Motorcycles

Honda turns the Africa Twin into a motorcycling version of corn flakes

Honda turns the Africa Twin in...
Behold the 2022 Honda NT1100. There it is, right there
Behold the 2022 Honda NT1100. There it is, right there
View 13 Images
Behold the 2022 Honda NT1100. There it is, right there
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Behold the 2022 Honda NT1100. There it is, right there
2-up touring in comfort and with a measure of agility
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2-up touring in comfort and with a measure of agility
Most riders will probably grab the top box from the accessories catalogue
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Most riders will probably grab the top box from the accessories catalogue
If corn flakes were a motorcycle, they would be the NT1100
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If corn flakes were a motorcycle, they would be the NT1100
Full LED lighting
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Full LED lighting
A much more road-focused adaptation of the Africa Twin
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A much more road-focused adaptation of the Africa Twin
Big color screen runs apps
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Big color screen runs apps
Bluetooth-enabled infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
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Bluetooth-enabled infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
Top box has a backrest, and the seats look comfy yet won't restrict you from sporty riding
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Top box has a backrest, and the seats look comfy yet won't restrict you from sporty riding
Screen can be set up as a bigger, better looking multi-mode dash
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Screen can be set up as a bigger, better looking multi-mode dash
Short-travel Sachs suspension and Nissin brakes
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Short-travel Sachs suspension and Nissin brakes
Cruise control? Cruise control.
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Cruise control? Cruise control.
2022 HONDA NT1100
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2022 HONDA NT1100
View gallery - 13 images

Honda has turned its Africa Twin adventure machine into a sports tourer, in the most Honda way possible. The new NT1100 looks quick, capable, comfortable and reasonably well-appointed. It's probably built to outlast capitalism. And despite the fact that I'm certain it's an excellent bike, I can't muster a single squirt of lust hormone for it.

I want to, I really do. I've genuinely loved Hondas in the past, and this looks like it'll meet a lot of criteria for a wide range of riders. Its lightly retuned 1,084 cc parallel twin motor looks a tad underdone on the spec sheet, making just 100 horsepower and 104 Nm (77 lb-ft) of peak torque, but it's a powerful and responsive real-world engine and I'm sure riders will rarely find themselves wanting for grunt.

You can specify it with a manual gearbox, or else option up to Honda's well-proven DCT dual-clutch automatic system, rendering the bike clutchless for super-simple riding and leaving the ability to electronically select gears at will when it's time to get your game face on. Honda says it's been sort of a hit; 53 percent of Honda buyers have gone for the auto in 2020, when given the option.

Most riders will probably grab the top box from the accessories catalogue
Most riders will probably grab the top box from the accessories catalogue

The Africa Twin frame remains, but she's no longer going to land jumps or float over whoops with any kind of grace. The long-travel Africa Twin suspension is replaced with road-focused Showa gear, and the wheels come back to 17-inch street-sized die-cast aluminum rims.

There's electronic rider aids, but nothing too outrageous. ABS, naturally, as well as a fly-by-wire throttle enabling Honda's versions of traction control, wheelie control, engine map modes, engine braking levels, that sort of thing. You can roll with Honda's preset Urban, Rain and Tour modes or set up two different configurable user modes.

There's a tiny LCD dash, mounted under a large and impressive-looking 6.5-inch, full-color, Bluetooth-enabled screen that can function as another, cooler-looking multi-mode dash, or can also be set to run a bunch of apps, from navigation through to media, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There's cruise control, a five-way adjustable screen and upper and lower sets of wind deflectors, heated grips and a decent-sized set of color-matched standard panniers, lockable and waterproof.

The seats look broad and comfortable for rider and passenger alike, as befits a long-distance 2-up machine like this, and you bet there's a range of optional accessories ready to go as well, chief among which is a medium-sized and aerodynamic-looking top box with a passenger backrest built in.

New 2022 NT1100 Launch Film

It doesn't displace the full-dress Goldwing; this is a lot lighter at 238 kg (525 lb) for the manual and an extra 10 kg (22 lb) for the DCT auto. It looks more agile and can likely lean over further in the corners – not that a well-ridden Goldwing can't get the odd sportsbike rider looking over their shoulder.

I'm certain that this bike will be well thought-out, reliable, fast and beautifully controlled, and that people who buy them will take them to incredible places and have wonderful experiences. And yet, well, look at it.

Available only in corporate grey, "is that a cop" white and anonymous black, the NT1100 looks like it's been designed by a team of monks who have managed to conquer their emotions. I know this segment isn't given to great beauty, but the lines here are so anodyne, so sexless and practical, that John Harvey Kellogg himself couldn't have sketched a better way to keep excitable boys' hands out of their pants.

Bluetooth-enabled infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
Bluetooth-enabled infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Honda has spent the last two decades zigging as the entire rest of the motorcycle world zagged. It didn't get caught up in horsepower races. It doesn't portray its bikes as naughty or crazy or even particularly exciting most of the time. It rarely seeks to inflame passions or call attention to itself. It tends to prioritize perfect engineering, even at the cost of excitement. So it's the company's own fault if wild-eyed writers like me tend to damn its machines with faint praise.

Thrown into a market that's already brimming with machines like the S1000XR, the Multistrada, the Versys, the V-Strom and the Tiger, the NT1100 will surely find its people. If you're one of them, I'm certain you'll love it like a brother. And hey, brothers are no bad thing.

Check out a video below, which attempts to push the buttons of motorcycle riders by juxtaposing bikes with a violin player.

New 2022 NT1100 Launch Film

Source: Honda

View gallery - 13 images
10 comments
10 comments
Chase
Color can always be fixed. I don't think I'd mind commuting 3 hours a day on this thing in, say, a satin Olive Drab wrap.
Tim Reed Manessy
Hi Loz, I think your headline here is incorrect. The NT1100 has the Africa Twin's engine (and maybe platform), but this is NOT the 2022 Africa Twin. As Adventure category continues to grow, Honda has been making regular improvements and added features to compete more directly with the BMW GS series bikes and the Africa Twin is not going anywhere except up. The NT1100 appears to be a new model line to compete in the (also growing) Sport Touring category.

- trm (2019 Honda Africa Twin CRF1000A2 rider)
Joe Henderson
Is there anyone who writes a better review than Loz Blain?

I've gotta admit, I wouldn't mind having one of these bikes to replace or supplement my Gold Wing.
Lucky2BHere
Couldn't disagree with you more. I'm a mature, elegant, thoughtful design lasts so much longer than some pointy, aggressive, little-boyish bar brawler design, much of what we're seeing on many of today's bikes, including sports tourers. There's balance, restraint, and a feeling of cohesiveness that pervades the entire design. Maybe you're reacting to the colors, but I would much rather see this every morning than something that will get old in 6 months and have me wanting something else. People buy this kind of bike for a long-term relationship. In Honda knows that.
vince
Why is newatlas continuing to advertise gas motorcycles in this era of electrics?
CAVUMark
My 1996 CB750 Nighthawk is no hotrod superbike, but it is in good shape, clean and people notice it. And there are only a few bits made of plastic.
Numbone
I love Loz, (like a brother).
What he fails to mention here though, (and he rarely misses much), is this new NT has no shaft drive. This is not a very NT characteristic, when you consider NT models of the past, and will expose the owner to the passion and excitement of chain maintenance. Your thesis has failed, my brother.
Longtermthinker
Loz, One question, have you ridden the Honda SPORT TOURER, thought so. I guess you are only excited by flashy styling and big H.P. numbers. Anyone who has ridden multiple bikes can tell you that the character, quality and satisfaction can only be assessed by seat of the pants experience. Why are you so dismissive of this bike? Regarding the styling, what is it you don’t like other than the color?? I find this “review” pretty unenlightening.
JustAGuy
I share the exact same sentiments. I want to like this bike. It checks every box but one. It doesn’t excite me. I don’t want to see it in my garage. I know it’s sensible. I know it’s reliable. I also know it’s vanilla.
Randy Singer
For those who are bemoaning that this bike has chain final drive and, heavens!, it will have to be maintained....maybe you haven't purchased a new motorcycle in the last 15 to 20 years? O-ring chains are very close to maintenance-free now. Give them a spritz of wax-based chain lube every now and then and they will provide about 30,000 trouble-free miles, with no need for cleaning the chain or the rear wheel like in the old days.

In return, chain drive is lighter, more efficient, and cheaper than shaft drive. The bike can be designed with longer travel rear suspension, that doesn't have to be tuned too stiff to prevent shaft drive's jacking effect. So your bike can be both better handling and faster.