RIDING DIFFERENT BIKES. RACING SOME
Say ‘Africa Twin’ and you say adventure. The legendary Honda-model made a comeback in 2016, but it left the 650 and 750-segment behind. From 2016 on, it was a 1.000 cc motorcycle. And from 2022 on, it gained another 100cc. We go back to the 90’s and give you our next Classic Crush: the Honda XRV 750 Africa Twin.
The first Africa Twin’s (from 1988 up till 1989) had a 650cc V-twin engine. Per 1990 until 2000, the model got a 750cc V-twin. The dual-sport motorcycle became insanely popular. And like with so many other legendary motorcycles, its name alone makes hearts beat faster.
If you are a dedicated reader of REDRIDINGBOOTS, you will know that we have a huge love for the 750cc-segment. They are just so much fun and very versatile.
The XRV 750 Africa Twin was based on the Honda NXR-750. This particular bike won the Paris-Dakar rally four times in the late 80’s. It was powered by a V-twin engine, which gave you enough power on the road but also made it not too heavy to leave the roads behind and enjoy some offroad adventure.
Imagine Africa. Little villages hidden in its deepest deserts. Sand dunes, as fas as the eye can see. This vision gave birth of the Africa Twin. Also known als Honda’s Queen of the Desert.
Like many iconic superbikes from the 80s and 90s, it had the recognizable round twin headlights. The original Honda XRV 750 Africa Twin was launched in December 1989.
It was built in homage to the desert racer of the Paris-Dakar Rally. But Honda made it more comfortable and compliant with road riders. So it hosts a windscreen, long dual seat, an aluminium grab rail and a luggage rack. The bottom of the engine is protected by an aluminium bashplate.
In 1993, the Africa Twin got a major redesign. This included a new frame, some body work plastics, the fuel tank, a lower seat and some engine mods. The model underwent a slight update again in 1996.
Engine: 742 cc 52º V-twin
Power: 60.7 bhp @ 7.500 rpm
Seat height: 860 mm / 34 inches
Fuel tank: 23 litres
Dry weight: 185 kg / 407.8 lbs
Top speed: 110 mph / 177.7 kph
Sadly, the production of the Honda XRV 750 Africa Twin stopped in 2000. You will find some bikes with register dates up to 2003, but you won’t find a VIN number that is newer than 2000.
While not every motorcycle model becomes legendary after a production stop, the Africa Twin definitely did. It is one of the most sought after bigger trail bikes. A 750 Africa Twin that is in good state can easily cost you way over 5.000 euros. In some countries it goes all the way up to almost 10K.
Especially in mint condition, the Africa Twin beats its competitors like the Yamaha XTZ 750 Super Ténéré in terms of being sought after.
The claimed power of the Honda XRV 750 Africa Twin is 60 bhp. But in reality, most got stuck around 52. So that’s not a whole lot. But hey, who needs 100 hp offroad? Because let’s not forget the XRV 750 is a dual-sport bike. Most rode and ride the XRV on the roads, but it was designed to also be able to go off-road.
The 750cc V-twin engine produced reasonable low rev torque. Which came in handy offroad, but also in urban areas. Thanks to its narrow front tyre and the wide bars, it was quick to turn and had excellent balance. Compared to its competitors, it had relatively great brakes as well.
Japanese brands have always been known for their reliability. If you ask a motorcyclist “What is the most reliable motorcycle brand?”, then the answer will probably be “Honda”. Or “Yamaha”, perhaps. But those two are definitely the most dominant in terms of reliability.
So it is no surprise the XRV 750 is one of the most reliable motorcycles one could get. And still can, actually. If you find one. Quite some XRV’s survived time. And did so properly. But aficionados who own one tend to hold onto it for life.
The engine was just built so well. And built to last. Six figure milages are very possible on the XRV 750. Of course, it needed the recommended TLC. But that’s logical.
The Africa Twin is not ‘just’ a motorcycle. To many, it is an icon which gives meaning to the word ‘adventure’. This makes it very popular with collectors. And we all know; when the demand is high and the supply is short, the value goes sky high.
Which is also the case with the XRV 750. If you compare the value to what you actually get, it might be a bit of a disillusion. You end up paying quite some money for an at least 20 year old, middle weight-segment motorcycle. If you compare it to other bikes, you could get yourself a Suzuki DL1000 V-strom (which is way more advanced) or an Aprilia ETV1000 Caponord for the same money.
Why the XRV 750 is so expensive compared to its bigger, better and younger rivals? Because it looks good. Not just good. It looks superb. Fantastic. Just magnificent. And the others don’t.
You will pay a considerably lot for the Africa Twin, but you shouldn’t loose too much either when you decide to sell it again. It will probably only gain popularity in the future.
We write about all sorts of classic icons in our Classic Crush-series. How we pick them? In all honesty; often based on their looks. And when talking about good looks, you almost automatically end up at the Honda XRV 750 Africa Twin.
Even if you are not a fan of dual-sport or all road motorcycles, you have to admit it still looks superb. Even after 30 years, its design is still timeless.
You pay a considerably lot if you want to own one. Especially when you put things in perspective and look at what you get for that kind of money. Of which superior rivals you could get for the same amount of euros. But if you get yourself an XRV 750, you sure have the best looking one. And you will be smiling from ear to ear whenever you ride it.