By Steve & Tamami Laser
Honda has released a wealth of details about its new 1000cc adventure motorcycle dubbed the CRF1000L Africa Twin. Set to go on sale in Europe later this year (and in the U.S. in early 2016), Honda says this marks the return of one of its most celebrated and evocative motorcycle names.
The original XRV650 Africa Twin debuted in 1988, after the first three out of four consecutive wins at the Paris-Dakar. Its go-anywhere ability, rugged durability, easy-handling agility and all-day comfort helped to define a motorcycling segment that has now grown into one of the most popular worldwide.
“The new Africa Twin remains true to all the attributes and abilities of the XRV650 and its successor the XRV750, while adding the benefits Honda has learned on and off-road during the last decade,” says the bike maker.
Honda’s “Genteki Test” riders and engineers met to test the new Africa Twin. In this video, they discuss the bike’s performance in key areas of the test and share their thoughts about some of its most important features. (video: Honda Motorcycles Europe)
Honda says that like its celebrated forerunners, the CRF1000L Africa Twin is thoroughly equipped for true adventure, with a potent engine and dynamic chassis ready to cover continents on or off-road.
This video show Africa Twin raw test footage from the “Pre Production Genteki Test.” (video: Honda Motorcycles Europe)
The new bike features an all-new, compact parallel twin-engine with 70kW power and 98Nm torque packaged in a compact, lightweight frame. New DCT functionality includes switchable ABS and multi-mode HSTC available for optimal traction.
“From the start of the CRF1000L Africa Twin project there was one motorcycle that consistently impressed with its balance of usability, poise and handling, on road and in the dirt – the seminal XRV750 Africa Twin,” says Honda. “It proved a worthwhile benchmark, even when set against today’s myriad choice of adventure motorcycles. The machine that now bears its name may share no common part with the old model but it inherits the full the essence and spirit of what made the XRV750 Africa Twin so good.”
The “go anywhere” approach starts with the engine, which has to perform in off-road situations as well as on-road long-range touring, and all points in between. The 1000cc parallel twin draws heavily on Honda’s off-road race experience in the CRF250R/450R competition machines, and uses the same four-valve Unicam head design for compact dimensions. A lightweight cast camshaft – using the same materials as the CBR1000RR Fireblade – operates the valve train, and twin spark plugs fire the fuel/air mixture in each combustion chamber.
Honda says strong and linear power and torque deliver instant response anywhere in the rev-range – accompanied by a deep growl as rpm rises. A 270° phased crankshaft gives the power delivery a distinct character as well delivering excellent feel for rear wheel traction. Biaxial primary balance shafts cancel vibration.
The engine’s short height contributes to excellent ground clearance – another prerequisite for a true adventure machine. It also uses clever packaging. The water pump is housed within the clutch casing, and the water and oil pumps are driven by a shared balancer shaft. Further reducing engine size is the lower crankcase design, which stores the oil and houses the pressure-fed pump.
The lightweight six-speed manual gearbox uses the same shift-cam design as found on the CRF250R/450R to ensure positive changes and is equipped with an assist slipper clutch.
For the CRF1000L Africa Twin’s chassis Honda says three key attributes (highlights of the original XRV750) were targeted: Off-road performance, touring comfort and the everyday agility that makes for a great all-rounder or day-to-day commuter.
A steel semi-double cradle frame provides balance and high-speed stability. Mass centralisation – with items like the battery packaged at the rear of the cylinder head – contributes to a low center of gravity.
Long-travel Showa inverted forks are fully adjustable and feature dual radial-mount Nissin four-piston brake calipers and 310mm “wave” style floating discs. The Showa rear shock has hydraulic spring preload adjustment. Like the CRF450R Rally, the CRF1000L Africa Twin uses 21/18-inch front rear spoked wheels, wearing 90/90-21 and 150/70-18 tires.
Following its design theme of “unlimited adventure,” the Africa Twin is styled with minimum bodywork in a tough, lightweight form. Dual headlights maintain the original’s presence and the seat height adjusts 20mm to either 870mm or 850mm. A large 18.8-liter fuel tank is said to provide a range of up to 400km.
To tailor the overall electronics package to capably tackle any conditions on or off-road, the Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC)* system offers three levels of control, while it’s possible for the rider to turn off the ABS* system for the rear wheel.
Honda’s Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) will be available as an option with the use of a common crankcase keeping the width the same as the manual transmission version.
It features the standard manual mode – allowing the rider to operate gear shifts through triggers on the left handlebar – and two automatic modes. D mode offers the best balance of fuel economy and comfort cruising. S mode has now been revised to give extra levels of sports performance, with three different shift patterns to choose from: S1, S2 and S3.
Africa Twin is also equipped to operate in an adventure environment, with off-road functionality enhanced by the G switch positioned on the right side of the instrument panel. Pushing the G switch in any riding mode improves traction and machine control by reducing the amount of clutch slip during gear changes.
Further new functionality for the DCT system comes in the form of incline detection, by means of which the gear shift pattern is adapted depending on the grade of any incline to provide optimum control.
The CRF1000L Africa Twin will be offered in four color options in Europe: CRF Rally, Tricolour, Silver and Black.
Honda says there will be several versions of the CRF1000L Africa Twin, with prices starting from €12,100 (about $13,300) while prices will vary according to local taxes in Europe.
* HSTC and ABS not available on base version; equipped as standard on ABS and DCT versions.
Here’s the spec box from Honda’s news release:
|Main technical specifications|
|Engine Type||Liquid-cooled 4-stroke 8-valve Parallel Twin with 270° crank and uni-cam|
|Max. Power Output||70kW/7,500rpm (95/1/EC)|
|Max. Torque||98Nm/6,000rpm (95/1/EC)|
|Bore & Stroke||92.0 & 75.1mm|
|Clutch||Wet, multiplate with coil springs, Aluminium Cam Assist and Slipper clutch|
|Final Drive||O-ring sealed chain|
|Gearbox / Transmission Type||Constant mesh 6-speed MT / 6-speed DCT with on and off-road riding modes|
|Honda Selectable Torque Control System (HSTC)||*HSTC 3-levels + Switch Off (*ABS & DCT models only, not on STD model)|
|Frame Type||Steel semi-double cradle type with high-tensile strength steel rear subframe|
|Dry Weight||208kg (STD), 212 kg (ABS), 222kg (DCT)|
|Kerb Weight||228kg (STD), 232 kg (ABS), 242kg (DCT)|
|Fuel Capacity||18.8 liters|
|Length x Width x Height||2,335 x 875 x 1,475mm (STD), 2,335 x 930 x 1,475mm (ABS/DCT)|
|Seat Height (STD position / Low position)||870/850mm|
|ABS system type||ABS* 2-Channel with rear ABS off switch (*ABS & DCT models only, not on STD model)|
|Brakes Front||310mm dual wave floating hydraulic disc with aluminium hub and radial fit 4-piston calipers (*ABS) and sintered metal pads|
|Brakes Rear||256mm wave hydraulic disc with 2-piston caliper (*ABS) and sintered metal pads. Also Lever-Lock Type Parking Brake System on DCT model.|
|Wheels Front||Wire spoke with aluminium rim|
|Wheels Rear||Wire spoke with aluminium rim|
|Rim Size Front||21M/C x MT2.15|
|Rim Size Rear||18M/C x MT4.00|
|Tires Front||90/90-R21 tube type|
|Tires Rear||150/70-R18 tube type|
Product information including prices, features and specifications for European models are subject to change without notice by the manufacturer.
News source and photos from Honda Motor Company Ltd., videos courtesy Honda Motorcycles Europe
Story ©2015 CarNichiWa.com