• 2017 Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin

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The ‘Africa’ nameplate has risen from the ashes and gives the Japanese Red a grand comeback into ADV

For some people, adventure is about finding your way through the unknown and doing things most have not or seeing things never seen before is a savour best felt. But unless you plan on walking, you need a way to get there. This is where Honda’s new offering comes in and sweeps you off your feet in the most humble and matured way.

Almost 30 years ago, the Africa Twin conquered the Paris-Dakar Rally. This year, it’s been re-imagined with the same True Adventure spirit and is hitting the Indian shores after a delay of nearly a couple of years.

With the Dakar rally, some manufacturers were happy about being participated, but Honda went on to win 1-2-3 positions in 1986. Just 5 years after their first appearance. And they did it on the then Africa Twin.

Honda has now made use of that wild experience and fed it into their brand new avatar of that legendary Dakar motorcycle, the NXR750, and gives us the CRF 1000L Africa Twin. A machine born in the factory but tamed in the wilderness that inherits the “go anywhere” phenomena and embodies the latest of technology and engine construction to literally do just that without any fuss.

With this motorcycle, Honda throws a challenge at us - ‘It’s not a question of how far your Honda will go. It’s how far you’re willing to take it’. And knowing the reliability of a Honda, I’m guessing it’s a challenge for us to take upon without having to think twice about the machine.

  • Year:
    2017
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-2
  • Displacement:
    998 cc
  • Top Speed:
    143 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    INR 1400000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • Economy:
    8/10
  • Features:
    9/10
  • Performance:
    9/10
  • Quality:
    9/10
  • Safety:
    9/10
  • Styling:
    9/10
  • Overall:
    8.8/10

STYLING

The designing follows the “unlimited adventure” theme and is styled with minimal bodywork offering maximum rider protection and slim, agile feel, all designed to increase rider control and movement.

Dual LED headlights are reminiscence to the XRV750L Africa Twin and is reinforced with a ‘twin ring’ signature halo LED light. The cowl and the screen are integrated to give the rider maximum wind protection and the screen consists of ducts to provide smooth air flow around the rider.

The engine bay also gets an internal airflow using baffle plates and in total have duct ports in three locations; three on the front spoiler, twelve on the inner cover and two on the rear of the inner cover. The bike cannot be called an adventurer or enduro without having good ground clearance, and thanks to the engine design, this Honda has loads of it.

The Africa Twin gets an interesting and a unique negative LCD meter that is stacked vertically and follows a close dash layout. This allows the rider to assess the information within a jiffy and concentrate at the terrain in hand. The dash is made of three rows of display and gives a clock, gear position, HSTC, odometer, trip meter, ambient temperature gauge and fuel gauge readings. The rider can also edit the positions with the help of a cursor.

This motorcycle gets a newfound feature which is parking brake operated by a pull of a lever. It has four levels of braking force to suit the conditions.

Overall Dimension

Length 2335mm
Width 875mm
Height 1475mm
Wheelbase 1575mm
Seat height 850mm
Wet weight 228kg

POWERTRAIN

Being engineered to ride under all conditions and extreme usage, the Africa Twin’s engine can be tractable and usable all-day with performance delivery that offers a genuine feel for rear wheel traction.

The 998cc parallel twin engine is compact, lightweight and powerful with it making 94 bhp peak power @ 7,500rpm, and 98Nm torque @ 6,000rpm. This engine was built from the ground up and has been focused on having the optimum balance between power, torque, mass and physical dimension with mass centralisation and low centre of gravity, giving the rider a better handling dynamics. All this was made possible because of the brands learning graph in both HRC’s CRF250/450R Motocross and CRF450R Rally competition programs.

To feature first time ever in a Honda is the split crankcase design with a built-in oil tank. And a first in any motorcycle is the water tank that is housed inside the clutch casing. All of this has allowed having a shorter hose length, ground clearance and better engine design.

Although this is a brand new modern engine, Honda has given it the vintage soul by taking over the firing order and ‘power pulse’ of the XRV750 Africa Twin’s V-twin engine. This gave the bike good traction and feedback from the rear. The engine on the CRF uses biaxial balance shafts to negate coupling vibrations and special resin coated on the skirts along with AB-1 chromium plating and Palphos M1-A treatment on the pistons to make the engine deal with thermal efficiency.

The bike features ‘adaptive clutch capability control’ giving the rider a feather light clutch feels especially at lower RPMs. The wet plate clutch features assist and slipper functions and through this, all that power made is transferred to the rear via a 6-speed transmission. The gearbox has a small trick up its sleeve too. It comes in the form of an incline detention system wherein the gear shift pattern is adapted according to your gradient for optimal control. You also get Honda’s exclusive automatic six-speed Dual-Clutch Transmission (DCT).

The exhaust mufflers have been designed to boost the sound and feel of the engine’s raw beat and also the chambers have been acoustically tuned to give out a crisp, deep and a solid tome, which is a patented piece of tech.

Engine Specification

Capacity cc 998
Bore/ Stroke mm 92/75.1
Output 94 bhp @ 7,500rpm
Torque 98Nm @ 6,000rpm
Type Liquid-cooled 4-stroke 4 valve-per-cylinder parallel twin with 270° crank and uni-cam
Valves per cylinder 4
Clutch type Wet, multiplate with coil springs, Aluminium Cam Assist and Slipper clutch
Transmission Constant mesh 6-speed MT / 6-speed DCT

RIDE AND HANDLING

The engineers in Honda was faced with three tough challenge while building the chassis for this bike. This chassis should be able to handle a considerable amount of off roading, have excellent high-speed stability and be able to carry a pillion and/or luggage to transverse long journeys. The resulting chassis has a steel semi-double cradle frame that makes use of even the engine hangers into finding the rightly tuned balance that just works like magic.

The engine layout makes a shorter wheelbase possible and making the bike more nimble than the rest of the breed. The aluminium handlebar has a tapering design to be thinner to grip and fatter at the clamp. Adjustable rider seats will accommodate various sizes and lets you adjust the perfect riding position with respect to the footrest and handlebar position. To help you have a better adventure ride setup, Honda has made it a point to give you a narrow riding position that lets you move up and forward and far back too, enhancing your capabilities under demanding trails.

Suspension duties are handled by 45mm Showa cartridge-type inverted front fork that boasts of long extension stroke and lower spring rate and spring preload. Adjustable rebound and compression damping are been able to make with full adjustability. At the rear, it gets Showa rear shock with a remote reservoir for stable damping control with adjustable spring preload and rebound and compression damping.

21-inch front and 18-inch rear wire spoke with aluminium rim allow any OEM tyres on which 310 floating twin discs at the front and 256mm ‘wave’ disc at the rear, all with Nissin four-piston callipers. Dunlop tyres provide all-round performance and feature switchable two-channel ABS.

The bike is equipped with four level Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC). The DCT gearbox features a revised S mode with three levels of tailored gearbox response to suit the rider’s preferences. A ‘G’ switch allows the rider to modify the clutch system to give a more direct drive. A switchgear on the handlebar provides the rider to choose between AT/MT (automatic/manual) and N-D-S (neutral, drive, sport) ride modes.

Chassis Specifications

Suspension / Front Show 45mm cartridge-type inverted telescopic fork with dial-style preload adjuster and DF adjustment, 230mm stroke
Suspension / Rear Monoblock cast aluminium swing arm with Pro-Link with gas-charged damper, hydraulic dial-style preload adjuster and rebound damping adjustment, 220 mm rear wheel travel
Brakes / Front 310mm dual wave floating disc with aluminium hub and radial fit 4-piston callipers and sintered metal pads
Brakes / Rear 256mm wave disc with 1-piston calliper and sintered metal pads. Also Lever-Lock Type Parking Brake System on DCT model with additional slide type 1-piston calliper
Tyres / Front 90/90-21 tube type
Tyres / Rear 150/70-18 tube type

PRICE

The motorcycle was showcased at the Delhi Auto Expo in 2016 and was touted to release shortly after. But since its components manufacturer was under distress due to an earthquake in Japan, the process was delayed. But Honda has confirmed the launch to happen this year.

It will be got through the CKD route and hence will be priced at around ₹ 14-16 lakhs. It will be available in two colour palettes: Red/Black/White and White/Blue/Red. DCT will be an optional package, though.

A full range of genuine Honda accessories will be available, including top box, panniers, smoke screen, high screen, upper and lower wind deflectors, rubber pillion step, DCT foot shifter, heated grips, 12V socket, fog lamp including cowl bar, wheel stripes and alarm system.

COMPETITION

To tie with this Japanese refinery, another Japanese manufacturer has a near close answer. The Suzuki V-Strom 1000. This new Motorcycle replaced the DL 1000 which has dominated the Suzuki Tourer segment for a long time.

Suzuki V-Strom 1000

The V-Strom is powered by a 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 90˚ V-twin engine with a displacement of 1037 cc which is slightly more than its predecessor. This engine generates 99 Bhp of peak power at 8000 rpm while 105 Nm of torque at 4000 rpm. The new engine is mated to a 6-speed constant mesh gearbox.

VERDICT

To do one over the benchmark XRV750 Africa Twin was a tall order for even the engineers at Honda, the same people who made it. But they pulled it off somehow and gave us the CRF which boasts of an innovative tech-filled engine that is capable of shattering hopes of every other manufacturer. It shares no common trait with the three-decade-old machine, but it inherits in full the essence and spirit of the “go anywhere” philosophy with grace.

A lot of time has gone to engineer this Africa Twin into making it work better on multiple riding conditions and so it does effortlessly without any compromise. It is one of the perfectly balanced machines from the Honda stable, a trait that is synonymous to a majority of the brand’s line-up.

Can it find a place for itself by giving ADV capability and user friendliness in one shot? If I have to bet my life on it given all of that, I will do it with all my gut. It is Honda’s grand comeback to the ADV world and we couldn’t be happy enough. We know, for one, that manufacturers are showing so much love to this category of ADV motorcycles, it’s high time that we get out and do a little exploring for ourselves.

  • Leave it
    • Price
  • Engine type
    Engine
    inline-2
  • TopSpeed
    Top speed
    143 mph

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PRESS RELEASE

16YM HONDA CRF1000L Africa Twin

New model: Inheriting the “go anywhere” spirit of its celebrated predecessors, the all-new CRF1000L Africa Twin packs an innovative and powerful parallel twin-cylinder engine into a lightweight, agile chassis ready for true adventure both on and off road, whether crossing continents or commuting. In addition to the standard model, two further versions are available: the first with switchable rear ABS and multiple mode Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC), and the second equipped with Honda’s unique Dual Clutch Transmission (featuring new off-road functionality), switchable rear ABS and HSTC.

16YM CRF1000L Africa Twin

Contents:

1 Introduction

2 Model overview

3 Key features

4 Accessories

5 Technical specifications

1. Introduction

The essential features of an adventure motorcycle – strong engine, tough chassis with long travel suspension, upright riding position and wide handlebars – ensure its usability whatever the terrain. This practicality has been key to the popularity of these machines: they are easy to ride, comfortable and adaptable, at home on the road whether touring mountain passes and highways, or filtering through jammed city streets. And when the desire for a true adventure takes hold, they’re capable of traversing great swathes of distance after the tarmac runs out.

Throughout the development of the CRF1000L Africa Twin, the search for the optimal blend of off-road performance, touring comfort and agility was a constant theme. One motorcycle consistently impressed with its usability, poise and handling both on road and in the dirt: the original XRV750L Africa Twin. It proved a worthwhile benchmark when set against today’s myriad choice of adventure bikes. The machine that now bears its name may share no common part with the old model but – on road or off-road – it inherits to the full the essence and spirit of what made the XRV750L Africa Twin so popular.

Mr Y. Hasegawa, Series Large Project Leader (S-LPL) CRF1000L Africa Twin:

“From the outset of designing and engineering our new Africa Twin, we wanted to create a full-scale true adventure motorcycle that was equally enjoyable and capable in crossing vast continents as it was on the highway and in everyday use. The legacy and performance of the previous model was a significant reference point in our thinking and after many satisfying months of research work, testing, development and riding, our CRF1000L has off-road ability that makes dirt roads a joy to tackle, with the comfort of a tourer and agility of a commuter. In other words, a model truly worthy of inheriting the Africa Twin name.”

2. Model Overview

It all starts with the engine, which has to perform in off-road situations as well as on-road long-range touring, and all points in between. The CRF1000L Africa Twin’s 998cc parallel twin power plant draws heavily on Honda’s CRF250R/450R competition machines, using the same four-valve Unicam head design for compact overall dimensions.

Strong and linear power and torque deliver instant response anywhere in the rev-range – accompanied by a satisfying, characterful deep growl as rpm rises. A 270° phased crankshaft gives the power delivery a distinct character as well delivering excellent feel for rear wheel traction. Biaxial primary balance shafts cancel vibration.

The semi-dry sump engine’s short height contributes to the CRF1000L Africa Twin’s 250mm ground clearance. It also uses clever packaging of componentry to both dynamic and aesthetic effect. The water pump is housed within the clutch casing, and both water and oil pumps are driven by the engine’s balancer shafts.

The lightweight six-speed manual gearbox uses the same shift-cam design as found on the CRF250R/450R to ensure positive changes and is equipped with an aluminium assist slipper clutch.

In addition to the standard model, two further versions are available: the first with ABS and multiple mode Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC), and the second equipped with Honda’s unique Dual Clutch Transmission (featuring new off-road functionality), ABS and HSTC. On ABS-equipped models, it is possible for the rider to turn off the ABS system for the rear brake, allowing the rider to lock the rear wheel when riding off-road. There are four levels of control to choose from the Honda Selectable Torque Contol: Level 1, 2, 3 and Off. The degree of intervention decreases as the levels rise, allowing increasing amounts of rear wheel spin.

The unique DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission) version features the standard manual mode – allowing the rider to operate gear shifts through triggers on the left handlebar – and two automatic modes. D mode offers the best balance of fuel economy and comfort cruising whilst S mode has been revised to give extra levels of sports performance, with three different shift patterns to choose from.

Of course, for the CRF1000L Africa Twin, DCT is also fully equipped to operate in an off-road environment and off-road functionality is enhanced by the G button. Pushing the G button in any riding mode modifies the control of the clutch system to give a more direct drive.

16YM CRF1000L Africa Twin
The CRF1000L Africa Twin’s semi-double cradle steel frame provides the perfect balance of high-speed stability – while fully loaded – matched to genuine off-road ability by combining sheer strength with flexibility. Mass centralization - with items like the battery packaged at the rear of the cylinder head - contributes to a low centre of gravity and aids agility.

The 45mm Showa inverted forks are fully adjustable and feature dual radial-mount Nissin four-piston brake calipers and 310mm ‘wave’ style floating discs. The Showa rear shock has hydraulic spring preload adjustment. Like the CRF450R Rally, the CRF1000L Africa Twin uses 21 inch front and 18 inch rear spoked wheels. This enables a wide range of off-road tyres to be fitted in addition to the standard duel purpose 90 front / 150 rear tyres.

Following its design theme of “unlimited adventure”, the Africa Twin is styled with minimum bodywork in a tough, lightweight form that offers both weather protection for the rider and a slim, agile feel. Dual LED headlights maintain the original’s presence and the seat height adjusts 20mm from the standard 870mm down to 850mm. A large 18.8-litre fuel tank – and the engine’s fuel efficiency of 21.8km/l (WMTC in DCT mode) – provides a range of over 400km.

3. Key Features

3.1 Engine

Compact, lightweight and powerful; the CRF1000L Africa Twin’s parallel twin-cylinder engine makes 70Kw peak power @ 7,500rpm, and 98Nm torque @ 6,000rpm. It features a 270° phased crank, Unicam 4 valve-per-cylinder head and dry sump plus common crankcases for both DCT and manual 6-speed gearbox versions.

The CRF1000L Africa Twin’s engine has been engineered with a special focus on two key areas – tractable and usable all-day touring performance and a power and torque delivery that offers genuine feel for rear wheel traction. The natural by-product of these abilities is that the machine is also a great all-rounder – as happy on the urban commute as anywhere else.

16YM CRF1000L Africa Twin
The parallel twin layout in 998cc form gives an optimum balance between power, torque, mass and physical dimension, especially when designed from the ground up with weight saving, mass centralisation and a low centre of gravity in mind. And lessons learned in both HRC’s CRF250/450R Motocross and CRF450R Rally competition programs have been thoroughly applied to keep the dimensions and weight to a minimum – longitudinally the CRF1000L engine is the same length as the CBR500R engine.

A V-twin of the same capacity and output is physically too long and tall to effectively package a motorcycle with the Africa Twin’s performance objectives. With 70Kw peak power produced at 7,500rpm, and 98Nm torque arriving at 6,000rpm the new engine creates a linear, straight power curve and bulging torque curve for fluid, accessible bottom and mid-range drive, plus consistent top-end punch.

Good ground clearance – crucial to off-road performance – starts with a compact, short engine. The crankcases are split vertically with a built-in oil tank (the first Honda to feature such a design). The water pump is housed within the clutch casing (a first for a motorcycle engine) with a thermostat integrated into the cylinder head.

This allows a shorter hose length and frees up scope for appealing exterior design (also eliminating the external mounting bolts) while saving weight. The water and oil pumps are driven by the engine’s balancer shafts; Manual and DCT versions of the engine share common crankcases with only minor external differences.

The engine uses a semi-dry sump and in-tank lower crankcase oil storage. This allows a lower pan depth, reducing overall engine height. As the pressure-fed pump is located within the tank where it delivers its oil from, there is no need for a pressure-feed passage; again saving weight and space.

The four-valve cylinder heads, fed by PGM-FI fuel injection, each employ twin spark plugs and dual and sequential ignition control for even combustion, and their phased firing order contributes to engine character and feel. Compression ratio is set at 10:0:1.

Honda’s SOHC Unicam valve train is a feature of the CRF250/450R and the low-set position of the cast camshaft (as used on the CBR1000RR Fireblade) contributes to the compact nature of the cylinder head and allows freedom for the included valve angle, and therefore an ideal combustion chamber shape. It’s also a lightweight design and helps with mass centralization, thus low centre of gravity. The inlet valves are 36.5mm in diameter, the exhaust valves 31mm.

The firing order and ‘power pulse’ of the XRV750 Africa Twin’s V-twin engine gave excellent traction and feedback for how much grip the rear tyre was finding. For the CRF1000L Africa Twin to achieve the same kind of throttle feel an uneven-interval firing order, through use of a 270° phased crank system is employed.

Secondary vibrations are neutralised by the mutually reciprocating motion of the pistons, while primary inertial and coupling vibrations are cancelled by the use of biaxial balance shafts. The front balancer shaft uses two weights, the rear only a single weight in order to save weight.

Bore and stroke is set at 92 x 75.1mm. This bore size is used to optimise the CAE-designed pistons’ balance of rigidity and strength and a resin coating on the skirts reduces friction. Further reducing friction, AB-1 chromium plating and Palphos M1-A treatment (as used on the CBR600RR) are applied to the piston pins and con-rods.

The aluminium clutch centre and pressure plate use ‘assist’ cams to ease upshift and downshift (with lighter lever feel) and ‘slipper’ cams for deceleration and downshifting. Backlash between the pressure plate and centre has been optimized, as has backlash between the friction plate and clutch outer.

As the six-speed gearbox is a brand new design – with ‘pierced’ shape dogs for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th gear – the clutch itself is physically smaller, saving 500g compared to conventional units. Oil gathering ribs have been added to the main journal side of the primary gear, ensuring consistent lubrication for the gear, damper spring and primary sub-gear.

The shift cam design is the same as used by the CRF250/450R, giving secure gear shifting no matter the riding conditions. And to ensure direct drive – and consistent feel for traction – the cush drive rubbers in the rear wheel have been optimised in terms of physical size and shape.

Enhancing the rider’s experience the unique internals of the exhaust muffler are designed through CAE to boost the sound and feel of the engine’s beat, and patented by Honda. Acoustically tuned, chamber two creates a light, crisp feel at higher rpm while chamber three accentuates the deep, solid tone of a large-capacity twin.

16YM CRF1000L Africa Twin
There are four levels of control to choose from on the Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC): Level 1, 2 and 3 and off. The degree of electronically-generate control from the system decreases as the levels rise, allowing increasing amounts of rear wheel spin and, with rear ABS off, freedom to fully lock up the back wheel.

The Africa Twin’s DCT features a revised S mode offering three levels of sports performance (faster down changes and the ability to hold a higher/lower gear). The three modes make it possible to tailor gearbox response to preferred riding style. The selected level is stored, and acts as the default – thus making it possible to permanently ride in S mode. It is also displayed on the dash.

The DCT also features ‘adaptive clutch capability control’ that gives a natural ‘feathered’ clutch feel at low speed on/off throttle situations for smooth gear changes at low-speed. For essential additional off-road DCT performance, the CRF1000L Africa Twin offers new functionality through the use of the G switch positioned on the right side of the instrument panel. Pushing the G switch in any riding mode modifies the control of the clutch system to give a more direct drive.

Further new functionality for the DCT system comes in the form of incline detection, by means of which the gear shift pattern is adapted depending on the grade of any incline to provide optimum control.

3.2 Chassis

Fully adjustable Showa suspension is matched to a tough double cradle frame, with rigidity levels tuned for optimum handling. Wheels are 21/18-inch with 310mm ‘wave’ style floating front discs and radially mounted four-piston Nissin calipers. Dunlop 90/90-21 and 150/70-18 tyres provide all-round performance.

The key objectives laid out for the CRF1000L Africa Twin’s chassis were threefold: the ability to cover considerable amounts of off-road ground, with excellent on-road high-speed stability both when riding solo and when fully loaded with pillion and luggage.

Combining all three attributes presented a stimulating challenge for Honda’s development engineers. The resulting steel semi-double cradle frame (a similar design is used by the CRF450R Rally) has a finely tuned rigidity balance, not only within the frame spine and tubes but also through the use of 6 carefully placed engine hangers.

16YM CRF1000L Africa Twin
Thanks to the compact design of both engine and frame ground clearance is 250mm, with wheelbase of 1,575mm and rake and trail of 27.5°/113mm. The lightweight subframe features diagonal cross bracing and will carry a cargo weight of 30kg. Dry weight of the standard model is 208kg with wet weight of 228kg and a front/rear weight split of 49.1/50.9; seat height is 870mm (the same as the XRV750L Africa Twin) and can be lowered 20mm in a single operation.

Compared to the XRV750L the distance between the swingarm pivot and front tyre is 8mm shorter at 931mm, with the new machine using a 20mm longer swingarm. Add packaging of items like the battery nearer the centre of mass (behind the engine cylinders) and load on the front tyre is increased, improving both stability and traction. The steering angle of 43° either way equates to a turning radius of just 2.6m – useful for threading through busy streets or tricky trail.

And even though the CRF1000L’s engine is 25% larger in capacity and produces approx. 50% more power than the original, the new Africa Twin is only marginally lighter, with slim dimensions around the tank and seat area, and a riding position that enhances control and movement.

With stroke length of 230mm, the 45mm Showa cartridge-type inverted front fork offers class-leading levels of performance. For all-round compliance and feel the long extension stroke combines with a low spring rate and spring preload; rebound and compression damping are fully adjustable.

The leading axle maintains the required fork offset and centre of gravity of the steering system (compared to a centre axle design) aids mass centralisation and saves weight. A cast aluminium top yoke and forged bottom yoke – joined by hollow aluminium stem shaft – clamp the fork legs with two bolts each top and bottom.

The new 45mm Showa fork and yokes combined ­– thanks to extensive weight reduction through hollowing and thinning – are actually 860g lighter than the 43mm ‘upright’ fork and yokes of the XRV750L Africa Twin.

Matching the supple front suspension and generous ground clearance the Showa rear shock delivers 220mm axle travel. Its upper mount is set low for mass-centralisation and it features a 46mm cylinder and remote reservoir (as used by the CRF motocrossers) for stable damping control under more extreme off-road riding conditions. Spring preload can be adjusted via a dial on the shock body; rebound and compression damping are also fully adjustable.

The Monoblock cast aluminium swingarm in cross-section has hexagonal trapezoid spars, with the right (muffler) side thicker in depth – to maintain lateral rigidity balance – and shaped to clear the exhaust. Tough 6000-series forged aluminium is used for the Pro-Link linkage, saving weight while improving durability. The swingarm mounts to the engine cases through 17mm hollowed co-axial bolts.

The CRF1000L Africa Twin uses the same wheel size as the CRF450R Rally, 21-inch front and 18-inch rear; this allows a useful choice of off-road tyres to be applied. Widths of the rims are 2.15-inch/4-inch and 20mm front and rear hollow axle shafts improves rigidity while saving weight. On the rear wheel’s left side the spokes are arranged tangentially, to make space, and on the right the layout is linear to the hub and rim for strength.

Compact two-piece radial-mount four-piston calipers are designed to work the 310mm ‘wave’ floating discs through sintered pads (similar to the setup used by the CRF450R Rally) and serve up consistent stopping power and feel on-road or off. The pads’ bracket cotter pins have been done away with, simplifying the design and shaving grams, while aluminium disc hubs – the first on any Honda ­– also save weight.

The rear 256mm ‘wave’ disc is also CRF-derived and has been optimised for the Africa Twin, with hole punching and shaping to deliver secure braking performance. Lightweight two-channel ABS can be turned off for the rear caliper only.

The OE 90/90-21 and 150/70-18 Dunlop tyres – featuring large groove widths and narrow pitches between adjacent grooves – use a carcass and compound developed specifically to work well on tarmac or trail.

3.3 Styling & equipment

Minimal bodywork provides protection for the rider without bulk; the negative LCD display stacks rider information vertically rally-style for fast reading. New switchgear is ergonomically designed for ease of use and mounted on a tapered aluminium handlebar. Lighting is full LED.

The styling concept of the CRF1000L Africa Twin is one of ‘unlimited adventure’. The compact power unit features minimum exterior parts and this is reflected in the slim body and 18.8L fuel tank, which is designed to increase rider control and movement. It also features limited overhang, greatly improving chance of damage in a minor spill. Fittingly dual LED headlights pay homage to the XRV750L Africa Twin, reinforced with a ‘twin ring’ signature halo of LED light. The rear light is also LED.

16YM CRF1000L Africa Twin
To give maximum wind protection while touring – without hindering freedom off-road – the cowl and screen are an integrated unit. The screen’s centre duct controls turbulent air and allows a higher screen height, while dual side ducts deflect wind around shoulders and arms. A 90mm taller/30mm wider screen is available as an option for extended touring.

Internal airflow for the engine has also been carefully managed with baffle plates, bypass conduits and doglegs. To channel consistent air to the airbox – while under acceleration or steady load – the four ducts feeding from the radiator area are supplemented by duct ports in three locations; three on the front spoiler, twelve on the inner cover and two on the rear of the inner cover.

A negative LCD meter, vertically stacked, follows closely the dash layout of a rally race bike, allowing information to be rapidly assessed with little eye movement left or right. Three rows (clock, gear position, HSTC, odometer. trip meter, ambient temperature gauge and fuel gauge) display in the bottom section, and can be switched around by the rider through use of a cursor. The upper section LCD displays the essential speed, rpm and fuel. DCT information – with D-S mode selection and G switch setup – is clustered together.

16YM CRF1000L Africa Twin
The switchgear for both manual and DCT machine has been designed to improve rider control and ease of use. The dash functions are controlled from a button on the left switchgear, as is control of HSTC, with the indicator switch set closer to the handlebar. The right hand switchgear has an integrated start/engine stop switch, plus a hazard light button.

To manage the CRF1000L Africa Twin in DCT form the left switchgear incorporates an ‘up’ shift trigger on its rear – in a place naturally found by a forefinger – with the ‘down’ shift trigger on the front ready for a thumb. The right switchgear features an AT/MT (automatic/manual) select button and N-D-S (neutral, drive, sport) switch.

The parking brake is operated by pulling a lever on the left handlebar, with four levels of braking force to suit conditions – up to an 18% gradient with two people and full load – and slipping on the small lock lever; it’s taken off by simply squeezing the lever. A plastic guard shields the parking brake caliper and rear disc.

The tapered aluminium handlebar is both tough and attractive. It’s made in Japan from a new grade material with a high strength to thickness ratio, meaning it’s manufactured with 3mm walled tubing. It clamps on a 28.45mm diameter, tapers to 22.2mm and is 50% lighter – and much stronger – than a conventional steel handlebar.

Rubber mounts reduce impact shock off-road while brass inserts minimise the vibration fatigue of long-distance touring; bar end weights incorporate with knuckle guards for hand protection.

The CRF1000L Africa Twin will be available in four colour options: two standard and two Special Edition colours:

CRF Rally Red (SE)

Africa Twin Tricolor (SE)

Digital Silver Metallic

Matte Ballistic Black Metallic

Racing is in Honda’s DNA and the CRF Rally, with its Extreme Red and Victory Red stripes, plus three-tone seat echoes HRC’s CRF450R Rally machine. The Tricolour option pays its dues to the heritage of the original XRV750L Africa Twin, with unmistakable lines and paint to celebrate the machine’s return.

4. Accessories

A full range of genuine Honda accessories will be available, including top box, panniers, smoke screen, high screen, upper and lower wind deflectors, rubber pillion step, DCT foot shifter, heated grips, 12V socket, fog lamp including cowl bar, wheel stripes and alarm system.

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