Any motorcycle reviewer will tell you it takes a long ride and several miles to really understand how good – or bad – a motorcycle is. This is especially true when the motorcycle in question is a model refresh and not an entirely new machine. But this might be the first time I can remember where just riding from my house to the stop sign at the end of my street left an impression that would last my entire time with the bike. The updated, 2020 Honda Africa Twin is good. Really good.
Honda unveiled the new 2020 Africa Twin, revealing a larger engine, lighter weight and a number of electronic rider aides including the much requested cruise control. The 2020 CRF1100L Africa Twin will be offered in regular and Adventure Sports ES models, both available with a choice of manual or DCT versions.
Honda officially confirmed that a new Africa Twin will be announced on Sept. 23, releasing a new teaser video offering a glimpse of the front of the updated adventure bike. Though obscured by shadow, what we can see of the 2020 Honda Africa Twin CRF1100L appears to match the photos from Australian certification documents Motorcycle.com was first to report earlier this week.
Trips like this always sound like such a great idea… You have somewhere you need to be in a certain time frame, and the weather looks clear. There are important personal matters requiring resolution on a Monday morning, and with my initial plan to fly now gone askew, I was staring into the driveway at the Africa Twin and pondering. How hard could it be, right?
By now, hopefully you’ve already read our street installation of this two-part test. If not, STOP! Please do check it out because it outlines and dissects each and every bike in great detail, and it very well might answer a slew of questions you might have that aren’t addressed here, in the off-road portion of the shootout.
On a humid and hazy southern California morning our cast of misfits began to stir to life from all stretches of the LA basin. Showers were had (by some), coffee was made and consumed, gear was donned. We seven fortunate souls set out on what would be our first true challenge of the next 72 hours, the first gauntlet that our machines would be subjected to, weekday traffic in Los Angeles with a destination of none other than Starbucks. The unofficial meeting place of adventure riders the world over, yet, for so many, the journey’s end before it ever even begins.
When I first laid eyes on the 2018 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports at the Long Beach International Motorcycle Show, I thought to myself, “Dang that’s a nice paint job and I love the white frame, but man, what a long name.” After talking to some Honda reps about the bike’s intended place in the market and in its own line-up, I left the conversation a bit more confused than when I had started. You see, the Africa Twin Adventure Sports is aimed to more directly compete with the bigger adventure motorcycles that publications and consumers alike, were already comparing it to.