Honda Teases New Concepts, But Will They Actually Build Them?

There’s a number of motorcycle shows happening in Japan at the moment, but the biggest is the Osaka Motorcycle Show. It’s here that Honda has unveiled a number of concepts and ‘prototypes’ – some good, some bland and some we’ve seen before. The question is though, will any of these actually see the light of day as production motorcycles?

The most likely bike that will see production is the CRF250 Rally, which has now apparently moved from being a concept to a prototype – albeit it still looks very similar to its previous showings. Honda has been showing this off at almost every motorcycle show for the last 12 plus months and given the positive feedback garnered both at shows and online, it would seem almost inevitable that it will be produced – if it’s not already in production in Thailand now.

Also likely to make it to production is the Africa Twin ‘Adventure Sports’ Concept. Calling it a concept is pushing the envelope a bit, as it’s essentially a kitted up Africa Twin with potentially better off-road performance for serious riders. The new Honda Africa Twin is already a huge success for the company and once sales start to plateau, it would make sense to begin selling special editions.

africa twin adventure sport

The third ‘concept’ shown off by Honda is the CB Concept Type II which is based on the under achieving CB1100. Again, calling this a concept is a stretch, as it appears to be essentially a standard CB1100 but with a few cosmetic changes and Ohlins suspension. It’s hardly ground breaking and given the ever diminishing markets for large capacity air cooled bikes, seems unlikely that this will actually make it to market unless as a watered down ‘special edition’ of the current CB1100.

 

Marquez and the new Honda Africa Twin get Dirty

Honda has handed the keys to their all new CRF1000L Africa Twin to current MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez to show that he’s as capable on the black stuff as he is on the dirt. In the video released by Honda he’s joined by fellow Spaniard Joan Barreda who is well known and respected in the Dakar scene.

And while obviously the video shows a lot of choreographed jumps and slides, there is one interesting thing to note. Marc Marquez stands only 5’6″ tall and yet is able to plant his feet firmly on the ground when stopped. While that may sound trivial it’s a big deal as the CRF1000L includes an adjustable height seat meaning that this bike will appeal to a wide range of potential buyers.

There’s two other videos on the playlist, one each of Marquez and Barreda talking about the bike and no surprises for guessing that they were positive towards it.

Pricing for Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin Announced in Australia

We’ve gotten our first true indication of pricing for the all new 2016 Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin, courtesy of Honda in Australia. Previously we’ve had leaked prices and vague ideas from Honda in Portugal but EU pricing doesn’t necessarily reflect what potential buyers might pay for the machines elsewhere. But Australian pricing is generally a good indication for what to expect the in US, which on a currency converted basis pays around 20% less than riders down under.

The price in Australian dollars is as follows:

  • $15,499 for the base model
  • $16,999 for the ABS model
  • $17,999 for ABS-DCT model

That’s very, very sharp. To compare with the KTM 1190 Adventure R and the BMW R 1200 GS we looked at in our recent article, the KTM sells for $24,999 and he R 1200 GS is $21,590.

On a straight currency conversion basis, the base model Africa Twin in Australia equates to USD $11,395. Thus it’s not hard to imagine the price coming in below $10,000 in the US. Other rivals to the new Africa Twin include the Triumph Tiger Explorer ($20,490) and the Yamaha Super Tenere ($21,999). In fact, it’s even cheaper than the newly updated Kawasaki Versys 1000 which retails for AUD $15,999.

I dare say a few bean counters at rival motorcycle camps may just have had a bit of a fright.

2016 CRF1000L Africa Twin Official Specifications Released

Honda CRF1000L vs KTM 1190 Adventure vs BMW R1200 GS – Which is the most Adventurous?

Come later this year, adventure riders will have three fantastic choices when it comes to truly off-road capable adventure bikes. The leader of the pack is undoubtedly the BMW R1200 GS – BMW’s most successful model and inspiration for many a midlife crisis. The KTM 1190 Adventure R is  slightly more focused at the off-road rider but is nevertheless a competent and capable tourer. So what chance does Honda’s reborn Africa Twin, aka the CRF1000L have?

The hype surrounding the all new Honda CRF1000L was huge and started last year with the unveiling of the True Adventure concept. But like so many things that are heavily anticipated, the reality can sometimes disappoint. There were high expectations that reborn Africa Twin would be light, powerful and cheap – but it seems it won’t really be any of those things. But it most certainly shouldn’t be written off due to its spec sheet alone. In fact, a closer analysis of things shows that the 2016 Honda CRF1000L will still be a potent competitor.

2016 CRF1000L Africa Twin Official Specifications Released

Performance

The Honda CRF1000L is the most under powered of the three bikes we’re looking at. It’s not only down on horsepower but it’s heavily down on torque. The former we’re not really concerned with as 94 horsepower is more than adequate for off road bikes and in reality is enough for the road too – although we wouldn’t have complained about an extra 10 or 20 horses.

The fact that it’s down on torque compared to the KTM by 21 per cent and the BMW by 19 per cent however is more of an issue. Being able to twist the throttle and get the power you want to maintain momentum – especially when negotiating steep inclines – is a big deal for adventure bikes. That the new Africa Twin is so down on torque may necessitate more gear changes which not only makes riding it more difficult, it also increases fatigue.

Thankfully, the CRF1000L comes with DCT as an option, however that creates problems of its own…

ktm 1190 adventure r

Weight

Perhaps the biggest disappointment when the specifications for the CRF1000L were released was its weight which starts from 503 lb. But its an unwarranted criticism as in comparison to not only the KTM 1190 Adventure R and BMW R1200 GS but almost every other big capacity adventure bike out there, it’s quite reasonable.

What people tend to forget is that adventure bikes are not designed like enduro bikes that start their life as a dirtbike. Adventure bikes are made to be extremely tough and resilient – and that generally means thick and sturdy frames which translates to more weight.

Sadly, that 503 lb figure quickly rises if you add ABS and DCT – having both pushes the weight up to 534 lb, making it heaver than the KTM and the BMW but with much less power. That’s a pretty big power to weight disadvantage.

One thing to keep in mind however is the weight distribution of the bike. Honda is very good at disguising the weight of their machines – they often feel a lot lighter than their actual mass. It’s also important that the weight be over the front wheel on an adventure bike which is critical for handling. Just by looking at the new CRF1000L you can see that Honda has got that sorted.

r1200gs_1920x1080_08

Geometry

Here is where the Africa Twin shines and shows that it’s more dirt focused than road (and therefore potentially less of an all-rounder than the competition). Up front is a 21 inch wheel – bigger than the 19 inch on the R 1200 GS but matched by the 1190 Adventure R. Ground clearance for both the Japanese and Austrian bikes is 9.8” which again eclipses the BMW’s 8.1”.

But it’s the front and rear suspension that show what Honda’s interest is. Front travel on the Africa Twin is 230mm, and 220mm at the rear. That’s 10mm more at the front and the same on the rear as the KTM. The BMW’s more all round nature is demonstrated by the fact that it’s front/rear travel is 190 mm/200 mm. That means it’s less capable of absorbing hits from potholes and rocks that are common on grueling rides.

2016 CRF1000L Africa Twin Official Specifications Released

Miscellaneous

From the specifications we’ve seen so far, there are two other areas that have us concerned with the new CRF1000L. The first is the fuel tank capacity. Quoted at 4.96 gallons, that’s down on both of its rivals (and also goes some way to explaining its lighter weight when fully fueled). Honda is claiming that the all new parallel twin will offer great fuel economy which may make its smaller tank irrelevant.

The other head scratching issue is the options available in the US. For the US (and we assume Canadian market) you can either buy the standard model without ABS, or the top of the range model with ABS and DCT. You can’t buy the bike with ABS and not DCT. That’s an extremely dumb decision as we have no doubt that there will be far more people wanting ABS than DCT. Not making the Africa Twin available with ABS on its own is a baffling decision.

The other big question is the price. Only pricing in some European countries has been confirmed which often doesn’t simply translate to the UK, US or Australia so it remains to be seen how much of a value proposition the Africa Twin will be. But in our opinion it will need to come in under the KTM and BMW to stand a chance.

Honda CRF1000LKTM 1190 Adventure RBMW R 1200 GS
Engine998cc liquid-cooled 4-stroke 8-valve Parallel Twin with 270 degree crank and uni-Cam2-cylinder, 4-stroke, V 75°Air/liquid-cooled four stroke flat twin engine, double overhead camshaft, one balance shaft
Capacity1,000 cc1,195 cc1,170 cc
Power93.9hp @ 7500 rpm150hp @ 9500 rpm125 hp at 7,750 rpm
Torque72.3 lb-ft @ 6000 rpm92.2 @ 7500 rpm89 @ 6000 rpm
Gear BoxConstant mesh 6-speed MT / 6-speed DCT with on and off-road riding modes6 gearsConstant mesh 6-speed gearbox with helical gear teeth
Front Brakes310mm dual wave floating hydraulic disc with aluminium hub and radial fit 4-piston calipers2 x Brembo four piston, radially bolted caliper, brake disc Ø 320 mmDual disc brake, floating brake discs, diameter 305 mm, 4-piston radial calipers
Rear BrakesBrembo two piston, fixed caliper, brake disc Ø 267 mmBrembo two piston, fixed caliper, brake disc Ø 267 mmSingle disc brake, diameter 276 mm, double-piston floating caliper
Front Suspension256mm wave hydraulic disc with 2-piston caliperWP-USD Ø 48 mm, 220mm travelBMW Motorrad Telelever; stanchion diameter 37 mm, central spring strut, 190mm travel
Rear Suspension220mm stroke, hydraulic spring preload adjustorWP-Monoshock, 220mm travelCast aluminium single-sided swing arm with BMW Motorrad Paralever; WAD strut (travel-related damping), spring pre-load hydraulically adjustable (continuously variable) at handwheel, rebound damping adjustable at handwheel, 200mm travel
Front Tire90/90-R21 90/90 R 21120/70 R 19
Rear Tire150/70-R18150/70 R 18170/60 R 17
Wet Weight228kg (STD), 232 kg (ABS), 242kg (DCT)526 lb (238 kg)525 lbs (238 kg)
Tank Capacity18.8 litres23 liters/3.5 liters reserve20 litres/4 litre reserve

2016 CRF1000L Africa Twin Official Specifications Released

Less than a day after an early spec sheet was leaked, Honda has made available the full and official specifications for the upcoming 2016 CRF1000L Africa Twin – that includes figures for horsepower, weight and importantly suspension travel. There will also be three version of the machine available, the CRF1000L, CRF1000L ABS and CRF1000L DCT.

Here are the key features:

  • A steel semi-double cradle frame provides the perfect balance of high-speed stability – also while fully loaded – matched to genuine off-road ability, agility and sheer strength. Mass centralisation – with items like the battery packaged at the rear of the cylinder head – contributes to a low centre of gravity.
  • The CRF1000L Africa Twin’s 1000cc parallel twin power plant draws heavily on Honda’s off-road race experience in the form of the CRF250R/450R and CRF450R Rally competition machines, and uses the same four-valve Unicam head design for compact overall dimensions. A lightweight cast camshaft – using the same materials as the CBR1000RR Fireblade – operates the valve train, and twin spark plugs fire the fuel/air mixture in each combustion chamber.
  • The six-speed manual gearbox is both lightweight and robust; it uses the same shift-cam design as found on the CRF250R/450R to ensure positive changes. An assist slipper clutch manages the drivetrain on deceleration and downshifts, making for smooth clutch lever operation at any moment of gear change. Honda’s unique Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) will be available as an option on the CRF1000L Africa Twin, with the use of a common crankcase ensuring no width is added on the DCT versions.
  • Honda’s unique Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) will be available as an option, featuring the standard manual mode – allowing the rider to operate gear shifts through triggers on the handlebars – and two automatic modes. D mode offers the best balance of fuel economy and comfort cruising. S mode has now been revised to give extra levels of sports performance, with three different shift patterns to choose from: S1, S2 and S3.
  • The CRF1000L Africa Twin DCT is also fully equipped to operate in for adventure, with off-road functionality enhanced by the G switch. Pushing the G switch in any riding mode improves traction and machine control by reducing the amount of clutch slip during gear changes. 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.

As was seen earlier, engine specs are 70kw ( 94hp) @ 7,500rpm and 98Nm @ 6,000rpm. Wet weight starts at 225kg for the base model, increases to 232kg for the ABS model and the DCT model jumps to 242kg. Front fork diameter is 45mm while suspension travel across all three models is 230mm at the front and 220mm at the rear – that puts it just ahead of the KTM 1190 which many feel this model will compete against.

Many will probably be upset at some of those specifications. Horsepower is definitely less than most of the competition but in our opinion is more adequate for an off-road machine. Weight is probably the other issue with the machine – especially when you include DCT, but Honda do make their bikes carry weight quite well so it will probably feel a lot lighter than it actually is. We’ll all find out in a few months when it’s released in any event.

So far, the only pricing is from Honda Europe which states the base model will be €12,100 – certainly more expensive than many were hoping.

 

2016 Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin Specifications

EngineLiquid-cooled 4-stroke 8-valve Parallel Twin with 270 degree crank and uni-Cam
Capacity998cc
Power70kw ( 94hp) @ 7,500rpm
Torque98Nm @ 6,000rpm
Gear BoxConstant mesh 6-speed MT / 6-speed DCT with on and off-road riding modes
Front Brakes310mm dual wave floating hydraulic disc with aluminium hub and radial fit 4-piston callipers (*ABS) and sintered metal
pads
Rear Brakes256mm wave hydraulic disc with 2-piston calliper (*ABS) and sintered metal pads. Also Lever-Lock Type Parking
Brake System on DCT model
Front Suspension45mm fork, 230mm stroke 4-pot radial calliper, fully adjustable
Rear Suspension220mm stroke, hydraulic spring preload adjustor
Front Tire90/90-R21 tube type
Rear Tire150/70-R18 tube type
Wet Weight228kg (STD), 232 kg (ABS), 242kg (DCT)
Tank Capacity18.8 litres

New Video Shows 2016 Honda Africa Twin in Action

A new video has been released online giving the best look yet at the upcoming enduro bike. The video is the latest in Honda’s True Adventure series which is showing the origins of the machine and how it came to be designed. The new 2016 Honda Africa Twin is shown on trails and open plains and looks like the real deal.

The video is also the first time we’ve seen the bike in a white color scheme in addition to the red shown in the first official images of the bike. There’s a lot of hype surrounding this motorcycle but we have the feeling Honda is going to nail it – this could end up being the adventure bike to own and will give BMW and KTM a huge run for their money. When Honda actually does something with passion and instinct they are hard to beat.

The 2016 Honda Africa Twin will be released later this year in Europe with release dates in North America and Australia following soon after.

 

 

Honda CRF1000L African Twin Patent Renders

Patent images of the upcoming Honda CRF1000L African Twin have surfaced just a few days after Honda teased everyone with the first images of the production bike in its red and black color schemed glory. The images give us a full look at the changes between the final version and what we saw of the True Adventure concept.

Up the front is obviously the new headlight arrangement. The biggest differences between the concept and the production version relatse to the rear of the bike – though that much was already discovered in previous patents. The production version will feature a split rider/pillion seat with an inbuilt height adjustment mechanism. The seat can be moved up and down with ease and as it does so, the front of the rider’s pew slides up the tank.

Earlier patents had indicated that the front fairing/cowling was a one piece unit, though that’s not to established looking at the latest renders – it appears the piece may split just under the twin headlights. While not really visible in the renders, the other major design feature of the reborn Africa Twin is its split airbox design. The airbox is split in two parts with one mounted either side of the headstock. What this means is that the fuel tank can sit directly behind the engine which then in turn not only lowers the overall center of mass of the Africa Twin, but keeps things narrow up front as well.

An image circulating on Facebook shows these patent renders and the images released from Honda a few days go merged together.

Honda CRF1000L African Twin Patent Renders

The CRF1000L has now been confirmed for the UK, Europe, USA, Canada and Australia with devilries starting as early as this year.