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Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports DCT | Motorcycle Review

Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports DCT Review

By Wayne Vickers

‘No clutch for you!’ Trev said, laughing a little… We’re both easily amused. He’d ridden the Africa Twin DCT over three days a while back and was interested to hear what I’d make of it in the real world, with the mix of riding I do every week.

Honda Africa Twin DCT Adventure Sports Review
Honda’s Africa Twin has gone from strength to strength since its introduction

Check out Trev’s test of the original Africa Twin here:
Honda Africa Twin Test | Day One | Day Two | Conclusion

I hadn’t ridden one before, but I’ve recently spent some quality time with the terrific new BMW F 850 GS and I’ve clocked up over 250,000ks on my own Triumph Tiger 800XC. So I have some pretty reasonable benchmarks for comparisons.

First impressions? It’s big. Certainly not a bike for those with ducks’ disease. It’s a decent leg throw to get over the 920 mm seat height, which is a fair step up from the 870 mm height of the standard Africa Twin. I’m close enough to call it six-foot and when on board I have to shift my weight ever so slightly to the side and stretch down to reach the ground.

2018 Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin Adventure Sports
Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin Adventure Sports

You get used to it pretty quickly and after a few days I wasn’t even thinking about it any more, but it is worth noting that short stacks need not apply. And that whole front section is a big Juan, which offers great wind protection with plenty of open slots to allow a nice amount of airflow through without getting any buffeting.

Honda Africa Twin DCT Adventure Sports Review
A taller seat height is found on the Africa Twin DCT, up to 920mm from 870mm

The big 25-litre tank of the Adventure Sports, six-litres more than the standard Africa Twin  model, see the Adventure Sports variant boast an impressive range of 450-500kms, which as someone that covers 1200-kilometres a week I did enjoy. All of that adds up to just on 240 kg in DCT trim (10kg less with the regular manual gearbox), yet along with most modern bikes it seems that all that weight and bulk seems to disappear once you’re on the move. There’s an impressive amount of steering lock too, which I’ll come back to.

Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports
Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports

The other major changes over the original standard Africa Twin are

  • A fly by wire throttle (which works just fine – excellent feel and fuelling)
  • Fully-adjustable, longer travel suspension front and rear (which is also without fault – terrific control and feedback)
  • Modified airbox and exhaust, lighter balancer shaft and better mid-range

I was given a quick rundown from the Honda boys on how the switchgear works and a reminder to just roll the throttle on gently from standstill – not to grab the left lever which is actually a park brake. If you’re wondering – it’s quite a significant reach forward to the lever and I wasn’t able to reach it absentmindedly. It’s funny how the mind works though. After literally just hearing all that – I instinctively went to grab a handful of clutch to start the bike up… Idiot.

Honda Africa Twin DCT Adventure Sports Review
The DCT model features a hand brake instead of a clutch, being an automatic, with the brake lever put out of reach no doubt as many motorcyclists naturally go for the clutch in many situations

So I set off from the workshop and a couple of things struck me immediately. On the move the bike’s a doddle, with a really solid combination of chassis, suspension and that steering lock, combining for very nice low speed manners and maneuverability – and the DCT shifts super sweetly.

I pulled out into peak hour traffic and was straight into filter mode. What struck me is that when you don’t have to spend any concentration on gears, you only need to focus on line and throttle, meaning that filtering becomes even easier – you can basically ride this thing feet up to a standstill – then put your foot down. For a big bike, it’s also surprisingly easy to filter on.

The only thing I miss is ironically the ability to grab a handful of clutch and give the throttle a blip to get the attention of the driver in front who’s head down on his phone and crowding the line. If Honda can make that happen somehow that’d be ace because even with stock pipes the 1000cc parallel twin has too good an exhaust note to not be able to liberate occasionally. For a stock pipe it’s loud, meaty and all things good.

Honda Africa Twin DCT Adventure Sports Review
The Africa Twin DCT also includes a RbW throttle and modes which interact with the DCT gearbox

There’s a bunch of riding modes for both the engine management and DCT box. So let’s talk engine first. The ride-by-wire throttle brings with it three preset modes, Urban, Gravel and Tour – each adjusting power level, engine braking and traction control with a fourth mode ‘User’ letting riders set your own which is conveniently remembered even after you turn it off and back on. Nice.

Bloody handy to be able to flick through them on the move – I ended up using that most of the time to be honest, with the TC backed down to allow for a bit of shenanigans. The dash also has options for disabling the rear ABS and has an extra ‘G’ button for more serious gravel duties. Unfortunately I didn’t really get to put through its full off-road paces as the bike I had wasn’t running chunky knobbies.

So, the engine. I’m a big fan. Really nice fuelling and throttle feel and gruntier than the numbers suggest. The big girl pulls hard and shows no signs of running out of puff at any speeds you’re likely to throw at it on the road. It’s deceptive too – that short-shifting, no fuss DCT translates into rapid progress even if it doesn’t always feel it.

Honda Africa Twin DCT Adventure Sports Review
The Africa Twin features a liquid-cooled 22.5º parallel-twin with 270° crank producing 70kW and 98Nm of torque.

There’s a marker I use for reference where I know that my Tiger 800 hits 100 km/h under normal everyday acceleration and the Africa Twin smashes it in the same scenario. With the traction control settings right it’ll loft the front wheel up easily enough for me too. Whack the DCT into manual mode and just roll off the gas, let the front dip and then get back on gas. Done.

That DCT comes with three modes. When you start the bike it defaults to neutral every time and the Honda boys advised to push the bike around in neutral to avoid any unwanted throttle inputs that might end in tears while I was still getting used to it. A quick tap of the multi-function button on the right drops the box into drive mode. I found the standard ‘D’ mode very eager to shift up and use the copious amounts of torque available to lope effortlessly along.

Too eager for me personally, and while filtering I wanted a few more revs for more immediate response which was found by tapping the button again, changing to ‘S’ mode. That one holds revs a bit higher and will change down earlier on deceleration. The third option if for full manual, even if it’s actually not. Confused?

Honda Africa Twin DCT Adventure Sports Review
Honda Africa Twin DCT Adventure Sports

Well it will let you take over all the shifts via the paddles on the left bar (thumb push for downshift, finger pull for upshift), but still helps you out by dropping down a cog or two if you mess things up and forget to downshift to lower gears. Works surprisingly well and allows you to have full manual control on upshifts, and if you want you can let the DCT take over coming up to intersections.

I actually found it really easy to get used to the DCT and liked it more than I thought I might. Filtering through traffic was a lot more nimble than I’d expected a bike of this size to be – low speed control by just dragging a bit of rear brake was supreme. I reckon it’d be handy in tight stuff in the dirt too.

It really is much the same as a Rekluse clutch in the whole twist and go thing, but this has the added value of acting just like a full auto box and shifting up and down for you as well if you want. Or leave it in manual mode and it’ll only shift down if you royally cock things up by letting the revs drop too low for the gear you’re in. It’s not bad! And that’s probably the answer to the ‘but why?’ question.

Honda Africa Twin DCT Adventure Sports Review
The Africa Twin features the DCT system which works along similar lines to a Rekluse clutch, with the same justification behind wanting one

For much the same reason riders go for a Rekluse only more-so…. You can’t stall, ever. You won’t get arm pump from clutching like a maniac in the tight stuff when you aren’t used to it. And not having to worry about the clutch gives you more brain cells to focus on line and speed.

Would I have one one over a standard box? Maybe. Before riding it I’d have said no, but now I certainly wouldn’t rule it out. I’d prefer the system if it held a shorter gear than it does in even the S setting at most speeds though.

Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin Adventure Sports

For example at 100km/h, the DCT sits just under 4000rpm. Right in the meaty zone of the power curve. Nice. But at 60km/h (in S mode) it’s sitting around 2500rpm in fifth… In D mode it’s still in sixth at just above 2000rpm!

Even my ute sits in fourth at 60km/h and it’s a 3.2L turbo diesel so it’s not short on torque! It felt to me like it shouldn’t be dipping too much below 3000rpm to still have solid response. Whenever I put it into manual mode – I ended up downshifting to bring it back up to around 3000 all the time as it seemed like the engine’s sweet spot.

Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin Adventure Sports

So maybe the big H should keep the D mode but rename that to E for Eco (as I’m sure that’s what its tuned for), rename the S mode to D and add a new S mode that holds higher revs. You might need to read that bit twice for it to make sense…

Revs and modes aside, I liked my couple of thousand kays on the Adventure Sports a lot. There’s no denying that the Africa Twin range represents pretty awesome value. 17-and-a-half big ones for the standard model with ABS and manual box. 19.5k for the Adventure sports with ABS and manual box – add another 500 bucks for the DCT.  Rides well, sounds great, looks pretty good too I reckon. I couldn’t resist the family shot sitting up next to my CRF250R either… They looked pretty sweet side by side in the shed.

Honda Africa Twin DCT Adventure Sports Review
Honda Africa Twin DCT Adventure Sports next to Wayne’s CRF250

Anything else? Oh – the high beams are quite centrally focussed – I’d recommend some wider focussed spot-lights for picking up wildlife further back than just the roadside, for those doing any decent night-time riding.

Why I like it:

  • Terrific value.
  • Great exhaust note for a stocker.
  • Big range.
  • DCT shifts nicely, offers more relaxed riding options.
  • Cheaper ‘normal’ box option if you aren’t DCT inclined – try it first though!

I’d like it more if:

  • The DCT held gears longer, modes up-shift gears a bit early for my liking.
  • Ummm, not a lot else really!
Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports
Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports

Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin Adventure Sports Specifications
Engine Type Liquid-cooled 4-stroke 8-valve 22.5º parallel-twin with 270° crank and uni-cam
Engine Displacement 998cm3
Max. Power Output 70kW/7500rpm (95/1/EC)
Max. Torque 98Nm/6000rpm (95/1/EC)
Bore & Stroke 92.0 & 75.1mm
Clutch Wet, multiplate with coil springs, Aluminium Cam Assist and Slipper clutch
Final Drive O-ring sealed chain
Gearbox / Transmission Type  6-speed DCT with on and off-road riding modes Honda Selectable Torque Control System (HSTC) – HSTC 3-levels + Switch Off
Frame Type Steel semi-double cradle type with high-tensile strength steel rear subframe
Swingarm Monoblock cast aluminium swing arm
Turning Radius 2.5m
Kerb Weight 253kg
Fuel Capacity 24.2 litres
Length x Width x Height 2340 x 930 x 1570mm
Wheelbase 580mm
Seat Height 900/920mm
Ground Clearance 270mm
ABS system type 2-Channel with rear ABS off switch
Brakes Front 310mm dual wave floating hydraulic disc with aluminium hub and radial fit 4-piston calipers and sintered metal pads
Brakes Rear 256mm wave hydraulic disc with 2-piston caliper and sintered metal pads. Lever-Lock Type Parking Brake System
Wheels Front Stainless steel wire spoke with aluminium rim
Wheels Rear Stainless steel wire spoke with aluminium rim
Rim Size Front 21M/C x MT2.15
Rim Size Rear 18M/C x MT4.00
Tyres Front 90/90-R21 tube type
Tyres Rear 150/70-R18 tube type
Price $19,999 RRP + ORC
Warranty 24 months


Source: MCNews.com.au

2019 Honda Red Sale | Great savings on MY18 models!

Honda Red Sale

The Honda RED SALE is now on! From the 1st April until 30th June, make the most of the savings available on selected road bikes, adventure-touring machines, models from Honda’s famous MX range and deals on some of Honda’s fun bike favourites.

CBRR Pearl Metalloid White Red Stripe
2018 CBR500R available for $7,999 Ride Away

Those looking to purchase their first sports bike or someone keen for an upgrade should check out the 2018 CBR500R, available for $7,999 Ride Away. An ideal entry-level confidence-inspiring motorcycle offering the right amount of power and stability to riders of all experience levels.

The CB650F has $500 Off, a middleweight Learner Approved machine with street fighter style and attitude.

$500 off the CB1000R

Those after something with a completely new style tone will not want to miss the $500 off the CB1000R and the CB300R. The CB1000R is a motorcycle that looks, feels and performs very differently from what’s come before and melds exhilarating function to a form that offers a radically fresh, visually stunning two-wheeled aesthetic.

Steered by retro-industrial minimalism, everything has been stripped back, with a focus on a host of textured metal finishes and an ultra-minimalist look under the design theme of ‘Neo Sports Café’.

2018 Honda CB1000R
2018 Honda CB1000R

The CB300R offers the same minimalist styling of its 1000cc stable mate. It is the ultimate lightweight machine, tipping the scales at only 143kgs, it’s ideal for newer riders keen to develop their riding skills or riders who just want a stylish, agile commuter.

2018 Honda CB300R
2018 Honda CB300R – An LCD display offers a premium feature in a competitive category

For the serious adventurer, there is $500 off Honda’s Adventure Tourer, the CRF1000L Africa Twin. The lightweight six-speed manual gearbox uses the same shift-cam design as found on the CRF450R to ensure positive changes, and is equipped with an aluminium assist slipper clutch.

An accessorised Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin
An accessorised Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin

Another significant addition that came in 2018 is the new Throttle By Wire (TBW) system, which brought with it three riding modes to adjust engine character and output to suit riding conditions. Also new is an extended range of Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) input.

Honda CRFL left front
CRF250L $500 off and CRF250LA (ABS) $300 off

The CRF250L has $500 off and the CRF250LA (ABS) has $300 off – they are tough, practical and equally at home around a city block or out on the trail.

Renowned around the world for its reliability and race winning performance; it has never been a better time to get on a Honda CRF450R, with $1500 off*, you could be taking podiums sooner than you thought.

Honda CRFR
2019 Honda CRF450R

The 2018 CRF250R also has $1500 off, offering more engine power than the previous model, upgraded stability and traction as well as a re-designed dual exhaust and titanium intake system to help get you that holeshot. The brand new compact DOHC engine was also an exciting update to the 2018 model as well.

Honda's 2018 CRF250R
The 2018 CRF250R also has $1500 off

With Easter right around the corner, the great savings on a range of kids’ fun bikes will excite. There are $200 off the CRF110F, CRF125F and CRF125FB. The Honda Kids Funbike range is tough, reliable and designed to get your little one outside and experiencing the pure joy riding can bring.

2018 Honda CRF110F

With something for everyone, get into your Honda dealer today or for more information visit: https://motorcycles.honda.com.au/Promotions/Red_Sale (link)

The Fine Print

^Ride away offer available on the CBR500R (18YM and older) Price includes GST. Available between 1 April and 30 June 2019. Only at participating Honda Dealers. Overseas models shown, accessories not included and subject to availability. *$500 OFF when purchasing a 2018 or older CB650F and CRF1000L Africa Twin ABS. $500 OFF when purchasing a CB1000R, CB300R or CRF250L – All Year models. $300 OFF when purchasing a CRF250LA, All Year models. $1500 OFF the CRF450R 2017 and 2018 Year model only. $1500 OFF the CRF250R 2018 Year model only. $200 OFF the CRF110F, CRF125F and CRF125FB 2018 year models and older.

Source: MCNews.com.au