Maria Riding Company’s “Kalahari” – 1992 Honda Africa Twin Custom

In Custom, Dual-Sport, Japan by Tim HuberLeave a Comment

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Bespoke ADV builds are a rare breed, so whenever a fully transformed custom adventure mount from a big-name shop pops up for sale I feel obligated to share it. We’ve previously featured a one-off build from Portugal’s The Maria Riding Company, however this highly-modified ADV rig is a far cry from the track-spec (Ducati) GT1000 from back in October.

The Lisbon-based business began the build with a ’92 Honda XRV750 Africa Twin that’d certainly seen better days. The 58 hp mill was torn open and given a thorough overhaul and refresh. With the mechanical revamp complete, the team at MRC set about ridding the V-Twin of its coat of factory paint and leaving the cases with a mix of raw and polished bare metal.

At the behest of the client who commissioned the build, the Portuguese shop removed the Honda’s air box before installing a set of pod filters. The stock exhaust was also removed to make room for a custom unit comprised of stainless headers that follow the same design as the factory headers, though is now capped off with a DanMoto megaphone (also at the customer’s request).

Luis Correia, who heads up the MRC, admitted to BikeEXIF that he was initially reluctant when a client approached the shop and requested they tackle his beat up ‘92 Africa Twin. With its bulbous bodywork, huge lights, giant subframe, and wiring and other visual clutter hidden beneath its plastics, the Japanese adventurer was a less-than-ideal platform for a bespoke build. Nevertheless, Luis is nothing if not a man who loves a good challenge, so after the idea was kicked back and forth with the customer, the company pulled the trigger and accepted the commission.

All of the Honda’s bodywork went into the bin, with the exception of the fuel-cell which was radically reworked in order for the front of the tank to not look awkward now that the front fairing was gone. A large, retro-style front fender was cooked up, while out back the shop created and installed a short, high-mounted rear-fender, along with a more modern, rear-hugger-style unit mounted just above the rear tire — all three of which are made from hand shaped aluminum.

Next a new subframe was designed, fabbed up, and fused into place. Atop the new aft framework sits a bespoke scrambler-esque saddle wrapped in brown leather. The new seat is large enough to accommodate a second person, and thanks to the creation of some bespoke brackets for the passenger foot-pegs, proper two-up riding is possible. Suspended beneath the new subframe is a custom aluminum electronics tray which is where the build’s lithium ion battery and new ignition are now found.

The build’s LED taillight — with integrated signals — is nestled just under the (upper) rear fender, while a wraparound license plate hanger (with plate light) hangs from the swing-arm — keeping the back of the bike incredibly clean and uncluttered whilst retaining its street-legal status. An old-school circular headlight is now housed in a custom shell while the front LED indicators were cleverly tacked onto either side of the lower triple.

The stock 43mm forks were removed, shortened, and stiffened before being reslotted in the triple tree and out back the Pro-Link monoshock was replaced with a fresh unit. The factory wheels were torn apart, the stock 21” hoop out front was replaced with a 19-incher, and the rims were then built back up using new stainless spokes and nipples. Though the MRC fails to cite the completed build’s weight, it’s pretty safe to assume this heavily modded Africa Twin now tips the scales at considerably less than the stock XRV’s 520lb wet weight.

Building a proper Dakar-inspired adventure bike, the MRC knew the revamped Africa Twin needed some solid crash protection. However instead of ordering (and slightly modifying) one of the many available aftermarket units, Luis and the gang opted to design and fabricate their own protective tubing. The modified tank, refreshed engine, and — most importantly as it now protrudes significantly — the radiator (which received new hoses) are securely positioned behind the rugged one-off crash bars. A sliver of a skid plate now protects the engine’s underbelly too.

Other minor details rounding out the build include a new speedometer, new HEL lines throughout, new brake discs, and new Renthal bars adorned in new switchgear, new grips, and capped-off with new aftermarket mirrors. Finishing out the one-off Honda is a dark green livery (with silver accents on the tank), headlight shell, and fenders that pairs quite well with the brown leather on the saddle. Other parts such as the frame, subframe, and crash bars were powder coated (or zinc-plated).

Entitled “Kalahari”, this ADV mount — not unlike Yamaha’s Tenere — gets its name from one of the world’s harshest and least forgiving deserts, in this case a savanna stretching over almost 350k-square-miles of Southern Africa. The ultimate goal of the build was to deliver a machine reminiscent of vintage Dakar Rally style racers, before the competition off-road mounts featured GPS, full bodywork and navigation towers.

Despite being built for a client, the “Kalahari” — which was featured on BikeExif less than a month ago — is already in need of a new home. While obviously not cheap, this is an opportunity to scoop up a stellar build from the MRC for a discounted price.

You can find this custom vintage Dakar-inspired 1992 Honda XRV750 Africa Twin from the Maria Riding Company for sale in Libson, Portugal with an asking price of $13,500 (or €11,800). For anyone interested in acquiring this bike please contact Abhi: abhi AT bike-urious dot com.

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