Bike Review: 2020 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports DCT
Flirting with railway lines!
Riding alongside me was my audacious lady colleague Bongiwe Didiza from Heels and Horsepower Magazine on her legendary 2011 BMW F800 GS, and leading the pack was the master of off-road saves Mojaki Rammoneng on his 2019 Honda Africa Twin CRF1000L DCT.
In June this year – I took Honda’s 2020 Africa Twin Adventure Sports with Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) for an off-road rip, since most industries could go back to work under SA Level 3 lockdown regulations. Our riding route traversed between Bapsfontein and Cullinan via an off-road route. This route came highly recommended to me by fellow adventure riders within my circle of friends, it is affectionately known as one of the best off-road routes around Gauteng North. From what I could see, it seems suited for riders with an average off-road riding skill set. What appealed to me the most about the route was the fact that it is located right on my doorstep. I would say it ticks most boxes for what I could term, a fun gravel route.
Riding alongside me was my audacious lady colleague Bongiwe Didiza from Heels and Horsepower Magazine on her legendary 2011 BMW F800 GS, and leading the pack was the master of off-road saves Mojaki Rammoneng on his 2019 Honda Africa Twin CRF1000L DCT. When it comes to off-road riding skills, Mojaki comes with the undisputed pedigree, he has a 2019 Honda Quest Championship under his belt. Rider experience aside, this was a good opportunity to pit the latest middle-weight offering from Honda against the old generation bike.
Riding on, the ride took us through long kilometers of railway line service road with rider confidence crushing loose railway ballast on it; random and unpredictable low river crossings – some looked like they could swallow us whole; a section of gravel road covered in sandy patches; and lastly, something I would term – a killer muddy section from hell. By the way, before attempting to cross the obnoxious muddy section, we had to consult one of Honda SA executives to seek his approval first. This was just in case of mud hitting the fan if you know what I mean! In the end, because of wrong tire options on two of our bikes, we chickened out from crossing this section after all, and instead, opted for a safer detour. All in all, our ride including a lunch stopover and sightseeing along the way and in Cullinan took us about four grueling hours to complete.
Some Likes and Dislikes – 2020 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports DCT.
- Dual LED headlights feature Daytime Running Lights (DRL) and cornering technology.
- It has comprehensive electronics like Apple CarPlay® and Bluetooth connectivity, to mention a few.
- TFT dash is good looking, they have done a great job with the layout, you can clearly see what everything means and does, but it’s not as good as for example, a BMW TFT dash.
- This bike looks great in my opinion, I think Honda has nailed the looks of this machine, it has a Dakar bike look to it, I like the red, blue, and white Honda Racing Colours.
- On the black stuff, the bike handles well on the bends, especially when you ride it in Sports Mode.
- DCT does work better on the 2020 bike when compared to the previous generation bike, thanks to a six-axis IMU that it is equipped with as a standard feature. A six-axis Inertial Measurement Unit now manages riding modes and Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) as well as three additional systems – Cornering ABS, Wheelie Control, Rear Lift Control, plus new cornering detection functionality on the DCT version. Riding this bike in sports mode transforms it into a beast of note, I think this is the best way to enjoy it, has a drive mode as well. In my opinion I would say DCT is recommended for doing long distance trips and perhaps getting a manual would be ideal if you are going to be doing a lot of off-roading.
- The bike engine feels more powerful than a 75kW, although this is not a class leading number in terms of power for a bike like this, in my view you don’t need anything more than this.
- Engine sounds awesome with its pops and bangs when changing down under deceleration in manual mode.
- Hard seat – although the bike seat is fitted in a comfortable riding height, it is hard. But I’m sure there are more comfortable aftermarket seats/padding out there that can be used to address this issue.
- TFT Dash – the bike has loads of electronics, the TFT dash has a shiny glossy screen, there is glare on the screen if the sun is behind you, I’m sure this can be addressed by fitting an aftermarket screen protector with a matt surface finish.
- Complicated switchgear on the LHS, this bike has so many features and customizations that it can do in terms of the electronics, as a long-term owner of this bike I’m sure with time you might get used to all its features and what everything does.
- The bike is top-heavy, this makes it difficult to move around in a parking lot or garage.
Other Motorcycle Rivals & Specs Sheet.
In its class, the following motorcycles are direct competitors of the new Honda Africa Twin CRF1100L Adventure Sports DCT, namely BMW F850 GS Adventure, Suzuki V-Strom DL1050, and KTM 790 Adventure R.
Technical Specifications (claimed)
|BMW F850 GS Adventure||Suzuki V-Strom DL1050||KTM 790 Adventure R Rally||Africa Twin CRF1100L Adventure Sports Manual|
|Engine||853cc Water-cooled, 4-stroke in-line two-cylinder engine||1037cc Water-cooled 4-stroke, DOHC 90° V-twin||799cc Water-cooled, 4-stroke Parallel Twin engine, DOHC||1043cc Water-cooled 4-stroke Parallel Twin engine with 270° crank and Uni-cam|
|Power||70kW at 8,250rpm||78kW at 8500rpm||70kW at (N/A)
|75kW at 7,500rpm|
|Torque||92Nm at 6,250rpm||100Nm at 6000rpm||88Nm at (N/A)||105Nm at 6,250rpm|
|Seat height||875mm||850mm||910mm||870/850mm (STD/Low)|
|Price (from)||R243 000.00||R221 950.00||R209 999.00||
R290 500.00 DCT
You can expect to pay around R250 000.00 for the Africa Twin CRF1100L Adventure Sports Manual, and R290 500.00 for the Africa Twin CRF1100L Adventure Sports DCT.
When compared with the old generation bike, there is no doubt in my mind that for the year 2020 Honda’s Africa Twin has grown in leaps and bounds both mechanically and electronically. With a price difference of about R40 000.00 between the Manual and DCT bikes, it looks as though the manual Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports might be a better proposition. In my opinion, Honda’s Africa Twin looks set to give other motorcycle competitors in the adventure middleweight segment a good run for their money.
For more about the 2020 Honda Africa Twin, click here https://www.honda.co.za/motorcycles/crf1100-adventure-sports
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more about the author…
God first, village boy originally from KwaZulu Natal, he is a senior road designer/engineer by trade, chairman of South Africa Road Federation Northern Region (SARF), director at Bikers Social Responsibility Foundation NPO, a biker for over 25 years, motorcycle enthusiast, and contributor at Bike Talk SA.