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. 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.
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 to 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 CRF1000L Africa Twin’s 1000cc parallel twin power plant draws heavily on Honda’s off-road race experience in the form of the CRF250R/450R competition machines and uses the same four-valve Unicam head design for compact overall 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. The engine’s short height contributes to the CRF1000L Africa Twin’s excellent ground clearance – another prerequisite for a true adventure machine. It also uses clever packaging of componentry to both dynamic and aesthetic effect.
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 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.
The 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 tyres. A large 18.8-litre fuel tank provides a range of up to 400km.
To capably tackle any conditions on- or off-road, the Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) system offers three levels of control and it is possible for the rider to turn off the ABS system for the rear wheel.
Honda’s unique Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) will be available as an option on the CRF1000L Africa Twin, with the use of a common crankcase keeping the width the same as the manual version.