Just recently a group of us decided to take a 90% off-road adventure motorcycle journey from Northern Arizona to central Nevada in the heat of summer. As expected, we found zero off-road motorcyclists.The ride was just shy of 600 miles off-road.
We took two of our new Honda Africa Twins for a hot summer shakedown and they performed flawlessly (more on that later).
1) We started early each morning and ended our ride before the hottest part of the day, which was in the late afternoon.
2) It has been hot and dry so everything was soft, loose, and traction was at a premium. In the heat of summer you need to be able to ride the sand and gravel for long sections.
3) We've recently had summer rains from monsoon season. This came with heavy downpours and a lot of flooding causing many washouts along the way. It was a great opportunity to practice breaking in the loose stuff.
4) Surprisingly, we found a number of desert springs and cattle tanks where we could find water. The burros's dug down about three feet and exposed clean water in many of the sandy washes. We didn't drink any of it; however, we could have if we needed to since we carry water filters designed to turn marginal water into good drinking water.
5) The game changer were the cool vests we wore. Mine is made by FieldSheer for the cost of about $45 that I have used for about a decade.
Soak it in the sink at home for at least 15 minutes
Put it in a ziplock and stick it in the freezer
Slide on the vest and regulate the air flow by opening and closing the zipper on your jacket. It lasts about 2 hours in extend heat and it is an amazing piece of equipment that can turn the unbearable into enjoyable.
Re-wet at every occasion for continued cooling
6) Over the years I've found that pacing myself is important, especially the older we get. If the bike got stuck or we had some tough sections of trail I always take my time to fix the issue and continue on my ride. Overexerting yourself in these conditions can mean life or death.
The Honda Africa Twins
As a 1200GS rider for years I am a complete convert to, in my humble opinion, the best adventure motorcycle I've ridden. I've been riding for about 45 years and the Africa Twin is truly an amazing bike. It's been fun to take the Africa Twin on the same routes that I've ridden in the past on different machines and I can honestly say I've had the best time while on this machine.
Jeff and I handled everything with style and on occasion we'd slide, jump, and wheelie on the 500 pound machine. We had a blast! The handling is super responsive and the power is perfect in delivery and horsepower. Mileage was around 45 miles per gallon on average. Street riding was almost as good as the GS.
Our mission was simple on this ride, to test our endurance in one of the hottest areas of the desert Southwest and as a shakedown of the Africa Twins.
The cool vests helped turn a very difficult and marginal ride into a real joy. The Honda's have set the new standard for adventure motorcycles so is was awesome to enjoy such an wonderful bike. Riding with Gilles and Jeff made it exceptional. Thanks, guys.