Honda’s Africa twin is one of the most iconic adventure bikes ever made, first showing its face in the late ‘80s. Here we are in 2022 and The Africa Twin is still going strong and better than ever.
The last time I got to ride the Africa Twin was before covid so I was keen to jump on and enjoy this new version. There can’t be many bikes that are as versatile as the Africa Twin. It's just a comfortable pottering through town as it is exploring some remote part of the world.
My press bike was an adventure sport with a manual gearbox, optional quickshifter and standard Showa suspension, not the Showa EERA. Being the Adventure Sport it has a bigger 24.8L tank and a new, improved, shorter screen and vibrant Cracked Terrain paint options. Very smart and practical.
Standard equipment includes a 6.5” TFT touchscreen and connectivity is a big thing now. You can listen to music or use your device’s navigation apps through Apple CarPlay®, Android Auto® Bluetooth® connectivity and your helmet headset. Honda has fitted two external power sockets (both USB and 12v socket), cruise control, heated grips and there’s a six-axis IMU with various engine and power maps. For the 2022 model year, there have been some refinements made to the Dual Clutch Transmission for smoother initial gearing, and a standard fit rear carrier.
In 2020 I tested the Africa Twin Adventure Sport fitted with SHOWA EERA™ (Showa Electronically Equipped Ride Adjustment). It was excellent but I was keen to try the standard Showa which is what this bike has fitted. Honda has used high-quality, adjustable Showa 45 mm cartridge-type inverted telescopic fork with dial-style preload adjuster and DF adjustments, 230 mm stroke. At the rear you have Monoblock aluminium swing arm with Pro-Link™ and SHOWA gas-charged damper, hydraulic dial-style preload adjuster and rebound damping. Optional electronic controlled unit with EERA™.
The dial-style preload adjuster dial comes in really handy for pillion rides, as the adjuster on the rear shock is very easy to get to.
I’ve used this system on a previous test bike and it was great. The theory is that you have optimum damping settings all the time. Soft, Mid And Hard settings cover all scenarios between touring and sports, and there’s an Off-Road setting. A User option allows a custom setup and rear spring preload can also be adjusted electronically. It’s pretty easy.
On road manners and handling are great. It's actually really good fun to hussle the Africa Twin. It moves around a little bit on the tyres when you press on, but exudes confidence and makes you feel comfortable and safe.
With a pillion and luggage the bike obviously feels heavier, but is easy to ride and is still good fun.
My bike had the Aluminium Panniers and top box fitted which are cavernous.
Panniers are 33L right, 37L left (10kg carrying capacity each). Overall width when fitted is less than 100cm and they're open d with Honda one-key system, basically uses the ignition key.
Top box is 42L (6kg carrying capacity) and come with pillion back rest.
The whole lot is available with waterproof inner bags too.
100bhp isn't a huge amount by today's standards. With top end adventure bikes like the multistrada V4 making 170bhp and R1250 GS making 136bhp, you'd assume the Africa Twin would be a bit slow, but it doesn't feel slow. The 1084cc SOHC, 8-valve twin-cylinder engine produces 100bhp and 105Nm torque and feels eager and tractable. It pulls cleanly through the rev range, unlike a Ducati V2 for example, that needs to be revved. I did plenty of 2 up miles and most with luggage, and never felt I was short of power.
My press bike had a standard exhaust as is usually the case on press bikes, which sounded good, but I'd love to hear this with an aftermarket exhaust.
This press bike was fitted with a manual gearbox but with the optional quickshifter. It’s a very good ‘box and the quickshifter was excellent. As you know, you can option the DCT gearbox with this bike which is a really good gearbox, but i particularly wanted the manual. If you are commuting, maybe the DCT would suit you better. The manual gearbox is fitted with a slipper clutch.
At the front you will find 310 mm dual wave floating hydraulic disc with aluminium hub and radial fit 4-piston calipers and 2 channel ABS System with IMU. The front wheel is a 21” with a 90/90-21M Bridgestone Battlax Adventurecross Tourer AX41T tyre.
The rear is fitted with 256 mm wave hydraulic disc with 2-piston caliper 2 channel ABS System with IMU. The rear wheel is 18” fitted with 150/70R18M Bridgestone Battlax Adventurecross Tourer AX41T tyre.
Braking is excellent. Great feel and confidence means the bike is easy to ride from the first time you swing a leg over. The grip from the Bridgestone AX41T tyres is very good and allows the bike to move around on the road if you press on, without feeling like it’s on the limit. It’s a friendly bike to ride.
As standard the seat height can be set at either 850 or 870mm. There are also two colour-matched seat options available; the 25mm lower 825-845mm low seat, and the 25mm taller 875-895mm high seat.
I found the bike in standard 850mm trim was high, but not unmanageable. The seat is fairly narrow which helps with seat height, however that causes it’s own issues.
After and hours or so i found myself getting a num bum. The seat is narrow and not the most comfortable for the rider, although the pillion seat is excellent. I did find it a bit of a faff getting on and off with the alluminium luggage fitted. It was fine for the pillion, but swinging a leg over for a larger gentleman like myself means you need to swing your leg over both panniers and the seat. I just didn’t seem to get the hang of it so usually ended up hopping around the bike at the petrol pumps. I’m sure there’s a knack to it.
At the end of the day, look at the sales charts. Honda’s Africa Twin is an excellent bike and you simply won’t be disappointed if you buy one. There are more powerful adventure bikes and there are cheaper bikes. If you are seriously looking for a good adventure bike, you absolutely should try the Africa Twin.
Engine: Liquid-cooled 1084cc 4-stroke 8-valve parallel twin with 270° crank and uni-cam.
Max. Power Output: 100.6 bhp (75 kW) @ 7,500 rpm
Max. Torque: 105 Nm @ 6,250 rpm
Fuel Consumption / CO 2emissions: 12.7 mi/L (DCT 12.9 mi/L) / 112 g/km (DCT 110 g/km)
Lenght × Width × Height (mm): 2,330 × 960 × 1,395
Kerb Weight (kg): CRF1100L AFRICA TWINAFRICA TWIN - 226 kg (DCT 236 kg)
Kerb Weight (kg): CRF1100L AFRICA TWIN ADVENTURE SPORTS - 238 kg (DCT: 248 kg) With EERA 240 kg (DCT: 250 kg)
Price: from £14,749 (as tested £17,033)