18 June 2021

Watch Tony Bou treat a 500-pound Honda Africa Twin CRF1100L - like a trials bike


Toni Bou is not a normal human being. He's historically unparalleled as a trials rider, undefeated in the last 28 indoor and outdoor FIM Trial World Championships.

Trials riding, for the uninitiated, is a highly technical form of competition in which riders work their way across difficult to impossible-looking terrain without letting their feet touch the ground. These are the guys you see hopping off a tiny stone and somehow ending up on top of a bus, or leaping from the top of one pole to another on the back wheel, or riding up a tree and then rolling back down.

It's magical stuff to watch, relying on a degree of skill, balance, co-ordination and courage that's utterly alien to most road riders. And it's all possible thanks to extremely specialized trials bikes: tiny things, with no seats and just a couple of liters of fuel. These 250-300cc single-cylinder machines are the mountain goats of the motorcycle world, weighing just 145 lb (66 kg) in competition trim and able to go just about anywhere in the right hands.

Honda's Africa Twin, on the other hand, is a vastly different beast. It runs a 1,100cc v-twin engine, it has rather a lot of seat and weighs in at a meaty 498 lb (226 kg) in standard trim. Terrific, I'm led to believe, for cross-country on-road/off-road touring, but not exactly ideal for trials riding.

I've spent a couple of days riding the previous incarnation of this bike (Honda Africa Twin CRF1000L) in 2016 at the fantastic Honda Adventure Centre, Wales. Sadly my skills in dirt are somewhere between non existent & beginner (LOL!), but I had a lot of fun, was physically challenged, learned lots & improved my meagre dirt skills no end. The Honda Africa Twin is a great bike, & very capable in skilled hands. In this video, Tony Bou is running the newer - bigger engined, more power, greater weight version: CRF1100L & riding it like a master! Enjoy!


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