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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
KTM 1190 Adventure R
BMW R 1200 GS
998cc liquid-cooled 4-stroke 8-valve Parallel Twin with 270 degree crank and uni-Cam
2-cylinder, 4-stroke, V 75°
Air/liquid-cooled four stroke flat twin engine, double overhead camshaft, one balance shaft
93.9hp @ 7500 rpm
150hp @ 9500 rpm
125 hp at 7,750 rpm
72.3 lb-ft @ 6000 rpm
92.2 @ 7500 rpm
89 @ 6000 rpm
Constant mesh 6-speed MT / 6-speed DCT with on and off-road riding modes
Constant mesh 6-speed gearbox with helical gear teeth
310mm dual wave floating hydraulic disc with aluminium hub and radial fit 4-piston calipers
2 x Brembo four piston, radially bolted caliper, brake disc Ø 320 mm
Brembo two piston, fixed caliper, brake disc Ø 267 mm
Brembo two piston, fixed caliper, brake disc Ø 267 mm
Single disc brake, diameter 276 mm, double-piston floating caliper
256mm wave hydraulic disc with 2-piston caliper
WP-USD Ø 48 mm, 220mm travel
BMW Motorrad Telelever; stanchion diameter 37 mm, central spring strut, 190mm travel
220mm stroke, hydraulic spring preload adjustor
WP-Monoshock, 220mm travel
Cast 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
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
Liquid-cooled 4-stroke 8-valve Parallel Twin with 270 degree crank and uni-Cam
70kw ( 94hp) @ 7,500rpm
98Nm @ 6,000rpm
Constant mesh 6-speed MT / 6-speed DCT with on and off-road riding modes
310mm dual wave floating hydraulic disc with aluminium hub and radial fit 4-piston callipers (*ABS) and sintered metal
256mm wave hydraulic disc with 2-piston calliper (*ABS) and sintered metal pads. Also Lever-Lock Type Parking
Brake System on DCT model
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.
The CRF1000L has now been confirmed for the UK, Europe, USA, Canada and Australia with devilries starting as early as this year.
Perhaps realizing people were quickly tiring of their teaser campaign, Honda have today announced the official return of the Honda Africa Twin and it looks fantastic. Officially named the CRF1000L Africa Twin and it will hit Europe as soon as Autumn of this year and the US early in 2016.
Honda hasn’t released much in the way of technical specifications at this stage and most of what we have already report on has been confirmed. It will be powered by an all new 1,000cc parallel twin engine – output at this stage unknown as is overall weight and dimensions.
As was heavily rumored it will feature an optional (phew) dual clutch transmission that has been specially developed for the new Africa Twin. For the purists, the manual transmission will remain as standard.
You can see the full press release below as well as the first pictures of the new machine which are absolutely gorgeous. No doubt Honda will now provide a steady supply of new information over the coming months up until the bikes release. There’s also a new video in the true adventure series, though unfortunately no actual footage of the bike is shown.
Honda is delighted to announce the return of one of motorcycling’s most celebrated and evocative names—the Africa Twin. Having clearly shown the direction of its development and intent with the reveal of the True Adventure prototype at EICMA in November 2014, American Honda can now confirm that the all-new CRF1000L Africa Twin will be in U.S. dealers early next year.
Some motorcycles encapsulate perfectly what an adventure motorcycle is all about. The original XRV650 Africa Twin—which debuted in 1989 after Honda’s four successive wins in the Dakar Rally—was one such machine. Its go-anywhere ability, rugged durability, agile handling and all-day comfort made it the perfect partner with which to explore. And it helped to define a motorcycling segment that has now grown into one of the most popular worldwide. The new Africa Twin remains true to all the attributes and abilities of the XRV650 and its successor, the XRV750, while adding the benefits of everything Honda has learned on and off-road over the last decade, including Team HRC’s return to the Dakar in 2013.
Furthermore, in a first for the category, the Africa Twin will feature the option of a new evolution of Honda’s Automatic Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) technology, which remains unique to Honda in motorcycling. This latest evolution of DCT has been specifically developed and programmed to provide the off-road ability with which the Africa Twin is synonymous.
The all-new CRF1000L Africa Twin is set to redefine expectations of just what a large-capacity adventure motorcycle can and should be capable of, both on and off-road, and it opens an entirely new chapter in Honda’s illustrious history of dual-purpose motorcycles made for true adventure.
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About Honda Powersports
American Honda Motor Co., Inc. was established in 1959 and is the sole distributor of Honda motorcycles, scooters, ATVs and side-by-sides in the U.S. The American Honda Motorcycle Division is responsible for the sales, marketing, and operational activities for these products through authorized Honda dealers. For more information on Honda products, go towww.powersports.honda.com.
Background Notes: Honda and the Dakar Rally
THE AFRICA TWIN AND THE DAKAR RALLY
The NXR750V, a full HRC race machine, faced stiff competition in the grueling Dakar Rally through the late 1980s but won in 1986 and 1987 in the hands of Cyril Neveu, in ’88 with Edi Orioli and finally in ’89 piloted by Gilles Lalay. The road-going XRV650 Africa Twin was produced in 1988 and ’89 by HRC in tribute to their efforts, and it laid the foundation of what would become a legendary machine.
In late 1989 the XRV750 Africa Twin was launched and quickly became an adventure touring benchmark. It featured a 742cc, 6-valve liquid-cooled V-twin engine (producing 60 hp and 46.2 lb.-ft. torque), long-travel suspension, a large fuel tank, chain final drive, a 21-inch front wheel (widening off-road tire choice) and dual front disc brakes. Revised twice and in production until 2003, it remains a sought-after machine today, with good examples commanding premium prices.
HONDA’S CURRENT DAKAR RALLY EFFORT
After a 24-year absence, Honda returned to the Dakar Rally in 2013 with Team HRC. For that edition of the race (now run in South America) they developed the CRF450 RALLY—a motorcycle based around the enduro-spec single-cylinder CRF450X—and entered three riders; Team HRC reached their primary target of all machines reaching the finish line.
In 2014, with a completely new CRF450 RALLY, Team HRC brought a five-man squad to the event; Spaniard Joan Barreda went on to take five stage wins.
The 2015 event saw Team HRC come even closer to their ultimate goal, with Portugal’s Paolo Goncalves finishing runner-up in Buenos Aires. Team HRC scored the greatest number of stage victories and Joan Barreda proved an unyielding leader throughout the first week of the rally, collecting more stage wins than any other rider in the 2015 edition. Laia Sanz, in ninth, surpassed all of her own objectives and made history by finishing higher than any other female in the history of the Dakar Rally.