Monday, April 26, 2021

CRF1100 Africa Twin

2 March 2021

And so, after 11 years and one month, the time came to welcome a new bike into my garage.

Unlike when I bought my second TransAlp no test rides and comparisons was needed before this buy. I have ridden everything from the KTM790R (in Lesotho no less) to the BMW 1250 GSA as and when they were launched onto the market. But ever since I was one of the first journalists in the world to ride the new Africa Twin in 2016 I knew, this was the bike for me! With the launch of the CRF1100 in 2020 I was once again in attendance and I was skeptical about the new bike. Yes, some extra power is always welcome but, I mean, how could you improve on the Africa Twin? It was already such a brilliant all-rounder.

The 1100 blew me away. More so than the original Twin. And with the DCT technology there is simply no other brand that can compete at the moment.

So without further ado, I introduce my new ride – The CRF1100 Africa Twin DCT!


This is the normal Twin with the smaller tank and screen. I opted for this because I am more likely to do shorter rides rather than tours. My current job and lifestyle don’t really allow for long trips. The bigger and more expensive Adventure Sport is rigged for touring.

Also, unlike my previous bike, I don’t plan to fit every conceivable extra. Basic protection, yes, but not full crash bars. I’m thinking bashplate, lower crash bars, some Barkbusters and a tubeless conversion – in future. Also, I’ll need more aggressive tyres, but for now the stock set will have to do. First on the list will be luggage. A Top Box for my pillion to lean against and probably an aluminium box for security reasons. Also, a dashcam will be fitted.

 Let the new adventures begin!



10 March 2021 – The Big Shock!

Looking at luggage options I realized that, unlike the Africa Twin Adventure Sports (that’s rigged for touring) my bike does not come with a luggage rack as standard. The CRF1000 did, but with the new generation 1100 bikes the frame was updated and the subframe is now a separate part, a very good thing should it get bent in a fall. Still, I’d have to get a luggage rack before fitting luggage would be possible.

So here’s the shock – the OEM luggage rack from Honda costs 10 000 ZAR! That is a HUGE chunk of money just for the rack, not the baseplate, Topbox or anything, JUST the piece of metal the baseplate gets mounted on. Furthermore, the bikes are so new, the dealer had no after-market options as alternative. Surely this can not be true. I was not going to spend that kind of money on a rack. Some days of research followed and in final desperation I phoned my friend Trevor in Cape Town. He is a bike accessory importer and he basically kitted out my TransAlp all those years ago. As it happens he saw this gap in the market and a whole container of after-market Africa Twin racks arrived in South Africa just the day before! I was back in business. 



16 March 2021 – Bargain!

A quick trip to Cape Town to see my friend Trevor and his stash of bike goodies. Never walk into a place like this and expect to just browse. You always leave with a lighter wallet!

Trevor supplied me with a luggage rack for 1800 ZAR! Less than 20% of the OEM part price. I ended up getting a luggage rack, baseplate and a black aluminium Topbox for LESS than what the OEM Rack only would have cost! And with the money left I ended up buying an Enduristan tail pack. It’s watertight soft luggage that fits on top of your allu pannier. More about this product and my thinking behind it later.

If you buy the OEM racks apparently you also get new side covers as the rack wont fit with the original ones. The standard side covers work fine with the after-market rack though, there is just a small piece of plastic in the back that comes out for the rack to be fitted. And these are even removable, as if it was made for this rack.

Fitting the new rack:

Fitting the luggage rack is easy with instructions and everything provided. The matt black finish even fits in perfectly with the black scheme of the bike.

Bike with Topbox attached:

I am very happy with the result! For more on Trevor’s accessories, visit

More about the Enduristan luggage topper later.

This will be my luggage solution for the foreseeable future. No side luggage as I believe my camping and sleeping on the ground days are over. With the rise of the popularity of Adventure biking there is a myriad of affordable places catering for Adventure Bikers. Topbox it will be, with the luggage topper as and when and if needed. The new motto is Travel light!

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