Oh my poor Africa Twin (aka XRV 750, or just simply AT). Ever since the KTM 950 came on the scene the Honda has been neglected, abused and reduced to my daily commuter. It wasn’t always like this though; there was a time when it was the best bike I had ever owned and took me to far-flung places many other bikes couldn’t. Good memories, and with 120,000 kilometres on the clock it’s not worth anything to anyone but me.
One of the very few things to ever go wrong on my AT was the regulator/rectifier. It’s one of those electrical components you look at and think “I wonder what that does.” You don’t really find out until it fails.
First you replace the battery (thinking that’s why it wouldn’t start in the middle of nowhere; hopefully you were stopped on a hill and could crash-start it and get to the nearest town). Then you wonder what the awful smell is (yes, you’ve just cooked that new battery). Then the tacho (rev counter) stops working and the bike won’t go at all. All of these things happened to me in the Himalaya – not a place you’ll find a Honda dealer with a spare AT rectifier in stock.
This story did have a happy ending, except for the broken tacho. Eventually I removed it from the bike and worked out that one of the resistors on the circuit board had failed – there was heat damage where it was soldered into the board. You can see it here – the big blue one.
I did try once to buy a replacement resistor but couldn’t find the right one, and that was about four years ago. Ever since then, sitting on the bike and seeing an empty space where the tacho had been was a reminder of my laziness.
So with the 950 back on the road following a major rebuild, my attention turned to the forlorn AT. While searching through the most excellent Honda trail bike forums I happened across a post from someone who had solved the exact same issue by replacing the resistor. I posted saying I had the same problem but couldn’t find the right resistor. Within a day I had a message from the original poster saying he had a spare and would send it to me.
That’s bloody nice, I thought. But he was in NZ, me in London. No problem! was his answer, and sure enough seven days later it arrived. Wow! Is there a bunch of people friendlier and more helpful than motorcyclists? Thanks very much Larry_Biskit, you’re a gent.With no excuses now and a Garage Night organised for that very evening, it was business time. Here’s the new resistor (beige) in place – cheers Trent for doing the soldering, it’s a black art as far as I’m concerned.
Woo hoo! I was quite excited riding it home that night and woke up the next morning thinking “My tacho works, my tacho works” (if that makes me sad I don’t care!). I had to resist the temptation to shout it out to all the other bikers I saw that morning on the way to work, but to them there had never been a faulty rectifier, a new mate in NZ that was good enough to send me the part to fix it, or four years of thinking “I must fix that bloody thing one day!”
So here’s to all those bikers I’ve met around the world who have gone out of their way to help me out (what goes around comes around, people) and to the satisfaction of getting something fixed after so bloody long.
Go on, get out to your bike and fix whatever’s been bugging you for ages. Do it today – it will reward you tomorrow.