowMan

    MegaRowMan MRM

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    Sounds cool post pic's when you're done
    Back from a good ride out totally happy with ma screen and yes to "Gperkins" two up your boot can touch the black top on the fast corners! no biggy but a lot of fun:clap
    12115813_10208890352515620_5927929544038597105_n.jpg 12814583_10208890352675624_4155852745047505234_n.jpg
  8. twinrider

    twinrider Pass the catnip

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    [​IMG]


    A couple further tweaks to my mods using the passenger peg bolt holes. Moved the drink holder further back to avoid any leg interference and added bobbins to the front bolt holes to serve as an additional tie-down points. The bobbins were originally used as docking points on my Road King till the nylon bushings wore out, now recycled. :)



    [​IMG]
  9. Cruz

    Cruz Lost but laughing.

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    Read Hodgo's ride report on the Oz forum here.
    http://advrider.com/index.php?threa...terest-27th-and-28th-february.1105248/page-17

    He has 120,000 klm on his 950, has an original AT, and took a DCT for a demo ride over two days and 800 klms.

    Then went back and bought it. Had a look at it today, very nice bike. You wouldn't think it was a 1,000 cc bike following from behind..
  10. BygDaddee

    BygDaddee Long timer

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    Here's another one (Troy's) if you like a good read, it goes over 4 or 5 posts

    http://advrider.com/index.php?threa...-the-drawing-board-non-owners.978272/page-212
  11. Squily

    Squily Squily Supporter

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    These observations and comments are my own inconsequential, unimportant personal opinions. If I ruffle a few feathers, have some cement with your tea and harden up a bit.


    This review is aimed at the old Africa Twin riders that:
    • Own a RD07 that suffer from elephantiasis,
    • that use their bikes (don’t own them as a collector’s item)
    • that probably has more self-mods on them than bought bling
    • that are not comfortable with any other mechanic touching their beasts – not because they are good mechanics, but because they know mechanics don’t care what happens when you’re hundreds of kilometres in the bush and have to fix their cockups
    • know that carrying your own spares are vital to their progress on the road
    • know that there are places where fuel stops are more than 50, 100 and 300km apart.



    I bought my Africa Twin secondhand in 2002 after missing the final roll-out of the RD07 when Honda decided to discontinue the legend. I bought a 2007 model, with 42k on the clock and for more than you could buy a new KLR650. Back then I thought I might have made a mistake, and taking “The Legend” for its 1st ride I was not all that impressed. But within a few months, I realised it was the right choice and 15 years and over 200k later, I know why it’s a legend.

    Ever since then, every bike I have ridden and/or owned, I have compared to the AT and judge it as a possible replacement for the workhorse. Top of the list was the 950/990 KTM, but reliability and maintenance cost always put me off. Then came the 800GS, and although the bikes are good, sad to say the build quality is not there (replacing steering head bearings after <70k is poor build to me). Tiger 800- what a great machine, but difficult maintenance and longevity question marks shadowed its future (Any bike with crashbars mounted onto the engine needs some serious rethinking).

    The CRF came with a LOT of hype. Excellently priced (In Australia its cheaper than both the 800 Tiger and 800GS range) and well received. Unfortunately, the price comes at a price. Now the RD07 was never a ‘cheap’ bike, and for a little more you could get a large beamer. But the bike was excellent quality and robust. Sure, not bulletproof like some say it is, and some known problems include a crappy fuel pump, too soft light carrier frame that cracked and electrical connections that eroded and could cost you hundreds to repair if it fried your ICU or worse. And in my experience, my AT only ever once came home on a trailer when it blew out a sparkplug and almost all problems could be related back to shotty maintenance or the like.

    So back to CRF- having now done a few thousand km on the beast, I have come to the conclusion it may not be as good as the old RD07. Don’t get me wrong: I love the bike. When riding it ‘empty’, its better than the RD07 in every form. But as a world traveller, I reckon it’s got a way to go to unseat the legend. I’ve scored the CRF against the RD07 on various points important to me. Then I added the XLV1000 Varadero for good measure because it’s actually a V-twin and I thought the engine characteristics would be valuable. I will discuss some of the issues below. It was a bit hard to break the diagram into pure categories, such as maintenance, performance etc, but I tried to keep it as close as possible.

    Also, I have not ‘strictly’ included a standard RD07. Very few touring bikes will still be standard, but I tried to keep it relevant to standard mods most people would have done by now. But for the sake of this exercise, the RD07 includes:
    • Upgraded progressive front suspension
    • Firmer rear spring (a complete replacement shock will obviously score even higher)
    • Standard seat
    • Standard fairings, lights, protection hand guards etc.
    • Standard tank

    Also to compare apples with apples, I used exactly the same panniers on both Africa Twins, but the XLV1000 is equipped with SWM panniers, but other than included as ‘standard’ with no mods.


    Economy, performance and response:
    I found the CRF’s throttle response to be too jerky in low-speed technical riding conditions. It seems to lack the smooth roll-on required. I think we all accept that FI will never be as smooth as carburettors, but I found the CRF to be twitchier than the XLV which also has FI.

    The RD07 was never a scorcher, but as a tourer, it was more than capable. Lots of torque, low down grunt, capable of lugging and fully capable to still do freeway speeds fully loaded. The CRF however really boogies. Oodles of power in comparison, but the engine quickly runs out of steam (as can be seen in the acceleration figures against other bikes in its class). I want to go as far as to say the XLV is better at the top end. Not as smooth low-down as the CRF, but it still lugs comfortably. However, performance is not what makes a good tourer, which brings us to…

    The biggest disappointment was the CRF’s economy. It has the smallest tank, with 18.8l compared to 23l of the RD07 and 25l of the XLV. Claims of 400km/tank for the CRF was supposed to make up for the small volume, but those figures are probably only possible with road tyres, under freeway conditions with no panniers. With a bit of a headwind, I have to reduce my speed to around 80km/h to get 300km on a tank. Sand riding saw figures of around 10km/l. now these figures are not bad, and very similar to the RD07, but its also worse than the XLV. So the choice of such a small tank or the CRF is a major shortcoming and it has by far the smallest range.


    Maintenance:

    The RD07 air cleaner has four screws. Takes you two minutes to get in and check it. The CRF has two air cleaners, and you have to remove the side panels. The experienced guys say it takes about 6 minutes a side. BUT- can you still remove the side panels if you have crashbars ffitted, or will you have to remove the crashbars as well? There lies the conundrum. The XLV, you have to remove the tank and then undo 8 screws, of which two have a tendency to disappear into the depths of the frame/engine, so generally a royal pain.

    Then there are simple things like checking the oil. The XLV has a window. Simples, easy and quick. The CRF has a dedicated dipstick on the left side of the engine. Relatively easy, but not as quick and you need to wipe it, reinsert it and make sure the engine is not dirty. The RD07- I always found it a pain to do- seems I always have dirt that fall in the hole and my bashplate ‘wing’ is always in the way if you need to add oil.

    But then changing the oil on the RD07 is easy and you don’t need to remove the bashplate. Not so on the CRF or the XLV. Bashplate needs to be off, but other than that pretty straight forward. BUT, and this is a big BUT- The XLV and RD07 used 10W40 oil, which I already battled to find in out of the way places. The CRF uses 10W30. Good luck finding that in the middle of Africa or Australia. And we know the V-twins would happily run on 20W50 if needed, but what will happen with the new engine and will its smaller tolerances be a problem in the long run?

    And on the subject of oil- the RD07 had a tendency to cook its oil. Unless you actually ran a oil-temperature gauge on the bike, you may not know this. That is despite its oil-cooler. Neither the XLV nor the CRF seems to have this problem, which is a good thing. I have ridden the CRF in >40 ˚C in soft sand with no visible sign of overheating. The RD07 under similar circumstances, I had to nurse to keep oil temperature under 125˚C.

    Other maintenance includes tyre changes. The CRF has by far the most bolts to remove on the front wheel to accomplish this. The winner being he XLV. The rear wheel is pretty straightforward on all bikes, with the RD07 being the only one that has ratchet clips instead of full adjustment. This sometimes mean you have to run the chain a bit looser than specified, because one clip up, and the chain is too tight. And then tyre choices- the XLV with its 19” front and tubeless rims is a bit of a pain. Tyre choices in remote areas are very limited and tend to be the most expensive. The RD07’s Achilles heel is that 17” rear. If you intend to load the bike up, you need to go for the more expensive tyres, which are hard to find and you are limited in off-road choices. The CRF’s 18/21 configuration is excellent.

    Spark plug changes on the v-twin engines are always a pain. And the RD07 has 4. CRF wins hand down in this area.

    One problem with the RD07 has always been spares. The bike was not released in America or Australia, and apart from certain countries on the Eurasian and African continents, forget about walking into a shop and buying what you need over the counter. The CRF is being released much wider, and a few years maybe, spares will be more readily available for it. Currently however, Honda Australia can’t even supply essential servicing spares like oil filters or technical schematics. But I’m sure that will change and should be an improvement over the pre 2002 Africa Twins.


    Protection

    Apart from the base model, the CRf comes with pretty decent handguards, the RD07 and the XLV both came with wind deflectors that do absolutely nothing for protecting leavers when you drop the bike.

    There seems to be two schools on the subject of bashplates. One believe a bashplate must be as strong and rigid as possible. The other favours a softer, thinner unit that can deform and absorb energy. The RD07’s original subscribe to the latter. Judging by the fact no one has bothered to ever make a bashplate for the RD07, and that it was copied for other bikes like the XLV, it must’ve been good. I’ve seen a rock go through the standard RD07 bashplate and puncture the sump, so mine is slightly modified with a thicker base, but as far as baseplates go, it does an exceptional job. In fact its so good, the I have yet to hear of anyone on a RD07 that have ever needed to replace their brake or gearshifter. And with the narrow v-configuration of the engine, the bashplate does a dam good job of protecting the casings as well. The XLV’s bashplate is just an excuse and pretty useless. The CRF’s seems to be adequate, but doesn’t protect the exhaust. But for most people touring, it’ll probably be adequate.

    And on the protection issue- the CRF’s gearshifter and brake pedal is not very good quality and I doubt they will survive repeated drops and abuse. And the wider CRF engine means if you drop the bike, the casings are gone. Both the CRF and RD07’s radiators are pretty well covered and protected. The XLV has it’s radiators on the side and a drop on a rock or stick will see you looking for an extraction.


    Load, suspension and handling
    I’m sorry to say, but this is where the CRF’s shortcomings are really start. The front suspension is great, but the rear shock simply cannot live upto the task. And on the XLV, a stiffer rear spring saw the bike cope quite well with overloading we call elephantiasis. Even with everything on the rear shock dialled upto max, I still bottomed the suspension. But worse- on extended sections of corrugations and rocks, the rear shock started fading and bouncing. My RD07 still runs the original rear shock with a stiffer spring. Even after >200kkm of riding, it copes better than the ‘new’ CRF shock.

    Other than that, the CRF handles beautifully - Low speed balance is exceptional. The standing position on the CRF is also by far the most comfortable (I’ve always found the RD07 footpegs to be a bit too far forward for comfort). The standard footpegs on the RD07 and CRFR are almost identical in dimensions and too small. An overloaded bike is more than a handful on sand, and the CRF is no exception, but still the easiest to ride in these circumstances.


    Comfort –

    I’
    ve read several reviews where they rave about how smooth the CRF and how little vibration it has. Yes, its smooth, but not more so than the XLV or RD07. And I know seating is a very personal matter, but I still find the RD07’s straight seat to be the most comfortable of the lot. One advantage of the spit seat system of the CRF- you don’t have to take your stuff off to access the stuff below the seat.

    On this theme – there are very limited on-board storage on the new CRF. And the toolkit does not even include a spanner/wrench to adjust/remove the rear wheel. The RD07 has a very nice tool compartment under the seat. The XLV has an adequate compartment, but also has a glove box in the fairing. So plan to carry your tools separately on the CRF.


    Durability and build quality -
    There is a lot of flex on the subframe of the CRF. RD07’s cracked subframes to, but they were more rigid than the CRF. I have serious reservations about the longevity of the CRF subframe, and with a similar ‘design’ as the 800 Triumph, I think we’ll start to see failures at 30-40kkm like on the Trumpies. Other ‘cheap’ aspects of the CRF include the front fender, the brakepedal and the handlebars. Yes, the handlebars. L had to lift my fully loaded CRF of its side, and I could actually feel the deflection in the handlebar.



    Conclusion
    So what makes a legend? Other manufacturers had good bikes and tried, like the Super Tenere and the Cagiva Elephant. But I believe the Africa Twin became a legend because of its build quality and what you could do with it. The new CRF may be a better, cheaper bike than the old XRV-range, but sadly, I can’t see it topple the old Africa Twin from its pedestal. So am I disappointed in the CRF – no, not at all. But I will also not retire the RD07, because if I have to pick a bike today, now to leave on a cross-continental trip, the RD07 would still be my 1st choice above the new CRF.
    Target3, Two Plugs, abj and 8 others like this.
  12. warnabrother

    warnabrother .. if you see the Rozzers

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    Some interesting comments there.. I'm easily getting 400km's per tank on mine with economy improving ever so slightly per tank, 10W40 will be fine vs 10W30.. I think its specified as that is what the Honda HP4 oil is now, I have managed to fit all the tools I need for mine under the seat including 2 tyre levers by removing the shitty stock kit and putting my own together (will post pics tomorrow)..
    MrTwister1 and Squily like this.
  13. dwj - Donnie

    dwj - Donnie Long timer

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    Why would one use an expensive system like this when the same thing can be done for $10? I used Plumbers Goop on the rear wheel of my 990 Adventure at 28,000 miles. It was trouble free til 64,000 miles when I damaged a couple of the Goop points while installing a new tire. That was repaired and the moto has 74,000 miles now with no issues. I use brake cleaner as a pre-cleaner before putting the Goop on.

    It would be very nice if the front wheel could be done on the African Twin as well. I think I have seen kits on ebay for both wheels on the 990s, but I thought that was not possible or at least not safe.

    Edit: I just read more of their info as too why they claim the front is safe to be made tubeless. Their explanation seems reasonable. BTW, my main reason for liking the tubeless systems is easier flat fixing, plus more important, no need to carry spare tubes. While I am not officially an owner yet, I do have a red DCT ordered.
    sinned likes this.
  14. Banksy

    Banksy Been here awhile

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    IMAG0113.jpg
    shot from last night's ride back from work.. Love this bike..
  15. gperkins

    gperkins graeme

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    Thanks for that Squilly, I concur with most of that. Hopefully we will start to get a bit more real world warts and all reports. Rather than some of this prattle that tends to inhabit this thread.

    I too find the throttle action too sensitive. A slower action would be better. As I've said before, I get more high frequency vibes through both the handle bars and pegs, than any of my previous bikes. Not huge mind, but annoying all the same.

    As I've said regularly, the size of the tank is a disgrace. But, I achieved 400 klms from a tank, without really trying too hard. Two up and into a pretty brisk wind too. But like you said, it was on the highway, with std Dunlops fitted. Still 18.8 litres is shamefull.

    I find all the plastic up front a complete pain in the arse. I've had this stuff off now, about 6 times for one reason or another. You can in fact remove it pretty quickly. But how will those clever plastic buttons last in the long haul and how long untill some of those plastic "tits" last on the panels? Best to have some spare buttons at least, I think. I also quickly realised that those high crash bars, that a lot seem as a necessary accessory will probably deny access to those plastic covers. Pain in the arse, for sure.

    Oh, whilst on about plastics, front fenders/guards are going to be breaking off all over the place. That guard was designed and built on a miniscule budget.

    So please people, less about the merits of tubeless rims ( whats so friggin hard about changing a tyre, or patching a tube? My guess is, most can't! ) and 19" front wheels ( although mercifully there has been little of that lately, although to be fair most of this nonesense is now found over on the cluster thread ) and more like the above and yes harden up princess's.
    MrKiwi and grease pants like this.
  16. twinrider

    twinrider Pass the catnip

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    A post chock-full of whinging about this and that.... You need to take your own advice mate. :deal :rofl
    MrTwister1 likes this.
  17. grease pants

    grease pants Been here awhile

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    exactly! I could care less about real rider input and hear more about your coffee cup holder placement / mickey mouse tape for my wheels
    larryboy likes this.
  18. windowto

    windowto Long timer

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    Is it possible that what you felt was the deflection of rubber mounts at the base of the risers and not in the bar itself?
  19. cuss

    cuss Adventurer

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    Went for a little ride with my brother, so a couple more pictures of what to me so far seems a very nice bike indeed.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    thirsty 1, bingbong, abj and 2 others like this.
  20. Squily

    Squily Squily Supporter

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    No, because I thought I was going to break the throttle tube over the bar. Only ever had that feeling once before on a superbike when the tube did snap under the grip