I came to the Africa Twin - AT - "scene" in 2007. Like many good things in life it was almost accidently: a good friend of mine acquired such a bike, an RD07 in excellent shape, in my neighbourhood. She asked me to have a look at the typical weak spots of this bike and indeed I could provide help with all potential issues on the bike. Word went round ... and since that time, I provide some parts as well as assistance with these bikes.
This page describes some of the typical problems and modifications of the AT, with an emphasis on the "electrical Gremlins".
(No, I don't own an AT myself ... its use would be too close to my R80GS!)
The immediate, visible symptoms are burned-out bulbs, then a "boiling" battery ... and if the overvoltage remains unnoticed for too long, the motorcycle may end up with damaged electronics such as the voltage regulator, ignition unit, instruments, etc. An expensive damage - and dangerous, since you cannot get the bike running again without changing several parts!
It is commonly agreed that the root cause of this overvoltage is an under-dimensioned connector. On the AT, the three yellow cables carrying AC from the alternator lead into a connector with three spade plugs, located under the side cover (right side on RD03 and RD04, left side on RD07 and RD07A). It would appear that this connector cannot cope with the high current loads; it will start to oxidize. Due to this corrosion, the voltage regulator senses a too-low voltage and will regulate to a higher voltage. This increased voltage means a higher current, higher temperatures, more corrosion in the plug ... you get the idea!
The photo above shows a typical result of such overheating. The connector looked normal by quick visual inspection , but it was impossible to separate the two parts since the plastic had melted in some areas. We needed brute force to break the connector housing apart!
If you do not notice the problem at this stage and keep on riding, the voltage regulator might be damaged and other parts of the motorcycle might emit magic smoke, such as the speed sensor of the tripmaster, etc.
As a cure, many people merely change the alternator regulator against another model or type. However, it is also mandatory to eliminate the problem of the under-dimensioned connector shown above - a common solution is to crimp or solder the three wires together. In addition, you may find it useful to install a voltage monitor on the bike - something that constantly monitors the battery voltage and that alerts the rider if the voltage gets too high (or too low).
I offer such voltage monitors for sale. If you are interested, follow this link for more information.
A comment from a satisfied customer in Ireland (2016): ... just thought I'd share a photo showing how the little voltage monitor that you added to my Tripmaster has just saved me a huge nightmare and a lot of problems when it detected that my Reg/Rectifier had failed on my bike, the orange light came on during a recent trip and when I checked the voltage, sure enough it was reading 17.5 Volts, so no boiled and ruined battery and no destroyed electronics fantastic ! I always think it's important to tell somebody when they have done a great job, so thank you for that :-) -- Niall. Thanks a lot, Niall!
I also offer the integration of the voltage monitor inside the tripmaster. For obvious reasons, this is only available together with the maintenance/repair service described below. I charge a fixed price of 99 EUR per unit, this is composed of the tripmaster overhaul plus the voltage monitor plus the nerves that I need to install the part in the trip master ;-) If you are interested, follow this link to get in touch with me.
The RD04, RD07 and RD07A models are equipped with a tripmaster unit - a rather sophisticated little computer. After many years of usage, these units will begin to malfunction - erroneous display functions, loss of stored data such as time or distance, etc. This will sooner or later affect any tripmaster and is due to aging of parts (mostly capacitors). If you wait too long, the capacitors will leak and can destroy parts of the PCB, as in this picture.
Prevention and basic repair are not too difficult, but require some experience and equipment for SMD soldering.
Since 2011 I do both the preventive maintenance and the basic repair service for your tripmaster, for a fixed price of 49 EUR per unit. At the same time, I can e.g. activate the built-in speed display, integrate a voltage monitor inside the tripmaster, overhaul a crackled display or replace the rubber caps of the keys. If you are interested, follow this link to get in touch with me.
Note that this pricing applies only if the unit is still operational. If the display is "dead", things might get complicated depending on the source of the defect. I can usually repair it (up to now, my success rate is >98.5% with 300+ repairs) but I might charge somewhat more than the 49 EUR mentioned above. Yet - even if you pay 80 EUR ... this is still only a small fraction of the price of a new unit from Honda ;-)
Shipping costs for a tripmaster unit in the EU area are currently around 25 EUR, this includes priority shipping, tracking and insurance. Please note that shipping from/to addresses outside Switzerland may incur paperwork and custom fees which you will have to pay.
A comment from a satisfied customer in France (2014): Je voudrai saluer le professionnalisme, le sérieux, la passion ainsi que la patience de Monsieur Joerg Hau pour la réparation du trip-master de mon Africa twin de 1998. Donc, si la panne vous surprend et qu'elle vous agace, que vous êtes inquiét, radin, dubitatif, fauchés pour acheter un trip-master d'occasion, ignorant en la matière, si vous n'avez pas l'dée géniale de vous adresser au "bricolo" du coin, Monsieur Joerg Hau est l'homme de la situation ! Bonne route à tous. - Jacques Vaissié. Merci Jacques!
... and another one from Switzerland (2014): ... seit Wochen habe ich auch den Tripmaster wieder eingebaut und auch gleich den Stecker vom Laderegler durch Crimp Verbinder ersetzt. Vielen Dank für den Tipp. Und vielen Dank für die Reparatur. So einfach wie das war, sollte sich niemand lange rumärgern der Ein- und Ausbau ist leichter als Öl kontrollieren und die Reparatur ist billiger als einmal volltanken! Schreib das ruhig auf deine Homepage. - Tobi Kinsler. Danke Tobi!
PS. Please do not ask for "remote" diagnostics or repair instructions. Thank you for your understanding!
The fuel pump of all Honda Africa Twin, Varadero (carburetor), NTV Revere and Deauville, CBR600, CBR 900 Fireblade, VFR750F, Shadow 600, 750 and 1100, KTM LC8 (950 Adventure) and many other motorcycles is a standard pump from Mitsubishi. This pump is known for failing after a while, often somewhere between 30 and 70 Mm. By far the most common reason for failure are burned contacts inside the pump - an unfortunate "failure by design", which could have been avoided by adding just one part in the factory.
The only repair provided by Honda is the complete exchange of the pump against a new part, which is pretty expensive.
A much cheaper way is the preventive modification of the pump to accomodate a common suppressor diode. The short video below demonstates "before" and "after" ... note that the high stroke frequency of the pump is realistic: it corresponds to the state of the pump that is observed on the later models (RD07 and RD07a) just before switching to reserve.
Since 2007, I offer this modification as preventive maintenance service for your fuel pump — for a fixed price of 35 EUR per pump. If you are interested, please follow this link to get in touch with me.
Please note that shipping from/to addresses outside Switzerland may incur paperwork and additional custom fees, which you will have to pay.