A brief history of after-market products designed for my Honda Africa Twin
My passion for motorbikes (I own a Honda Africa Twin) has led over time to design and manufacture various products to customize my motorbike; all conceived with two purposes in mind, to fill small or large gaps that I felt as a motorcyclist and to improve comfort by making it safer.
Unicat e Unicat-Grid
The first product to customize the motorbike was Unicat, a compact polycarbonate headlamp shield, which fitted together without the need to drill holes in the fairings and could be easily disassembled/reassembled for more demanding off-road rides.
To it, I coupled Unicat-Grid
, an aluminium grid to protect the headlights.
Travel Wing l'Alamica and Twist&Go
Then I had to face a double problem, turbulence, and an adequate holder for a smartphone
or an e-zPass
That's how Travel Wing l'Alamica
was born, a spoiler
designed and tested by me that was applied to the original windshield of the Africa Twin, enlarging and improving its effectiveness (with the further evolution of the Twist&Go
model, which was fitted to the spoiler).
Already with these improvements, I began to customize my bike and to feel it a part of me.
The popularity of GPS, also for two-wheeled travellers, led me to imagine, and create an unobtrusive holder in order to have the necessary accessories at eye level.
It was the turn of the Travel Hook
, the hook that with a simple snap-on installation on the windshield allowed me to travel with the GPS device permanently in view.
All Terrain Foot-pegs, Kkbars crash bar and removable side winglets
Do you think I've stopped enjoying the satisfaction of these ideas to customize my running mate?
No! Absolutely not! On the contrary, numerous other products were created to customize my bike.
My off-road passion for riding and the inevitable 'slips' led me to design other accessories for the safety and more adequate protection of my 'Africa Twin'..
It was the turn of the All Terrain foot-pegs
, the stainless steel Kkbars crash protectors
(they saved my bike on several occasions), and the removable Side Winglets
designed to pop off in case of an accident, but with spare parts available and an internal hole for possible cable routing.
These are inventions inspired by my passion, as you can easily guess by looking at the photos, created to preserve the bike (and me too, actually) from damage caused by off-road (and other) falls.
Floater kit and fuel warning light
But, can I ask you a question? Have you ever known anyone who didn't run out of gas on the Africa Twin 750 (RD07 or RD07A)?
I didn’t. As a matter of fact, I've run out of fuel because this bike doesn't have a fuel warning light, and that's a very unpleasant thing especially if you're out and about in the countryside or up in the mountains.
In a residential area, it's always manageable but in these cases, it's truly unpleasant.
I don't wish it on you because you will just have to rely on good luck and hope for a kind soul to come to your rescue at once.
But now I want to tell you what happened to me and that was the starting point for the kit.
As you know, the original fuel tap has two positions: 'normal' and 'reserve'..
Now imagine forgetting, after filling up with petrol, to turn the lever (which you turn on the fly and blindly, since it is behind, with your left hand, at the first hint of lack of petrol) on the reserve position as I did.
I noticed it at night, in the dark, when overtaking at 120 km/h on a blind curve on the Salerno city by-pass, almost at the Pontecagnano exit (those in the area know what I'm talking about).
I pulled up to the guardrail as far as I could (this bike does not have emergency arrows) and looked at the lever which was already positioned on 'reserve'.
There was nothing left for me to do but to dodge the cars speeding by in between with the risk of being knocked over.
So I tried to take a run-up with the bike, which weighed over 200 kg and is as tall as a horse. I tried to move over into the right-hand lane and then into the emergency lane. Eventually, I succeeded but I had to push that horse by hand, panting, to the nearby 'Agip' petrol station which was right at the exit. It's an understatement to say 'nearby' because it must have been about a hundred meters.
I got to the pump, but the ATM didn't work. I didn't have a euro in my pocket.
I waited. And then, I waited again. I brooded (to say the least), hoping that an idea would come into my head. Nothing. I tried to stay calm while waiting for something to happen. About an hour passed, a very long hour in the cold, but no one arrived at the petrol station until a car arrived. I put on a brave face and borrowed five euros, justifying my urgent request. I drained the pump in the tank and drove off to a gas station with an ATM. After a few kilometres, I found it. While getting petrol, I put my phone on the saddle. I set off again, and the phone slid down, but I did not notice it.
I noticed it when I got home...
I'll skip reporting my colourful 'exclamations' and thought: all this because of a little lever that I forgot to reposition beforehand after refuelling?! Bloody hell!
Since then, to make up for this 'lack' and to avoid repeating surreal experiences like the one I've just told you about, I invented a “Kit with float and fuel warning light
” which, in a very simple way, avoids the inconvenience and allows you to wander around with greater peace of mind. Does that seem a little thing?
Other interventions aimed at correcting what I considered to be 'deficiencies' were the single saddle for the new AfricaTwin (which came with a double saddle as standard).
By the way, try off-roading and sliding between two separate saddles, and let's see if you don’t (like me), get in pain just thinking about it ...
Saddle with removable seat pads and leather protection pads
Let's look at other products I used to customize my bike.
Two improvements for comfort were the Saddle with removable seat pads
(this time I also wanted to think about the passenger, with the heartfelt thanks of my Lady in primis) and the Leather protection pads
This historical journey on 'my' motorbike customization accessories ends with the compact polycarbonate Accessory holder
, which can be attached to handlebars and crossbars.
The last product (or first of the new kind) was the Red Cap
, created not to customize my motorbike but to solve the well-known problem of the splined secondary shaft.
Red Cap was the forerunner of the Superpinion
sprocket, it was made with three steel washers that together reached the thickness of the current Superpinion (and here begins my wonderful adventure that will also be yours).
Good ride, my friend.