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Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports (2018) in the driving report

Off-road ambitions

With the new Adventure Sports, Honda provides the Africa Twin with a beautiful model for the rough. Will larger off-road ambitions find a common consensus with heavier weight and more electronics?

The message at the presentation of the Honda AT.frica Twin two years ago it was clear: ride-by-wire, aluminum frames or tubeless rims – a travel enduro doesn’t need that. At least none who are serious about their adventure plans. What breaks in the rainforest should also be able to be repaired there. Even if for most travel endurists the horizon somewhere on the Mediterranean should be spatially and conceptually closer than that on Lake Titicaca, the message of renunciation was convincing. She sounded honest, down to earth, and beneficial. Especially because the Africa Twin backed up the modest words with great deeds, presented itself well on the road and even first-class off-road. And now? Is the Honda Africa Twin facelift – with electronic throttle, three driving modes, three-stage control of the engine drag torque and seven-way adjustable traction control. In addition, the Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports is an even sharper model variant.

Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports (2018) in the driving report

Off-road ambitions

Africa Twin in a Crocodile Dundee outfit

Did the slow food movement forge these plans over a working lunch at McDonald’s? It seems as if the tiny islet of uncomplicated bliss has now been inundated by the raging mainstream. Why the change of heart? It can’t be because of the Euro 4 approval. The 2017 Africa Twin already owned it. More power? Neither. The twin still makes 95 hp. Then there is only one simple reason: Honda wanted it that way. I wanted to prepare the Africa Twin for the quickshifter with blipper, to enable the pilot to customize it. The Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports has definitely turned out to be beautiful. The white frame, the paint in the colors of the Honda racing department HRC – what a brilliantly successful homage to the launch of the original Africa twin exactly 30 years ago. Adventure Sports, the Africa Twin in a Crocodile Dundee outfit.

Lifted off: What can be done with the Africa Twin – even with the standard version – is amazing.

Again the zeitgeist. Whether the BMW F 850 ​​GS, KTM 790 Adventure, Triumph Tiger 800 or the 700 series Yamaha Tenere – if you are looking to the middle class touring enduro, put on your pith helmet. Offroad is popular. Longer suspension travel, higher handlebars, higher discs and larger tanks also distinguish the Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports from the basic version. However, it still shares the engine with its civilian sister.

Ten percent silencer volume cut

Press on the button. Again that zeitgeist. Almost all of them have gotten louder recently. Now also the Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports. The fact that more than ten percent of the silencer volume has been cut is unmistakable. Do you think that is good? Matter of opinion. In any case, the two-cylinder intones even more bass than before. Departure. In front of it is the ascent to a seat height of 900 millimeters. Fact, not reproach. If you want longer suspension travel, you have to be able to climb. If you click the saddle in the upper of the two positions (920 mm seat height), you can look forward to the look of a continuous bench. The three centimeter lower retrofit bench (139 euros) does not offer this, but it does provide a secure stand for pilots under 1.75 meters. After all, it resides pretty cute. The butted handlebars mounted on 33 millimeter higher risers stretches out invitingly towards the pilot, exudes rally flair with the narrow monochrome display and the 80 millimeter higher, but still slim disc. This is how Honda star Joan Barreda must feel – at least before he ruins his chances of winning the Dakar with the annual departure.

Button: With the electrical upgrade, there is also more to click on the Africa Twin.

Warning. The TKC 80 from Conti will later furiously dig the Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports through the terrain, but on asphalt the homologated, but not standard, coarse dumpers demand restraint. So now let’s go to the new mouse cinema. The driving modes are called Gravel, Urban and Tour. All of them are not limited in performance. Different settings for traction control, engine drag torque and throttle response are assigned to each mapping. In the fourth mode, the “user” variant, the intervention of the assistance systems can be configured by oneself. Now one could talk extravagantly about the different strengths of intervention of the electronic helpers in the respective gear steps – and still drive the Africa Twin fan base, which was previously barely interested in all this, into the arms of the middle-class Suzuki V- Strom. So only so much: First, it is child’s play to switch back and forth between the driving modes. Second, the wear out mode can be easily programmed even for non-digital natives. And thirdly, some things can simply be switched off. At least the traction control and for off-road the ABS on the rear wheel.

You need restraint?

Sorting out is also sufficient. "Gravel" on asphalt – doesn’t fit. The throttle valves open far too gently, taking away any momentum from the refreshed twin and the driver from having fun. "Urban" – even better. But do you need restraint? "Tour" gives the answer: No. As if the propellant had only been waiting for it, it speaks spontaneously and freshly, finally bringing the potential of the concept with its 270 degree crank pin offset to light. Because the Africa Twin engine has never lacked controllability – and it doesn’t now either. On the contrary. The weight of the balance shaft, reduced by 300 grams, was good for the two-cylinder. The engine of the Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports revs up noticeably livelier, looks fluffier and lighter, and for the first time can be shifted up through the gears with a quickshifter (additional charge 699 euros) and down through the gears without clutch using the perfectly functioning blipper. A clear step forward – which also applies one to one to the standard version.

Because the spokes of the previous wheels corroded, they are now made of stainless steel.

Instead, there are differences in the chassis. Although the knee joint remains slim, the bulbous flanks of the 24.2-liter tank (standard: 18.8 liters) inspire a lot of visual respect. And not only that: The 13 kilograms that the survival equipment packs on the Adventure Sports are very present. No wonder, with a full tank, the girl scout will weigh between 245 and 250 kilos according to MOTORRAD projections. The version with dual clutch transmission (DCT) is ten kilos more. The Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports is a significantly more powerful motorcycle than its sister. But also a more comfortable one. Above all, the fork convinces with smooth damping, good responsiveness and, thanks to the significantly tighter pressure damping, keeps the front up even when braking hard or off-road.

Keyword field

So far, even the standard version of the jungle queen has all eaten on gravel. In the attempt gravel mode, she will have a hard time with it. Therefore: the configurator is itself. Throttle response to 1 (spontaneous), drag torque to 3 (minimal), traction control to 1 (minimal), ABS off (control only on the front wheel) – you understood everything? Then everything will be as splendid as it used to be. Or should you say like the standard version? That would be disrespectful. Because if both can drift just as sensationally precisely and inspire with their fantastically easy-to-measure power output, the Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports adds a well-filled shovel, especially when it comes to the suspension reserves. Until the ground clearance of 270 millimeters, which is two centimeters larger, is used up and the voluminous engine guard scrapes over the clay, it takes such cheeky flight inserts as in the photos in the picture gallery.

Compared to the basic version, Adventure Sports is almost 1,300 euros more expensive.

However: the ring of fat around the front, the feeling of sailing through the steppe in a fully flagged desert ship, that remains. Yes, it even increases during leisurely enduro hiking – which is probably more species-appropriate anyway. In this respect: Despite its offroad-oriented upgrade, the Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports, which is around 1,300 euros more expensive than the basic twin, shows its strengths elsewhere: on the long journey. The better wind protection, the greater range, the much more progressive suspension – these are arguments that count more on the well-groomed tour than on the gravel pass. And when the disciples of pure doctrine now raise their index finger and throw in that they could have done this job without additional electronic frills and other bacon rolls, one has to admit: You are right. The fans of the Africa Twin would still have enthusiastically heard the thoroughly honest message of the renunciation. Especially if it were packaged so beautifully as in Adventure Sports.

The standard version also receives updates

The number of arguments in favor of the basic variant of the Africa Twin may be quantitatively manageable – but they are not in their meaning. The price advantage of at least 1,300 euros, the 13 kilos lower weight and – probably above all – the 50 millimeters lower seat height are important plus points for the target audience. If the German Honda subsidiary ordered 900 units of the Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports for this year, 2,000 machines of the civilian version will be on sale. This market assessment should be quite realistic. Because apart from the off-road-oriented additional package of Adventure Sports, the basic twin shares all modifications with its sister. In this respect, the first contact is already friendly. A seat height of 850 millimeters – with the lower bench seat, another 30 mm less is possible – allows normal people to reach the ground with both feet.

The basic model also receives some updates.

This alone creates trust and thus sympathy. Because there is no difference on the engine side anyway, the now slightly livelier two-cylinder also pushes the standard twin just as easily as the adventure version out of the hairpin bends. Although the standard fork does not dampen as thickly as its counterpart in the Adventure, the comfort is sufficient for a brisk ride over bumpy slopes – just like that of the shock absorber – but definitely. Crucial: The basic twin gives a different driving experience than the Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports. Whether it’s the lower weight, the slimmer tank or the deeper seat, one thing is clear: She drives more lively, effortlessly and more socially than the adventurer. Of course, a bit less precise. But it feels like there are more than 13 kilos between the duo. And because the delicacies of the Adventure like higher windshield, heated grips, crash bars and Co. can also be retrofitted individually, common sense speaks in favor of the basic twin. Anyone who thinks differently needs good reasons. Arguments such as cult optics, large tank and off-road qualities may be quantitatively manageable, but they can be significant for the target group.

Standard version 2018 – what’s new?


  • Ride-by-wire with three driving modes
  • Balance shaft 300 grams lighter
  • Airbox with 20 mm longer intake snorkel for better response
  • Silencer volume reduced from 4.6 to 4 liters

Landing gear:

  • Stainless steel spokes
  • Footpegs wider and reinforced


  • Lithium-ion battery saves 2.3 kg
  • Total weight reduced by 2 kg to 230 kg (factory specification)
  • Self-resetting indicators and with a warning function in the event of emergency braking
  • Display new and at a flatter angle
  • Price increased by 380 euros to 12,975 euros (basic version)

Differences between Adventure Sports and the Standard Twin

Landing gear:

  • Spring travel increased from 230/220 mm (front / rear) to 252/240 mm
  • Windshield 80 mm higher
  • Seat contour flatter, seat height increased from 850 to 900 mm
  • Handlebar mounted 33 mm higher and 7 mm further back


  • Tank volume increased from 18.8 to 24.2 liters
  • Tricolor paintwork, crash bars, larger engine protection, heated grips and 12 V socket as standard
  • Total weight increased from 230 to 243 kg, DCT variant: 240 to 253 kg (factory specification)
  • Price higher by 1,300 euros (comparison: basic model, tricolor paintwork)

7th Pictures

Pictures: Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports (2018) in the driving report

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