HONDA CRF1100L AFRICA TWIN (2020 - on) Review
At a glance
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The third generation of Honda Africa Twin has finally matured into the bike that so many of its fans hoped it would be from the outset. Armed with enough of the latest electronic technology and a bit more go in its super-sized motor, it is a serious contender in the adventure bike market. But is Honda’s decision to move the stock bike more towards the off-road side the right one?
It may be more agile than the 2020 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports, but I can’t help but feel UK riders will be swayed by the practicality offered by the Sports over the stock model’s rugged outlook on life and lighter overall weight. It may not be BMW R1250GS topping, but it is certainly a noticeable improvement.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
A smaller screen and 22.5mm taller bars than the previous generation, not to mention a new detachable 40mm narrower sub-frame, 1.8kg lighter chassis and revised swingarm see the Africa Twin’s off-road focus enhanced, but at the sacrifice of some road comfort levels.
While the higher bars are relaxed, the non-adjustable lower screen means you are exposed to the elements and its long distance ability is certainly compromised as a result. In an off-road environment it has certainly benefitted from these mods, but as a road bike for covering miles the Adventure Sports is a better bet.
The updated DCT gearbox (which is now linked to the IMU and responds to the bike’s angle when calculating if it should change gear or not) is excellent and now a worthy addition for either on or off-road fans. All the electronic systems perform excellently on the road and in the two off-road modes the traction control allows you to pull off a cheeky little slide while the ABS ensures you can use the front brake with confidence on gravel when it all gets a bit too wild.
EngineNext up: Reliability
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 and a slick gearbox. In an off-road environment, it has lots of low-down grunt to help it search out grip and a predictable throttle connection.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Early Africa Twins suffered badly from rusty spokes, however a new design of tubed wheel alongside stainless steel spokes should banish this concern. It feels and appears very solidly built, so we don’t expect any issues. Interestingly, the Adventure Sports has a tubeless wheel to cater for its more on-road focus.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
The third generation of Africa Twin sees its price jump up from £11,575 to £13,049, which is a rise of nearly £1500, however it does gain a lot of new technology and that doesn’t come cheap. Yamaha’s Tenere 700 is far cheaper at £8399, but lacks much tech, while a stock R1250GS is £13,550 and the KTM 1290 Adventure S is £14,699.
Most of the Africa Twin’s weaknesses in terms of tech have been rectified for 2020. The headline act is the all-new 6.5-inch touch screen TFT dash, which comes 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.
Also new is a six-axis IMU, bringing with it cornering ABS and traction control (seven levels) alongside cruise control (at last!), 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. While the Adventure Sports has the option of semi-active suspension, this isn’t available on the stock model.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled, 8v, parallel-twin|
|Frame type||Steel semi-double cradle with aluminium sub-frame and swingarm|
|Fuel capacity||18.8 litres|
|Front suspension||Showa 45mm USD fork, fully adjustable|
|Rear suspension||Showa monoshock, fully adjustable|
|Front brake||Two 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||-|
|Used price||£12,000 - £13,100|
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How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||100 bhp|
|Max torque||78 ft-lb|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||230 miles|
Model history & versions
- 2016 Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin is launched with a 1000cc motor and at a competitive price. It was the more road-focused bike at the time.
- 2018 Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin Adventure Sport arrives with a bigger fuel tank, longer travel suspension and new seven-stage traction control. It was the more off-road-focused bike.
Africa Twin stock model with DCT costs £13,949.
The Adventure Sports is the ‘big tank’ version and as well as a larger fairing, it comes with a 24.8-litre tank, heated grips and cornering lights as standard, a five-way adjustable screen and the option of semi-active suspension.
The Africa Twin Adventure Sport ES comes with electronic suspension as an extra and costs £16,049 in total.
Owners' reviews for the HONDA CRF1100L AFRICA TWIN (2020 - on)
No owners have yet reviewed the HONDA CRF1100L AFRICA TWIN (2020 - on).