2020 Honda Africa Twin: Bigger, Lighter, More Complicated, Explained!

Honda announced the next revision for the 2020 Africa Twin, the CRF1100L. In two versions with plenty of options, the Standard and the Adventure Sports ES, the boosted displacement claims a 6% increase in horsepower. Though the spec sheet is not out just yet (the Honda web site will have it soon), nor have we had one on the scale, Honda touts that the bike has seen a drop in weight from the previous model. With a little digging we found a 6 lb. drop on the standard and a 3 lb. drop on the Sports. Though that may be a minimal amount in comparison to the total weight of the package, some other factors might play even bigger. Features like a CRF450R inspired aluminum swingarm design and the use of a now removable aluminum rear subframe could be the contributing factors in pounds but the shapes of the new bodywork and seat will trump that. The weight of the Standard is claimed to be 501 lb. and the Sports is 530 lb. Add about 23 pounds for DCT.

The Red Riders have distinguished the Standard and the Sports versions even farther. The Sports Edition gets the addition of electronically controlled suspension in Showa’s Electronically Equipped Ride Adjustment system which seems to control ride height through spring preload. It further features tubeless wheels, heated grips, accessory socket, larger skid plate, aluminum rear rack and a 6.5 gallon tank.

The Standard CRF1100L is more focused for off-road use and customer personalizing when it comes to luggage and accessories. Roughly 30 pounds lighter than the Sports, it features tubed tires, a more aggressive off-road setting in the suspension, slimmer windscreen, less racks on the back of the bike and a 5.0 -gallon tank.

Both bikes feature a a 6.5-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) color touchscreen display is compatible with Apple CarPlay® to control the settings (also controllable with the handlebar mounted toggle switches. Cruise control is also in the mix. With a multitude of modes and even the different traction and braking systems you’ll need an intelligent interface to get familiar with. Additionally a six-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU) includes, get this, wheelie control (the dream of so many), cornering ABS, rear-lift control, DCT cornering detection and cornering lights. It brings the Africa Twin in line with most of the other brands in this highly complex and legally mandated safety devices required on motorcycles these days. Hopefully Honda will allow additional rider control and allow some of the systems to be heavily disabled or even better, easy to turn off if that is the desire of the rider.

The CRF’s frame has been modified for optimized handling which is a tricky term–yet we learned that the headstay area had been strengthened and the spars straightened to give a better feel in the front end while Honda kept all the pivot and engine mounting positions the same.  Maybe the biggest change will be to the narrowing on the seat and the area you move around in when riding.  This allows for an easier time getting a foot on the ground and better comfort and mobility on the machine. Additionally the catalytic converter has been relocated closer to the front of the exhaust system.

Here is a good video with a lot of information:

Available as an option on both versions is the DCT  (Dual Clutch Transmission) that is loved by many and hated by a few. Unique to Honda and as close as you will get to a true automatic transmission on a motorcycle (we discuss it here on the CRF1000L) you have to try one if you ever get a chance. And give it time and let your ego of shifting gears and using the clutch go away first!

It may be a little wait till March but the news is out and Honda is hoping you can wait till then to get your adventure on. Or replace whatever you are currently adventuring. For more info visit: https://powersports.honda.com/street/adventure/africa-twin

Africa Twin: $14,399
Africa Twin DCT: $15,199
Africa Twin Adventure Sports SE: $17,199
Africa Twin Adventure Sports SE DCT: $17,999
Availability: March 2020
Africa Twin Adventure Sports ES: Pearl Glare White/Blue
Africa Twin: Matte Black Metallic


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