Honda has confirmed it will enter the ultra-competitive ADV class with an all-new CRF1000L Africa Twin model. Said to be a very serious on/off-road machine, rather than
simply an “adventurous” styling effort, it has been suggested that the KTM 990 Adventure was targeted as the
inspiration for the design because it combined a relatively
light weight with purposeful go-anywhere performance.
And as large displacement ADV bikes seem to get ever
larger year-by-year, we’d have to agree with that direction.
The “True Adventure” prototype unveiled at the Milan
motorcycle show last year now appears to have been a
production ready example of the upcoming Africa Twin,
although its hard-to-read camo paintwrap and mud-splat-tered exterior were attempts to hide the details. The two
color images on black backgrounds above are official
teaser shots of the new bike.
Still, this much is clear: The machine will be powered
by a 1000cc parallel twin, it will wear a 21" front wheel
together with a 17" rear, and the prototyppe rolled
on Pirelli Scorpion Rally enduro tires. The chassis
looks to be an aluminum twin spar arrangement,
and the overall package reinforces the image
of a lighter-than-expected machine, perhaps
somewhere between the Triumph Tiger
800XCx and the KTM 990 Adventure.
In its release on the new machine,
Honda cited its off-road history with the
XRV650 Africa Twin, which debuted in 1989
after four successive wins in the rugged
Dakar Rally, and its successor, the larger
XRV750, as proof of its abilities, as well
as its current assault on long-distance off-road competition with the CRF450 Rally.
Honda says the new bike will be in dealers’ showrooms early next year and it will
offer its Dual Clutch Transmission technology programmed to provide an advantage
in off-road conditions. With Honda’s engineering capability and enormous dealer
network, the new Africa Twin should be a
very popular alternative to more specialized brands. —Dave Searle
2016 Africa Twin