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Honda Africa Twin 750 – Old School Adventure Biking

The Honda Africa Twin 750, released in 1990 and available until 2003, is an iconic model of the motorcycle manufacturer’s long-standing legacy. Powered by a V-twin 742 cc engine, the Africa Twin 750 quickly became a popular choice among adventure riders due to its reliability and affordability.

Today the Honda Africa Twin is only second in adventure bike popularity to the BMW GS. This popularity has seen demand for earlier models increase on the used market and the Africa Twin 750 seems to be in most demand if prices are anything to go by.

Here we’ll take a look at the history of this truly iconic motorcycle, how it came to be, its heritage, its performance, what you can expect to pay and what to look for when buying the Honda Africa Twin 750.

The Paris Dakar Rally

Honda Africa Twin 750
The Honda Africa Twin 750 in action

Honda’s first adventure machine, the Africa Twin, was heavily influenced by the Dakar Rally. Honda opted to compete in the Paris-Dakar Rally, one of the hardest and most renowned off-road events in the world, in the 1980s as part of its efforts to increase its off-road racing efforts.

To compete in the Dakar Rally, Honda needed a high-performance, reliable, and versatile motorcycle that could handle the varied terrain of the race, from sand dunes to gravel roads to rocky mountains. The company’s engineers developed a new bike, which was dubbed the “NXR750V” and featured a powerful V-twin engine, long-travel suspension, and rugged chassis.

The NXR750V proved to be a success, winning the Dakar Rally in its debut year, 1986. The bike went on to win four more Dakar titles in the following years, cementing its reputation as one of the best adventure motorcycles of its time.

The experience gained from competing in the Dakar Rally helped Honda to develop the original XRV650 Africa Twin, which was launched in 1988. The bike was openly inspired by the NXR750V and shared many of its design features, including the V-twin engine and long-travel suspension.

The Africa Twin quickly became popular with adventure riders, thanks to its ruggedness, versatility, and excellent performance both on and off-road.

Honda Africa Twin 1990 Review

In 1990, the Honda XRV650 Africa Twin got its first significant upgrade with Honda upping the engine capacity from 649 cc to 749 cc along with a whole host of other changes to create the now legendary XRV750.

A 749cc liquid-cooled V-twin engine that generates 62 horsepower and 46.2 lb-ft of torque powers the 1990 Honda XRV750 Africa Twin. The engine is responsive and quiet, and it has enough of power for off-road excursions and long-distance travel. The five-speed transmission on the motorcycle shifts smoothly and precisely, and the clutch is light and simple to use.

The long-travel suspension on the 1990 Africa Twin provides excellent off-road capability, with a front air-assisted telescopic fork and a rear pro-link monoshock with preload and compression damping adjustment.

The bike’s steel frame chassis is well-balanced and easy to handle, both on and off the pavement. With good dual-sport tyres on the Africa Twins 21 inch spoked front wheel and 18 inch spoked rear wheel, you get the best of both worlds with the Africa Twin supplying good grip on a variety of surfaces, and the bike’s high ground clearance allows it to handle even the toughest terrain with ease.

The Honda XRV750 Africa Twin is a comfortable bike, with a spacious seat and a tall windscreen that provides good protection from wind and debris. The bike’s large fuel tank, with a capacity of 24 liters, allows for long-distance touring without frequent refueling stops. The bike’s dash is basic but functional, with a speedometer, odometer, and trip meter.

Where as the BMW GS series has a more distinctive look with its off-size headlights, The Africa Twin is still recognisable with its large, round headlights, tall windscreen, and bulbus, overspilling fuel tank.

The bike’s long, flat seat provides a comfortable riding position for both the rider and the pillion passenger, and the high handlebars offer good control both on and off-road.

Overall, the Honda Africa Twin is an adventure motorcycle that offers excellent performance, rugged durability, and classic styling. Its popularity among adventure riders continues to this day, and it remains a sought-after bike for those seeking adventure both on and off-road.


The 1990 Honda XRV750 Africa Twin was an improvement over the original Africa Twin, the XRV650, in several ways. The XRV750 had a more powerful and refined engine, a larger fuel tank, and improved ground clearance.

The XRV750’s suspension was also upgraded, with a new front telescopic fork and a rear pro-link monoshock. The bike’s design was updated as well, with a new bodywork and a more modern look.

The 1990 Honda XRV750 Africa Twin was a highly anticipated adventure motorcycle that offered several improvements over its predecessor, the XRV650. Here is a closer look at the bike’s performance, reception by the motorcycle press and buying public, and its improvements over the first Africa Twin:

The 1990 XRV750 Africa Twin received positive reviews from the motorcycle press upon its launch. The bike was praised for its excellent off-road capability, comfortable riding position, and smooth and responsive engine. The bike’s long-travel suspension and ground clearance were particularly noteworthy, as they allowed the bike to handle even the toughest terrain with ease.

The motorcycle press weren’t the only ones pleased with Honda’s upgraded adventure machine. The adventure bike community were elated at the improvements Honda had bestowed on the Africa Twin and it quickly gained a reputation as a reliable and capable adventure motorcycle. The bike’s popularity was particularly strong in Europe, where it became a popular choice for long-distance touring and off-road adventures.

Overall, the 1990 Honda Africa Twin 750 was a well-received adventure motorcycle that offered excellent performance and improved capabilities over its predecessor. Its popularity among adventure riders continued to grow over the years, making it one of the most iconic adventure motorcycles of all time.

Honda XRV750 Africa Twin Specification (1990)


  • Engine:                 Water-cooled SOHC v-twin four-stroke

  • Capacity:              742 cc

  • Max Power:        62 bhp / 45.3 kW @ 7,500rpm

  • Max Torque:      62.7 Nm / 46.2 lb-ft @ 6,000 rpm

  • Gearbox:             5-speed manual

  • Top Speed:         113 mph / 183 km/h

  • Fuel capacity:     23 L / 5.2 US Gal

  • Seat Height:        880 mm / 34.6 inches

  • Wet Weight:       198 kg / 436.5 lbs


The 1993 Honda Africa Twin XRV750 model saw some improvements over the 1990 variant. Here are some of the changes and upgrades made:

Updated Suspension:

The 1993 Honda Africa Twin had a revised front suspension with a longer travel telescopic fork, providing 10 mm more travel than the 1990 model. The rear shock pro-link suspension was also improved to provide a more comfortable ride over rough terrain. 

Dual Disc Brakes:

The 1993 Honda Africa Twin had dual disc brakes up front, replacing the single-disc brake of the 1990 model. This provided better stopping power and improved control.

New Headlight and Dashboard:

The 1993 model had a new rectangular headlight that provided better illumination and a modern look. The bike’s dashboard was also updated, with a new design and additional features, including a fuel gauge and temperature gauge.

Revised Engine Components:

The 1993 Honda Africa Twin had a revised airbox, carburettor settings, and camshaft profiles, providing improved power and torque delivery. The bike also had a new exhaust system, which reduced weight and improved performance.

Design Upgrades:

The 1993 Honda Africa Twin had minor cosmetic upgrades, including new bodywork graphics, a revised colour scheme, and an updated seat cover.

Overall, the 1993 Honda Africa Twin XRV750 saw significant improvements over the 1990 variant, with upgrades to its suspension, brakes, engine, and design. These changes made the bike more capable and comfortable, further solidifying its reputation as one of the best adventure motorcycles of its time.

Buying an original XRV750 Africa Twin

Now considered something of a modern classic, prices of Honda’s Africa Twins, partly because of their proven high mileage reliability and quality compared to rivals of the time, are slowly on the up.

The post 1993 RD07 variants with its more modern curvy bodywork and the 1996-on RD07A with its taller screen and improved seat are the more popular on the market currently.

Expect to pay between £4,000 – £5,000 for a good one with about 35,000 miles on the clock. Those looking for the more angular 1990 RD04 model (which has been touched on in this article) can be had for around £3,500.

The original 650 RD03 model, which is the rarest of all because it was never officially sold in the UK, is smaller, lighter, and has just 57bhp and a single disc, but it is valued for its rarity, excellent HRC-built features, and uniqueness. If you can find one expect to pay more, a lot more.

Many owners of an original Africa Twin are unwilling to part company with them these days, and rightly so, therefore finding a good deal might take some time.

Honda XRV750 Africa Twin Parts 

The original Africa Twin is now over 30 years old, yet parts are still readily available both new and used. New parts however, come with a premium price tag if you were looking to do a full restoration. For example a new fuel tank for a 1990 Africa Twin is around £940!

While you pick yourself up off the floor and start disregarding any ideas of restoring an Africa Twin know that once again our favourite auction site comes to the rescue. With over 180,000 parts currently available on the UK site, I don’t think you’d have to search too hard if you’re on a budget.

To compare, a used good condition tank for the same 1990 Africa Twin is just £200. You can breathe a sigh of relief now.


Manufacturers know the demand is there and are now producing middleweight and even lightweight Adventure bikes. Honda themselves have the CB500X and the soon to be released XL750 TransAlp and the used market value for early Adventure bikes like the Africa Twin 750 is sure to be on the rise.

As mentioned several times throughout this article, the original Africa Twin is an absolute icon across the adventure motorcycle community. Honda’s Queen of the Desert really captured the hearts of the motorcycle industry and help propel the adventure motorcycle market forward, with its quality engineering, bulletproof reliability and Dakar inspired design.

We’ve mostly looked at and been comparing to the 1990 Africa Twin in this article and whereas these are certainly more desirable given their heritage I’d personally settle for one of the later 90s models.

The technology was slightly improved along with a new frame and lower fuel tank for better weight balance, and I personally prefer the more curved front fairing design of the later Africa Twin models as opposed to the more angular and flatter faced looks of the 1990 variant.

No matter which model you have a preference for, there’s no denying the impact and success that Honda’s original adventure motorcycle had when it first launched in 1988. It took what the BMW R 80 G/S had started and ferried those seeking adventure as far and wide as their own imaginations could conceive.


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