Honda's legendary Africa Twin returns
The brand new CRF1000L has been officially unveiled by Honda, marking the return of the legendary Africa Twin logo twelve years after the venerable XRV750 went out of production. The clean-slate design of new adventure tourer aims to keep real world off-road capability in mind without compromising touring comfort and everyday agility.
Hondaalready has the VFR1200X Crosstourer in its lineup, so the new Africa Twindoesn’t really need to be the ultimate do-it-all adventurer, it just has to cater for the off-road enthusiast. Honda puts it this way: "it has to perform in off-road situations as well as on-roadlong-range touring, and all points in between."
Instead ofcreating a souped up version of an existing model, Honda opted to invest timeand money in designing a brand new motorcycle from the ground up. The nameis chosen to make its off-road inclination clear, with CRF referring to Honda's contemporary Enduro and Motocross competition bikes, and of course the nod to the indispensable Africa Twin innuendo.
In thecenter of the Africa Twin’s steel cradle frame sits a brand new 998 cc twocylinder engine with a Unicam, 4-valve design and a 270-degree crankshaft. Twoprimary balance shafts provide assurances for smooth action with minimumvibrations. The engine output of 94 hp (70 kW) / 7,500 rpm and 98 Nm(72.3 lb-ft) / 6,000 rpm is applied through a six-speed gearbox, equippedwith an assist slipper clutch. Honda claims that this new engine can achieve arange of up to 400 km (248.5 miles) with a full 18.8 lt (5 gal) fuel tank.
Off-roadcredibility is boosted by the choice of 21-inch front and 18 inch rear wheels with tubed tires – a mustif one doesn’t want to worry about deflating tires due to bent rim edges.
Honda hashoused the engine’s water pump inside the clutch casing to keep it safe fromthe occasional mishap. Ground clearance is a sufficient 250 mm (9.8 in) and even the exhaust pipe routing is as discrete as possible to avoid making any parts vulnerable to a fall. On the other hand, the non-detachablesubframe seems like something those with a taste for hard adventure riding mayhave to worry about.
Asannounced, Honda has also presented a version of the CRF1000L furnished with anew Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT), optimized for off-road riding. Apart fromthe obvious fully automatic D-mode, there is the option of an S-mode where therider shifts serially through the gears via two buttons on the left hand sideof the handlebars. Honda notes that the Sports (S) mode offers three distinctshift patterns to choose from, yet it does not explain in detail the differencebetween S1, S2 and S3. Off-road functionality is enhanced by using the Gswitch, located on the instrument panel, which can be used in any riding mode. Its function is to reduce the amount of clutch slip during gear changes,thus improving the rider's control over the engine.
The bike'swet weight is announced at 228 kg (503 lb) in standard trim, adding another 4kg (9 lb) for the ABS version, while the DCT version tips the scales at 242 kg(533 lb).
There arestill some details that are not disclosed in the press kit, such as the wheeltravel allowed by the fully adjustable Showa fork and shock absorber. Thiswould be an important figure with regard to the Africa Twin's capabilities awayfrom the asphalt. Honda only says that its suspension is "long travel."
TheCRF1000L will be sold in three variants, the standard model, the ABS and theABS-DCT version. The latter two will also have as standard the Honda SelectableTorque Control (HSTC) system, effectively a traction control that adjusts tothree different levels. The ABS can also be adjusted for off-road riding, inwhich case the anti-blocking function does not apply to the rear wheel.
Four coloroptions will include the red CRF Rally, the white Tricolour, as well as the Blackand Silver. Judging from the pricing policy that Honda follows with theCrosstourer, we should expect lower prices for the single color options.
The newadventure bike is expected to arrive at European dealers towards the end of2015 at a price starting of €12,100 – although itdoesn’t explain which taxes have been dialed in.