– Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Honda Africa Twin Rumored to Get Displacement Boost for 2020

When MD tested Honda’s 2016 Africa Twin, it found a very capable off-road machine, with comfortable ergonomics for long rides on the tarmac. It also found a relatively soft, controlled power delivery (suitable for traction in the dirt) and no wheel/tire option focused on road riding. These things may change in 2020.

More than one report cites “reliable information” out of Japan that the Africa Twin will get a displacement boost to roughly 1100cc for the 2020 model year. This makes sense, as Honda is currently stuck in the middle of essentially two categories of adventure bikes, including lighter models (Triumph 800 adventure models and KTM 790 adventure models, which make roughly the same peak horsepower as the current Africa Twin) and bikes like the 134 hp BMW R1250GS.

A larger gas tank is also rumored. Will we see an option for tubeless, road-oriented wheels/tires — such as a wide 19″ front wheel? We certainly think it would be a good idea for Honda to offer this. Time will tell.

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  1. Twindog says:

    I have the 2018 Adventure Sports and other than the seat height that I’m getting used to, and lots of weight to pick off the ground, especially with a full fuel tank, I’m enjoying the critter. I can’t see going back to fully street after tasting ADV riding. I’ve ridden street bikes since 1974 and wanted a change. I wish I would have made the move 20 years ago. At this point I’ve fitted Outback Motortek crash bars, engine guards, skid plate, rear pannier racks, and Barkbuster hand guards. I’m 63 and I don’t expect to do cliff side single track or 4 foot river crossings on it, but I recently had a great day riding 300 miles to Death Valley from home (on one tank of fuel) even venturing off the beaten path a bit. California just opened a CABDR route and I’m looking forward to exploring at least a portion of it this Spring with some friends. After researching for a long time, I wanted a bike that theoretically would be reliable, have decent parts availability and a decent dealer network. I landed on the AT. I know that more grunt is always nicer, a less intrusive traction control would be a plus, and tubeless tires with cruise control would make the sun shine brighter, but at the end of the day, I just appreciate the opportunity and ability to ride and have a great wife that lets me do it. I’m a blessed man.

  2. Mr.Mike says:

    I would prefer less displacement (maybe 800cc) and the lower weight that would come with it. That and tubeless tires. Also world peace and a cure for Cancer would be nice but definitely tubeless tires.

  3. Len says:

    Can Honda please put a 20 liter petrol tank in the NC750X,i wanna go to Namibia.

  4. Jordi says:

    I don’t understand all the requests for more fuel capacity. You mean the 6.4 gallons the current L2 model holds isn’t enough for you? Jeez, it already holds almost a gallon more than the current gen Goldwing does.

  5. Bagadonitz says:


  6. Anonymous says:

    I know little or next to nothing about this type of bike; I guess mainly because the ergos would be a nightmare for me. I owned a KLR briefly and my mounting and dismounting that bike would have made a hilarious YouTube video. I remember watching that series where the actor and his friend crossed Europe and Asia on this type of bike and my impression was that they seemed cumbersome in that type of riding. This Honda is a fairly good looking machine, but it’s probably better operated on macadam than dirt. A larger tank, a little more displacement and the ability to carry more luggage and this thing would probably make a fine touring bike.(not for me but for somebody)

    • Fred_M says:

      Excellent comment! It’s so rare that someone acknowledges that a motorcycle can be great for others even if it isn’t a good fit for them.

  7. More and more options added the market, I like it. I have always considered these bikes and the BMW GS, light off road, or occasional overnight camping trip, I realize people do so much more even around the world trips. It seems everyone has a different definition of “Adventure Bike”. All of them are certainly more universal than a “Sport Bike”.

  8. JB says:

    Yeah, why can’t Honda just pull a KTM and offer a more road-oriented/higher-displacement model with 19″ tubeless front and bigger tank, as well as a more off-road capable/lower-displacement model with 21″ tubed front? Seems a no-brainer…

  9. Fred says:

    My view on the capacity increase of 100 cc is solely to compensate for losses in power, torque or both in meeting Euro 5 compliance.

  10. Kevin P says:

    Keep weight gains to a relative minimum and the boosted displacement and fuel range would be a start. But Honda is simply not listening to the market by still not offering cruise on this bike and on the Crosstour VFR1200x. The lack of cruise holds me back. I agree with many that 19” tubeless tires would also be great. I’m a V-Strom rider that prefers the 19” as a good compromise size. But this class is filled with bikes with slightly different priorities and the AT seems to lean more to dirt so I imagine they will keep the 21”. But look at how Triumph offers the Tiger 800 in a roadie (19”) or XC (21”) variety and the buyer gets to choose. Wake up Honda.

    • Peter says:

      Honda actually did listen to what people said they wanted: a big adv with a genuine off road bias, and simpler electronics – and that’s what they delivered. The humanity…

  11. Anonymous says:

    Triumph will come out with a Rocket Tiger 2000cc to combat it.

    • gpokluda says:

      Speaking of Triumph. I just can from the local dealer’s open house. The Triumph truck was there and displayed some of the new models. The 1200 Scrambler XE is a big beast. The Speed Twin is delicious.

  12. Mike says:

    My KTM dual sport was 308 pounds and I thought it too heavy for off road. These things….really???

    • Bob K says:

      Dual Sport? How about more like large bore enduro? The 690R enduro, while street legal, isn’t something I’d ever consider for riding all over town or even on an overnight trip. You could do it. You could do those on a pocket bike too. But it would be a miserable experience. Nah, your bike is a dirt bike that got plated by virtue of meeting emissions standards. But it’s still a dirt bike, not a dual sport.

      As for the weight of the A.T… well, it’ll far outlast the 690 going from coast to coast and everywhere in between while having very long service intervals by comparison and doing it much more comfortably. That’s where the excess weight helps. Dirt bikes are great in the dirt but fragile over the road.

      • smithe says:

        Might not be as good as the Africa Twin, I don’t know what their oil change, or other service intervals are but, the KTM 690 Enduro and KTM 701 Enduro (I own the 701) have 10,000 Kilometer oil changes. It’s not as bad as people think.

  13. Jabe says:

    Personally I find these big ADV bikes cumbersome and unmanageable off road. But then again I do a lot of off road riding on proper dirt bikes. We at times encounter some adventurous types on ADV bikes and are met with a universal question from them, they want directions back to asphalt. That being said, I have ridden a friends R-GS a few times and thought it to be a wonderful machine, again too heavy for ‘real’ off road work. So the way I see it, when any bike with off road pretenses gets this heavy, why not get more power under the hood. Sounds more fun to me.

    • Grover says:

      “We at times encounter some adventurous types on ADV bikes and are met with a universal question from them, they want directions back to asphalt.”


  14. Mike Simmons says:

    I’d like to see a mid-size Africa Twin (700-800cc) without a stratospheric seat height. Us inseam challenged folks like to ride too!

  15. John Bryan says:

    An 1100 AT would easily make room for a 650-750 AT. Honda has plenty of engines that could work in a smaller Africa Twin so with Triumph, KTM, BMW, Yamaha, and Suzuki (we’re still waiting Kawasaki) all playing in the mid-size ADV field I can’t see them sitting this out.

    • Bob K says:

      There’s something to that logic.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I can’t really think of any other engines they have for a mid displacement AT. Which ones we you referring too? The 800 V4 would probably be too expensive. The 650 I4 too anemic on low rpm power, and likely too wide.

      The little bc 500 would be a good engine, but that wouldn’t be a mid.

    • Peter says:

      The cb500x already exists and that engine is sweet. It is 70 to 100lbs less than the lightest of the behemoths. Give it some RR love and off you go to where-ever

      You go to 750 etc and as KTM shows – hard to make very light, maybe shed 30lbs.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        The 500X is too low on power to be considered mid-displacement, IMO. Also, it isn’t really an adventure bike in the same spirit as the Africa Twin. It’s just a regular street bike in a backcountry outfit.

        • Dave says:

          I recall seeing an aftermarket conversion for the 500x that was pretty sweet, though it didn’t do much/anything with the engine (that I recall).

          I believe the Honda 500’s have the output they do to keep them in the good with Euro licensing standards. Seems like another opportunity for the aftermarket.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            I’ve actually seen a couple of those Rally Raid kitted 500Xs in the flesh and in action in Moab. Pretty cool.

            By the time you pony up though, you could have just about bought a KTM or Africa Twin.

            The power output is designed to meet tiered licensing standards as you say, and frankly I think the power is fine for what it is. I’m just saying it falls far short of what is considered mid-displacement these days.

  16. Dan Cooper says:

    Maybe they will increase the engine size of this one to also offer another Africa Twin with a smaller engine. I would like to see two different Africa Twin.

  17. gpokluda says:

    So it is just going to get streetified like all of the other ADV bikes.

  18. Dino says:

    bigger tank?? who knew!
    i know it is more weight (only when topped off), but it would be nice to have some serious road range, where most of these bikes will live!

    if you dont like the extra weight of the bigger tank, then don’t fill it up all the way..

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Off-road riders tend to frown at the additional girth more that the weight of additional fuel. But, yeah, on something this big, what difference does it really make?

  19. Jeff says:

    Yup.. 19″ tubeless front wheel(s) and cruise control would have me looking real hard…

    • Bob K says:

      19″ is a good compromise between street on enduro. I’ve had 2 adv bikes with it and truthfully, I could go everywhere a 21 incher could but not as aggressively of course. There’s only 20 mm difference on the outside radius between a typical 21″ and 19″ knobby.
      Being tubeless 19″ would draw in riders who want to do a 5000 mile trip. And the selection of street rubber is better @ 19″.

      • guu says:

        There are two other issues with 19″. Firstly the tire is wider for a given contact patch. Typically 110 vs. 90 mm. This can be an issue off-road. Secondly the selection of tires for off-road is just as limited as the selection of road tires is for 21″.

  20. Jeff says:

    Cruise Control …..

  21. todder says:

    Please add cruise control

  22. Bob K says:

    I agree Darwin. The At doesn’t need a displacement boost IMO. It will just be less nimble with increased reciprocating mass. If it needs anything, it’s the mentioned larger tank and a beefier rear subframe for hard luggage.

  23. Darwin Holmstrom says:

    If this is accurate, it looks like the 2020 changes will lead to an Africa Twin that’s not as good as the 2016-19 version. It will make more power on paper and it will be slightly more appealing to people who would never buy it anyway, but for people who actually use it, seems like the earlier version will be the one to get.

    • Anonymous says:

      “It will make more power on paper”…

      In the real world, tubeless wheels and a larger (I’m talking 2 or 3 gallons larger not a couple of tenths) are just what is needed. I don’t ride on paper. I ride on roads and I ride across states. Most of us do.

      As for your assumption that “people who actually use it, seems like the earlier version will be the one to get”?

      There’s plenty of them bolted to showroom floors. Have at ’em.

      No harm, no foul. Just a real world view. Speaking of the real world, motorcycles, like a great many automobiles and other vehicles, are pricing themselves out of reach. It’s just not worth the cost to ride and when you take into account maintenance, insurance and tires, reality female dog slaps you sober.

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