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Honda's Africa Twin Proves Its Mettle In High Altitude Riding
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Honda's Africa Twin Proves Its Mettle In High Altitude Riding

After it unveiled the new Africa Twin motorbike last year, Honda has launched a global marketing offensive aimed at differentiating the off-road and touring qualities claimed by its new adventure bike. Its latest venture entailed scaling the highest volcano in the world to an altitude that set a new record.

The icy hollows of Ojos del Salado, a volcanic mountain situated in the Atacama Desert region on the border between Argentina and Chile, must be experiencing unfamiliar traffic of late. It has often been the preferred choice for drivers of various cars who want to break Guinness World Records for heights. This has partly been aided by the publicity acquired when the Dakar Rally successfully moved from Africa to South America.

Just in the last five years, the world record for motorbike riding at high altitude has been broken two times on the Ojos del Salado’s challenging slopes. At the same time, KTM came back last year to verify the electric motorbike high-altitude riding world record. Francisco Lopez, a Chilean rider with a lot of experience in all types of off-road racing, from Enduro and Motocross to Rally Raid, scaled the Ojos del Salado riding an electric Freeride E-XC. After setting up base at 14,764 feet (4,500 meters), Lopez managed to take his motorbike up to 19,947 feet (6,080 meters), a new Guinness World Record. The mountain was also the venue for high altitude driving records for cars(in 2007) and trucks(in 2014). In addition, it has hosted some weird attempts such as the record for the highest scuba dive that was confirmed in a permanent lake at 20,938 feet(6,382 meters).

The latest attempt by Honda involved Fabio Mossini, a Chilean who is an experienced Enduro champion, supported by a team of five Africa Twin motorbikes. Mossini reached 19,570 feet (5,965 meters) before his progress was halted by a 6.6 feet (2 meters) wall of snow.

However, Mossini’s ride does not amount to a definite motorbike record because it falls short of the 21,230 feet (6,471 meters) benchmark that was achieved by Gianfranco Bianchi in 2015 while riding a Suzuki RM-Z450. However, it counts as a world record for twin-cylinder motorbikes, especially taking into consideration that all prior records were set using single-cylinder enduro motorcycles such as Suzuki (the current record holder) and the Husaberg FE 570, which held the previous record.

Indeed, one thing that is more remarkable than the record itself is the fact that the Africa Twin ridden by Mossini was almost standard. Honda does not speak of changes in fueling, which undoubtedly means that the standard injection system was able to deal with the oxygen deprivation that is characteristic of such high altitudes.

The bike was fitted with off-road Metzeler MC360 tires and a Termignoni exhaust. The final transmission was also made shorter and some components such as the protective bars were direct from Honda’s replacement market catalog. These are straightforward modifications using off-the-shelf accessories that can easily be done by anybody on a standard Africa Twin. This is clear proof that the latest adventure bike by Honda is more than capable of keeping up with the competition away from the paved roads. 

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