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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

The Other Honda Africa Twin Video – That Actually Shows Something


Our readers were rightfully disappointed with the teaser video attached to the article posted on the Africa Twin announcement. An annoying waste of time … sorry we posted it.

We think you will find the video below a bit more interesting. If you play it in high def, and pause it, you can see the handlebar switchgear, knobby tires and spoked wheels. Playing it frame-by-frame, beginning at roughly the 0:50 mark, the parallel-twin engine looks compact, and the bike itself looks quite narrow (aside from the giant muffler).

From what we can tell, we were correct in expecting the CRF1000L to be very dirt oriented. It appears to have a 21″ front wheel, and, at least potentially, could be very lightweight for a 1000 cc dual sport. Take a look.



  1. jonnyblaze says:

    I’m glad Honda didn’t follow the crowd and go to the 1200cc class. There’s no need for 120-150hp motor in an adventure bike. Likely Honda will be going for a flat torque curve, agility and touring range.

    The bike in video is most probably a DCT model, mainly due to two reasons;

    1. In the left hand shot, as the bike slow down, the left thumb came off grip to press on something below the horn, and the fingers didn’t extend to grab on the clutch lever.

    2. In the muffler shot, the left foot remains stationary. It didn’t tilt forward to hook on the gear lever for up shifts as the bike accelerates.

  2. Sam says:

    Notice how close the front fender is to the tire—see any problem there for those wet dirt road ADVENTURES?

  3. Provologna says:

    If Honda hits the target with this bike, easy Bike of Year winner IMO. Yamaha’s FJ-09 honorable mention, maybe even close #2, but this CRF1000L looks sharper by the minute.

    Too bad I have to travel about 80 minutes just to see one.

    I estimate 490 lbs fully fueled curb weight.

  4. todd says:

    I always thought Honda saved the “CR” name for “competition” bikes. I guess the name XR1000L, while more appropriate for this machine, would be stepping on a certain American motorcycle company’s toes.

    • paul246 says:

      Honda is still using XR for the XR650l, the bike is based on the older dirt bike frame.

      I think that is why they use the “F” in the CRF series, to indicate the bike is in the dual sport category.

      • Dave says:

        “F” in the crf series designates them as 4-stroke bikes, left over from when they offered both 2 and 4 stroke MX bikes.

        CR has always been marketed as “Competition Race” so this is a departure. I can’t recall a Honda CR ever being street legal from the factory.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          CRF has been used for a while for the street legal CRF230L and its replacement, the CRF250L. The XR650L is based on the previous generation of bikes that the CRFs succeeded which is why it still carries the “XR” prefix. If it has an “L” at the end, it is street legal.

          I don’t know if “CR” ever stood for “Competition Race” or not in modern times, but CRF has just come to represent “off-road” for Honda. Same way XR did before the CRFs.

  5. TunaPete says:

    I always love the comments about what is and what isn’t an “adventure” bike. The adventure is up to the rider. Some folks thought my BMW R1150R (NOT a GS) didn’t belong on the Dempster Highway after a night of solid rain. They were probably right, but it was certainly an adventure. Be sure to check out the second and third photos, after my bike had gained a little weight.

  6. jonnyblaze says:

    Is 440 lbs wet possible?

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Isn’t the FJ-09 like 470 lbs? And it is starting with a very light base. 440 wet seems a tall order for a bike with large spoke wheels, heavy-duty suspension and a subframe designed to be loaded down.

      • todd says:

        On my bikes, the aluminum rims with spokes are noticeably lighter than my cast wheels.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          I’ve noticed the opposite on my bikes, though I should clarify that I am assuming the wheels will be tubeless. The tubeless spoke wheels I’ve had were noticeably heavier than the 17″ cast variety.

          • Dirck Edge says:

            You are correct, the spoked wheels are typically much heavier, but also much stronger for off-road pounding.

          • Hot Dog says:

            I’m lazy and I don’t want to clean the tiny little nooks and crannies of a spoke wheel, cast is much easier.

            Did anyone notice the leading axle on the front of the forks or am I seeing things?

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Pffft. I don’t clean my bike, much less my wheels.

    • Stuki Moi says:

      Sure. Just not necessarily affordable… 🙂

  7. Bill says:

    Does it come in yellow

  8. fred says:

    It is hard to get the best of both worlds. the 400s work good offroad, but they sing a tune at 70. The 1200s are not so agile offroad. The 800s are a good combo, but they really don’t work good offroad or on. I have tried them all from KLR-1200GS, I liked them all, but the new GS is a great street bike for me

  9. Tom R says:

    I love the “raw footage”, just-loaded-into-the-editing-machine look of the video. Its kind of like a summer intern quickly downloaded what he could while the supervising staff member went out to take a leak.

    Also, the sound of the engine is promising.

  10. Breva750 says:

    I like it.

  11. Provologna says:

    I was definitely more attracted to this bike after watching this video yesterday on this 15.6 laptop with tiny sound bar speakers (no bass <100 Hz, moderate stereo effect).

    Just now returned and listened with my best closed head phones, German MB Quart Phone 450. Wow, major lust building. The bike sounds fantastic. Super deep and throaty tone, and the 270-degree crank reminds me of my big bore Guzzis but better, much better.

    Somehow the video, at least listening on superb phones, portrays a sense of strong power but with superb control, even on the unpaved section.

    This is the first time I started wondering if maybe the liter size is right after all.

    Where do you apply for test pilot jobs like that?

    • xLaYN says:

      the impurities on your cooper cables offend me… you might even have your cables without radio shield…
      joke aside, on a sound basis remember that everything is modified, adjusted or post-processed, it wouldn’t be the first time.

      • Provologna says:

        Well, literally (not “figurative” use of the word), absolutely positively not “every (sound track) is modified.” There are small number of audiophile engineers and production companies that specialize in music recordings with absolutely no post-production processing (often such recordings employ ORTF or spaced omni microphone techniques).

        I watched again, with my head phones, paying even closer attention. These are world class head phones. Admittedly I have some L ear mid range loss but R ear still fine and sensitivity with both ears still pretty good. I owned about 75 bikes and am lifetime pro sound technician.

        0-3s: Traction control intermittently cuts spark to the ignition system.
        3-7s: mic is close to the fuel tank and I can clearly detect what appears to be resonance of the tank which I estimate is less than half-filled…possibly also resonance related to the fairing cavity. I owned a Moto Guzzi 1100cc FI Quota with approximately similar sized fairing and am familiar with fairing resonance from a wide array of fairing sizes and material densities.
        8-15s: sounds to me like the DCT shifts twice quicker than any mortal could possibly shift a regular transmission. Also, for unknown reason, less fuel tank resonance than 3-7s above. I suspect mic is located at different location; possibly more fuel for less air space in the tank.
        20s: sounds like the ABS working to me on dirt/gravel…I ride mountain bike more in the dirt than motorcycles…I thought you’re supposed to turn off ABS except on pavement, no?

        I would bet the audio track is raw, not processed. I have good awareness of processing, especially with these phones. Watching NFL games I can clearly hear the audio tech turn up the volume slider with faux crowd noise just before the center snaps the ball.

        This bike is lookin’ more bitchin’ by the minute.

        • Dirck Edge says:

          ABS can be dangerous off-road. You would typically turn it off.

        • xLaYN says:

          “audiophile engineers and production companies that specialize in music recordings with absolutely no post-production” in 24 bits 192khz recordings, way more than normal people can hear so they have room for tweaking (insert Shannon-Nyquist very long discussion and totally off topic here)
          “Admittedly I have some L ear mid range loss” seems like it’s common, people who are getting deaf get deaf on just some ranges, I have not detected yet on myself.
          “These are world class head phones” the other part is having the extremely refined and educated ear, if you do congrats, I’m not sure I could detect one from another.

          0-3s: pretty intrusive if you ask me (why then can tweak with secondary butterfly valves just lest power?)

          I took my XBA4 external DAC setup but cannot hear all you did.
          I guess you probably work on Audio industry.

  12. John M. says:

    During the muffler shot, it makes (what sounds like) a super quick gear shift….. DCT???

  13. Bill says:

    I love the I’m-a-real-adventure-rider types who believe I’m not an adventure rider unless I ride their bike. I rode my Super Tenere from Texas to Alaska and back last summer. I have no doubt that all of my trip could have been made on a street bike — however, I made the trip without worrying about fork seals or ground clearance.
    So, I don’t spend my motorcycle hours in sand and I try to avoid mud. That doesn’t mean my heavy adventure bike is somehow of less value to me than the a 300-pound KTM is to the guy who rides through Central America. I’m just less pompous and less of an ass.
    Depending on price, I think the Honda will do well and be a worthy competitor to the Tenere and the 1200 GS.

  14. J. Smith says:

    What kind of video is that ? It looks like the Blair Witch Project meets wrong way to build hype. Show the damn bike..

  15. Tommy D says:

    Clearly this bike fills a gap in the market…..
    What is up at Honda? When you show up late to the dance you better hope you have some mad skills to bring someone home. I am frustrated as I grew up on Honda’s and consider myself a fan of the company. I really hope this bike competes with KTM and BMW and is not simply some lipstick pig concoction.

  16. Looks dirtier than most ADV bikes of that displacement. Which is still relative. And what’s with the intermittent staccato engine note – traction control?

    • guu says:

      If it’s as dirt worthy as the KTM 950 was 12 years ago then it’s plenty dirt worthy. Much more than any of the 800+ class bikes now in production. Meoni’s Paris-Dakar winning bike was very close to production (unlike the original Africa Twins in that race). Unfortunately Honda doesn’t have that proving ground anymore.

  17. Sam says:

    If we can’t get it here in the United States—sorry, but I’m not interested.

    These bikes are for pretenders anyway as anyone with real dirt/ track/ desert/ Baja etc type experience knows, the only “adventure” aspect there is to these bikes is when the front end washes out on every other turn and the rear won’t hook up well enough to actually accelerate on anything but asphalt and the greatest adventure of all is when it falls over and pins you to the ground and an AFRICAN elephant is called in to lift the bike off of you or to get it upright.

    It looks like a nice streetbike though.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      “These bikes are for pretenders anyway as anyone with real dirt/ track/ desert/ Baja etc type experience knows”

      That is ridiculous. I have been riding big adventure bikes for over a decade now and use them just as the ad print implies they can be used . You can go faster and conquer obstacles on a dirt bike that you never will on an adventure bike, but you can have a VERY satisfying time off-road on an adventure bike nonetheless. Mediocrity would be a generous categorization of my skills, so one doesn’t need to be Chris Birch to get the job done, either.

      If you want to go blast around the sand dunes, by all means load a dirt bike in your pickup and go. These adventure bikes with some true off-road cred are for taking that road trip strung together with mountain passes or for exploring that tight trail heading up the mountain you just noticed as you are riding along.

      Sure, one can pretend all they want. But these bikes can also be ridden hard should the desire exist.

      • Dirck Edge says:


      • guu says:

        Yes they can. And with suitable tires you can certainly blast dunes too. Look at Paris-Dakar races from before 2004.

        Unfortunately tires are the biggest issue with these bikes. You can certainly make one bike that can be ridden hard off-road and on, but the tires will always be a big compromise.

        • Tom R says:

          From my experience the biggest issues are usually rider skill and testicle mass.

          • guu says:

            That too. The promo material for the 950 Adventure had some pretty amazing riding on the stock (deep-grooved) street tires. Blasting berms on MX track while standing on the pegs and that kind of stuff that most couldn’t do on any bike.

    • Poe says:

      But it IS coming here… and the rest of your statements are just as misinformed. I ride an ’03 BMW R1150GS offroad often – and I’ve never experienced ANY of what you claim – except that it also happens to be a great streetbike as well. Yes, it’s too big/heavy for real difficult singletrack (I have a Suzuki DR-Z 400 for that),but it eats up dirt/gravel roads and easier singletrack just fine. If you know what you’re doing, picking it up after a fall is no big deal either… it’s not like it’s a Harley Electra Glide. I LOVE being able to explore pretty much anywhere I want to go on it (and I DO) – yet still be able to blast comfortably down the pavement back home. It’s true that many people who buy this type of bike never stray offroad, but many more people DO than you think. I know… I’m one of them… and I have several friends who do as well. Check out the forums on and you’ll find hundreds (thousands?) more. I’m excited about this bike, but I am reserving judgement until they release the full specs – most importantly WEIGHT and PRICE. I would have preferred a 650-800cc version (more like the original Africa Twin), but if they did it right, the weight could still be acceptable.

    • Provologna says:

      You apparently missed (or forgot) about one of the most successful all-time motorcycle videos, Long Way ‘Round. Yes, their GS’ were too heavy, and no, that did not keep them from riding on really muddy dirt and rock trails for days on end (Mongolia and Siberia, no less).

      • peter harris says:

        So the bikes come with a back up crew as standard? Did they ever finish that trip – lots of people do it on far smaller bikes.

  18. azi says:

    I’d like to hear more about the CCM GP450 and equivalents. Overweight adventure tourers have been getting too much attention recently.

  19. Harold says:

    I’ve been disappointed in Honda for a few years, nothing they’ve put out lately has any appeal. MAYBE this will change if they get it right, BUT they seem more interested in turning out some stupid bike/scooter hybrid ugly thing that leaves one only to wonder what the …. are they thinking? The future for Honda motorcycles doesn’t look that bright, I guess I’m not expecting too much. And (yawn) I might be too old to ride by the time they get it to market!

    • MGNorge says:

      I think you’ll see BIG Red liven up here soon. I believe what you’ve seen, we’ve all seen, of Honda over the more recent years was the conservative nature of its management during the long downturn. I had read that a number of Japanese lost BIG yen from some failed investments during the late 2000’s. Honda’s newer offerings during that time here in the US seemed to be aimed at up and coming riders and not the seasoned rider. Their starting lineup seemed to stay status quo during that time also. Noticeably Suzuki hunkered down too. I see some of the old innovative Honda shining through and I think we’re going to see some real pushes forward by them soon.

  20. North of Missoula says:

    Saw some more detailed photos on another site. The exhaust can looks like they salvaged it from the boiler room on a ship.

  21. jonnyblaze says:

    That sounds like a 270 degree crank. Sweet.

  22. jodyz says:

    This type of bike is popular every place in the world except the US. Maybe the US isn’t it’s target market. How many bikes have been European and/or Asia-only models.

    • jodyz says:


    • Max Frisson says:

      The European Adventure bikes are best sellers in BMW and Triumph’s line-up. The Tiger new 800 XRx is very capable off-road. True the Ducati Multistrada and new BMX S1000XR are really just road bikes with tall suspension and the GSA is a pig in real dirt but try the 3-cyl Triumph Tiger. FYI, just got mine

  23. Sean says:

    Looks like a dirt worthy adventure bike which should be the only kind, otherwise a pure sport tourer would be the better choice.

  24. halfbaked says:

    Thanks for acknowledging the dubious value of the first video your candor is appreciated. This video does offer some decent looks at the new machine and even with all that mud I’m almost positive there is no beak on it. How do they expect to sell an adventure bike without a beak?! Seriously though it looks good I only hope it is not prohibitively over weight like the CRF250L.

    • John says:


      The CRF250L needs to be stroked until square, and then it becomes a CRF350L and then it supports its bulk and price tag.

  25. MGNorge says:

    Nice throaty exhaust note the way it was mic’d.

  26. Gary says:

    A swing and a clean miss. Just as other manufacturers are realizing that these things are being used predominantly as sport tourers, Honda clings to the ridiculous notion that someone, somewhere is using them as dirt bikes.

    Sad. The mighty Casey has struck out. Again.

    • MGNorge says:

      Tell that to BMW’s GS line which are used off-road. Doesn’t mean it can’t have a new set of shoes for roadwork!

      • Gary says:

        Errrr …. okay. Listen up, GS line. Your are all overweight pigs who have no business going off road, and given the same tires, there is no place you can take a GS that you cannot also take an R1200R.

        • Poe says:

          I sure have a lot of fun on my 1150GS offroad given that it “has no business going off road”. There’s more to it than the tires. You could take a Harley Sportster or a GSXR1000 to those same places too, but you’d enjoy the ride far less. The GS’s longer/softer suspension, gearing, wide bars and upright ergos help a LOT offroad.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          There are plenty of places a GS can go that would have a R1200R bottoming on a rock or cracking a rim or hammering your wrists and spine into dust as the suspension keeps bottoming out. Even sticking to the easier stuff that any motorcycle can take on, the GS will handle it much better and make for a better ride.

          And we don’t use them as dirt bikes… We use them as adventure bikes. We are crossing mountains and canyon lands and unpaved roads and conquering the TAT, not trying to improve laps times around an MX track.

    • Grover says:

      I like the fact that it is actually dirt oriented. Too many manufacturers selling bikes with tall seat heights and no off-highway capability. Honda will sell a bunch of these if the price is right.

    • Dave says:

      Have you considered that they might’ve nailed it? The things people buy and how they actually use them don’t often sensibly align. If they did, there would be far fewer motorcycle and car types. People will buy this and use it solely on the street because it looks the way they want it to. See Jeep Wrangler..

      • MGNorge says:

        That’s a good analogy. Another could be SUV’s with aggressive tread tires that see nothing more than grocery store parking lots.

        • LarryC says:

          Actually iy’s a pretty poor analogy. ADV bikes don’t need to be single track assassins to be useful. I live at 9000′ feet in the Colorado Rockies and have 2 ADV type bikes in the garage. I’m surrounded by forest service trails and county roads that most people would call “two-track.” These bikes open up a whole new world of possibilities when planning routes. Hooking together sections of pavement connected by gravel or trail is not only possible but fun and easy. It’s great to be able to make a 200 or 300 hundred mile loop that would be impossible on a pure street bike. Same is true for my Wrangler Rubicon, BTW, which sees a LOT of back and off road action. The Jeep is also pretty ducky for my 120m round trip Colorado winter commute to work. On those snowy days it seems that half the vehicles on the road are Wranglers…you know…people actually getting to where they want to go despite the weather. You guys may live in Pussyville where the Wranglers you see are driven by poseurs, but there ARE places where they get used for their intended purpose, just like ADV bikes.

          • Hot Dog says:

            Whoa! You just brought a baseball bat to a fist fight. Great reply!

          • Dave says:

            Larry C, the analogy is reality. Unfortunately, your use scenario does not represent a majority. For every one of you who use off road vehicles to their potential there are 10’s (100’s?) who use them as fashion accessories. It’s nothing to get upset about. If they weren’t buying these bikes and cars, there wouldn’t be enough users left to justify making them or at least there would be far fewer choices.

          • MGNorge says:

            I guess I live in Pussyville, USA then. I see plenty of Jeeps, Wranglers included, that are used most often for daily use and around cities here. I’d say their owners want to project something they wouldn’t if they drove, say, a sedan…or maybe even a minivan. Why do some guys jack their trucks up three stories high and fit monster tires on them? Most I see look like they rarely hit any dirt.

            Honda fitting dirt oriented tires goes along with the projection of use that prospective buyer want.

          • LarryC says:

            Dave sez;

            “Larry C, the analogy is reality”

            No it’s not, and I just explained why. Your experience doesn’t equate to universal truth. I see a different reality here. Whether I’m in a majority or not is of no consequence. I’m only pointing out that your simplistic generalities are just that…simplistic and general. There are still places where people live in more contact with reality. Have to…survival can depend on it. Was without electricity for 36 hrs Sunday and Monday due to a mountain spring snowstorm. Fire up the gennie and the pellet stove. Hell, we’re good.

            McNorge sez:

            “I guess I live in Pussyville, USA then.”

            Well, you have me at a disadvantage. I don’t know where you live, so I’ll have to take your word on that.

            “Why do some guys jack their trucks up three stories high and fit monster tires on them? Most I see look like they rarely hit any dirt.”

            You mean like guys blasting down to Burger Hut on their R1s dressed in Rossi look-alike helmets, who will never see a racetrack? Or fat guys in shorts, sans helmet, on their Hayabusas who will never see a dragstrip? Or legions of wannabe Hell’s Angels on metric cruisers, badasses for the weekend, who then go back to the daily grind come Monday morning? I dunno. Motorcycles are great fantasy projection vehicles. Maybe off road vehicles are too.

            Urban USA is full of people that are trying to project an image of something they are not. I read the latest fashion trend in NYC among the “hipsters” (whatever that means) is flannel and beards in a lame attempt to look like lumberjacks. Lumberjacks! In NYC…go figure. Hell, that fashion trend is probably passe by now, replaced with cross-dressing ballerinas or something. I know this: motorcycle manfacturers are scrambling (no pun) to figure out how to market product to this same group. Sad.

          • Dave says:

            Larry C, you explained your situation and I explained that you are a minority of riders and it is of consequence to you. If it weren’t for all of the people I pointed out, there would be very few choices for riders like you (I’m guessing xr or klr650 and a couple expensive euro models). You should thank them for their interest in self image, they’re fueling the development of these bikes, not the handfuls of people who live in the wilderness.

          • MGNorge says:

            Would be interesting to hear what Honda’s marketing thinks. I wonder if they have data on how many of these hit the trails compared to those that mostly don’t.

            Reminds me of waaaaay back when when I owned my XL250. I traveled everywhere on that bike, on and off road. Being a dual-sport I could ride to wherever I wanted on paved streets but if the opportunity presented itself I could point the front wheel off-road and explore, which I did regularly. Its mix of ergos, gearing and on/off road tires made it comfortable doing so. I see Adventure bikes as being in the same vogue.

    • jodyz says:

      This type of bike is popular every place in the world except the US. Maybe the US isn’t the target market. How many bikes have been European and/or Asia-only models?

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        What? They are very popular here.

        • Poe says:

          Agreed! Adventure bikes are probably the hottest segment in the industry right now. Sure, there are plenty of poseurs who will just buy them for their tough looks and will only ride them to Starbucks, but many more will use them as they are intended. I do.

          • Blackcayman says:

            right….that’s why Yamaha copied the styling for the FJ-09 even though its a street bike with 17″ hoops

        • Dave says:

          Re: “What? They are very popular here.”

          Without sales numbers it’s difficult to quantify that. We know several new models have been released so that points to popularity, but in 2012, the entire US market was less than 500k new motorcycles sold. Once you pull out the HD’s, BMW’s, dirt bikes and motor-scooters, how many bikes could they really be selling?

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            The segment is significant and growing. The US adventure / dual sport market was roughly 33,000 units in 2013, that is in contrast to 324K units of all other street bikes (excluding scooters). Unit sales for the segment grew 7.8% in 2013 vs. 2% for all other street bikes. So for the units representing the new growth in the market that year, better than 1 out of every four was an adv / dual sport bike.

            Now whether or not that rate of growth and modest piece of the pie equates to “popular” is open to interpretation. Popularity is certainly relative in this case, but I’ll go out on a limb and say that ADV bikes are popular enough to matter to nearly every manufacturer playing in the US market. That’s good enough for me.

    • John says:

      I actually would use it as a dirt bike except…..yeah, it’s too big. Do this bike based on a CB500 engine and I’m in, and I will take it deep into the mountains.

    • John says:

      Also, people want the most dirt bikey thing possible and THEN not take it off road. So, nailed it.

      • EdR says:

        I agreee. I love the offroad look, but the fairing is too pretty and too expensive to treat it like a dirtbike.

    • Chrisgo says:

      I think the “someone, somewhere using them as dirt bikes” must all be here in Idaho. We have a tremendous number of dual sporters here and thousands of miles of gravel roads that are perfectly suitable for this type of bike. I hardly ride my street bike but my DRZ400S gets plenty of use. Good one Honda!

      • guu says:

        Over 100,000 miles of dirt roads in Sweden and Finland alone from very fast (see rally racing for example. Those are public roads or open to public private road) to jeep trail. Yeah, there are perfect places for these bikes and there’s certainly plenty of riders.

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