Honda’s CRF1000L Africa Twin has been built for hard-core travel and will make a big impact on adventure-touring in Australia when it is released here for the first time ever.
The all-new motorcycle is powered by a compact 1000cc parallel-twin engine, steers on a 21-inch front wheel, features advanced electronics, and has a strong focus on touring comfort.
Its kerb weight of 228kg is equal to the benchmark BMW R1200GS, and perhaps its only shortcoming is a relatively small fuel capacity of 18.8 litres, though even that may not be a serious handicap is the engine is as economical as it could be.
The Africa Twin name dates back to the late 1980s and was primarily used on a 750cc V-twin that never came to Australia through official channels, despite the pleas of many Aussie riders.
The new 1000cc model adds an outback-ready adventure-tourer to Honda Australia’s pair of soft-roading V4s, the 800cc Crossrunner and 1200cc Crosstourer.
Three Africa Twins will be sold: a base model, one with ABS anti-lock brakes, and a premium model with a dual-clutch transmission (DCT).
The DCT option, which enables push-button gear changing, is set up for off-road use as well as highway riding. It has an economy/touring mode, three levels of sport-shifting ability, and a specific off-road setting to improve traction. There’s also a detector that enables the transmission to alter its characteristics to suit hills.
The engine uses the single-camshaft design of Honda’s CRF single-cylinder off-roaders, which keeps the motor’s dimension short and contributes to good ground clearance of 250mm.
The crankshaft has a V-twin-style 270-degree firing order, and its pulses are smoothed out by balance shafts. Three riding modes are available via Honda’s Selectable Torque Control (HSTC), which alters power delivery style.
The bike rides on wire-spoked wheels, tubed tyres, and generous suspension travel of 230mm up front and 220mm at the rear.
The ABS system’s off-road mode turns off the anti-lock for the rear wheel, giving the rider more control.
Honda says the three models will cost $15,499 (standard), $16,999 (ABS) and $17,999 (DCT) plus on-road costs when they go on sale in January. More details are available on the Honda Australia website.