Blog: March 13. Messing about with Africa Twins

It’s Sunday arvo, and I have to be honest and say I’ve had a fairly sensational week.

First up Pottsy grabbed the KLR, sorted the footpeg situation and had the bike back in my shed in about 36 hours. I was peeing my pants to ride it, so pulled on my clobber and headed out.

What a frigging disaster. I couldn’t ride the thing.

I knew what was going on, and I’ve written about the problem here before, so I won’t describe it in detail. Without the big horsepower, electronics and rider aids of the bikes I’ve been on lately I could hardly stay on the KLR. It was pitiful. If I’d been racing against this guy…

…he’d have lapped me. Often. On a short loop.

For those too young to recognise this influential character from my childhood, he’s Squiddly Diddly, and I bet he could ride better than me.

I knew what needed to be done. I dragged the 125 out of the shed, pulled on some of my rat-chewed motocross gear and spent a couple of lunchtimes cutting laps on a real race bike: two-stroke, small-bore, no electronics, no rider aids, and so narrow I was able to grip the seat by clenching my bum cheeks – something I did quite a bit.

I rediscovered what I loved so much about off-road riding in the first place. The more I rode that little KTM the more I loved it and the bigger my grin became. By the third day I’d recovered some confidence and I rediscovered why I never did too well as a racer. With a false sense of adequacy I started to try and ‘go fast’. I clipped a tree and did some damage to the clutch perch. The KTM has an hydraulic clutch, so the perch is part of the master cylinder. It’s some kind of lightweight alloy, so rather than run the risk of my doing any more damage if I tried to repair it, I dropped the bike in to Dan Vaughan. He’ll sort it out. I’m still piddling myself with excitement. I want to get back on that bike SO bad!

That was Thursday.

On Thursday evening, Vince Strang showed up with three Africa Twins and we spent Friday riding and rating the bikes. One example had the ‘automatic’ gearbox. It’s correct name is Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT), and the best I can explain it is to say it’s about the same as a sequential gearbox on most modern cars. You can ride the bike in full automatic mode, or you can overide the electronics and select gears using buttons on the ‘bars. There’s no gear selector at the left foot and no clutch on the left hand. I thought I was too old to adapt to something like that, but it probably took about two minutes. Like a modern car, I doubt I could get the bike to perform better than the on-board electronics on the bike could do.

The second AT had traction control and ABS…

and the final example was a ‘normal’ bike with no rider aids…

All three were great bikes and I can 100 per cent understand why so many people love the Africa Twin. It’s a great bike, and at the prices being offered it’s a sensational deal.

We were working, but they were such great guys that we just had the best day.

I ran the KLR as the camera bike and it went well. I was feeling a lot better about things and didn’t have any trouble keeping up with the guys – although I suspect they were sightseeing and not trying too hard. Plus, I was leading, so they couldn’t really go flying past in case I started sulking and went off in a different direction while they weren’t looking.

To cap off a great day Vince shouted a superb late lunch at a Bellingen eatery.

So I had a great week and I’m keen to brag about it.

Elsewhere, Marty HC has the fourth DualSport Australia disc ready to ride and will be doing recce rides over the next few weeks. I’m really hoping I get along and ride with him for some of it. I feel as though it’s been ages since I’ve followed one of Marty’s pink lines to riding heaven, so I’m keen to tag along if time permits.

This week I have to drive a four-wheeler for work. It’s a thing called a YXZ1000R, and while I don’t know anything about them, it certainly looks like it’ll be a lot of fun.

Let’s hope I don’t trowel the thing. Yamaha has a female world champ to drive hot laps so I’ll be watching as best I can from the passenger seat before I jump behind the wheel. But once I’m let loose, all bets are off. It was Yamaha’s idea for me to drive the thing. One way or the other, I’m going to enjoy myself!

I’ll let you know how I get on.



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  • marty on March 12, 2017 at 5:23 pm said:

    Bring the YXZ1000 back to my joint for some durability testing and we can have fun cutting in a track for the 125

  • Squirrel on March 14, 2017 at 9:37 pm said:

    Squirrel and diddly have a lot in common . that’s why squirrel rides ag bike DR’s with no power. Can’t get himself into to much trouble.

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