2020 Honda Africa Twin: the story

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Now we've have a chance to ride it, be sure to check out our 2020 Honda Africa Twin review.

In September 2019 pricing and PCP details were announced for the 2020 Honda Africa Twin. The list features two versions - standard and Adventure Sports (with a larger fuel tank), with each getting the option of a DCT twin-clutch automatic transmission.

  • Related: Best adventure motorbikes
  • Related: Middleweight Honda Africa Twin incoming
  • The headline figure is £13,049 for a standard CRF1100L Africa Twin, with monthly PCP payments of £159 a month for 36 months if you can find a £2,729.22 deposit. APR is payable at 6.9% across the range.

    Adding DCT costs a further £900, while it's £1600 to move up to Adventure Sports trim. Then the Adventure Sports is available with electronic suspension for an extra £1400.

    That makes the most expensive Africa Twin £17,349, with monthly payments of £229 and a customer deposit of £3,189.71, with all other parameters the same as above.

    We're expecting the first bikes to arrive at dealers in late November.

    2020 Honda Africa Twin models revealed

    First reported 16/09/19

    Honda have unveiled this significantly updated Africa Twin for 2020 that’s more powerful, lighter and easier to ride.

    The current Africa Twin comprises two models: the Africa Twin and the Africa Twin Adventure Sports. The latter was more off-road-orientated with its taller suspension and crash bars along with its bigger tank.

    But that’s all changed for next year as the standard bike becomes the more off-road machine while the AS becomes the comfortable tourer. At the heart of both is a bigger and smoother engine with capacity boosted to 1084cc by increasing the stroke by just over 5mm.

    Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports

    The cylinder head has also been revised, valve lift increased, the throttle body is larger and the injectors deliver a more direct spray into the combustion chamber.

    While for a slightly fruitier sound, as well as a bit more torque low down, Honda have also fitted an exhaust valve (much like that in the Fireblade). The result is a peak power boost from 94 to just over 100bhp and a 6% torque increase to 77.4ftlb. A smaller, lighter clutch for an easier pull should make it feel livelier still.

    There’s also a whole new electronics package. For 2020 the Twin gets a six-axis Bosch IMU. This means the bike now has lean-sensitive traction control, cornerning ABS and wheelie control as well as rear wheel torque control.

    Honda Africa Twin off road

    In addition there are now four riding modes (Tour, Urban, Gravel and Off-Road) with various levels of electronic intervention. The IMU also adds its sensory input to the DCT models, which will now use the lean sensors to determine appropriate gear changes while cornering or going downhill.

    The Twin’s chassis has also been totally redesigned. The steering head has been lightened with skinnier tubes and the removal of the front cross pipe which saves 1.8kg. The subframe is a now a separate, bolt-on, aluminium affair, which is 40mm slimmer to make it easier to reach the floor while saving another 500g.

    While the front end has had a restyle, too, with new lights that adjust intensity based on natural light, as well as a lower screen for better vision when trail riding and the forks have been resprung and come with new damping settings. All in all the whole bike is 5kg lighter than the old machine. Honda haven’t released any prices yet, although we’d expect the stock bike to cost around £11k And the Adventure Sport version to be around £12k.

    Dash stands out

    Honda Africa Twin dash

    One of the undoubted highlights of the new Africa Twin is its all-singing, all-dancing full-colour 6.5in TFT screen. This new dash (or ‘Multi Information Display’ as Honda call it) is the portal through which all settings are changed and is standard on both models.

    It’s touch sensitive (good luck with that off-road) but there’s also a set of controls on the left-hand switchgear. It also incorporates Apple CarPlay, via an iPhone plugged into the USB slot by the dash, as well as supporting navigation and music apps via Bluetooth on both Apple and Android. A second ‘mini dash’ displays speed and gear, for when the main screen is taken up by mapping or other info.

    Africa Twin highlights

    • 1084cc parallel twin
    • 100.5bhp
    • 77.4ftlbs
    • 850mm/870mm seat height
    • 226kg (kerb)
    • £11,000 (est for stock bike)

    Africa Twin Adventure Sports gets electronic suspension

    If you have your heart set on crossing continents in complete comfort (trying saying that after a few lagers) the Adventure Sports version of the new Africa Twin is the one to have.

    Like before, the AS has a bigger tank (24.8 litres) plus larger fairing and taller screen (which is now adjustable). The longer suspension, however, is gone, so its seat height is now the same as the standard model. While the tail section is also slimmer to make it easier to move around. The AS also comes with heated grips and an accessory power socket as standard.

    The previous tubed wheels are also gone, replaced with a set of tubeless, spoked rims – although we imagine Honda will offer this on the standard model, too.

    But the biggest change is the AS is now available with Showa’s new electronically-adjustable suspension. Showa 'EERA' is a semi-active set-up that adjusts the damping relative to the setting it’s currently in.

    There are four modes (Soft, Mid, Hard and Off-Road) that provide baseline settings, with stroke sensors helping the ECU adjust the damping to the road surface and riding style. The rear preload can also be electronically-adjusted, again with four presets (Rider, Rider + Luggage, Rider + Pillion and Rider + Pillion + Luggage).

    There’s also a User mode that offers 24 clicks of preload adjustment. Again, there’s no word yet from Honda on price but we’d expect a significant premium over the base model for the semi-active suspension.

    Honda release second Africa Twin video tease

    First published - 16.09.19

    Honda have released a second teaser video for an incoming Africa Twin model, this time featuring the new bike's headlights.

    Find out everything we know about the new bike so far below...

    Register interest for incoming Honda Africa Twin

    First published - 26/07/19

    Honda today revealed a web link to register interest in a new adventure model coming in 2020. It's accompanied by a video that doesn't expressly show which bike they're talking about, but uses the tagline 'True Adventure' along with the distinctive font, both used by Honda on the popular Africa Twin adventure bike.

    Given what we've heard through rumours from Japan and quotes from conversations with Honda's Large Project Leader for Africa Twin indicating a possible little brother for younger riders, MCN believes this is the first indication we'll see, and ride, a new one in 2020.

    Read on for everything we've heard so far on the next Honda Africa Twin...

    New Africa Twin to evolve for 2020

    First published February 7, 2019, by Richard Newland

    Two versions of the Honda Africa Twin

    Rumours emanating from Japan suggest that Honda are planning a raft of incremental changes for the popular Honda Africa Twin, with a new Euro5 version set to arrive for 2020 boasting a bigger engine, more power, and more tech.

    The battle for sales in the adventure bike market has never been more ferocious, while the division lines between rivals are getting increasingly blurred as traditional capacity boundaries evaporate, and the battle for tech-laden supremacy hots up.

    While Honda have officially denied that there’s a new model under development – as you would expect them to – the level of detail leaking out of Japan about the changes has a sincere whiff of credibility, and ties in rather neatly with the areas of criticism Honda have faced over the Africa Twin’s skill set.

    They also logically address the challenges that all manufacturers are facing with creeping legislative controls over emissions – which is forcing development to keep upping engine capacity to combat the power losses of enforced cleaner combustion.

    Power play

    The current Africa Twin packs 94bhp into its 998cc parallel-twin, which delivers pleasing road performance and more than enough for most off-road forays, but when fully loaded with luggage and/or a pillion its performance suffers a tangible dip.

    Honda Africa Twin engine

    As the even tighter Euro5 regs arrive, Honda will have to increase capacity to net the same output, while they realistically need to give riders a little more mumbo to add some sparkle to its delivery.

    To that end, the rumoured increase to 1080cc, with a 6.7bhp (5kW) resultant boost in power seems entirely believable, both in terms of what’s achievable and Honda’s typically incremental development of existing models. There’s a suggestion that the fuel tank will grow by a litre, to just shy of 20, at the same time.

    Whether this is to combat increased fuel consumption, or simply to give riders a little more range than current, is unclear. There’s no hint of how the torque curve will be affected, but there’s likely to be a similar boost at peak torque.

    Whether such a small boost will be felt from the rider's seat is debateable, and with no suggestion that the manual gearbox ratios will be fettled we’d suggest it’s unlikely to feel like a revolution when you open the throttle.

    DCT makes the changes

    There is, however, rumoured to be an update to evolve the clever Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) version. No details have emerged about the nature or goal of the changes, but we would hope Honda are chasing better pick-up from standstill (it’s quite aggressive in stop/start situations), smoother transitions under load, and more intuitive gearchanges that support the rider like a manual gearbox would. For casual touring the current system works well, but ask for more control and it falls short.

    Tech catch-up

    Adventure bikes are as much at the cutting edge of tech progress as superbikes, and Honda have been slow to pick up on this with the Africa Twin. This looks set to be rectified with the 2020 model, which will apparently gain keyless ignition – hopefully with a keyless fuel cap, like BMW – and a new full TFT dash tower to replace the outdated, hard to read, and function-light current LCD unit.

    To drag the AT into the current battle, it’ll have to boast Bluetooth connectivity for multimedia support, support at least turn-by-turn navigation, and multiple device connections – and a suite of rider modes and aids. Wouldn’t it be great if they simply dragged the Gold Wing’s Apple CarPlay functionality across?

    What about the Adventure Sports?

    Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports

    The only specific hint of change for the big-tanked, more off-road-ready Adventure Sports version is the addition of a new rear rack, but we’d obviously expect all of the stock model changes to percolate through to the AS version, not least because Euro5 will demand the powertrain updates, and customers will demand the tech advances.

    When can I order a 2020 Honda Africa Twin?

    Honda rarely step outside of their routine for favouring the big pre-season EICMA show in Milan as their world unveil for new and revised models, which means we’re unlikely to see anything official until November 2019, with the bike arriving as a 2020 model.

    If true, these changes will certainly boost the appeal of the Africa Twin, but it seems unlikely that they’ll materially change the character of this loveable adventure middleweight – and with good deals on the current model only likely to continue, there could be just as much wise money being spent now as in 2020.

    Honda Africa Twin to get bigger?

    First reported December 5, 2017 by Jordan Gibbons

    Honda Africa Twin with Large Project Leader Kenji Morita

    With a new smaller bike on the horizon, we’d expect a jump in capacity, perhaps to 1200cc and a big boost in horsepower to bring it level will the likes of BMW, KTM and Triumph but Honda say that’s not their intention.

    "In terms of pure horsepower, then yes some of our competitors have more, but for us this is not what we have in mind," adds Morita. "Our intention is to have the right amount of horsepower that customers actually use when in real riding situations. If we just want to increase horsepower it’s easy but when you do that, you lose something – the bike gets heavier, it vibrates more, it’s hotter and you lose the balance we are looking for. We experimented with power delivery at different rpm ranges and the best happened to be 100hp."

    Honda are also odd in that there is just one Africa Twin and it has a 21in front wheel, which limits its on-road performance. Might we see something more road focused? Morita isn’t so sure: "Let’s say we were going to make an S-model with a 19in front wheel, we wouldn’t call it an Africa Twin."

    So what can we expect from the Africa Twin in a few years’ time? Technical enhancements – TFT screens are available on most of the latest adventure bikes as well as Bluetooth and USB connectivity for phones, but the Africa Twin is strangely lacking. For now...

    "Yes, bikes are gaining more and more technology all the time. We’re evaluating putting these devices in the next round of Africa Twin development."

    We expect Honda to add a full-colour TFT dash (with associated connectivity) to the Africa Twin’s options list at the next update, which we assume will also come in late 2019.

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    By MCN

    The voice of motorcycling since 1955