Honda Africa Twin


Wherefore art thou, Honda Africa Twin? For years now we have been lamenting Honda's inclusion of a true middleweight ADV offering in its lineup, to go up against bikes like the BMW F850GS, and newcomers like the Aprilia Tuareg 660 and Yamaha Ténéré 700. Today, that wish has been answered.

On paper, the Honda Transalp fits the bill, though I reserve some judgment until I see US pricing and availability.

My only serious gripe with the spec sheet is the bare-bones suspension pieces, but a cut-throat price tag could help me swallow that pill (along with some nice drop-in cartridges in the aftermarket).

Instead, most of my thoughts on the Transalp actually concern the Africa Twin.

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The 1,084cc parallel-twin engine in the Honda Africa Twin 1100 is a sweetheart of a motor, and so it doesn’t surprise us to see Honda using it on bikes like the Honda Rebel 1100.

Punchy, linear, and smooth, the twin-cylinder power plant is good for a variety of applications, and it looks like Big Red is about to give it one more additional duty.

Teasing a “new touring era” of motorcycles on YouTube today, Honda is most definitely getting us ready for what will be called the NT1100X in the European market.

Close your eyes, and imagine you have a Honda Africa Twin. Now, strip away everything about the bike that makes it one of the most potent adventure-touring models on the market, and start adding back the design elements found in the metric cruiser thing. Open your eyes.

What you just built in your head is the 2021 Honda Rebel 1100, and as you might be able to decipher from its name, the Rebel-styled full-sized cruiser features a parallel-twin engine that shares more than a few chromosomes with the 1,084cc motor found in the CRF1000L.

That might seem like a weird way to build a cruiser, but there is at least a little genius in Honda’s madness.

It looks like we are resurrecting a rumor from five years ago, as once again there is talk of a midsized adventure bike from Honda in the pipes.

It remains to be seen if this new model will take over the “Transalp” moniker (Honda canceled its Transalp trademark in 2016 for the USA, after reviving it in 2013), but right now the rumors from Europe are suggesting an 850cc twin-cylinder ADV bike is coming from Big Red.

Whether the rumor is true remains to be seen, but there is plenty of ammo to see a so-called Honda CRF850L hitting the market.

The wait is finally over, as Big Red has finally taken the wraps off its revised version of the Honda Africa Twin for the Euro5 emission standard.

The result is a “CRF1100L” motorcycle, which tips the notion that this adventure-tourer has an 86cc displacement increase, as expected. This accounts for a 7% increase in peak power (101hp / 75 kW), along with a 6% increase in peak torque (77 lbs•ft / 105 Nm).

Despite all this, the 2020 Honda Africa Twin gets a modest weight reduction as well, to the tune of an extra 10 lbs (501 lbs at the curb, non-DCT model). But most importantly, the Japanese brand has brought some significant features to the fray, making the Africa Twin not only potent, but sophisticated.

Around this time next week, the new Honda Africa Twin will drop. If you have been keeping up on the news, this news shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. 

We have known for a while now that the Honda Africa Twin would be getting an update for Euro5 for the 2020 model year, which meant a displacement increase to around the 1,100cc mark.

Since that early news, we have seen some photos and details leak, and now Honda Motor Europe is making it obvious that we will see the new Honda Africa Twin (CRF1100L) officially debut on September 23rd.

If you believe the latest internet gossip, a new updated Honda Africa Twin is on the way. The news comes from UK site BikeSocial, which says that the potent adventure bike will get a displacement bump for the 2020 model year, among other upgrades.

More specifically, the 2020 Honda Africa Twin is said to target a new displacement of 1,080cc, which should be good for a 5hp increase in peak power, bringing the machine to just shy of 100hp.

Perhaps more importantly though, the new displacement size will help the Africa Twin deal with the power-sapping Euro5 regulations, which will make tailpipe emissions for motorcycles much more stringent going forward.

Apologies if things have been a bit sparse here the last few days, as I’ve been making yet another trans-Atlantic crossing…my third in just seven days.

The trip has been worth it though, as I have been fortunate enough to ride in Morocco with Bridgestone the last few days, testing out the new Battlax A41 adventure-touring tire, and the Battlax T31 sport-touring tire.

Because of the schedule, we are going to have to Tarantino this “Gone Riding” post a little, and do thing in reverse, but there is plenty to talk about.

Our routes have been based out of Ouarzazate (productions like Gladiator and Game of Thrones have been filmed here), and it is a high-desert terrain with red rocks and plenty of sand and wind.

With two different tires, I have been on a host of bikes as well. On the Battlax A41, it was the BMW 1200GS Rallye, KTM 1290 Adventure S, and the Honda Africa Twin; while for the Battlax T31, it was the Suzuki GSX-S1000F, BMW R1200R, and KTM 1290 Super Duke GT.

Feel free to pick my brain about the new Bridgestone tires, the bikes I have been on, and what it is like to visit Morocco and the Ouarzazate region.

As always, you can follow our thoughts on the tires via FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, and you can see what our colleagues are posting on social media by looking for the hashtags #BattlaxA41 & #BattlaxT31