Bikes and Equipment

We have all chosen the Honda Africa Twin XRV 750. Why Honda?

Honda enjoys a worldwide reputation for reliability and durability which no other manufacturer can match. Spares are easily accessible because Hondas are ridden all over the world. The Africa Twin is a touring bike, designed for prolonged periods of riding and is very comfortable for both rider and pillion. It has a robust aluminum frame capable to withstand the rigors of carrying luggage. In a trip of this magnitude, the rider must be prepared to carry out repairs and Honda's are constructed in such a way that easily allows repairs out on the road.

Due to the distance and extremely demanding environments we will encounter on this trip, we have made the following modifications, to make life easier on the road.

Bike Modifications

Hel Steel Braided Brake Hoses
Hel Performance Products have kindly supplied us with their steel braided brakes hoses, both front and rear. The Hel brake hoses are protected with a plastic outer sheath which is available in a wide range of colours to suit the colour of your bike. The original rubber brake hoses have been replaced with more hardy steel braided brake lines, thus reducing the chance of damage or leak.

Ohlins Rear Shock
Due to the extra luggage and equipment we will be carrying, the bikes will be loaded to full capacity. In conjunction with rough terrain, it is a wise choice to fit rear shocks which have the reputation of being the best in their field. The rear shock, an Ohlins unit, will be absorbing the bulk of the hammering. Therefore, to eliminate the problem of having to replace a tired or worn out shock on the road, we decided to upgrade from the factory standard shock. This particular shock has the added advantage of allowing one to adjust the dampening settings and ride height in relation to the amount of weight being carried. With careful riding in areas of rough terrain, it will greatly increase the reliability of both the front and rear shocks.

Upgrade the Front Shocks
The front shock springs will be upgraded to WIRTH springs, available from Bracken , which are harder and stiffer than the factory fitted springs. The oil in the front shocks will be changed to a higher viscosity grade of Ohlins fork oil. To get hold of Ohlins shock oil is difficult, your best chance of getting this particular oil is through Hel Performance. Upgrading to Wirth springs and Ohlins folk oil will greatly improve the handling, reliability and strength of the front shock absorber, especially when the bike is being ridden, fully loaded in rough terrain.

Larger Fuel Tank
43-litre fuel tanks from Touratech have been fitted, removing the need to carry and strap extra jerry cans to our bikes. This not only streamlines the bikes but improves security. The larger tank has 2 fuel taps, one each side and we have fitted quick release splitters, which seal when opened. This allows for easy removal of the tank along with quick and trouble free access to fuel. Three fuel filters have been fitted, in anticipation of the dirty fuel we will inevitably encounter in the poorer countries. This will hopefully eliminate the chance of fuel blockage caused by dirt in fuel.

An automatic chain-oiler has been fitted with an extra long-range oil reservoir. A Scottoiler is well worth fitting as it automatically lubricates the chain and sprockets, reducing wear and increasing the mileage before replacement is necessary. The use of a Scottoiler will hopefully allow us to travel without any spare chains and sprockets thus reducing our weight.

Centre Stand
A centre stand from Honda has been fitted to allow the removal of wheels and to make life easier when working on the underside.

12v Cigarette Lighter/Electric Accessories
A standard 12v cigarette lighter unit has been connected into the bikes' electrics and mounted to the handle bar. This is very useful for recharging electronic accessories like digital cameras, batteries and our laptop.

Headlight Covers
These have been fitted to prevent any damage to the headlights.

Cut Out Switch
When executing a tight right hand turn, the tank bag pushes against the starter button causing it to activate the starter motor. Therefore, a cut-out switch has been added to the starter button wiring in order to deactivate the starter button switch should it be accidentally pushed after starting the bike. Basically, once the bike is started, the cut out switch disables the starter button. An added benefit is it acts as an immobiliser, providing extra security against theft.

Handlebar Rises
Dominic and Gary, being slightly taller, have chosen these to raise the height of the handle bars for extra comfort.

Acerbis Hand Guards
Acerbis make hand guards that not only provide protection for our hands but for the brake and clutch levers in the event of an accident. They also act as windshield in cold conditions.

Taller Fairing
Powerbronze make a great flip screen that provides superior protection from the wind for both short and tall riders.

Touratech make the best set of panniers for the Africa Twin. The left pannier (exhaust side) is a 37-litre and the right, a 41-litre. They are sturdy stainless steel boxes, with strong latches and locking mechanisms. The panniers are robust and can be bent back into shape if dented or damaged. They provide an ideal environment for important, water sensitive belongings.

Zega Carry Bag
Ortlieb make a strong, 90-litre, thick nylon bag with self-caring straps supplied by Touratech. These will be used as additional carrying space and strapped on top of the panniers at the back of the bike. The bag seals well, is waterproof and can easily be compressed.

Touratech Tank Bag
The tank bag (25-litres) which zips on top of the fuel tank has two shoulder straps, which can be used to carry the tank bag as a rucksack or normal bag. The Touratech setup allows the attachment of 2, 10-litre side bags. These are ideal for carrying non breakable items, like clothing, and, in the event of a fall, they offer extra protection to both rider and fuel tank. A Velcro-attached, transparent plastic sleeve allows you to hold and read maps while on the move. The fuel tank cover, which zips the centre bag in position, is strapped to the top surface of the fuel tank. It's advisable to cut a hole in the cover to allow easy access to the fuel tank cap.

Bike-to-Bike Intercoms
All three of us will be able to communicate with each other using Autocoms bike-to-bike portable radios. These are very useful when travelling in groups of 2 or more bikes. Each unit is mounted onto the motorcycle and runs off the bikes electrical system. Each helmet is fitted with headphones and a microphone, allowing all the riders to communicate with each other while on the move.

Fuel Pump and Tripmaster modifications

I advise travellers to take a close look at this website where Nicola has provided some detailed information and options on how to tackle the Africa Twins known fuel pump problems.


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