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Africa Twin - Adapting in the Back Country Ice and Snow

Things have been busy since we got back from the Nevada BDR. We had an amazing time exploring the backcountry with a great group of sponsors and moto enthusiasts! You know when you see those signs that read “proud sponsor” and you think yeah, yeah whatever. It’s certainly true here — the volunteers, staff, and supporters who have made the BDR program a reality are phenomenal and we’re truly proud to be engaged in such a great program!

Okay, enough about my feelings for the BDR. This post is about the Africa Twin and how the bike handled snow, ice and mud through Northern Nevada. I plan to post a more detailed overview of our trip and I also plan to post a more detailed review of the Honda Africa Twin, including a comparison between the standard model and DCT. Hopefully time allows for this over the next month once things settle a bit. For the time being I wanted to touch on the Africa Twin in the snow and share a quick story on how, as a rider, you’re constantly adapting in the backcountry.

It was one of our final days of riding and we were up in Norther Nevada. It’s a very cool area in the upmost area of Nevada, close to the Idaho border. The Africa Twin was taking to the snow amazingly well, better than any other bike I’ve been on. While others were struggling up the icy hills with their standard gear box the DCT went right up and over. There was very little slipping around or rear wheel spin. Overall, the DCT seemed to really outperform other bikes in the sand and mud, as well.

So the bike is amazing except for one part — the foot pegs. Have you heard of this problem?

There’s been some negative feedback from others in the riding community. Anyways, I’m riding over ice and snow and things are going smoothly when I hit a patch of ice below the snow with the front tire and suddenly there I am looking at blue sky. On the way down I hear a loud snap. I’m concerned I’ve broken a bone in my leg and I’m waiting for the pain to radiate as the bike slides to a stop. After a moment I realize there’s no pain and my leg is perfectly intact but as I move along on my bike I realize my foot peg is totally missing.

I stop quickly and double back to pick up the missing piece. I’m in shock. How do I take on snow and ice with one foot peg? Hell, that’s nearly impossible to do on any other type of terrain in general. I feel a sense of dread coming over me but I shake that off as quick as I can. This is part of the fun! This is the reason we ride the backcountry, to welcome adventure and unforeseen obstacles and tackle them. Am I right?

At this point I’m unsure of how I’ll fix the problem so I do my best to continue riding with one foot peg. It’s getting dark and I’m physically exhausted from maneuvering the bike around. I was able to ride roughly 10 more miles and make it to the top of the highest Summit. Once at the top I just gave out from the physical strain after riding 5 days almost 1,150 miles with the sun now setting. At this point it is time to consider the options and best plan of action for any other distressed riders and the safety of the group.

However, luck was on our side and we came across a few hunters who were in a 4 wheel drive vehicle. We asked for assistance and they offered to give us a ride to Jarbridge for the night where we met up with the rest of the BDR group and stayed the night in a motel. It felt like a real treat after being in such cold weather and dealing with the bike trouble.

The next morning we rode back up the Summit in our 4-wheel drive support vehicle, along with the filming crew. Without hesitation I jumped on the Africa Twin and took off down the mountain. It took me about 3 hours to go 6.6 miles since my foot peg was worthless and I constantly struggled to control the bike on the ice and snow. After those 6 miles I was talking with Eric Hougen, the founder of Wolfman Motorcycle Luggage and expressing my frustration. He helped MacGyver a new foot peg that was a lifesaver!

Overall, we adapted like we always do and just make it work. It was great to be riding with the legendary Johnny Campbell who recently took on, and won, the Las Vegas to Reno race on a Honda Africa Twin.After returning to Vegas I’ve been in touch with Honda, thanks to Paul Guillien and Johnny Campbell, and they’re shipping us a replacement peg ASAP in exchange for the broken pieces. This way they can further research and address the issue for everyone. Honda has an outstanding reputation and I’m not surprised they are taking our feedback so seriously, it’s what we expected of a top-notch company and they delivered. We’ll keep you posted on the foot peg progress!