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