Honda Africa Twin in the top test

Honda Africa Twin in the top test
markus-jahn.com

Honda Africa Twin in the top test

Honda Africa Twin in the top test

Honda Africa Twin in the top test

Honda Africa Twin in the top test

21st photos

Honda Africa Twin in the top test
markus-jahn.com

1/21
The first impressions of the Honda Africa Twin when it was presented were promising. But now it applies. The first test motorcycle is ready for the top test. And the expectations are great.

Honda Africa Twin in the top test
markus-jahn.com

2/21
Dry sump lubrication certainly has advantages in terms of overall height, but not checking the oil level using a dipstick.

KTM shows that there is another way.

Honda Africa Twin in the top test
Photos: Honda (2), fact

3/21
The valve control, which Honda uses in the Africa Twin under the sonorous name Unicam, is basically a sohc design, i.e. a single overhead camshaft. The beginning of Unicam was made in 2004 with the wild, high-revving Crossers CRF 250 and 450. They were followed by the VFR 1200 F and X and the NC models.

Honda Africa Twin in the top test

4/21
The camshaft, which is located directly above the intake valves, is clearly visible, and roller rocker arms operate the exhaust side.

Honda Africa Twin in the top test
markus-jahn.com

5/21
Due to the long suspension travel, the Africa Twin tends to become a bit unstable when fully decelerating, whereby the rear wheel can lose contact with the ground for a short time. It stirs a little over the longitudinal axis, but this is harmless.
The braking effect is good, but the pressure point could be a bit more direct. Because of the long suspension travel and the narrow tire, the deceleration is good.

Honda Africa Twin in the top test
MOTORCYCLE

6/21
As you can see, you don’t see anything spectacular. Rather, it is a performance curve that tends towards its gently rounded peak and a good 80 Nm starting torque at just over 2000 rpm. Even if performance fetishists may complain that the kick is missing, …

Honda Africa Twin in the top test
MOTORCYCLE

7/21
… this engine characteristic fits perfectly with the relaxed appearance of the Honda. Due to the long gear ratio, it reaches top speed a good 1000 rpm before the speed limit.

Honda Africa Twin in the top test
fact

8/21
The Honda Africa Twin faces major competition in the form of three competitors. On the one hand there is the BMW F 800 GS with 85 hp, 222 kg weight, 0-100 km / h 4.0 seconds, Vmax 204 km / h, consumption 4.6 liters, ABS, and a price of 11,200 euros.

Honda Africa Twin in the top test
Rossen Gargolov

9/21
As a second:
KTM Adventure 1050. 95 hp, weight 233 kg, 0–100 km / h 3.7 sec,
Vmax 205 km / h, consumption 5.0 liters, ABS, 12,795 euros.

Honda Africa Twin in the top test
markus-jahn.com

10/21
On the other hand, we find the handwheel for headlight range adjustment, which is generally praiseworthy, negative – in itself it is a fine thing, but in the case of the Africa Twin it is unfortunately a bit hidden in the fairing holder and only a bit difficult to reach.

Honda Africa Twin in the top test
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11/21
It was positively noticed: in the event of an accident, the hinged gear knob protects against loss. By removing the rubbers, the jagged notches – albeit short – offer more grip in the field.

Honda Africa Twin in the top test
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12/21
Travel dynamically, but without hectic, comfortable but not sedate. Their balance is the great strength of the Honda and a balm for the nerves.

Honda Africa Twin in the top test
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13/21
But what does the Honda do? She meets the expectations with serenity. And it can do that too.

Honda Africa Twin in the top test
markus-jahn.com

14/21
Tight disc with surprisingly good wind protection and low turbulence thanks to clever openings.

Honda Africa Twin in the top test
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15/21
Clear and high-contrast cockpit, unfortunately the cover reflects something.

Honda Africa Twin in the top test
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16/21
Plastic protectors on frame and clutch bell, welded frame rear.

Honda Africa Twin in the top test
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17/21
Stable-looking aluminum engine guard as standard, but no main stand. The manifolds have separate fenders.

Honda Africa Twin in the top test
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18/21
The bench can be fixed in two different positions, …

Honda Africa Twin in the top test
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19/21
… which makes a 15 mm difference in seat height.

Honda Africa Twin in the top test
markus-jahn.com

20/21
Slim waist, not too bulky tank, silencer nestled close to the side – the Honda celebrates the departure from the trend towards ever larger travel enduros.

Honda Africa Twin in the top test
Yamaha

21/21
And thirdly:
Yamaha XT 1200 Z Super Ténéré.
112 hp, weight 269 kg, 0-100 km / h 3.7 seconds, Vmax 210 km / h, consumption 5.8 liters, ABS, 12,955 euros.

Honda Africa Twin in the top test

The strenght is to be found in serenity

The first impressions of the new Honda Africa Twin when presented were promising. But now it applies. The first test motorcycle is ready for the top test. And the expectations are great. But the Honda meets them with serenity. She can too.

Strange things have been going on in the editorial office recently. Colleagues from different departments suddenly stand in the door: travel colleague Markus Biebricher was the first, shortly afterwards service man Thorsten Dentges appeared: “You, um, do you think I could get the key to the Honda A.Have a frica Twin for an hour? ”Or, like classic colleague Uli Holzwarth, look at the long-legged Honda in the editorial garage:“ How long has she been there? Do you think we could have it? Come on, let it go, just check the sound for a moment. ”Seasoned editors sneak around the Africa Twin like cats around the milk pot. “Finally,” exclaims Markus. And he gets nods of the head.

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Honda Africa Twin in the top test

Honda Africa Twin in the top test
The strenght is to be found in serenity

The new Honda Africa Twin has become very appetizing

No question about it, the CRF 1000 casts a spell over the viewer. And if there were critical voices in advance about the “only” 95 hp and over 230 kilos in weight, nothing can be heard about it. The new Honda Africa Twin has become a very appetizing motorcycle. Slim, with a slim waist, as if from one piece. Made valuable for it – it’s just fun to look at. The glossy red and snow-white of the finely painted tank create a wonderful contrast, the bench with black-white-red cover matches it. The Honda shows a beneficial courage to color. Even if the stickers on the fairing are not painted over. The processing is impressive. The plastic parts fit perfectly and do not look cheap. 

The steel frame of the Honda Africa Twin is neatly welded – unfortunately also the rear frame, a screwed one would have been better if the worst came to the worst. No sign of zip ties or loose plugs dangling around. Only the sensor cable on the front wheel looks a bit sloppy. But details such as the sturdy aluminum engine guard, plastic frame protector over the footrests, foldable gear lever and non-slip, jagged brake pedal, plus the 21-inch front wheel and ample 230 mm ground clearance – that tastes like dusty slopes and wanderlust. These are the footsteps that her predecessor, who hired in 2003, left behind thanks to her enormous reliability. And they are quite large – which the plump Varadero has not been able to fill since then.

Tank holds 18.8 liters

But before we indulge in the past feeling emotionally: It is the here and now that counts. And that means a seat height of 880 mm. These are easy to master for normal people thanks to the narrow bench and thus the well-mannered step length. For those who like it lower: The Honda Africa Twin can be mounted 15 mm lower by simply repositioning it. For those who want to go deeper or higher, Honda offers 30 mm higher or lower benches. 

The 18.8 liter tank of the Honda Africa Twin ensures tight knee coverage. 400 kilometers should still be there thanks to chaste drinking habits. Honda promises. We will see. The here and now also means: row twin instead of V2. And it reports on the spot at the push of a button, hums to itself with a slightly increased 1800 / min resting heart rate. When reaching for the clutch, two things stand out: On the one hand, an adjustable hand lever fell victim to the red pencil – not necessarily to be expected given the price. On the other hand, the anti-hopping clutch requires little manual force. The first gear engages gently, and from the first meter the twin pushes forward magnificently. And immediately the corners of the mouth are drawn up. 

When it comes to electronics, the essentials are on board

The 998 cm³ twin is a flatterer with excellent manners. For the Africa Twin, Honda relies on conventional throttle cables instead of electronic ride-by-wire. The engine hangs nicely on the gas, direct and yet soft. When it comes to electronics, the essentials are on board. A three-stage traction control that is easy to operate from the handlebars, the gentlest stage of which, however, intervenes a little early and rigorously. In addition, an optional ABS (surcharge 600 euros), which can only be switched off on the rear wheel for off-road excursions. For those who like it puristic: A version without ABS is also available this year, as the Africa Twin is still homologated according to Euro 3. The Honda Africa Twin does not offer different mappings – which is tolerable. On the other hand, it is a bit annoying that every time the ignition is switched off – also via the kill switch – ABS and traction control are reset to the factory settings. But back to the engine.

It is one of those engines that get down to business calmly, but with gentle emphasis, even from idle. Softly banging, ugly pressure change jolts as far as possible. This encourages you to shift into second gear and upshift early in the crisp, precise transmission immediately after starting off – a DCT version with a dual clutch transmission was not yet available for testing. The sixth can already be activated shortly after leaving the town. In everyday life, most of it then takes place between 2000 and 4000 revolutions. That relaxes you, makes you calm, and saves your nerves. Switchbacks are a breeze for the Honda Africa Twin. With a gentle roar, the twin pushes the load out of the corners. Hangs cleanly on the gas, simply sovereign. Far from the hustle and bustle. Also because the Twin shows excellent running culture.


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The first impressions of the Africa Twin at its presentation were already promising.

The developers gave him two balancer shafts to take with him. And they do an excellent job. They leave little more than a gentle pulsation, regardless of the speed. The engine of the Honda Africa Twin has fine manners. And also an even performance development. One of its strengths is undoubtedly the very wide usable speed range. A fine start from the lower speed, no break in the middle, at 6000 rpm there is a little more life. Only from 7500 rpm does the vigor of the soothing twin ebb.

He got a pleasantly muffled, voluminous sound on the way, which is partly due to the crankshaft with 270 degree crank pin offset. This basically results in the firing order of a 90-degree V2. The Honda Africa Twin doesn’t sound like a Ducati V2. But it thuds richly and gently, pithy when accelerating, but not aggressive and never intrusive. Responsible for this is the ingenious inner workings of the silencer – recognizable by the two differently sized outlet pipes – which, despite its size, fits well into the line and hugs the machine closely.

Moved from one slant to the next

The seating arrangement was also successful. Thanks to the narrowly contoured bench, normal people can easily reach the ground. The handlebars are almost perfectly at hand, the seat is tightly padded and offers plenty of room to move. The driver sits loosely, but not passively. Even after hours you get out of the saddle relaxed. And happy. Because even the chassis of the Honda Africa Twin is hardly exposed. On the one hand, there is the successful balance of the chassis. The 233 kilograms (with a full tank) are split 50 percent each between the front and rear wheels.

But much more remarkable than such numbers is how the Honda Africa Twin presents itself in the tumult of corners. As soon as the wheels start rolling, it seems as if she has thrown half a pound of ballast overboard. It can’t hit the hook like a rabbit – which is not surprising given the 21-inch front wheel and the geometry trimmed for stability with long caster and flat steering head angle. But the Africa Twin takes roads of all stripes calmly and confidently under the wheels. She dives calmly from one lean angle to the next. Willingly on the wide aluminum handlebars through hairpin bends, serpentines and quick arcs. It stably follows the given course. She parries bumps unimpressed, and she can only smile tiredly at the moment she brakes, as is typical for machines with a 21-inch front wheel.

The handling stiffens at higher speeds

The downside: at higher speeds, the handling stiffens noticeably. What is ultimately just a minor flaw in the otherwise fine balance. Another plus point: thanks to the ample steering angle, the Honda Africa Twin effortlessly puts turning maneuvers on a beer mat. The designers tried to keep the center of gravity as low as possible. The coolant expansion tank is located at the rear under the engine, the ABS modulator and battery are grouped around the center of gravity. The engine plays a special role here. Thanks to the Unicam cylinder head, it is very flat. 

And even if the fans of the V2 (including the author) may howl now: The in-line twin is significantly more compact than a V2 (and also cheaper to manufacture), which means that it offers more freedom in terms of positioning in the chassis. And at the same time enables an extremely long swing arm. 655 mm are record breaking and ensure good grip. The twin stores the oil supply of its dry sump lubrication at the bottom of the crankcase. This saves installation height, but requires a dipstick to check the oil level. In addition, the water pump of the Honda Africa Twin is integrated in the clutch cover – and not in the clutch, as some specialist magazines reported with full confidence in the press release.


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Their balance is the great strength of the Honda and a balm for the nerves.

The successful presentation of the chassis is also based on the well-coordinated suspension elements of the Honda Africa Twin. Despite the long suspension travel (230 millimeters at the front, 220 at the rear), they manage the balancing act between sufficiently tight coordination and fine comfort. They conscientiously take care of large and small faults in the asphalt.

They are fully adjustable, have a fairly wide setting range and respond promptly to a few clicks more damping. But at the expense of sensitivity. The bottom line is that the factory settings offer a good compromise between stability and comfort. Even when braking hard, the long-legged Honda Africa Twin remains largely calm. The brakes should go to work a bit more spontaneously and with a little more feedback. But thanks to the finely regulating ABS, they enable decent deceleration with 9.2 m / s².  

Equipped to take on the legacy of their predecessors

However, the tires do not play at the high level that the chassis specifies. The Dunlop D 610 Trailmax have hardly any sporting ambitions, they are also at war with cold and damp. And the front tire is not particularly communicative about its contact with the asphalt. The fine Honda Africa Twin actually deserved something more suitable. The sounding out of their off-road qualities is anyway – adequately covered with tires – in a separate test. On the other hand, it is easy to get over the fact that she is more cautious when it comes to top speed at 199 km / h. Especially since it runs straight ahead, even at this speed. And the long final gear ratio keeps the engine speed low, although this means that the torque in sixth gear remains a bit pale. So you can relax and unwind large stages in one go before the fuel gauge reminds you to go to the pump. When the reserve is reached, it provides a very precise display of the remaining range. Lo and behold: Moved cautiously, the Africa Twin only consumes 4.3 liters, which actually gives it a range of 437 kilometers.

And moving faster, a good 350 kilometers can be achieved. This pleases long-distance travelers as well as the numerous hooks for attaching luggage, the inconspicuously integrated case holder or the surprisingly good wind protection of the comparatively small disc. However, they will miss a main stand. The extensive range of accessories has it ready (219 euros) as well as a larger screen (147 euros) and matching cases (30/40 liters, 689 euros). You only have to look for crash bars in the accessories trade. The bottom line, however, is that the Honda Africa Twin is back and ready to take on the legacy of its predecessors.

Technical data Honda Africa Twin


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Tight disc with surprisingly good wind protection and low turbulence thanks to clever openings.

Test setup


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Slim waist, not too bulky tank, silencer nestled close to the side – the Honda celebrates the departure from the trend towards ever larger travel enduros.

Setup country road

fork
Rebound stage: 2.25 revolutions
Pressure level: 8 clicks
Preload: 5 turns *
Air pressure: 2.0 bar

Strut
Rebound: 10 clicks
Pressure level: 12 clicks
Preload: 6 turns *
Air pressure: 2.5 bar

* All revolutions counted from the closed position

Readings


MOTORCYCLE

Performance chart.

transmission


MOTORCYCLE

transmission.

As you can see, you don’t see anything spectacular. Rather, it is a performance curve that tends towards its gently rounded peak and a good 80 Nm starting torque at just over 2000 rpm. Even if performance fetishists may complain that there is no kick, these engine characteristics go perfectly with the relaxed appearance of the Honda Africa Twin. Due to the long gear ratio, it reaches top speed a good 1000 rpm before the speed limit.

Brake test


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With an average braking deceleration of 9.2 m / s², this results in a braking distance of 41.9 meters from 100 km / h.

Due to the long suspension travel, the Honda Africa Twin tends to become somewhat unstable when fully decelerating, whereby the rear wheel can lose contact with the ground for a short time. It stirs a little over the longitudinal axis, but this is harmless. The braking effect is good, but the pressure point could be a bit more direct. Because of the long suspension travel and the narrow tire, the deceleration is good.

Brake measurement from 100 km / h: 41.9 m
In comparison, the reference, BMW R 1200 GS: 39.3 m

That means: if the BMW is already at a standstill, the Honda Africa Twin still has a remaining speed of 24.9 km / h and needs another 2.6 meters to come to a standstill.

Further measured values

Performance

Top speed
199 km / h

acceleration
0-100 km / h: 3.8 sec
0–140 km / h: 6.9 seconds

Draft
60–100 km / h: 4.6 sec
100–140 km / h: 6.1 seconds
140–180 km / h: 10.9 seconds

Speedometer deviation:
Display: 50/100 km / h
effective: 44/93 km / h

Tachometer deviation
Display red area: 8300 / min
effective: 8300 rpm

consumption
Country road: 4.3 l / 100 km
at 130 km / h: 5.2 l / 100 km
theoretical range of road: 437 km
Fuel type: Super

Dimensions + weights
L / W / H: 2340/960/1480 mm
Seat height: 865–880 mm
Handlebar height: 1180 mm
Turning circle: 4840 mm

Weight with a full tank: 233 kg
Payload: 194 kg
Wheel load distribution v./h .: 49.9 / 50.1%

For Unicam valve control

The camshaft, which is located directly above the intake valves, is clearly visible, and roller rocker arms operate the exhaust side

The valve control, which Honda uses under the sonorous name Unicam in the Honda Africa Twin, is basically a sohc construction, i.e. a single, overhead camshaft. In conventional sohc engines, the camshaft is placed in the middle between the intake and exhaust valves and controls them via rocker arms. In the Unicam engine, on the other hand, the camshaft is located directly above the intake valves and actuates them via bucket tappets and shims. To operate the exhaust valves, roller rocker arms with adjusting screws for the valve clearance are used.


Photos: Honda (2), fact

The beginning of Unicam was made in 2004 with the wild, high-revving Crossers CRF 250 and 450. They were followed by the VFR 1200 F and X and the NC models.

This design is not only lighter than a conventional sohc head, it also saves installation space and allows the cylinder head to be made more compact. In addition to the Honda Africa Twin, the NC models as well as the Crosstourer and the VFR 1200 also have Unicam heads. The first Hondas that came onto the market with it were, however, competitor machines in 2004, namely the Crosser CRF 250 and 450. What is also proof of the robustness of this technology, after all, the CRF 250 rotates over 11,500 rpm. 

In the NC models, which operate at significantly lower speeds, the rocker arms even come from the automotive division, namely from the Honda Jazz. In the meantime, other manufacturers have also recognized the advantages of this design. For example, KTM is launching the latest generation of the Duke 690 with a similarly designed cylinder head. In the case of the Duchess, however, the inlet valves are operated by rocker arms.

competitor


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Welcome back Honda Africa Twin. But the competition has not slept either. Here are three serious competitors.

BMW F 800 GS


fact

BMW F 800 GS.

85 hp, weight 222 kg,

0–100 km / h 4.0 sec,

Vmax 204 km / h,

Consumption 4.6 liters, ABS,

11,200 euros without VAT.

KTM Adventure 1050


Rossen Gargolov

KTM Adventure 1050.

95 hp, weight 233 kg,

0-100 km / h 3.7 sec,

Vmax 205 km / h,

Consumption 5.0 liters, ABS,

12,795 euros without VAT.

Yamaha XT 1200 Z Super Ténéré


Yamaha

Yamaha XT 1200 Z Super Ténéré.

112 hp, weight 269 kg,

0-100 km / h 3.7 sec,

Vmax 210 km / h,

Consumption 5.8 liters, ABS,

12,955 euros without VAT.

Conclusion


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Honda Africa Twin.

Welcome back. The Honda Africa Twin has the virtues on board that are associated with this big name. It impresses with the wide range of skills, with the sum of its qualities, not a single outstanding characteristic. Like its predecessor, it is neither a rally rocket nor a stunner. Comfortable, economical, balanced. The cultivated engine rounds off the fine debut. What it can do off the beaten track, it still has to prove – with adequate tires – in a separate test.

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