Honda XRV 650 Africa Twin


Make Model

Honda XRV 650 Africa Twin


1988 - 89


Four stroke, Longitudinal 52°V-twin. SOHC, 3 Valve per cylinder 


647 cc / 39.4 cu-in
Bore x Stroke 79 x 66 mm
Cooling System Liquid cooled
Compression Ratio 9.4:1


2x 32 mm CV carburetor


Digital transistorised with electronic advance
Starting Electric

Max Power

57 hp / 42.5 kW @ 8000 rpm

Max Torque

55 Nm / 6.1 kgf-m @ 6000 rpm


5 Speed 
Final Drive Chain

Front Suspension

Telescopic air assisted forks
Front Wheel Travel 220 mm / 8.6 in

Rear Suspension

Pro-link, rebound damping adjustment
Rear Wheel Travel 210 mm / 8.2 in

Front Brakes

Single 296 mm disc

Rear Brakes

Single 210 mm disc
Wheels Aluminium rim/steel spoke

Front Tyre


Rear Tyre

Dimensions Length 2295 mm / 90.3 in
Width    895 mm / 35.2 in
Height 1290 mm / 50.7 in
Wheelbase 1565 mm / 31.6 in
Seat Height 880 mm / 34.6 in
Ground Clearance 215 mm / 8.4 in


185 kg / 407 lbs
Wet Weight 220 kg / 485 lbs

Fuel Capacity

25 Litres / 6.6 US gal

Road Test

Adventure Group test Motosprint 1988
Adventure Group test Motosprint 1989


The Honda Africa Twin is possibly the most reliable, versatile and proven adventure touring motorcycle ever produced. The history of the Africa Twin and its origins is a story about the perfect timing of overland rallies, business and technical brilliance.

In 1984 Honda and the HRC decided to develop a motorcycle with one purpose in mind. This was to compete in the long distance overland race categories, which were growing in popularity during the 1980’s. This of course meant the Paris-Dakar. In 1986 the Honda NXR750, specifically designed for races of extreme hardship and endurance, won the Paris-Dakar. The NXR750 was ahead of the competition in every way and was the first water cooled motorcycle to win this rally. Its technology then dominated the race for the following four years.
Utilising the knowledge gained whilst developing and racing the NXR750, Honda designed a production motorcycle for long distance touring and ever changing terrains. On May 20th 1988 the Africa Twin XRV650 RD03 was launched. In honour of its rally routes it was painted in racing colours mimicking the NXR750. Since the RD03 was introduced in 1988, Honda continued to develop this classic design into the most recent XRV750 RD07A. Each version of Africa Twin has had essential advances technically and cosmetically.

Since Honda launched the Africa Twin XRV650 in 1986 to when they stopped selling the XRV750 version in 2003, the Africa Twin dual-sport motorcycle has maintained popularity. Both XRV650 and XRV750 Africa Twins can still be seen riding the world today, and this motorcycle is not just restricted to tarmac. With its tall ground clearance and precise dynamics it is also a worthy machine to be taken off road.

The Africa Twins proven reliability, ease of repair and responsive chassis has helped maintained its place amongst the adventure motorcyclist and commuters all over the world. Even though it is no longer produced, this now iconic motorcycle is good enough to compete with newer machines on the market today.

In recent polls the Honda Africa Twin still holds its own against other large dual-sports like the KTM and the BMW adventure motorcycles.

This Africa Twin was built for adventure and ability. With superb dynamics, long travel suspension, and powerful disc brakes the ride over almost any surface is fantastic. Its bullet proof naturally aspirated V-Twin engine is fed from a large capacity tank and delivers smooth power where and when you need it. Based on its Dakar routes the design is timeless and is fitted with a protective bash plate, trip computer and extremely bright headlights.

The Switzerland Honda XRV650 model came with a square light