A new, more adventure-focused version of the Honda Africa Twin may be on its way, offering more off-road capability and a larger fuel tank. The new model may make its debut in a couple of weeks at EICMA as a 2018 model. It will likely be based on the Africa Twin Adventure Sports Concept (pictured above) that was shown off in early 2016.

Evidence of this new variant comes to us via design patents filed with the European Union Intellectual Property Office for a new fuel tank and tail side cover. While the patents don’t mention what motorcycle they will below to, the designs show a clear similarity with the current Africa Twin. Maurizio Carbonara, the designer of the Africa Twin, is listed as one of the designers of these two new patents, further establishing the connection to the AT.

The new fuel tank design looks very much like the current CRF1000L Africa Twin’s tank, having the same sloping angle and the bulges on either side where it would meet the AT’s fairing.

Here’s the current 2016 Honda Africa Twin. Notice how the fuel tank flares outward before it meets the darker gray panel with the Honda wing logo.

And here’s the new fuel tank design, from a slightly higher angle:

The sides of the new fuel tank flare out into a similar shape as the current Africa Twin’s tank, but the design is noticeably wider.

To illustrate the difference in the fuel tank shape, we overlaid the overhead view of the tank design onto the current Africa Twin in the animated gif below. While we don’t know exactly how much larger the new tank is, we were able to make an approximation based on the size of the filler cap. By our estimation, the rear of the new fuel tank closest to the seat has a similar width as previous, but the sides flare out much wider.

The original Africa Twin’s fuel tank is in white while the new tank design is in gray.

The tail side panel design also has a clear similarity to the current Africa Twin. Notice the two openings for the luggage attachement points and the cut-out for the passenger grab rail; they are almost identical to the current Africa Twin’s tail section.

The big difference comes at the front which runs longer than the panel on the current model and would likely cover the Africa Twin’s rear subframe. The Adventure Sports Concept also had longer panels on its tail (see below), but the placement of the mounting hole and seat lock opening are not in the same place, which tells us these designs are for a new motorcycle and not the older concept model.

The Adventure Sport Concept also has a longer tail panel but the seat release is in a different position.

The new tail panels would suggest other changes to the tail and/or seat, perhaps a flatter one-piece seat design like the one on the concept instead of the two-piece seat on the current Africa Twin. Other changes we expect include crash bars, a stronger bash plate, a higher exhaust and knobbier tires.

As for the name, Japanese publication Young Machine has floated the name “CRF1000LB” for a potential”Big Tank” version of the Africa Twin. Young Machine reports the CRF1000LB will be unveiled at EICMA, and the timing of the patent designs lead us to the same conclusion.

Motorcycle.com will be in Milan for Honda’s EICMA presentation, and we’ll have more information as it becomes available.

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  • 12er

    Granted Im not in the market but looks like Im out already. Widening and shortening the knee notches never works with long legs. Same with Ducati Multistrada Enduro model.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Since the AT designer is Italian (Maurizio Carbonara), he may have taken design cues from the Ducati Multistrada Enduro.

      • denchung

        He’s also one of the designers of the X-Adv, and you can see some styling similarities between it and the Africa Twin.

  • Gabriel Owens

    So many good bikes right now

  • DickRuble

    To go get the donuts Sunday morning, the current model is fine thank you. Don’t need the extra gas capacity for that.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      If your donuts are in Africa, you do.

      • Born to Ride

        Funny, but I’d venture to say 50% of these bikes will never see dirt.

        • HazardtoMyself

          Agree, but I would think you 50% estimate is probably still fairly optimistic.

          Look at how many used dual sports are advertised as never been off road.

        • manfromsima

          And what do you ride?

          • Born to Ride

            I have two dirt bikes and 3 street bikes, none of which are trying to do both of those jobs.

          • Dualsportvet

            We let me help you out. As a rider and Africa Twin owner and one that takes his bike off road and on trips that rang from 200 to 2000 miles at a time (run on sentence lol), I can say that even if you don’t ride off road it still needs a larger tank. There’s no way at hwy speeds this thing will get 200 miles. It’s close but not quite. And that’s sub par for this market. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2d656d0bd6ba1abe227cb2f808048082708a760cf2f4272bc61e4dee6ca636e1.jpg

          • marylander

            Never heard someone complaining: no, this bike has too much range, I want less…

            There are very few remote highways in N America like Dempster, Dalton, Trans Taiga, etc where you need more (250mi+) range but it is nice to have a bigger tank; way better than carry an extra rotopax

          • Born to Ride

            The low fuel light on my Multi comes on at 190 (5.5gal), I’ve never found that range threshold to be inhibiting. The AT gets worse than 40mpg? I find that hard to believe. I get 39-41 with my 1100, wheelieing whenever I can get away with it and WOT in the mountains.

  • Looks like the new, more offroad orientated model will be heavier than the current model?

    • denchung

      If want a larger tank, and thus carry more fuel and have longer range, then that’s inevitable.

  • Shlomi

    I was hoping for less off-road oriented bike with tubeless tires, 19” front wheel.

    • Walter

      Me too- a Starbucks Warrior version: 19/17 tubeless with a modern/full electronics suite & lean sensitive ABS/TC. And adding something like the BMW “GPS Prep” would be excellent. That would get me off my 1190 Adventure (34,000 miles of fun so far).

      Unless, of course, KTM brings the 1290 Super Adventure S to the USA 🙂 https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f26469899e7809de834d9e510c29aff34b0e33796feffd8f7ec12970ada47592.jpg

      If they don’t want to dilute the brand name, call it a TransAlp.

    • David K

      They should have two versions. A Dakar off-road and a street adventure tourer with Givi cases and Michelin radial Anakee’s. At least this model doesn’t have a beak!

  • SRMark

    LB for Lazy Boy or Pounds or Lenny Bruce.

  • DeadArmadillo

    Big tank – good! Little tank – bad! Now if we could get one that burns regular gas and doesn’t need valve adjustments.

    • WalterFeldman

      The AT does burn regular gas.

  • Ron Hayes

    Funny thing is that flaring the gas tank sometimes makes it uncomfortable for us taller riders whose knees wind up being jabbed or pushed out like chicken wings.

  • Rob

    making AT more adventure worthy would be cutting the weight by at least 20 kg, not adding fuel to it…