As young Tom Roderick learned at the Africa Twin’s coming-out party last December, Honda’s claim for the new adventure bike is 93.9 crank horsepower at 7500 rpm, and 72.3 lb-ft of torque at 6000 rpm. Naturally, one of the first things we did when we got our hands on a brand-spanking Dakar Rally-liveried AT was strap it to the MotoGP Werks Dynojet 250, and here’s the verdict:

2016-honda-crf1000l-africa-twin-hp-torque-dyno

The Dynojet, of course, measures rear wheel horsepower, and the rule of thumb is we expect a chain-driven bike to show about 10% less than the crankshaft hp. The AT, then, is spot on, with 86 hp and 67 lb-ft of torque. It’s no match for almost all the bikes in last year’s Ultimate Sports-Adventure tour-off, but we have to say it’s rarely felt anything like slow or underpowered in the wringer we’ve put it through so far.

“The Honda’s motor feels much livelier than the dyno chart indicates, pulling strongly from down low and revving out with decent gusto up top,” comments EiC Duke. “Props to Honda for letting out a bit more exhaust bark than typical, as the 270-degree motor sounds deep and throaty.”

2015-Ultimate-Sports-Adventure-Shootout-HP-2-970x595

2015-Ultimate-Sports-Adventure-Shootout-TRQ-2-970x595Maybe it never feels slow because at 525 pounds all gassed up and 545 with bags mounted on the official certified scales, it’s one of the lightest liter-class adventure bikes out there: The Suzuki V-Strom 1000 and Kawasaki Versys 1000 both undercut it by one pound.

On pavement and cruising at 80-ish, the CRF’s excellent seat and plush suspension render it more pleasant than we expected from a bike more dirt-oriented than most of the others in the class; off road, its 21-/18-inch wheel combo give it superior fire-road chops. The downside to that is the AT’s wire-spoke wheels are the old-fashioned kind that require inner tubes. You won’t be jamming in a plug in five minutes and continuing along on your merry way should you get a flat in the outback.

Another worrisome detail would be the fact that its panniers mount to the bike with the same sort of plastic prongs that caused us so much grief on Triumph’s first ADV bikes a few years ago. We hope Honda’s won’t be so easily breakable in the event of a casual tump-over or tree sideswipe.

IMG_1365

In any event, it already feels like one of those bikes that may be more than the sum of its very nice parts and not-all-that-impressive specs. Stay tuned as we line up the players for our next Adventure Touring Epic, including the new Ducati Multistrada Enduro and whatnot. Could be good.

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  • DickRuble

    I didn’t remember the Triumph Tiger XCmaking such wonderfully flat torque curve and spotless power curve. Compare to the parkinsonian curves of the Aprilia, Ducati, and BMW GS. Honda’s curves seem also to point to a very nicely sorted out engine.

  • Old MOron

    “Stay tuned as we line up the players for our next Adventure Touring Epic, including the new Ducati Multistrada Enduro and whatnot. Could be good.”

    Well JB, you do have a way with words. But I don’t think you’ve ever clobbered us with understatement like that before. Looking forward to the shootout.

  • JMDonald

    I love this bike and would love to have one.

  • Daniel Benjamin

    Once again, the super tenere is left entirely out of the conversation. How can such a direct competitor be omitted?

    • john burns

      you’d have to ask Yamaha.

      • Daniel Benjamin

        Those sly bastards. Guess they’re too busy repackaging the fz’s and the bolt to spare a Super tenere for testing. I mean, how would supplying a bike to comparo allow them an easy cash grab? Saying this all the while loving my bolt to death 0_0′

    • Kevin Duke

      It’s omitted because the group dyno charts here on this page are from last year’s shootout. You’ll see the Super Ten included in an upcoming shootout.

      • Daniel Benjamin

        <<< Excited

  • DickRuble

    The links are all over the place. A crankshaft link points to some small bock chevy piece at Amazon. The Ultimate Adventure tour-off points to the first ride of the Africa Twin South Africa. The Versys 1000 link points to some random Amazon.com parts list.

    • BDan75

      Keepin’ MO alive…

  • Starmag

    Aesthetically, IMO, the best ADV. Relative light weight is bonus, as is the number of Honda dealers. 87 HP is enough. Seems priced about right. Winner.

    If Yamaha comes through with that ADV FZ-07 with a 21″ front, 425LBS wet, 75HP and refrains from making it ugly with their normal “polarizing” styling, it could replace my KLR.

    • sgray44444

      Well said… I agree with all of it. That FZ07 would be an EXCELLENT bike.

  • Cam

    Looks to me it is targeting the F800GS and the Triumph 800s, at least in the power department.

  • sgray44444

    Power isn’t the end-all be-all (NEVER thought I’d say that). Light weight and broad torque mean a lot more in this category. The tubed wheels are a lot bigger deal-breaker, in my opinion.

    • Starmag

      I agree. Making tubeless spoked wheels isn’t hard or costly, I don’t know why more manufacturers don’t use them. Having a flat with tubes can ruin your day.

      • DickRuble

        Seems like it wasn’t too long ago it was announced as a breakthrough: tubeless spoke wheels. Wasn’t it Triumph? Whoever did it first may have a patent on it..

        • Starmag
          • ColoradoS14

            Those are hard to true due to lacing pattern and some interesting design features. I don’t believe that a traditionally laced tubeless wheel presents much more of a challenge than a tubeless.

          • Vrooom

            I can plug a tire in 3 minutes, but changing a tube I’ll need at least 30 minutes, a lot more if I don’t have a center stand or the bead is particularly tenacious and there’s no friends around with handy kickstands to push the tire off the bead.

          • DickRuble

            Good find.. there seems to be a patent on it too.. (moto guzzi licenses the technology..).

    • Jon Jones

      It IS hard to believe that we still have tubed wheels on bikes such as this in 2016. And it IS a deal-breaker.

  • spiff

    Everyone is all on the scrambler kick. Well Honda has built a modern one

  • ColoradoS14

    By the time I bring it here to Colorado and put my 240lb ass on it I may wish it had 100 to the wheel…

  • Vrooom

    OK, Apparently I’m the only one disappointed with 85 rw hp. I get that it’s plenty for riding down your favorite dirt road, but to be an adventure tourer, for 85 mph all day long with bags and a pillion, it sounds a bit anemic. Would have been sold if it had say 95-115 hp. I have a KLR, so I get low HP, but if I’m travelling more than 150 miles I’m on my DL1000, Ducati or Concours 14. The V-Strom barely beats it out, but even 6 HP is 7% more, and I regularly wish it had more.