TORONTO, ON – Honda has finally pulled the wraps off its all-new adventure bike, the 2016 Honda Africa Twin. Officially called the CRF1000L, the Africa Twin is claimed to be the perfect balance between off-road prowess, everyday comfort and urban agility. This could very well be the most perfect everyday choice for the adventure rider. We were invited to an exclusive preview of what could very well be the most important new motorcycle in Honda’s lineup for model year 2016.
Arriving to Canadian dealerships in early spring of 2016, the Africa Twin packs a 998-cc parallel twin motor. The semi-dry sump motor is relatively short, which means ground clearance is excellent. This setup makes for an ideal explorer across a variety of terrains, from the concrete jungle right into the desert. The engine has a single overhead cam and four valves per cylinder, and is tuned for what Honda claims is “strong, linear power” and excellent response almost everywhere in the rev range.
The new Honda Selectable Torque Control offers three modes to be toggled between, and finally, ABS can be turned off for the rear wheel. The steel frame of the Africa Twin is meant to maintain equilibrium between city cruising as well as adventure riding. The suspension setup is an adjustable Showa fork in front, and another Showa unit out back with hydraulic spring preload adjustability. Stopping is done via Nissin brake calipers and two 310-mm discs in front, and 256mm in the rear.
What’s really unique about the new Africa Twin is the availability of the Honda DCT dual-clutch transmission. While adventure riders will definitely see this as strange, it has a learning curve that lends itself to more flexibility and versatility than a conventional six-speed manual transmission. The DCT is a quick-shifting unit that is programmed to predict the rider’s next move and change gears accordingly. There is a manual mode to this transmission, and shifts can be made via two conveniently located buttons by the rider’s thumb. There is no physical clutch lever or “shifter” by the left footpeg.
Adventure bikes have never really been friendly for shorter riders, but the adjustable seat on the CRF1000L means it has added flexibility. The stock height is 34.3”, but can be dropped to 33.5”. At 6’1, I was able to flat-foot the Africa Twin comfortably at stock height, but riders below six feet will surely have some issues. We won’t have actual ride time on this bike until the spring, but I was able to straddle it stationary and concluded that it would be a very comfortable everyday bike. The riding position lends itself to versatility and comfort without losing any of the ruggedness that makes an adventure bike special.
Canadian pricing for the 2016 Honda Africa Twin starts at $13,999 for the manual transmission model. An extra $1,000 gives you the DCT transmission should you wish to opt for it, and those wanting the Honda Rally paint scheme will be charged another $300. A fully loaded CRF1000L comes in at $14,999, which makes it aggressively priced against competitors like the Yamaha Super Tenere and significantly cheaper than the KTM 1190 Adventure. The Honda CRF1000L is a great package that offers significantly more to the everyday rider than the average adventure motorcycle, and we can’t wait to get some actual seat time on it when the weather is a tad warmer.
2016 Honda Africa Twin Gallery
*Images courtesy of Honda Powersports Canada*