Ever encountered an off-roader without a foot shifter? Or one without a clutch lever?
The foot shifter is not present on the DCT version of the 2018 Honda Africa Twin, but an optional accessory!!
With the Africa Twin DCT-version, Honda has ventured into new territory, challenging the dogma of an off-roader. While the concept of riding an automatic motorcycle sounds boring, there is enough juice (89ps) and loads of brilliant electronics that engage the rider making it fun to putter around traffic, tarmac and hit the trails with gusto.
How does it feel to ride a DCT?
DCT stands for Dual Clutch Transmission, an automatic transmission technology that Honda first introduced in the 2009 VFR1200F, that has now tricked down to a variety of Honda motorcycles such as NC700/750 series, VFR1200 series, CTX700 series followed by the CRF1000L aka the Africa Twin.
On the Africa Twin, power from the engine to the final chain drive is transmitted via Drive (D) and 3 Sports (S) modes. There is a switch on the right-side switch gear to bring the motorcycle into Neutral (N).
In our congested cities, the DCT in D-mode is a bliss to ride akin to an automatic scooter, shifting is smooth and the transmission showed no signs of jerky/sloppy starts even upon riding all day along.
The gear choice in D-mode isn’t what I’d go with, but obviously the motorcycle never reaches the point of stalling with a too high gear or lurch by going too low. The Sports mode does the trick for spirited riding and tackling corners – allowing to hold the revs long enough.
Tackling the pothole laden city roads never seemed so much fun 😀
This is where the Africa Twin has been projected to shine – and it does with flair!! courtesy a controlled chassis pitch (a clever electronics system that controls chassis pitch upon closing the throttle by injecting a small/calculated amount of fuel into the cylinders to offset compression braking) and a beautifully tuned stock suspension.
The tank is narrow, so the bike feels thin, comfortable & inspires confidence to ride when sitting down or standing up.
Standing up & riding is simplified on the DCT with the gear-shift buttons, instead of hunting for the shift lever [eliminates the accidental down-shifts while standing up :D] and other body position shenanigans!!
The normal motorcyclist in me was constantly reaching out for the clutch-lever, which is actually a parking-brake lever 😛 [used to hold the bike on an incline].
Oodles of mid-range power, a healthy tank range of 350 kms, plush suspension to tackle all terrains, acres of space to tie luggage coupled with a DCT, a refreshing feature that – once you get used to, makes riding a bit more – simple, allows you to soak up the scenery and focus on the road.
While purists would disagree & may call this being lazy – I strongly urge them to ride the DCT-version of the Africa Twin to understand.