HONDA CRF1100L AFRICA TWIN ADVENTURE SPORTS (2020 - on) Review

At a glance

Power: 100 bhp
Seat height: Tall (33.5 in / 850 mm)
Weight: High (525 lbs / 238 kg)

Prices

New £14,649
Used N/A

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Out of the two models available on launch, the Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports is certainly the one to opt for if you are a road rider who wants a mile-muncher and has limited interest in off-road riding.

The new engine injects a welcome boost in performance that while not R1250GS topping, is certainly a noticeable improvement. The lower seat height and narrower waist mean it feels less intimidating at slow speed and the electronic suspension delivers a plush ride quality. The dash is a disappointment, but overall it delivers on its promise and will offer a sterner test for the BMW R1250 GS – not to mention being a chunk cheaper.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Showa’s Electronically Equipped Ride Adjustment (EERA) is linked to the six-axis IMU as well as stroke sensors and has three road settings and an off-road setting and can have its shock’s preload adjusted while the bike is stationary to suit two-up or riding with luggage.

On the road the system responds extremely well with a noticeable difference in damping between settings and a feeling of compliance. While lacking any self-levelling function, it delivers a plush ride quality and is a worthy addition. The Sports’ lowered seat height (dropped 50mm for 2020) and narrower waist makes it more reassuring at slow speed as your feet are planted on the ground and the five-way adjustable screen gives good shelter.

Overall, the Sports has more than enough comfort levels to let you see off its claimed 300-mile range from its 24.8-litre tank.

Engine

Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The parallel twin has received an increase in capacity from 998cc to 1084cc for 2020 through a 6.4mm longer stroke, boosting peak power and torque by 6.8bhp and 4.4ftlb respectively while also delivering increases throughout the rev range. While lacking the outright performance and theatre you get from BMW’s ShiftCam boxer, Honda’s parallel twin has certainly benefitted from a very welcome bit of extra pep without losing its overall feeling of refinement. It’s not going to blow your socks off, but it is a definite improvement and certainty fulfills a touring brief with little vibes, a good throttle connection and slick gearbox.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Early Africa Twins suffered badly from rusty spokes, however a new design of tubeless wheel on the Adventure Sports alongside stainless steel spokes should banish this concern. It feels and appears very solidly built, so we don’t expect any issues.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
3 out of 5 (3/5)

Although the second generation of Adventure Sports is £2050 more than its predecessor, it has gained a lot of technology. When you compare the range-topping ES model, which adds electronic suspension and has an RRP of £16,049, it is nearly £2000 less than the equivalent spec of BMW R1250GS Adventure. However the KTM 1290 Adventure S is £1350 cheaper.

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

Most of the Africa Twin’s weaknesses in terms of tech have been rectified for 2020 with a six-axis IMU added, bringing with it cornering ABS and traction control (seven levels) alongside cornering lights, cruise control, heated grips, four power modes, three braking levels, three levels of wheelie control and four set riding modes plus two user modes.

The ABS can also be turned off to the rear caliper for off-road use. There is a DCT version, whose performance has been significantly upgraded through it being linked to the IMU, making it gradient and corner responsive in its gear selection.

Also new for 2020 is a 6.5-inch touch screen TFT dash as standard. Incorporating Apple CarPlay, it is Bluetooth ready, can display navigation apps, has a USB charging point and can be accessed with a gloved hand, however the touch screen is only available when the bike is stationary and Apple CarPlay requires a Bluetooth headset to be linked to function, which is annoying. An ES version of the Adventure Sports adds Showa’s semi-active suspension for a £1400 premium.

Specs

Engine size 1084cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, SOHC 8v, parallel-twin
Frame type Steel semi-double cradle, aluminium subframe and swingarm
Fuel capacity 25 litres
Seat height 850mm
Bike weight 238kg
Front suspension Showa 45mm USD fork, fully adjustable (EERA optional)
Rear suspension Showa monoshock, fully adjustable (EERA optional)
Front brake 2 x 310mm wave discs with four-piston radial calipers. Cornering ABS
Rear brake 256mm single disc with single-piston caliper. Switchable ABS
Front tyre size 90/90 x 21
Rear tyre size 150/70 x 18

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 57 mpg
Annual road tax £93
Annual service cost -
New price £14,649
Used price -
Insurance group 17 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term -

Top speed & performance

Max power 100 bhp
Max torque 78 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 310 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

2016: Honda launch an all-new generation of Africa Twin, the CRF1000L.

2018: Second-generation Africa Twin gains a ride-by-wire throttle and some tech updates. It is joined in the range by a ‘big tank’ Adventure Sports model.

Other versions

The standard Africa Twin CRF1100L is more off-road focused and as such comes with tubed tyres, a shorter screen, slimmer bodywork and an 18.8-litre tank. It has all the same technological, engine and chassis updates as the Adventure Sports, but lacks the option of electronic suspension and doesn’t have cornering lights or heated grips as standard.

MCN Long term test reports

MCN Fleet: Honda Africa Twin - pack up 'n' go (nowhere)

MCN Fleet: Honda Africa Twin - pack up 'n' go (nowhere)

I was planning a night away on the AT over the weekend, but I doubt I need to explain to you why that couldn’t happen. But despite the lockdown meaning my three-piece suite of luggage remains empty, it felt like a good time for a review. Previous Africa Twin updates Update 1 - Has Honda's Africa Tw

Read the latest report

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