- Vendetta Sino-Corsica
- In the saddle
- In the city
- Motorway and expressways
- Comfort / Duo
With two flagship models, Honda returns to adventure and versatility. Both the return of the legendary CRF1000L Africa Twin and the brand new X-ADV once again put the winged manufacturer at the forefront. With its trail, the Japanese firm marked the spirits last year, delivering a vehicle perfectly in line with its history and market expectations.. Its success in terms of sales proves its qualities, both in urban-road use and more vigorous use. Very recent, the concept X-ADV intrigues and innovates, composing a hybrid scooter and trail which had really convinced us. However, although Honda likes to evoke a kinship of its Crossover with the legendary adventurer, the rapprochement may seem daring. To get a more definitive idea of this adventurous lineage, Honda offers us a three-day tour of Corsica on the handlebars of these machines. Indeed nothing like the island of beauty to regulate family affairs…. And with three loops of nearly 300 km, the explanations, as the days were long and especially rich, very rich in changes of direction, turns, curves, pins and other meanders of the most varied. In short, an explanation against a background of vendetta.
We no longer present the queen of the desert, which has become a staple in the heavy-duty trail segment. And at parity in mechanical gearbox like…. automatic DCT…. Eh yes. Aesthetically, the Africa Twin is most elegant. Its Italian designer, Fabrizio Carbonara, knew how to modernize the essential aesthetic points of the older generation. Double optics, narrow air intakes surrounding the lights, metal shoe, 21-inch front wheel…. the novelty is a hymn to the legend, especially in the Replica version. It indeed sports gold rims and a three-color dress to better reflect the former queen of rallies. Its 998 cm3 engine is still a two-cylinder, but now in line and more in V. Set at 270 °, its crankshaft nevertheless gives it a very close mechanical character and the block delivers 94 hp at 7,500 rpm for a torque of 9.8 da.Nm at 6,000 rpm for a weight of 232 kg (+10 with DCT). In the electronic department, ABS and anti-skating at three levels and off equip the new queen of the desert. The DCT versions benefit from a G mode (Gravel) to ensure the best possible performance on soft ground and also receive 4 maps (D mode and three Sport). Mechanical gearboxes are complemented by an anti-dribble clutch. But neither version has a Ride by Wire type accelerator. Ready for trips of all kinds, the Africans impose their aura of backpackers. How do you apply these powerful codes to a scooter?.!?
Because for many, the X-ADV is still a versatile scooter, rather dedicated to CSP + in lack of thrills on their daily journey. Fault ! The Honda concept goes further. First of all, aesthetically, the resumption of certain lines of the trail is sensitive, especially as its design was concomitant. However, the machine displays a more powerful plastic with an assertive character and style sometimes borrowed from the automotive world of SUVs. The hybrid even features plastic hand guards of the same type as the CRF1000L Africa Twin and a 2.5mm thick shot-blasted aluminum shoe. However, it appears more massive than the Africa Twin with a lighter design. This effect is reinforced by its imposing central tunnel which allows it to have a 21-liter box, lit by an LED, fitted with a 12-volt socket, housing a full-face helmet. Its engine also uses a parallel twin, with the same setting, from the NC models. Its 745 cm3 combine best with the automatic DCT gearbox fitted to the trail as an option. Atypical, its tilted 62 ° forward position places the block very low in the machine. It develops a power of 55 hp at 6,250 rpm and a force of 6.8 da.Nm at 4,750 revolutions / minute moving 238 kg. We find the four driving modes, but the ABS is not disconnectable and there is no traction control..
Both machines display an excellent finish and integration of the elements. Metal parts provide quality surfaces and peripherals such as exhausts combine effectively with the style of their respective mounts..
In the saddle
The two vehicles display very different ergonomics. Guarantor of committed offroad possibilities, the Africa Twin has a standard saddle height of 870 mm. The altitude can easily be reduced by 20 units by placing it on low bindings. The very narrow arch of the trail’s leg reduces the feeling of height, providing good stability for the feet on the ground. Also, the adventurer allows an intuitive standing piloting position, with the best handlebar / rider distance. Complete, but not necessarily the most practical, the Africa dashboard consists of a fully digital instrument cluster. Its negative type display on a midnight blue background provides a pleasant premium appearance.
On board the X-ADV, the atmosphere is quite different. For a scooter, the 820 mm saddle height seems important, also a consequence of the respectable width of the hybrid. Tunnel, steps require you to spread your legs when stationary. However, the seat provides a great deal of latitude in position. In this way, when maneuvering, it is possible to move towards the narrow end and then, once started, to retreat to the widest area. But to access the potential of the machine, optional Rizoma footrests, enduro-style, expensive, but highly recommended, greatly help its off-road use. Mounted in the rear extension of the steps, these elements give all their meaning to the X-ADV. When out of the tarmac, for better control of the rear axle drifts and facilitating the standing position, but also on the road, thus providing motorcycle ergonomics with more support on the handlebars. In addition, the back tires much less. Simple, but ergonomic, the cockpit accommodates a large digital window grouping all the instruments. Complete, the whole remains perfectly readable, even in direct sunlight.
As you can see, the cousins play the same tune in different tones. On the Africa, we may regret a non-adjustable clutch lever in spacing and a non-adjustable bubble. Points that are credited to its hybrid opponent, both for the levers and the efficient windshield. The screen adjustment system convinced me more than on the first try and I was even able to adjust it while riding. Finally shared regret: absence of cruise control on the two machines…. very regrettable.
In the city
Much more virile, the melody of Africa charms the ears, already preparing the sensations to come. Metallic, less noble at start-up, the breath of the twin X-ADV is more pleasant in the towers. To start our journey, we have mechanical CRF1000L and DCT. The latter are in the spotlight in urban mode, delivering an approval comparable to that of the Honda Crossover. We can of course up or down the gears at will via the triggers of the left commodo. The most astonishing remains the ability of the gearbox to come back on its own in first gear if the speed is too low, or when slowing down at roundabouts for example. And this even in activated manual mode. From then on, the piloting becomes intuitive and optimizes the responsiveness to the handlebars. But the main asset of the Africa, noticeable in a few tens of meters, is its ease of handling and its almost unparalleled agility. The trail is piloted with the tips of the gloves, guided by the gaze and almost automatically curves.
More attention must be paid to the X-ADV, the geometry of which is becoming less obvious. Not to mention a significant turning radius. In addition, the tire is wider, with mixed envelopes Bridgestone Trail Wing in 120 and 160. Camped on its 17-inch wheel, against 15 at the rear, the X-ADV indeed raises the masses on the front. , giving a little "heavy" direction in town. A barely perceptible sensation on the trail, yet perched on a pair of 21 "and 18" rims. On the other hand, the central stand is standard on the "motoscootrail". And on a daily basis, its storage box and its superior protection make it win the city test..
Motorway and expressways
Having the look for distant horizons is good. Having the real ability to ride the long haul is better. The Africa Twin is a Pullman traveler, both for its pilot and the accompanying person. The careful design of its fairing also protects the crew well, but the short stock bubble may seem a bit tight in the long run. Especially since its 18.5 liter can allows it to stages of more than 350 km without refueling. Well tuned, its suspensions give it great stability at high speed, even with suitcases and top case. At the legal motorway, at 4,500 turns in mechanical gearbox on the last gear, or 500 less with DCT, the big twin unrolls its quiet force without vibration, but will ask to drop a gear to revive quickly.
Even more placid, the block of the X-ADV unrolls a peaceful stride of 3,700 revolutions per minute at 130 km / h. So much the better, because the 13 liters of its tank require reduced consumption. With the bubble in the high position, the air flows on the upper body are even better controlled than on the trail. On the other hand, the typical scooter architecture causes more turmoil on the legs. At high speed, the stability is, there too, very good, but the general comfort less good than on its high cousin. Quality of the seats and suspensions are withdrawn. To travel far, the X-ADV fulfills the contract, but the breaks will be more numerous and welcome. Meanwhile, the desert girl takes off, towards the secondary network.
Corsica is a destination of choice for bikers, especially out of season. The infinite meanders running on its tortured relief sometimes make it lose its sense of direction. It is especially on the first day, a magnificent loop passing through Tolla, Bastelica then the Parade of Inzzeca, Cozzano, Aullène and Albitrecci, that we take stock of the route prepared by Honda. In one day the dose of toning is the same as that administered in 3 or 5 years to a biker from Ile de France…. Fantastic !
If the behavior of the Africa Twin is hardly surprising as the machine is designed for such journeys, that of the X-ADV surprises by its efficiency in keeping up with the trail. Admittedly, the more limited ground clearance sometimes reduces the overall potential. But we are then at very sustained rates. And the CRF1000L also ends up rubbing its footrests on the asphalt as well. When the route loosens, the trail takes more ground. Its superior mechanics and agility optimize its evolutions effortlessly. It is beyond 4,500 revolutions that the block becomes more dynamic, then furious 2,000 revolutions higher. Less efficient, the twin midsize knows how to give the best thanks to its DCT box. The Sport modes favor revs on peak torque and towards peak power. But riding the hybrid, you have to force more to keep up this little protocol. And even less legal.
At the tourist standard, the two Honda are charming on the Corsican coasts and mountains. Always obvious, the Africa Twin absorbs the ride like a flying carpet, flying over the defects of the road. Like a somersault on stilts, the trail swings from one angle to another without much inertia. Only its 21-inch wheel reminds the pilot sometimes, timidly. But this is the better to free oneself from the track sectors to come. It is also interesting to switch from an African DCT to one with a mechanical gearbox. Particularly effective in Sport mode level two or three, the robotic gearbox still retains a slight reflection period which may displease the purist. And what a pleasure to enter a report by giving the gas that goes well before setting on the angle…. Only global use will allow a choice between the two. City and duo? DCT obliges. Sport, offroad and solo? The classic selection seems more suitable.
The drier, less adjustable damping of the X-ADV puts more strain on the crew. A little less alert on the transitions in curves, the versatile machine can benefit from an update transfiguring its agility…. A Bridgestone S21 fitment gives it a sportiness much superior to the standard model. Both in liveliness and stability on the angle, the crossover changes face. What to scare a certain TMax…. Impressively responsive, the X-ADV once again excites the pilot in you, a little groggy by the temperature and the ultra-gourmet coffee from a local inn…. Come on, let’s put the gas back on !
Flawless grip and healthy geometry of our frames make the suspensions and brakes work. On the Africa, the fork plunges noticeably, but the well-braked limit switch keeps the machine an appreciable road feel. Especially since the whole is adjustable in any direction. As for the radial calipers, they deliver a perfect feeling and control of decelerations. More crude, the damping of the X-ADV correctly collects load transfers, but with less finesse. Especially since its front clamps are the same as that of cousin Africa…. so it slows down badly.
Without finding an equality of approval between the two machines, the X-ADV impresses on the road. Will he follow in the same way by the side roads that Africa loves??
The test in Sardinia of the Honda crosser was nice in passage out of bitumen. Our passage on the track is here more rough and demanding for the X-ADV. And it works ! Not as easy or as fast as with the Africa Twin of course, but we confirm that the concept really makes it possible to cross a path that is already well broken up. Of course, the ground clearance is limited, the fork always hits a little hard on the biggest compressions and the front axle lacks frankness. But we have fun riding and the promise of versatility is kept. When the ground gets softer, the X-ADV, devoid of anti-skidding, allows itself to cross and other easily controllable jokes thanks to the additional footrests. But the weight remains sensitive and the masses less well centered. The hybrid still admits its limits.
The CRF1000L finds a surface it loves. Earth is second nature, especially if you cut off the traction control and rear ABS. We then find the ease that the trail had shown us when it was presented in South Africa. Narrow in the middle, ideally placed toe clips like the handlebars, the Africa traces its way with ease on this easy track. A formality for this high-flying adventurer, taking her pilot with ease and comfort. Our all-terrain specialist colleagues even make it take off with gusto over a few bumps and the Africa takes off without complaining. Widely available, its parallel twin provides appreciable force over a wide rev range. And the DCT transmission gives as much satisfaction as on the road. Here again, we can discuss the superiority, or not, of the mechanical system. A choice more personal than frankly objective, again depending on general use.
Balanced and efficient both offroad and on the road, the Africa Twin has high-quality suspension elements and a high-performance chassis. Its road feel is the best while maintaining a certain sensitivity to mass transfers. Less obvious on the handlebars of the X-ADV whose chassis and damping are less brilliant. However, the machine increases its level by putting on road tires..
The frames share the same front clamps delivering power and consistency to decelerations. Progressive, the elements also make it possible to modulate the braking. The Africa’s rear caliper is perfect for supporting opposing elements. That of the X-ADV is less convincing and more difficult to measure. Efficient, ABS is not intrusive on any of the machines.
Comfort / Duo
The trail is undoubtedly more welcoming. Soft seats, quality suspensions, generous passenger grab handles, the Africa Twin takes care of the crew. Only regret, the footrests of the accompanying are not sheathed. Less opulent, the saddle of the X-ADV is almost as comfortable, compensating for a certain dryness of the suspension. Stylish, passenger footrests combine with large grab handles for a reassuring and comfortable duo.
Sobriety is the watchword of the two Honda, each remaining close to 5 liters per 100 km. The only concern for the X-ADV, its 13.1-liter tank. Very correct on a daily basis, it will require you to land every 250 km. A good idea for security. With nearly 6 additional units, the Africa Twin canister allows you to forget a pump without worry in remote areas or areas with little in-station supply.
Confirmed traveler, the Africa Twin only confirms her talents as a versatile backpacker. Its respectable ground clearance and its torquey and fully usable engine easily make it possible to derive maximum pleasure from it. Finally, the large optional luggage allows you to go far and loaded.
The surprise comes from the X-ADV, revealing both its qualities of comfort on long journeys and its first-rate dynamic capabilities. Not to mention good ability to switch to semi-drivable tracks. The first representative of a new segment, it combines the usual codes of multiple two-wheelers. Look of a powerful high-end scooter, chassis and road capabilities of a mid-size motorcycle and offroad pretensions…. Synthesis of the revival, the X-ADV is really confusing and finally pays for itself, for the daily newspaper, a local vendetta on its cousin.
Can it therefore replace a motorcycle in the strict sense of the term and even claim to be of Africa Twin parentage? Yes, under certain conditions. Its versatility is a sign of belonging to the CRF family. Statutory, it makes the beautiful escape possible without fearing for its mount. But, notwithstanding all its qualities, its driving position is the main stumbling block for bikers for juice, sensitive back or refractory to the feet forward position. Especially on long journeys. But for others, eager for a practical and unique machine, the X-ADV must be tried to measure its interest and capabilities. While then objectively confronting its offroad needs with the capacities of the two Honda ….
The Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin asks for 13 399 € and 1000 € more in version with DCT gearbox. Priced at 11,499 €, the X-ADV seems a bit high in price compared to its powerful cousin. Confirmed adventurers, the Crossover is probably not for you, limiting the wide horizons. Everyday bikers, mostly urban and commuters, accept to be surprised by a rational and ambitious vehicle that allows more than it seems. We are never better betrayed than by our own.
Africa Twin strengths
- Evidence of handling
- Engine character at mid and high revs
- Agility and precision of the chassis
- All-terrain efficiency
- Electronic assistance
- Quality suspension
Weak points Africa Twin
- Engine lacking in tone under 4,500 rpm
- No central stand as standard
- Unsheathed passenger footrests
- Powerful and innovative aesthetics
- Engine character and availability
- DCT box still in progress
- Agility of the chassis
- Box under saddle
- No heated grips as standard
- Shock absorber too dry
- Fork too tight on strong compressions
Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin technical sheet
Honda X-ADV technical sheet
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