2018 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports 1200

EICMA motorcycle show news from Honda with upgrades to their hugely popular Africa Twin CRF1000L model, including the new Adventure Sports.

For 2018 the Africa Twin CRF1000L Adventure bike gets bigger brother — an Adventure Sports model.

The sports model features a bigger tank (5.4 litres extra) to up the tank range “above 500kms” Honda claims, plus longer travel Showa suspension and improved riding position to make it more useful off road. 

The Africa Twin model was re-introduced in 2016 and brought Honda huge sales around the world from adventure riders wanting more from the iconic brand associated as much with Dakar Rally as world travel. 

Thirty years down the line, the 2018 Africa Twin has become Africa Twins with two models. 

Both now feature a new throttle-by-wire systems with improved electronic engine and transmission control for different riding conditions and rider abilities. 


Honda 2018 Africa Twin Adventure Sports

Adventure Sports CRF1000L

The new Adventure Sports CRF1000L is more focused on being capable off road compared to the standard model. 

As such it needed the new riding position to put the rider “more upright” and in a better position for off road riding. 

A flatter seat is 50mm higher than standard and adjusts 20mm to either 900mm or 920mm (compared to 850mm and 870mm of the standard model’s more ergonomic seat). 

The handlebar position changes also to rest 32.5mm higher and 5mm further backwards – to better suit standing riding. 

Another bonus are the bigger footrests for rider and pillion. 

The standard pegs were poor on previous model and clearly not designed for off road use, despite the nature of this Africa Twin beast. 

Other more useful off road details on the Africa Twin Adventure Sports bike are a protective aluminium sump guard, a taller screen, stainless steel spokes and crash bars. 


Honda 2018 Africa Twin Adventure Sports 1200

CRF1000L 2018 (both models) changes in a nutshell

New electronically controlled throttle-by-wire (TBW) system

New air box improves intake and a new exhaust both improve mid-range engine response

New lighter balance shaft weight

New lithium-ion battery saves 2.3 kg and enhances durability

Assist/slipper clutch helps upshifts and downshifts

Heated grips and AC charger socket standard

The new electronic system basically expands the choices available to the rider to manage engine output, feel and rear wheel traction. 

The previous model had three levels of HSTC (selectable torque control) plus off, but the new system has seven – ranging from aggressive for off-road riding to sensitive (level seven) on wet asphalt. 

For 2018, a modified airbox improves mid-range response on both models, as does a lighter balancer shaft weight. A revised exhaust helps mid-range power too and “serves up an even more evocative howl.”

998cc parallel twin engine

The four-valve 998cc parallel twin Unicam engine has clever packaging touches such as housing the water pump within the clutch casing and using the engine’s balancer shafts to also drive water and oil pumps. 

That puts the 998cc twin motor the same overall length as Honda’s popular 500cc engine (used in many Honda models). 

Its short height contributes to the Africa Twin Adventure Sport’s 270mm of ground clearance and strong overall balance despite the 230kg claimed weight.


Honda 2018 Africa Twin Adventure Sports 1 1200

Showa suspension

The 252mm (up 22mm on the standard Africa Twin) 45mm Showa cartridge-type inverted, fully adjustable fork improves performance and control on the Adventure Sports model. 

The Showa rear shock has an extra 20mm travel, at 240mm. Its upper mount is set low for mass centralisation and it features a 46mm cylinder remote reservoir for stable damping control under off-road riding conditions. 

Spring preload can be adjusted via a dial on the shock body. Rebound and compression damping are also fully adjustable.

Manual or Automatic

Both 2018 Africa Twin models are available with manual transmission and Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) clutchless transmissions. The DCT upgrades for 2018 are Super-fast, seamless gear changes in Manual Transmission (MT) or two automatic modes; S mode (with 3 levels) revs higher and downshifts sooner while the G switch improves rear wheel traction when off-road. An incline detection system adapts shift pattern depending on road gradient too. 

The DCT model can be switched to manual mode – allowing the rider to operate gearshifts through triggers on the left handlebar. 

D mode offers better fuel economy and comfort cruising whilst S mode gives three different, sportier shift patterns to choose from. 

The DCT also works off-road – pushing the G button in any riding mode modifies the control of the clutch system to give a more direct drive. 

More details at https://hondanews.eu/eu/en/motorcycles



jon.pearson enduro21 april 2017

Jon Pearson
Enduro21 Tester of Things