- Honda goes BIG with latest adventure machine
- 998cc CRF1000L Africa Twin – city or country
- There’s even the option of an auto gearbox
In showrooms at last – Honda’s big terrain-tearing off-road, continent-cruising or even daily commuter Honda CRF1000L has arrived in South Africa to challenge the bike similar machines, particularly from BMW.
And it even comes with a manual/auto gearbox.
The bikemaker says the essential features of an adventure motorcycle are a strong engine, tough chassis with long-travel suspension, upright riding position and wide handlebars – each nevertheless beneficial for normal daily city use, especially on out deteriorating urban roads.
“Practicality has been key to the popularity of these machines,” Honda says. “They’re 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 great distances when the tarred surface disappears.”
The original XRV750L Africa Twin, the bikemaker says, was a worthwhile benchmark against today’s myriad adventure bikes. “The machine that now bears its name may share no common part with the previous model but – on road or off – it’s inherited the full the essence and spirit of what made the XRV750L Africa Twin so popular.”
The CRF1000L Africa Twin’s 998cc parallel-twin engine, Honda says, drew heavily on the CRF250R/450R competition machines; they even use the same quad-valve Unicam compact cylinder-head design.
The semi-dry sump engine’s short height contributes to the new machine’s 25cm ground clearance adn the light six-speed manual gearbox uses the same shift-cam design as the CRF250R/450R.
Three models are available – so let’s get the prices out of the way here:
HONDA CRF1000L Africa Twin prices (inc VAT)
Honda CRF1000L- R159 990
Honda CRF1000L a/t – R169 990
Honda CRF1000L D – R189 990
including a two-year unlimited distance warranty and a year’s roadside assistance.
There are two models in addtion to the standard unit: the first has anti-lock brakes (can be disabled for off-road riding) and four-mode selectable torque control, the second has Honda’s unique dual-clutch auto/manual transmission (with new off-road functionality) as well as ABS and HSTC.
The torque choices reduce intervention through 1, 2, 3 and 4 to allow greater amounts of wheelspin.
The DCT allows the rider to shift gears with triggers on the left end of the handlebar instead of using the two automatic modes: D mode offers the best balance of fuel economy and comfort, S has three levels of sports performance. The ‘box also has a G button of heavy off-roading to give a more-direct drive.
The inverted 45mm Showa front fork is adjustable and carries two Nissin four-piston brake callipers loading 310mm ‘wave’ style discs. The Showa rear shock has hydraulic spring preload adjustment
Like the CRF450R Rally, the CRF1000L Africa Twin uses 21″ front and 18″ rear spoked wheels that can take a wide range of off-road tyres instead of the standard dual-purpose 90 front / 150 rear tyres.
The bike is styled with minimum bodywork but still gives lots of foul-weather protection for the rider. The cowl and screen are a unit: the screen’s centre duct controls turbulent air and allows a higher screen height, two side ducts deflect the slipstream around shoulders and arms.
A 90mm taller/30mm wider screen is available an option for extended touring.
Dual diode headlights, Honda says, “maintain the original bike’s presence” and the seat height can adjust from 870mm down to 850mm.
The fuel tank holds 18.8 litres for a (Honda data) range of 400km – which brings us to the engine: the parallel twin makes 70kW at 7500rpm and 98Nm of torque at 6000 to, Honda says, make it also a great all-rounder.
The quad-valve cylinder heads have PGM-FI fuel-injection, each with two spark plugs and dual and sequential ignition control. Compression ratio is 10:1.
The six-speed gearbox is new and used a smaller clutch which saves a half-kilo of weight.
The exhaust, patented by Honda, has been designed to boost the sound and feel of the engine’s beat through three chambers, the second of which creates a light, crisp feel at higher rpm and the third the deep, solid tone of a large-capacity twin.
Instrumentation includes an LCD meter and the stacking, Honda says, follows the dash layout of a rally-race bike, allowing information to be rapidly assessed with little eye movement. 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 riderr.
2016 CRF1000L Africa Twin
The upper section displays speed, rpm and fuel level. DCT information – with D-S mode selection and G switch setup – clustered.
The right switches include engine start/stop and hazard lights and the parking brake is a lever on the left side of the 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 CRF1000L Africa Twin will be available in four colour options: two standard and two Special Edition: CRF Rally Red (SE), Africa Twin Tricolor (SE), Digital Silver Metallic or Matte Ballistic Black Metallic
A full range of Honda accessories will be available, among them a top box, panniers, smoked screen, high screen, upper and lower wind deflectors, rubber pillion step, DCT foot shifter, heatable handlebar grips, 12V accessory socket, fog light with cowl bar, wheel stripes, and alarm system.