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Honda Introduces Larger Displacement, Lighter Africa Twin Models for 2020 (with video)

2020 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin Adventure Sports SE

Confirming rumors, today Honda announced a 2020 Honda Africa Twin platform with increased displacement, more power and less weight for each of the two new models, including the standard Africa Twin and the Africa Twin Adventure Sports SE.

The bikes should be in dealers next March. Both standard transmission and DCT models will be available at the pricing indicated in the press release below. Here is the press release from Honda with several photos followed by a video:

Ever since its inception, Honda’s versatile Africa Twin has presented motorcyclists with unprecedented capability for pavement excitement and off-road adventure. Today Honda introduces the 2020 CRF1100L Africa Twin platform, whose two model versions return with even more ability to take riders anywhere while broadening options for how they can do so.

Both Africa Twin iterations—the standard version and the Adventure Sports ES—are lighter despite receiving a larger, more powerful engine, and they also benefit from a much more advanced suite of electronic rider aids. The two types diverge in terms of specialization for 2020, with the standard Africa Twin honed to improve sporting and off-road performance, while the Adventure Sports ES benefits from technology to bolster comfort and confidence when tackling long distances.

2020 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin Adventure Sports SE

“Since the Africa Twin’s 2016 rebirth, it’s been gratifying to see riders gravitate to a practical-but-fun adventure bike,” said Chris Cox, American Honda’s Manager of Experiential Marketing/Public Relations. “For 2020, Honda has amplified what customers appreciate most about the Africa Twin platform—its ability to go anywhere, whether that means safety and comfort on the road, or performance and maneuverability in the dirt. With a long list of important updates to both model types, riders will find even more ways to pursue ‘True Adventure.’”

AFRICA TWIN

With an aggressive appearance, enjoyable engine and capable chassis, Honda’s true all-rounder continues to win fans among a broad range of consumers. For 2020, both Africa Twin versions (each of which is still available with either an improved manual transmission or a more advanced version of Honda’s automatic DCT), cram more power and torque into a lighter overall package, maintaining principles that have been intrinsic to the model since day one. The water-cooled, overhead-cam, parallel-twin engine receives an 86cc displacement increase, along with improved intake and exhaust systems, resulting in a horsepower boost of approximately 6 percent. The frame is updated for optimized handling characteristics, the rear subframe now has aluminum construction and is detachable, and the CRF450R-style aluminum swingarm is lighter and more rigid.

2020 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin Matte Black Metallic

A six-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU) makes possible the addition of new rider aids including wheelie control, cornering ABS, rear-lift control, DCT cornering detection and cornering lights, while a new, 6.5-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) color touchscreen display is compatible with Apple CarPlay®. Cruise control is now standard on both Africa Twin versions.

Despite sharing improvements, each Africa Twin type maintains an individual role. The standard version has a sharply renewed focus on off-road use, with a shorter, fixed windscreen and a 5.0 gallon fuel tank. Meanwhile, the Adventure Sports ES offers real long-haul ability and practicality, boasting intelligent Showa Electronically Equipped Ride Adjustment suspension (EERA™), tubeless wheels, heated grips, accessory socket, larger skid plate, aluminum rear rack and a 6.5 gallon tank.

2020 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin Adventure Sports SE
  • Pricing
    • 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
  • Colors
    • Africa Twin Adventure Sports ES: Pearl Glare White/Blue
    • Africa Twin: Matte Black Metallic
2020 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin Adventure Sports SE
2020 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin Adventure Sports SE

See more of MD’s great photography: Instagram

55 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Now that the AT has been bumped up to 1100cc, it leaves a big gap between the AT 1100 and the CB500X, for Honda to fill.

    A proper mid-size 750cc should fit the gap nicely. Honda already got the motor in the NC750X.

    Honda may revive the Transalp soon.

    • Dave says:

      They won’t do that unless they can find several places to use the engine platform. It’s long been time to de-emphasize displacement as a marketing feature. If the product does the job, what does the arbitrary size of the cylinders matter?

      • Motoman says:

        So the size of a motor can matter to some people. The mass of the spinning and reciprocating motor internals is generally tied to displacement and (all else being equal) hugely affects the way a bike handles and makes power.

  2. todd says:

    I sat on one at the dealer Friday. It was very top heavy compared to every other bike I sat on there, and that was with an empty tank. I ended up bringing home a 690 Duke.

  3. Dino says:

    Looking at the side view of the black model, I think it needs a beak..

  4. texrider says:

    VFR1200X is one of the better street oriented large ADVT mounts in my biased opinion. I may have to find a way to squeeze a 2020 Africa Twin in between it and the KLR 650 in my garage.

  5. Sheen Estevez says:

    Wow. One of the models has a bigger tank and tubeless wheels. Two things Hart and some anonymous readers spoke in favor of and some here decided to whine and belittle them until they were apparently banned by a symPATHETIC moderator.

    Way to go whiners and Dirk Diggler. Apparently this place is reserved for people that want more cow bell. Good job on the improved model, Honda!

  6. Razz says:

    Most readers seem to like the SE paint job but it looks busy and a bit silly to me. The black/red scheme looks great, if the SE came with that color option I would be a LOT more interested. The rest of the package is certainly getting there.

  7. Kermit says:

    I don’t know how I found it but I caught a video on YouTube of a couple(Mortons on The Move)that traveled the Dempster Highway all the way to the Arctic Ocean. It was two wide gravel all the way. They were in a crew cab dualy Ford with a camper in the back. At the end of the road, in a campsite next to the ocean was a Honda Africa Twin. The perfect adventure for this style of bike. I would love to do it.

  8. jon says:

    For an update where the only interesting thing is the weight loss, would be nice if Honda stated by how much!

    • Motoman says:

      Dunno, I think the bigger motor and bolt-on aluminum sub-frame are interesting….

      • mickey says:

        the addition of cruise control is kind of interesting

        • Motoman says:

          Yeah, and lots more stuff too. I was surprised at Jon’s comment that the weight loss was the only interesting thing.

          • Jon says:

            Yeah, ok – fair enough. I do maintain that weight loss is the MOST interesting thing though! I guess I’m getting jaded by all the electronic gubbins, and like to do more offroad so not too interested in more power than the original already had.

    • bmbktmracer says:

      I heard the weight loss is 4 pounds. I do, however, highly disagree with your assertion it’s the only “interesting” change. Cruise control, better instrumentation, updated suspension, more power, 6-axis IMU, 3-stage cornering lights, etc…all move the bike in the direction customers want. All this while meeting Euro5 emission standards. Seems like win, win, win.

  9. gpokluda says:

    That Adventure Sports SE is one handsome bike. I would have no problem admitting that I bought the bike just for its looks since my off road days are long behind me. But I think it is also worth noting, that Honda built a very capable machine, with all of the techno-wizardry you could possibly add to a machine and still managed to make it look good. Ducati, KTM, BMW and many others should pay attention.

  10. Matt says:

    Lighter and more powerful? That has gotten to be a rare, but most welcome, combination. It seems that far more often than not, any increase in power is more than offset by an increase in weight, but apparently not in this case. Good job Honda.

  11. Curt says:

    The way those riders ride those bikes in that incredible terrain shares little with what I’d be able to do with one of those. But they look great. As others have mentioned, I bet they’re really fun. The new upgrades appear spot on.

  12. ag_streak says:

    So, how much lighter than the previous versions? Anyone see any numbers published?

  13. Pistoldave says:

    As an owner of a 2018 Adventure Sports model, I have to say its a pretty great motorcycle. I don’t ride in the dirt much any more, getting too old and its hard to find the time anyway. The main reason I bought an AT is I think they look cool. There, I said it. I am 6-2 so the bike is the perfect height for me and is easy to ride and very nimble around town, so it makes a pretty versatile utility bike. I guess a lot of people will think I am dumb for purchasing a big adventure bike to putter around town on, but riding it makes me smile so there we are. I may never take it across the desert, or through the jungles of South America, but every time I jump it over the curbs at Home Depot, I will smile to myself and know that I COULD. If I wanted to. Theoretically.

    • mickey says:

      your post made me smile Pistoldave. Best reason to buy a bike..it makes YOU happy.

    • Mark says:

      So you bought a bike because you liked it? Good reason. 👍
      I read somewhere that as many as one out of ten will actually be ridden off road.

      • Jeremy says:

        These get ridden off-road all the time where I live, and they are impressive bikes. I went with a group to Utah not long ago, and there was a standard and a DCT model in the fray. They traversed some treacherous terrain on those bikes.

    • bmbktmracer says:

      One of my bikes is a 2009 Moto Guzzi Stelvio I snagged off eBay last year. It only had 900 miles. For the exact reasons you mentioned, it makes me happy. It’s not fast, but the handling is sublime, my wife loves it, and it’s so darn comfortable that it brings joy to riding for the sake of riding. I have other stuff for tickling the adrenals, but truth-be-told, they don’t get ridden near as often as the Stelvio.

    • huls says:

      Pistoldave is right !! Ride what you like, the way you like it and tahell with the rest.
      *we are Pistoldave*

  14. John Bryan says:

    Wonder if Honda has any plans to offer more street-oriented “base model” versions like BMW and Triumph do. Now that the 1100 is coming is there room in the range for a CRF1000 with a lower seat and cast alloy wheels?

    • Fred N says:

      Yes Please, Honda.

    • Stuki Moi says:

      The frame gets twisted in a knot on pavement already, if ridden even semi-aggressively, with streetier 21/18 tires. It really is a big touring dirtbike, like a super-Klr. Even the twin is made to feel a bit like a thumper.

      The twin spar frame on the Vstrom, is simply miles more precise and suitable for dedicated street use. As is the Versys, GS and I’m sure others. For “ultimate couch” touring duty, I suppose light cast (or forged 🙂 ) wheels would allow for tuning the suspension to be even smoother on pavement, but the darned bike dives for China on the brakes on dry pavement already….

      I do wish Honda would build a more dedicated street sport or adventure tourer, though. Wind management on the AT is, for the bike’s narrowness, uprightedness and class, pretty amazing. No doubt Big H could build a real nice street oriented lighter tourer, to sit somewhere between the NC and the ‘Wing.

      • Fred N says:

        Yes Stuki, your last paragraph is what I want from Honda.
        As an ex current DL1000 owner, I concur with your thoughts on it too. They just need to fix the screen to suit a taller rider.

        • Stuki Moi says:

          I think Suzuki, and other adv bikes, need to “fill in” the area around the handlebar, if they want better high speed wind management. Otherwise, air just moves in underneath the windshield.

          This is what Aeroflow did with the half fairings they built for the GS’ (up to the 1150 I believe), and it worked like a charm. The Africa Twin also does something similar, albeit with the whole thing being narrower all around.

          This filling in, is also why wind management on the ZX14 is so insanely good, despite the windshield barely extending above the handlebars. You do get wind to the helmet, but darned near none of the wind to your shoulders and arms, which otherwise tends to cause the small, involuntary steering inputs at high speeds which messes with high speed stability and serenity. Quadrupely so, when kitted out in the de Adv rigeur wide, floppy textile uniform, rather than tight leathers.

          Competition rally fairings, which is what the Africa Twin’s is modeled on, is narrow, tallish, but not “separated” below the windshield. As the rally guys, while not Marquez wrt speeds they travel, still ride fast enough across the dunes to benefit from proper air management. And, they even do so standing up.

      • Jim says:

        Honda did build it and most customers weren’t interested. You can probably find a VFR1200X languishing on a showroom floor if you look.

        • Stuki Moi says:

          That 1200 was One Big Bike. An AT sized bike, lowered and streetified, would be much less intimidating. The VFR1200 was more GS Adventure than plain GS, as far as size goes.

          I was thinking more of a VStrom 1000/Multistrada 950/GS850 sizer. Just easier to deal with all around, anywhere away from the wide open empty.

  15. whisperquiet says:

    No electronic cruise control = no sale to me.

    • zuki says:

      “Cruise control is now standard on both Africa Twin versions.”

    • ApriliaRST says:

      Not that long ago, lacking cruise control would not have been an issue. But, now my right wrist needs occasional time to rest. And cruise control is the way to rest it.

      • mickey says:

        My FJR came with cruise, but I wasn’t accustomed to using it since the ST 1300 I rode for 10 years/110,000 miles didn’t have it. At first I only used it occasionally. Now I find myself using it a lot.

        Cruise is a welcome addition to any bike meant for long distance highway cruising.

  16. Reginald Van Blunt says:

    Heavens to Mherrgatroid, choices abound now a days. As a former TransAlp owner these look like a sensible evolution. I do wonder if there is any common knowledge regarding the DCT reliability at Honda ? They have been out long enough that some sort of track record should be available over all .

  17. mickey says:

    Very nice.

    I’d bet less than 1% of the Africa Twins sold get to ride in an environment like shown in that video.

    • ApriliaRST says:

      Perhaps because fewer than 1% of owners will have desert mountains within days of where they live? Some of the bikes will have to put up with being ridden of forest roads. Because that’s what’s nearby to explore. Others, of course, will explore Starbucks.

      • mickey says:

        Yes because they don’t live near that kind of terrain. I watched the video and thought man, would it be great to ride in that or what? Looked like so much fun. My next thought was, what country is that? Africa maybe? Doesn’t look like anything I have ever seen in the states, and I have ridden thru 42 of the lower 48. With the remaining states being mostly on the east coast.

        I have seen an Africa Twin on the asphalt two lanes in Colorado though.

    • todd says:

      And then 1% of that 1% would be able to ride that bike like that. Most people would be much more comfortable trying to push the limits of a CRF230L.

  18. My2cents says:

    The previous version of base model had a reasonable seat height the full on adventure version with the seat in the lowest position was much too tall for me. The tubeless rims are a huge selling point and 6.5 usg fuel tank is nice too, but that seat height will still be too much, there is no possible fix without a huge comprise in other areas. Unfortunate but moving on now.

  19. Neal says:

    Seems like an all around improvement on the current model, which seems to be doing well. Not a segment I’m interested in but this should be a hit for Honda.