Embracing new technology can be a challenge for many. And, sure, you will get some resistance from the old guard, but eventually the marvel of new technology makes a believer out of most. This is what the Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin automatic dual clutch transmission (DCT) faced initially. Many were quick to judge this iconic adventure bike without even riding it. We, on the other hand, were excited to get our hands on the Africa Twin since we had previously ridden the VFR 1200F, which was equipped with the first generation DCT. And, even though this sports tourer was a little rough around the edges, we loved the technology – not to mention Honda’s audacity to break with tradition.
The Africa Twin has smitten us with its unique and simple design, which seems to immediately put the rider at ease – this is something that can’t be said for most full-size adventure bikes. The weight distribution and lean body make the Africa Twin feel light and easy to ride, even for first time ADV riders. Keeping rider comfort in mind, Honda has managed to design a well-padded seat perfect for off-roading or taking the ADV bike for a long distance ride. The seat height can also be adjusted from 820mm-840mm.
Now, the one area where the Africa Twin may not seem particularly friendly is when you notice the numerous buttons on the handlebar – which can, at first, appear overwhelming. But once you get used it, the Africa Twin is a breeze to ride as it lets you concentrate on the ride rather than the bike. The 87bhp 999.11cc responds smoothly with linear acceleration. In D, the transmission upshifts quickly – ensuring that the bike remains fuel-efficient. This is very helpful in the city. It also comes with three Sport modes, and the S2 mode was ideal for the highway as well as off-roading as it seemed to know exactly when to change gears. It is a bit of a mind reader. But if you don’t want to rely on the bike to make the decisions for you, then you can switch it to manual and use the paddle shifts on the left handlebar.
The Africa Twin also gets three traction control modes, and there’s also a button on the dash to switch off rear ABS. Now this may be quite mindboggling, but the Africa Twin actually offers 80 different riding combinations. This ADV bike is capable of all this thanks to its uphill / downhill detection sensor, using which the system adapts the gearshift pattern.
What makes the Africa Twin different from other ADV bikes, though, is its chassis. The 45mm Showa front forks and the rear Pro-Link system are ideal for both off-roading terrain as well tarmac. The beauty here is that the fully adjustable rear suspension can be adjusted it by a knob below the seat. And if you’re going to ride in the city more often than not, then it would be advisable to stiffen up the suspension set up a little bit.
Another standout quality of the Africa Twin is its cornering behaviour, especially mid-corner. If you enter a corner too fast, there’s no need to panic – just press the brake slightly and let the bike do the rest. The front will stay planted and hold its line, while this ADV bike will reduce its speed in a controlled manner.
Unlike its European rivals, the Africa Twin doesn’t bully you or force you to curb your riding style. It has a well-balanced spread of power, the ergonomics are spot on, and the ride quality is excellent off-road and comfortable on the tarmac. Even though the Africa Twin feels light, it actually weighs 245kgs, which reveals just how balanced its weight distribution is.
The Africa Twin is one very capable bike that comes with more than enough features to help you safely conquer any terrain. And the fact that the Africa Twin won a spot amongst our select ‘Best of 2017’ machines without even turning a wheel in anger at the track – Honda didn’t allow us to do so – speaks volumes for the versatility and quality of this machine. And the fact that it has impeccable heritage, not to mention that it’s relatively affordable too, certainly helped its cause as well.
Explore Honda Africa Twin technical specifications including dimensions, engine displacement, fuel economy, power, kerb weight, seat height, etc.
Find out all features available on Honda Africa Twin like ABS, digital instrument cluster, oil cooling/ liquid cooling, riding modes, colours, etc.