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Honda 2019 Africa Twin

2019 Honda Africa Twin

When the CRF1000L Africa Twin was introduced in 2016 as an homage to the successful XRV650 and XRV750, the full-scale adventure motorcycle was immediately heralded for being equally capable of crossing rugged continents and highway cruising. For 2018, the “True Adventure” spirit of the award-winning model expanded with the introduction of the CRF1000L2 Africa Twin Adventure Sports, which pushed the platform even further into the long-range off-road-ready territory. Similar in overarching design, both models return for 2019, offering a superb balance of power and light weight, a key component to the platform’s success and user-friendly nature.

DESIGN

The Africa Twin Adventure Sports’ styling is less minimalist than that of the Africa Twin; the dual headlights are shared but the Adventure Sports has a larger fairing matched with an 80mm taller screen to offer greater wind protection. It also comes standard with heated grips and a 12V accessory socket, facilitating longer tours in wide-ranging conditions.

The Adventure Sports model comes standard with a larger sump guard and front light bars. Brushed-aluminum cowling panels add tough appeal and class to this adventure-ready machine, while the rear mudguard and steel rack can be easily removed. Aluminum side cases are available, as is an aluminum top box with mounting equipment specific to the CRF1000L2 Africa Twin Adventure Sports. Thanks to a 1.4-gallon larger, 6.37-gallon fuel tank (compared to 4.97 gallons on the standard model), range for the Adventure Sports model is extended.

Ergonomics

For extended off-road use, the Adventure Sports’ seat features a flatter profile than the standard model, and seat height is 1.2 inches higher. The seat adjusts .8 inches, for a seat height of either 35.4 inches or 36.2 inches (compared to 33.5 inches and 34.3 inches); there’s also a rear storage pocket tucked away on the right side. To match the raised seat height, the handlebar position is 1.3 inches higher and .2 inches further back than that of the standard model, resulting in a more upright riding position.

CHASSIS/SUSPENSION

The 2019 Africa Twin and Africa Twin Adventure Sports share a steel semi-double-cradle frame that provides nimble on-road manners plus stable high-speed characteristics, as well as genuine off-road capability. The Adventure Sports offers 10.6 inches of ground clearance (.8 inches more than the Africa Twin). Each has a wheelbase of 61.2 inches, and rake/trail figures of 27.5°/4.5 inches. Curb weight for the Adventure Sports is 533 pounds (556 pounds DCT), while the standard model weighs in at 507 lbs. (529 pounds DCT).

The Adventure Sports’ 45mm Showa cartridge-type inverted fork has 8.9 inches of suspension stroke (up .9 inches from the standard Africa Twin), offering excellent long-travel performance. At the Adventure Sports’ rear, a Showa shock delivers 9.4 inches of travel.

On both models, the shock has a low upper mount for mass centralization, and it features a 46mm remote reservoir for stable damping control under more extreme off-road conditions. Spring preload can be adjusted via a dial on the shock body; rebound and compression damping are also fully adjustable.

Compact two-piece, radial-mount, four-piston calipers work dual 310mm “wave” floating rotors through sintered pads and serve up consistent stopping power and feel on-road or off. The rear rotor has a diameter of 256mm and also features a “wave” design. The lightweight two-channel ABS can be turned off at the rear.

True to their off-road heritage, the Africa Twin models feature spoke front and rear wheels in size 21 and 18 inches, respectively, wearing 90/90-21 and 150/70-18 tires. The spokes are manufactured in stainless steel for improved durability and ease of care.

ENGINE

The 998cc SOHC eight-valve parallel-twin engine used in both Africa Twin models is paired with  a two-into-one downpipe that feeds exhaust through two catalyzers into a simple two-chamber muffler. Bore and stroke are set at 92 x 75.1mm, with a compression ratio of 10.0:1; the 270° phased crankshaft and uneven firing interval create the engine’s distinctive throb and feel for rear-wheel traction.

The crankcases are split vertically; the water pump is housed within the clutch casing, with a thermostat integrated into the cylinder head. The water and oil pumps are driven by the engine’s balancer shafts. These features contribute to the engine being compact and short, and to optimum ground clearance, a crucial element to off-road performance.

Four-valve cylinder heads, fed by PGM-FI fuel injection, each employ twin spark plugs and dual and sequential ignition control for even combustion. Honda’s SOHC Unicam® valve train is a feature of the CRF450R and the low-set position of the cast camshaft contributes to the compact nature of the cylinder head. The inlet valves are 36.5mm in diameter, whereas the exhaust valves are 31mm.

The engine uses a semi-dry sump and in-tank lower-crankcase oil storage, allowing a shallow pan depth and reducing overall engine height. As the pressure-fed pump is located within the oil tank, there is no need for a pressure-feed passage, again saving weight and space.

Secondary vibrations are neutralized by the mutually reciprocating motion of the pistons, while primary inertial and coupling vibrations are cancelled by the use of biaxial balance shafts. The front balancer shaft uses two weights, the rear only a single weight.

On the manual-transmission versions, the aluminum clutch center and pressure plate use “assist” cams to ease shifting (with light lever feel) and “slipper” cams for deceleration and downshifting. Oil-gathering ribs on the main journal side of the primary gear ensure consistent lubrication for the gear, damper spring, and primary sub-gear. The lightweight six-speed manual gearbox uses the same shift-cam design as found on the CRF450R to ensure positive changes.

A lightweight (5.1 lbs.) lithium-ion battery offers great longevity, both in terms of life and the ability to retain a charge.

An optional quick-shifter is available.

DCT

Honda’s advanced automatic Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) delivers consistent, rapid, seamless gear changes, and very quickly becomes second nature to use. It utilizes two clutches—one for startup and first, third, and fifth gears, the other for second, fourth, and sixth, with the main shaft for one clutch located inside that of the other.

Each clutch is independently controlled by its own electro-hydraulic circuit. When a gear change occurs, the system pre-selects the target gear through the clutch not currently in use. The first clutch is then electronically disengaged as the second clutch simultaneously engages. As the twin clutches transfer drive from one gear to the next with minimal interruption to rear-wheel drive, gear-change shock and pitching of the machine are minimized, resulting in shifts that are not only smooth, but direct.

The extra benefits of durability (as the gears cannot be damaged by missing a shift), impossibility of stalling, low-stress urban riding, and reduced rider fatigue add to the appeal of DCT.

Three modes of gear-change operation are available. Manual mode gives full manual control, allowing the rider to shift with the handlebar triggers. Automatic Drive mode is ideal for city and highway riding, and achieves optimum fuel efficiency. Automatic Sport mode offers three levels of sportier riding, as the ECU lets the engine rev a little higher before shifting up, and shifts down sooner when decelerating, for extra engine braking.

In either Drive or Sport mode, immediate manual intervention is possible; the rider simply selects the required gear using the up and down shift triggers on the left side of the handlebar. After an appropriate interval (depending on throttle angle, vehicle speed, and gear position), the DCT seamlessly reverts back to automatic mode.

The Africa Twin models’ DCT is also fully 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. In any riding mode, pushing the G switch reduces the amount of clutch slip during gear changes.

Further functionality for the DCT system comes in the form of incline detection, adapting the gear-shift pattern depending on the grade of an incline.

TECHNOLOGY

The entire Africa Twin platform utilizes a Throttle By Wire (TBW) system that features four individual riding modes and a Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) system. The use of TBW allows an array of choices for managing engine output, feel, and rear-wheel traction. The system features seven levels—from Level 1, for aggressive riding off-road on block-pattern tires, to Level 7, for maximum sense of security on slippery, wet tarmac. It is possible to turn HSTC completely off, and there are also three levels of power and engine braking available.

In a setup first used on the RC213V-S—the street-legal version of Honda’s MotoGP racer—three riding modes offer preset combinations of each parameter, suitable to different riding environments and scenarios:

TOUR mode employs the highest Power (1), Engine Braking (2), and high HSTC (6).

URBAN mode uses mid-level Power (2), Engine Braking (2), and high HSTC (6).

GRAVEL mode allows lowest Power (3), Engine Braking (3), and high HSTC (6).

A fourth mode—USER—allows the rider to set and save his or her preferred combination of Power, engine braking, and HSTC levels. Riding mode and HSTC level can be changed at any time using the controls on the left switchgear.

HONDA ACCESSORIES

A full range of genuine Honda accessories is available for the CRF1000L2 Africa Twin Adventure Sports and CRF1000L Africa Twin, including:

  • Quick shifter
  • Heated grip attachment
  • Heated grip set
  • 12v accessory socket
  • Light bar/skid plate
  • Low seat (CRF1000L2)
  • Centerstand (CRF1000L)
  • Centerstand (CRF1000L2)
  • Rear carrier
  • Tall windscreen
  • Low seat (Rally color)
  • Low seat (Black)
  • DCT foot shifter
  • Comfort passenger footpegs
  • Top case
  • Top case lock
  • 1 key inner cylinder set
  • 1 key body part
  • Backrest pad
  • Pannier set

2019 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports

2019 Honda Africa Twin Specifications

Model CRF1000L2 Africa Twin Adventure Sports DCT CRF1000L2 Africa Twin Adventure Sports CRF1000L Africa Twin DCT CRF1000L Africa Twin
ENGINE
Type 998cc liquid-cooled Unicam® four-stroke 22.5º parallel-twin
Valve Train SOHC; four valves per cylinder
Bore x Stroke 92.0mm x 75.0mm
Compression Ratio 10.0:1
Induction PGM-FI electronic fuel injection (Throttle By Wire); (2) 44mm throttle bodies
Ignition Full transistorized ignition
Starter Electric
Transmission 6 speed automatic DCT 6 speed manual 6 speed automatic DCT 6 speed manual
Clutch 2 multiplate wet Multiplate wet 2 multiplate wet Multiplate wet
Final Drive Chain; 16Tx42T
SUSPENSION
Front 45mm inverted telescopic fork; 9.9 in. travel 45mm inverted telescopic fork; 9.1 in. travel
Rear Pro-Link® system w/ single shock; 9.4 in. travel Pro-Link system w/ single shock; 8.7 in. travel
BRAKES
Front Two four-piston hydraulic calipers w/ 310mm disks; ABS
Rear Single one-piston hydraulic caliper w/ 256mm disk; ABS
TIRES
Front 90/90-21
Rear 150/70R-18
MEASUREMENTS
Rake (Caster Angle) 27.5º
Trail  111mm (4.37 in.) 113mm (4.44 in.)
Length 92.3 in. 91.9 in.
Width 36.7 in.
Height 61.8 in. 58.2 in.
Seat Height 36.2 in. / 35.4 in. 34.3 in. / 33.5 in.
Ground Clearance  10.7 in. 9.9 in.
Wheelbase 62.2 in. 62.0 in.
Fuel Capacity 6.4 gal. (1.0 gal. reserve) 4.97 gal. (1.0 gal. reserve)
Color Light Silver/Gray Metallic Matte Black Metallic; Blue/White/Red
Curb Weight* 555.8 lbs. 533.0 lbs. 530.0 lbs. 506.8 lbs.

*Includes all standard equipment, required fluids and full tank of fuel—ready to ride
Meets current EPA standards
Models sold in California meet current CARB standards and may differ slightly due to emissions equipment
Specifications subject to change

2 Comments

  1. Brad Smith says:

    Not a touring bike, not an off-road bike @ 550# fuel and ready to go…what is it? Your guess is as good as mine.

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