Trail – Africa Twin 2016 test: Honda takes back from the desert – Back up to jump better

Africa Twin 2016 test: Honda takes over from the desert

Trail - Africa Twin 2016 test: Honda takes back from the desert - Back up to jump better

Basically, a trail is a motorcycle that is easy to handle and comfortable on all terrains. Honda revives its famous Africa Twin to reconnect with this concept abandoned by (over) powerful and bulky road maxi-trails. 2016 CRF1000L Review.

Back up to jump better

Resuscitating a legendary motorcycle is a perilous exercise … As tempting as it is, the operation can quickly turn into a pipe breaker, for lack of relevance and control. Sticking a prestigious name on the fairings is not enough: the new motorcycle must worthily perpetuate the heritage left by its elder, under penalty of being accused of usurpation..

Honda is therefore undeniably taking a risk by relaunching its legendary Africa Twin. Because even if 13 years have passed since the discontinuation of the XRV750, its aura and its love rating are still very strong. With some 75,000 sales in Europe – including 17,000 in France, all versions combined – the Africa Twin is quite simply a must in motorcycle production! Failure is therefore excluded: no question of damaging your solid gold image….

Launched in 1988, the first Honda Africa Twin was powered by a 650 cc twin-cylinder and was inspired by the NXR750 racing prototype with which Cyril Neveu and Gilles Lalay had clinched the double in the Dakar two years earlier. At the time, rally-raids in general and the Dakar in particular still made many bikers fantasize, hence the immediate success of this XRV650 Africa Twin.

Our test of the new Africa Twin in video

In addition to this first full test of the new Honda Africa Twin, also discover our two with 250 km on the road on the first day, then 100 km off-road on the second day.

In 1990, the XRV increased to 750 cc and became the symbol of the adventurer motorcycle for a whole generation of bikers. And too bad if for many, the escape never goes beyond the limits of the road network: the important thing is not so much to face the desert on its handlebars but to inhale some fragrances through it … The XRV750 left the track in 2003, pushed into retirement by the emergence of a new category of motorcycles: the .

From gazelles, the trails are transformed into elephants, ever more voluminous, sophisticated and powerful – with up to 160 hp for the 1301 cc twin of the "Monumen-trail". Honda is not left with its very heavy 277 kg (287 with the DCT double clutch!), Designed around the V4 of its VFR1200.

Aware of the limits of this trend, the winged crest takes the exact opposite in order to return to the basics of trail: a motorcycle with large suspension travel, without unnecessary technologies or performance. And what better way to illustrate this homecoming than to associate it with the glorious surname Africa Twin ?

Static: a sleek and slender motorcycle

Discovered at the end of 2014 in the form of the, the lines of the new Africa Twin 2016 illustrate its adventurous nature by drawing a favorable parallel to the CRF450 Rally rally-raid. Like it, the new Honda trail exhibits large spoked rims shod with Enduro-style tires (90/90/21 and 150/70/18).

The family link stops at the look, however, since the single-cylinder racing machine, piloted among others by Joan Barreda, weighs only 136 kg (!) Despite its 32-liter tank, against 232 kg and 18.8 l for the novelty. powered by a unique 999 cc parallel twin cylinder (all engine, chassis and electronics details in our Technical Update on page 3).

On paper, this capacity seems a bit tight for long connections, whether they are motorways or between two stages. But insofar as Honda advances a consumption of only 4.6 l / 100 km (4.58 l / 100 km on the DCT version), its theoretical autonomy would be 400 km! And these estimates do not seem delusional, since MNC noted during this first test a flattering 5.07 l / 100 km with the manual gearbox during the road trip, yet carried out at a good pace..

Several other features credit its status as a potential "dune swallower", starting with the large travel of its fully adjustable Showa suspensions, with offset adjustment wheel for the shock absorber mounted on rods. Thanks to its 230 mm of travel at the front and 220 at the rear, the Africa Twin is high on legs, in favor of the ground clearance: 250 mm before hanging on the enveloping metal engine guard supplied with series. Not bad !

In the same vein, we can mention the standard sheath protectors and hand guards, not to mention the notched brake pedal and the removable rubber shim installed on the footrests, also notched. The road is not forgotten, however, as recalled by the generous grab handles and optional luggage racks integrated into the tubular steel rear frame (double beam over a single cradle at the front).

Despite its generous dimensions (2335 mm long, 875 mm wide and 850 to 870 mm saddle height, adjustable without tools thanks to a wedge system), the CRF1000L gives off a real impression of slenderness, unlike the current pachydermal tendency (but almost). This is obvious when observed from the front or from the rear, angles under which its remarkable finesse emerges in relation to its displacement..

Its truncated front face is particularly successful, especially in terms of its racy, even feline, dual LED optics, a modern reinterpretation of the round headlights characteristic of the old XRVs. Its perforated and pointed fairing sides fit perfectly into the fork crown, topped with a fairly high but non-adjustable windshield.

In detail, the bike is very neat and enjoys an irreproachable finish. Welds and adjustments are perfectly made and all sheaths and cables are correctly integrated. The gaze records with satisfaction its LED indicators, its radial Nissin calipers, its petal discs or the elegant path of its exhaust manifolds, protected by a metal reinforcement..

Only its rear part can lend itself to criticism, depending on tastes: its LED rear light lacks originality in our opinion with its slightly consensual shapes and already seen on the NC750 and the Crossrunner. As for its chrome silencer with double square outlets, it refers directly to that of the last …

On a practical level, if one appreciates scrolling through the many information on the digital instrumentation from the left stalk, do not have adjustment of the clutch lever spacing and rubber on the passenger footrests – in option at 99 €! – grief on a motorcycle at € 12,999 (+300 euros in HRC or Rally tricolor colors).

Likewise, skipping a 12 V outlet (+ € 72) and the center stand (+ € 224!) Is particularly stingy. Off-road as well as on the road, a control unit greatly facilitates certain parking spaces and is especially essential for maintaining the final chain transmission….

The lack of heated grips or storage compartment could also be blamed … But remember that the development of the Africa Twin was guided by the desire to go to the essential, and not to do it. yet another road disguised as a trail. Hence certain compromises, totally assumed by its creators.

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