2016 Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin

Editor Score: 88.5%
Engine 17.5/20
Suspension/Handling 12.75/15
Transmission/Clutch 9.0/10
Brakes 9.0/10
Ergonomics/Comfort 9.25/10
Appearance/Quality 8.75/10
Desirability 8.5/10
Value 9.0/10
Overall Score88.5/100

The Africa Twin is one of the most beloved Hondas to never have been imported to the United States. In 1986, the NXR750 Africa Twin factory racer made its debut at the then Paris-Dakar Rally. The bike was powered by a V-Twin engine, while the rally largely took place on the African continent – hence its Africa Twin namesake.

Following racing success in the epically grueling rally, Honda produced the XRV650 Africa Twin in 1988 and 1989 which used the same 647cc V-Twin engine as the Hawk GT, then followed by the XRV750 Africa Twin from 1990 to 2003 for foreign markets. Thirteen years after discontinuing that model, Honda has revived the Africa Twin moniker for 2016 as the CRF1000L, and this one is destined for the USA.

The Paris-Dakar rally is now known as just the Dakar and has relocated to South America due to safety concerns in Africa. So too has the new Africa Twin moved on, a parallel-Twin engine configuration replacing the V-Twin of the old XRV750. Of course, everything about the CRF1000L is new, especially the ones outfitted with Honda’s second-generation Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT).

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Sticking to the Africa Twin’s historical roots, Honda chose South Africa as the launching site for the company’s new flagship ADV bike; a two-day riding smorgasbord of asphalt, dirt, water, mud, rocks and rain. Occasional wildebeest, baboon, and eland sightings ensured we weren’t mistaking the semi-arid deserts of South Africa for the very similar ones of Southern California.

DCT-equipped models were of the Tricolour persuasion, a color scheme (not coming stateside) nod to the original 1988 XRV650 Africa Twin. In South Africa, left is the correct side of the road.

DCT-equipped models were of the Tricolour persuasion, a color scheme (not coming stateside) nod to the original 1988 XRV650 Africa Twin. In South Africa, left is the correct side of the road.

Day-one riding was largely confined to asphalt and stock tires, and divided between the pre-lunch hours aboard the manual transmission model, while post-lunch was all DCT. Knowing that DCT would later command complete attention, the AM time slot was spent focusing on the Africa Twin’s essential performance characteristics and technologies.

The 998cc parallel-Twin, while significantly more powerful than the V-Twin it’s replacing, is certainly no firebreather. Honda’s claim for the new Africa Twin’s Twin is 93.9 crank horsepower at 7500 rpm, and 72.3 lb-ft of torque at 6000 rpm – enough to spin the rear tire on asphalt or dirt but not poised to steal any performance thunder from the likes of KTM’s 1190 Adventure. The new engine’s low 10.0:1 compression ratio should help it equal the bulletproof reputation and low-maintenance for which its predecessor was renowned – and allow it to run on low-grade fuel – while also keeping the amount of engine braking low. Increasing the engine’s performance envelope will be a simple matter of farming the aftermarket for performance upgrades such as a pipe, cam and pistons.

The parallel-Twin configuration was chosen because it allows for tight packaging, and increased mass-centralization. The handling benefits are a bike that feels lighter than its 503-pound claimed wet weight.

The parallel-Twin configuration was chosen because it allows for tight packaging, and increased mass-centralization. The handling benefits are a bike that feels lighter than its 503-pound claimed wet weight.

Power production from the Twin is a steadily increasing flow of horsepower and torque with no noticeable dips or peaks. Like the CRF450R, the CRF1000L uses a unicam head to more efficiently operate its four valves per cylinder, as compared to a DOHC design. Standing on the side of the road watching other journalists conduct photo passes provided audible proof of the great job Honda did making the 270-degree-firing parallel-Twin and stock exhaust sound exceptionally throaty.

All Africa Twins are outfitted with Honda Selectable Torque Control (traction control) and ABS brakes. HSTC has three levels plus off. An index-finger switch on the left handlebar provides a rider easy, on-the-fly selection between all four settings. The current HSTC setting is presented in bar graph form in the middle of the digital instrument cluster. A light is illuminated on the left side of main display when TC is shut off. The three presets may seem to limit the amount of HSTC adjustability, but do a good job allowing for increased rear-wheel slip without going overboard in the amount of settings available.

Like HSTC, ABS is easily switched off to the rear wheel by pressing a right-side fairing-mounted button. Unlike HSTC, ABS can only be switched on or off when the bike is stopped. Keying the bike off returns both technologies to their default settings: ABS on, HSTC to level three. Using the combined start/stop button to kill the engine while leaving the key on retains your ABS setting but returns TC to its default setting. If you’re thinking that doesn’t quite make sense, I’m in agreement with you.

TC levels are below the clock and next to the gear-position indicator. Speedo, tach and fuel gauge are in the readout above. The entire cluster is a clean, legible design. Note the windscreen is non-adjustable, but the bubble of still air behind the windscreen is remarkable considering the screen’s small size.

TC levels are below the clock and next to the gear-position indicator. Speedo, tach and fuel gauge are in the readout above. The entire cluster is a clean, legible design. Note the windscreen is non-adjustable, but the bubble of still air behind the windscreen is remarkable considering the screen’s small size.

Glaringly absent technologies are Ride-by-Wire throttle and the resultant ability to easily enable cruise control. Honda had its reasons for using a cable-actuated throttle, but they sounded shallow, and no excuse will help the Africa Twin when compared in a future shootout to its competitors – which mostly have cruise control. Also MIA (on the manual transmission model) is any type of selectable Ride Modes. With only 94 hp available, there’s no sense shaming Honda for discluding the technology, but it’s become so ubiquitous on new model motorcycles its absence doesn’t go unnoticed.

The big technology here, though, is DCT, and let’s begin by saying that this second-gen version is a big improvement over the original offering. If you’re unfamiliar, DCT is a technology that engages the next gear chosen (higher or lower) while the current gear is still in use – smoothing the gear-shifting process and increasing gear-shifting efficiency.


The left handlebar is a little busy, but the the buttons used most often are the DCT thumb-activated downshifter (below the turn signal switch), the index finger-activated up shifter (peeking out from behind the top right of the grip), and directly above it the HSTC switch. The suspiciously clutch-like lever is actually a parking brake. On the right, next to the hazard lights button, is where you choose Automatic or Manual. Above is the switch for Drive or Sport and also where you select level I, II or III for Sport mode. The N is for selecting neutral.

DCT also replaces the manual toe-shifter with left handlebar-mounted electronic buttons (akin to paddle shifters in performance cars). A rider can choose to manually select a gear with the index finger (upshift) button, or thumb (downshift) button. There’s also an automatic mode with two variations: Drive mode and Sport mode. D mode is for fuel efficiency while S mode is for increased performance; holding onto gears longer and higher into the rev range. At any time a rider can choose to override the automatic settings by selecting a higher or lower gear via the handlebar buttons.

The blue and red coloring indicates the dual clutch and each clutch’s corresponding gears; one for gears 1, 3, 5, and the other for gears 2, 4, 6. DCT models (524.7 lbs) weigh an additional 22 pounds.

The blue and red coloring indicates the dual clutch and each clutch’s corresponding gears; one for gears 1, 3, 5, and the other for gears 2, 4, 6. DCT models (524.7 lbs) weigh an additional 22 pounds.

New to DCT on the Africa Twin are the three selectable levels within S mode. Whereas level 2 remains the same as the previous DCT, level 1 provides slightly less aggressiveness than level 2, while level 3 provides slightly more aggressiveness than level 2. Unlike Ride Modes on other motorcycles, none of these selections change the way in which power is delivered, they affect the characteristics of the DCT transmission, which is useful depending your riding style, type of road, road condition, and, of course, if you’re on asphalt or dirt.

For off-road riding, DCT models come equipped with a G (gravel) button located next to the ABS button on the right-side fairing. In theory, initiating the G switch reduces slippage within the DCT to better replicate the immediacy of power application to the rear wheel a traditional transmission provides. Riding a DCT model you can feel the difference between having the G switch engaged and disengaged (I preferred the G switch on), but when ridden back-to-back with a standard transmission model, there remains a sight delay, the manual transmission feeling more directly connected to the rear wheel.

I’m an early adopter of new technologies, and previous experience with DCT bikes certainly helped with me being comfortable so quickly on the DCT Africa Twin. By the end of two days of riding, I found myself choosing to be aboard the DCT model, on asphalt or dirt, in Automatic, Sport III mode. If I desired a gear other than what DCT had chosen, it was only a quick push of a button away.

I’m an early adopter of new technologies, and previous experience with DCT bikes certainly helped with me being comfortable so quickly on the DCT Africa Twin. By the end of two days of riding, I found myself choosing to be aboard the DCT model, on asphalt or dirt, in Automatic, Sport III mode. If I desired a gear other than what DCT had chosen, it was only a quick push of a button away.

The new DCT also compensates for when you’re traveling uphill or downhill by monitoring throttle opening, speed, engine rpm and gear position. The result is that, when traveling uphill, the DCT will maintain a lower gear to ensure there’s enough drive to overcome the increased drag and, conversely, will downshift sooner when traveling downhill to maintain a consistent amount of engine braking. What DCT does not compensate for is the times when you need quickly pop the front end over a rock or log. Yes, with a hard pull on the bars and full turn of the throttle the front up comes up, but not as easily as finessing a standard issue clutch. Otherwise, slow maneuvering in tight situations is performed well with the DCT, better when the G switch is turned off.

How’s riding with the updated DCT? Up until this event, Honda hadn’t converted me, but after two days aboard the Africa Twin, I can honestly say I’d consider purchasing the DCT model over the traditional transmission. Being that the price increase is only $700, the weight difference is only 22 pounds, and the service intervals/costs are the same, this certainly helps.

The parking brake (beneath the swingarm) on DCT models is separate from the rear brake (top of swingarm) used when riding.

The parking brake (beneath the swingarm) on DCT models is separate from the rear brake (top of swingarm) used when riding.

After fiddling around with the different DCT settings on day 1, I found myself mostly riding with the DCT in Automatic, S III mode. Choosing the sportiest S mode is no surprise as, nine times out of ten, it would select a suitable gear for the situation at hand. The times when it didn’t, I simply pushed a button with either my index finger or thumb to override the system and get into the gear I wanted. When riding in the dirt it was especially nice because I didn’t have to remove a boot from a footpeg to select a different gear when standing.

Where I think DCT is incredibly useful is in its diversity of functions. When your significant other is on the back, D mode shifts smoothest in the lower revs and keeps your passenger from helmet kissing you at each stop. Feel really aggressive, put it in manual mode and do all the shifting yourself. Touring? Choose one of the S mode levels and focus more on the road rather than what gear you’re in.

Integrated saddlebag mounts means there’s no additional expense of purchasing saddlebag brackets. The top box does require an additional mount.

Integrated saddlebag mounts means there’s no additional expense of purchasing saddlebag brackets. The top box does require an additional mount.

DCT worked best for me when I detached my mind from comparing what gear I’d choose or when I’d shift to what the DCT is doing and just let the dual-clutch tranny perform in its own fashion. In any given circumstance, if you’re unhappy with the gear its chosen or how long it’s holding a gear, etc., you can always override the automatic function. The system doesn’t have eyes and cannot intuit what’s going to happen as well as a rider can, so it’s not perfect, and even test product leader, Tetsuya Kudoh, admitted as much, but I was content to let DCT operate, allowing me to pay more attention to the other aspects of riding or just enjoy some sightseeing while I wished for cruise control.

2016 Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin
+ Highs

  • $700 is cheap for DCT upgrade
  • Engine will probably run forever
  • Integrated luggage mounts
– Sighs

  • No cruise control is major faux pas
  • Centerstand is optional
  • Tricolour not coming stateside

With the popularity of ADV bikes and the likelihood that a lot of owners are like SUV drivers with no serious off-road aspirations, DCT makes off-road riding much more enticing by removing a level of intimidation. Even people with good off-road skills will like the DCT because it reduces some of the concentration spent on shifting and applies it elsewhere. Having ridden both versions of the Africa Twin over the exact same loop, I know for certain I went just as fast and rode just as aggressively on the DCT model as I did on the traditional transmission version.

Outside of DCT, the new Africa Twin will probably find itself with a loyal following among ADV bike enthusiasts. The seating position is comfortable as well as adjustable between 33.46 in. and 34.25 in. with plenty of legroom between the seat and footpeg. The non-adjustable windscreen creates a pocket of still air that seems larger than the windscreen itself.

The rare South African unicorn.

The rare South African unicorn.

Suspension is well-balanced with spring rates a little on the soft side. Some time spent adjusting its compression/rebound settings will help adapt it to individual riders and styles, something we’ll focus on when we get one in our possession for a future shootout in 2016. Speaking of which, Honda says Africa Twins should be in dealer showrooms by June. Hopefully your local dealer allows test rides because DCT is something that needs to be experienced. If you do manage a test ride, make sure it’s a lengthy one. Acclimating to DCT and its multiple settings takes longer than a spin around the block.

If DCT isn’t your flavor, you’ll find the standard Africa Twin to be a competent ADV bike with real off-roading capabilities and a (nearly as) capable on-road bike. It’s relatively lightweight compared to some of its competitors (Yamaha Super Ténéré claimed wet weight 575 pounds), and at $13k is priced affordably (2015 KTM 1190 Adventure $16,999). Most importantly, it’s available stateside.

Obligatory splashy water crossing.

Obligatory splashy water crossing.

2016 Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin Specifications
MSRP $12,999 / $13,699 (DCT)
Engine Capacity 998cc
Engine Type Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, SOHC, parallel-Twin
Horsepower 93.87 @ 7500 rpm
Torque 72.3 lb-ft @ 6000 rpm
Bore x Stroke 92.0 x 75.1mm
Compression 10.0:1
Fuel System EFI
Transmission Manual: Wet, multiplate with coil springs, Aluminum Cam Assist and Slipper clutch
DCT: 2 Wet multiple clutches with coil springs
Final Drive O-ring sealed chain
Frame Steel semi-double cradle with steel subframe
Front Suspension 45mm Showa inverted fork, adjustable compression/rebound damping, hydraulic adjustable spring preload – 9.1-inch travel
Rear Suspension Showa rear shock, adjustable compression/rebound damping, hydraulic adjustable spring preload – 8.7-inch travel
Front Brakes 310mm dual wave floating hydraulic disc with aluminum hub and radial fit 4-piston calipers and sintered metal pads ABS two-channel with rear ABS off switch
Rear Brakes 256mm wave hydraulic disc with 2-piston caliper and sintered metal pads. Also lever-lock type parking brake on DCT model ABS two-channel with rear ABS off switch
Front Tire 90/90-21
Rear Tire 150/70-18
Seat Height 33.46 in. / 34.25 in.
Wheelbase 61.97 in.
Curb Weight 502.7 lbs / 524.7 lbs (DCT)
Fuel Capacity 4.96 gal.
Colors Dakar Rally, Digital Metallic Silver

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  • JMDonald

    I like it. No tricolor? WTFO. For what it is it looks like a very good motorcycle. A few problems that should be rectified in a year or so. I hope the sell.

    • Ian Parkes

      Yeah, I don’ get the lack of tricolor. It’s not like red white and blue would be unpopular in the States

  • Old MOron

    Good review. Sounds like an interesting bike. Bring on the shootouts!

  • Dougalicious

    “The weight difference is only 22 pounds” That’s a huge difference, especially off road! And what is it actually like off road? Does the weight show itself, or has Honda developed a machine capable enough to hide the mass? Is it in the 1190’s league? Did Honda force you to focus so heavily on the DCT? Can we get a review talking about what it’s like to ride instead of just the buttons it has?

  • frankfan42

    Not wanting to complain but in a review I actually expect the reviewer to talk about Riding the bike, and the experience about that. Tom spoke more about the tech details that we have already read about. How was the bike to RIDE?

  • Alexander Pityuk

    Totally agree with other commenters. 70% of the article is DCT. 25% are specs. There is almost no info about riding process itself. I guess the majority of us would like DCT to be condemned to auto-da-fe, especially with this bike, the main point of which is its rugged image. So, we are not interested.

    • FaplordJesus

      there is a version without any electronics. it’s called the hardcore version in sweden, not sure if it will be available to the rest of the world though.

  • DickRuble

    Lack of adjustable windshield is a bigger negative to me than lack of cruise control. I would have been even more interested if Honda had produced a version without any ABS, TC and other goodies, but at a lower price and lower weight.

  • Nelis Lamprecht

    A respectable review for the short time you were on the bike and I expect that when you get the AT stateside people can look forward to more on your riding impressions. One error which I couldn’t ignore – “there’s no sense shaming Honda for discluding the technology” …I think you meant “excluding”.

    • DickRuble

      Discluding = discounting AND excluding, esp. when used in a motorcycle review This neologysm was coined by MO staff cca December 2015..

      • Nelis Lamprecht

        neologism 😉

        • DickRuble

          ok.. now you’re going to be attacked by the mob for being pedantic.

  • DCT: Something nobody wants but you can get. Cruise control: something everyone wants but you can’t get.

    Way to go Honda. You guys really nail the electronics packages on your bikes these days. What happened to you?

    • Ian Parkes

      Harsh. I don’t want cruise control, but then I don’t ride on straight roads. If you do ride on straight roads, why would you want this bike?

  • Michael Mccormick

    Reads like a spec sheet more than a road test. But so many reviews read that way. I have no idea how the bike rides. Not picking on the tester as more and more articles are written this way as though they all went to the same journalism class. It’s almost like they aren’t allowed to be subjective

  • Vrooom

    Did you say “the weight difference is only 22 pounds”? Only!? Holy crap that’s a lot of weight you can shed. I’ve spent a thousand bucks trying to get rid of that much weight, especially for offroad use. The power is a bit disappointing, was hoping we’d see at least 110, but perhaps the curve is very flat.

  • Mark Vizcarra

    The big question is.. Does it vibrate really bad??

  • Tod Rafferty

    Quite informative, Tom. The technos made my brain hurt, but that’s what it’s for. The DCT is intriguing, and I wouldn’t much care about the lack of cruise control on this type bike. However, having lusted in my heart for an XRV 750, and seeing that with only minimal effort it could be made Baja-ready at about 120 (!) pounds less than then the new DCT version, I’ll be scanning the classified ads before visiting the dealership.

  • Ian Parkes

    Probably the bike I’ve most looked forward to in this past year. I have a road bike already so I want an adventure bike to be more off-road focused, and lighter, and this looks to fit the bill. I have no problem with Honda not fitting ride modes either, especially if it leaves the core goodness more affordable. Most people seem to select one mode after their first ride and stick with it anyway so the whole thing seems like a waste of money and tech and lightness. Hondas often have fewer gadgets but I like their approach – getting the numbers right for riders first leaving other manufacturers to chase the high price brands in the gadget race. What about DCT? I’d have to try it but clearly Tom thinks the payoff is more time for looking around, which has to be a good thing.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      If you want a more off-road focused adventure bike, you can’t do better than a KTM 1190 Adventure R. The Honda is too heavy for a 1000cc bike and is not particularly powerful. Ride modes like Sport, Street, Rain and Offroad are used all the time and are available on the KTM. So is lean angle sensitive ABS. DCT is not suitable for offroad. It is mostly a gimmick for newbies and adds another 22 lbs to the weight and $700 to the price.

      • Shlomi

        How you can be that sure that the KTM is better than the Honda without even riding one? I believe the Honda is lighter than the KTM, and they spent quite sometime making a more off-road oriented bike.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          If you had read every review of the Africa Twin and every review of the KTM 1190 Adventure R for the past two years, you wouldn’t be asking this question. The KTM is a big dirt bike that is also great on the highway. The Honda is designed for light off-road riding, hence the DCT option. You can even read it in the review above: it says in the sixth paragraph: “is certainly no firebreather”, and “is not poised to steal any performance thunder from the likes of KTM’s 1190 Adventure”. The Honda is 998cc, but weighs 534 lbs with 4.96 gallons of fuel. The KTM is 1195cc, but weighs only 518 lbs with 6.1 gallons of fuel. It has 150 hp, 92.2 ft-lb of torque, and goes 150 mph, compared to the Honda which has 93.9 hp and 72.3 ft-lb of torque. If you compare the power to weight ratio between the two, nothing beats the KTM 1190 Adventure R in performance. I ride one of these two bikes every day. Guess which one.

          • Shlomi

            Well the last sentence explains your bias. Unless you are a Dakar rally winner you can’t use 150 hp off road and you are very limited with over 500lbs machine. Knowing that the bike with the right hands is capable means nothing for you and me. I saw Honda promos with Barreda and Marquez and they look as exciting as KTM Adventure R promos. That hp power/ electronic race is something I find hard to understand. Happily there are new voices calling for simple machines, with usable power and handling. One thing for sure, the Honda will keep going years after your KTM will be part off or recycled.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            I guess you haven’t been keeping up with the latest safety recalls, which have been for BMW, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Triumph, Ducati, Victory and Indian motorcycles. So your statement is based on your bias, instead of facts. I have 9000 miles on my 2015 1190 Adventure R including several long distance trips, with no problems at all.

          • Shlomi

            What about the air filter recall for the KTM Adventure R. That was the weirdest recall ever from accompany that won the Dakar, to have air box which is open to dust … Ho my

          • Sayyed Bashir

            KTM has won the Dakar Rally for 14 years straight. Honda has not won even once in 26 years. An air filter is not as dangerous as a brake master cylinder failure on 126,000 Gold Wings, a fuel pump failure on Groms and Forzas, rear shock failure on CBR1000Ss, 45,153 2014 and 2015 models with engine stalling due to loss of electrical power, and 14,575 CB500F and CBR500R motorcycles with a defective fuel pump. This is just the recalls in 2014 and 2015. And you are talking about Honda quality compared to KTM quality?

          • woo

            After winning 4 years in a row from 1986 to 1990, Honda stopped competing in Dakar until 2013. How can you win if you don’t compete in those 23 years? If KTM is so great why don’t they compete in MotoGP?

          • Sayyed Bashir

            KTM already has a RC16 MotoGP bike being tested and they will compete in 2016/2017 MotoGP. They are going to smoke the competition. KTM is great because they have won 14 consecutive Dakars.

          • woo

            That bike will not win any races anytime in this decade. Especially with the steel trellis frame and WP suspension. I’d be surprised to see them even beat the lower open class teams.
            Watching videos about development of the RC16, engineers blatantly said they used the Honda RC213V as the machine that they’re trying to emulate. You cannot beat someone by copying them. With that sort of development mindset you’ll always be second best.
            Sad because I thought KTM could introduce something unique to the MotoGP grid.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            They can learn from all the MotoGP bikes out there but they will bring their own KTM “Ready To Race” DNA to the design. Does the Honda use a steel trellis frame, WP suspension or a RC16 engine? If not, then what is KTM copying? The fairing? Honda cannot even get their engine software working. Why would anyone want to copy them? KTM has dominated every competition they have entered. Why would they not win the MotoGP? Are you a Honda fan or a KTM fan?

          • woo

            They admitted they copied Honda. The 90 degree V4 configuration, the exhaust routing. Look at the side profile, the and the whale/shark intake, the similarities are easily apparent for anyone with decent vision. There is no future with the steel trellis frame as evident by Ducati’s MotoGP effort where they dropped development of the steel trellis frames in 2008 because of its inherent limitations.

            For 2016 everyone has to use the spec Magneti Marelli ecu in MotoGP. In 2015, Honda had problems during the entire season due to the aggressive nature of the engine (too much torque), so if they couldn’t tame the engine with their in-house ecu, how can they do it with new software they have no experience with? It’s just another development hurdle they must overcome to stay at the top.

            I am not a Honda fanboy, I don’t even own one. I just love all bikes from all makes and manufacturers. I like companies that push boundaries and offer unique products for people to enjoy. Does KTM offer a DCT, Cruiser/Scooter/Atv, or anything shaftdriven? It’s very easy to produce a decent bike if you are only focused on one market.

            I also used to own a KTM Superduke 990. However, I sold it because it would consume about .75liters of oil every 500 miles. Add on top of that starter problems and electronic gremlins with less than 7000 miles, I can’t say I was very fond of the bike. But I don’t hate KTM because of my bad experience, I was simply unlucky. I’m sure a lot of other owners that have had no trouble with their KTMs.

            Currently riding a Yamaha Bolt and Ducati Hypermotard. Looking to add an adventure touring bike with good offroad capabilities.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            So the KTM RC16 looks like a Honda RC213V. That doesn’t mean anything. The results of KTM’s efforts will be evident when they start racing. The RC16 produces 280 hp, so they have no engine issues. DCT is for newbies. Most experienced riders hate it. Chain works very well for KTM. Shafts have too many problems. Read all the BMW owners complaints. The Honda VRF1200F was just recalled for driveshaft issues. Look at all the recalls. Now look for any chain recalls. KTM has conquered the dirt bike business and is now set to conquer the street business. I am sorry about your problems with the 990 SD. I have a 2015 1190 Adventure R and am extremely happy with it. 9000 miles so far. Best adventure bike both on and off road.

    • Raine Heartily


      Depend on yourself really, reviewers are surprised on how good they are and the positive effect on the ride as they able to focus more on the ride and road as the manual shifting no longer occupy them, enough to make them consider to buy DCT one.

      Surely, there is complaint on DCT’s lower engagement compared to manual verand some reviewer points out they’ll buy the manual ver for the “complete control” of the bike.

      DCT aside most reviewer points out that this is a very good bike and the nearest bike in the term of the same class and quality is $3000+ more (KTM and BMW), making this bike also good in value.

  • Sean

    How ’bout a review on the new VFR1200X Crosstourer?

    • MarktheV

      If it helps, the Crosstourer has been available for a few years now in Europe and the UK; so if you’re seeking ride reviews you may find what you need in some UK sites.

  • As usual with the japanese bikes is made to a price point. No cruise control…It’s the same with the C-14 and ST1300. No ABS on the F6B and cruise didn’t come until 3 years into the model and with the goldwing, one has to buy the 28K model to get ABS. BMW comes with all this and more for less in some cases and worth spending extra in others. I’d love to buy a Japanese bike again, but they don’t make one with all the features, performance I want and one that works ergonomically (The FJR is too tight).

    • appliance5000

      BMW never comes for less. The Japanese are better engineers and manufacturers, and in the case of Honda, you have the worlds largest dealer network and parts distribution.

      My suggestion: get a throttle lock and/or stay off the slab.

      • Better engineers, no, better at manufacturing, yes. As far as throttle locks, they are ghetto. Shit, Throttle by wire is pretty standard now and the bikes I mentioned (include the goldwing too) less the FJR don’t have that. In the end, you get what you pay for in this case. Japanese bikes ARE more reliable, but they aren’t as competent and functional. At this point, it’s not worth the tradeoffs for me.

  • Scott

    So far so good. Hope these continue to impress. I’d be looking in a year or so if they do, and hope for some paint a little less childish. I guess they have a black one for the US, though. I think they may have nailed it. I could see myself going for the DCT, even.

    I would not mind seeing a more road oriented one, like with different wheels and shaft. Don’t guess that will happen, though, since these seem like a poke in the eye to the ADV poseurs out there, and they finally brought the VFR1200X over (as if more than about 10 people care).

  • James McLauchlan

    I’ve read a few people complaining about 22lbs extra weight for DCT. I’ve also seen a lot of riders around that seem to think that 22lbs extra weight is perfectly fine if it’s fitted around their waistline! The bike appears to have all the go in it anyone would need unless they are planning to head off on some kind of competitive cross country rally! In which case losing 22lbs of body fat might also give the rider a competitive edge 😉

    Note to press – Stop comparing the new 998cc AT engine with other larger units such as the KTM 1190! Of course it will seem to have less power when comparing two different sized power units!

  • EcoMouse

    Why do we need another liter bike in the ADV category? Should have been a 450, maybe 650. When I’m “out there” I want nimbleness, lightweight and especially range over shear HP… I’ve never tapped into all the available 100 hp while out Adventure Riding. Why do they think all American’s only want high HP figures and electronic gadgets?

    • kenneth_moore

      Why do they think all American’s only want high HP figures and electronic gadgets?

      Because they buy bikes that have them.

    • appliance5000

      Those bikes are out there:buy one.

  • Andrew Choi

    HONDA i want a CRF500L

  • Bain Dramage

    Based on specs/features alone as this article does, it looks like the Triumph 800 xcx is a much better bike.

    Honda needs to emulate more of the European competition if they want to build a bike that riders will truly enjoy owning and riding.

    The new AT looks like a near miss.

    • appliance5000

      You’d be mistaken.

      • Bain Dramage

        Except that I’m not, but to each their own.

  • RPJ

    I find that these bike make great long distant tourers. That being said my complaint with this bike is the less than 5 gal. fuel tank. A larger tank along with cruise control would be nice.

  • kenneth_moore

    I’m surprised they went with the I-2 config vs. the V-Twin. In another article it was stated Honda felt they could make the bike narrower with that config, which is counter-intuitive. Plus there’s a million posters out there who say the power pulse from a V-Twin is better in low traction. I’d don’t ride dirt so I really don’t know.

    I think this is an excellent review; personally I’m more interested in the tech and spec (and cool cutaway drawings!) than what the ride felt like to someone else.

    • appliance5000

      They did make it narrower. The ktms are massive for no apparent reason.

  • Ducati Kid


    475Lbs. (wet), 105H.P., 73Ft.Lbs. with AM (Automatic-Manual) Transmission.

    A BMW ‘F800GS’ variant featuring 900cc and associated components.

    Our Globe awaits Berlin’s interest and production for a ‘900GSAM’ motorcycle.

    50Lbs. LIGHTER than a HONDA’S ‘CRF1000F’ (DCT) …

  • D H

    South America?! Dakar Rally through the Amazon must be fun.

  • DickRuble

    I’d be interested in a comparison between the Africa Twin and the KTM SMT 990..


    Why no mention of the Transalp in this article?


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