Motorcycle fair in Milan

EICMA 2019

Presented by

Honda


14th Pictures

Honda

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The base model Honda CRF 1100 L Africa Twin comes exclusively with the conventional Showa chassis.

Honda

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The Honda CRF 1100 L Africa Twin Adventure Sports gravel is pleasantly balanced, no trace of top-heaviness.

Honda

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In contrast to the initial tires of the 2016 model, the CRF 1100s roll on the well-harmonizing Bridgestone AX41T for the 2020 model year.

Honda

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The conventional chassis? It was great, but it got a little better with an adjusted spring and damping rate.

Honda

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Wet driving day at the Honda presentation in Sardinia.

Honda

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Fortunately, there was also a rain-free day for the site.

Honda

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The new CRF 1100 L is an extraordinarily well-developed, but above all pleasant travel enduro

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The fully equipped Honda CRF 1100 L Africa Twin Adventure Sports EERA DCT costs 18,665 euros.

Honda

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With that she has reached the league of the really big adventure giants.

Honda

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In the 2020 model year, it will roll out with all kinds of new features, such as more driving modes, cornering ABS, electronic chassis, TFT, connectivity.

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According to Honda, all of the new Africa Twin shed 5 kilograms.

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Even if Adventure Sports’ huge 24.8-liter tank doesn’t bother you anywhere, its sister (18.8-liter tank) looks much slimmer and more compact.

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Unfortunately, the tear-off edge of the tall Adventure Sports windshield runs pretty precisely through the driver’s field of vision.

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The chassis also dampens bad edges cleanly and without a hint of reverberation.

Honda CRF 1100 L Africa Twin (2020) in the driving report

Well-developed and, above all, pleasant travel enduro

This is more than an update. The new frame alone shows that the Honda Africa Twin CRF 1100 L is a new motorcycle. One that builds on known strengths. We drove the base as well as the Adventure Sports / DCT / EERA for the 2020 model year.

The most exciting technical innovation on the 2020 Honda CRF 1100 L AT.frica Twin is unquestionably the electronic Showa chassis: The abbreviation EERA stands for "Electronically Equipped Ride Adjustment". The system is reserved for the Adventure Sports variant, costs 1,600 euros extra, and adjusts the damper rate in the fork and shock absorber within 15 milliseconds to the respective driving condition – this with specially adapted maps for the respective driving modes "Tour", " Urban "," Gravel "and" Offroad ".

Rocking is nipped in the bud

It works brilliantly. For road use, we first choose the “tower”Setting with a moderately tight basic setup. Firm and controlled, the Honda CRF 1100 L Africa Twin Adventure Sports ironed over waves and potholes, creating an impressively broad balancing act: adequate comfort, at the same time firm, confidence-inspiring stability. Rocking is nipped in the bud. The chassis also dampens unpleasant edges cleanly and without a hint of post-oscillation, a well-measured anti-dive by closing the fork pressure level prevents the front from diving too far on the brakes. This creates an almost eerily good driving experience, namely that of floating. The decisive factor here is that all of the magnetic valve magic does not appear synthetic, but natural and transparent. A point to which the Showa engineers, according to their own statement, attached particular importance and which can be considered fulfilled. Some – some – electronic undercarriages buy high driving stability through a wooden, opaque way of working – there is a lack of feedback and grounding. EERA delivers a crystal clear, elegant, harmonious driving experience.

And this through all modes: "Urban" has the softer basic characteristic, which noticeably increases driving comfort, even without loss of stability. Even in the softest “gravel” mode, the new Honda Africa Twin with EERA stays on asphalt, moves quickly, perfectly drivable, and then offers sensational comfort. Because the extremely gentle response of the twin connected to it on the road does not make us happy, we quickly tinker with a tailor-made driving mode in one of the two freely configurable "user" slots: sharpest engine response (still more than smooth enough), strongest engine brake (now also adjustable in three stages), chassis front and rear medium soft. Perfect.


Honda

The base model Honda CRF 1100 L Africa Twin comes exclusively with the conventional Showa chassis.

Overall, the operating concept seems too complex

The diverse setting options of the EERA equipped Honda CRF 1100 L Africa Twin Adventure Sports require some experimentation – and getting used to the menu structure. New to all Africa Twins: a 6.5-inch TFT display with touchscreen. It is optimally positioned in the field of vision and remains easy to read, even in direct sunlight, despite being slightly mirrored, but comes packed full of information about the various settings and the on-board computer. Not necessarily helpful in that the operation is distributed over numerous switches on the left and right of the handlebar. Four-way switch with rocker switch, enter, forwards and backwards, light and horn, heated grips and cruise control (both standard, both good), and in our case also the selector switch for DCT modes and the associated switch buttons on the left: You can in the heat of the moment ever forgot where the turn signal switch was buried. A topic only in the first phase of getting to know each other, but the operating concept seems complex overall and will ask some questions. Fortunately, the touchscreen remains locked while the vehicle is in motion, and it can also be operated with gloves when the vehicle is stationary. After only two days of driving, we do not want to finally judge whether there is an absolute added value in it. As with the flagship GL 1800 Gold Wing, an iPhone can be connected via Apple Car Play and used as a navigation system. A nice feature that Android users can be jealous of.

Engine of the new Honda CRF 1100 L Africa Twin

Hopefully more important than the digital: the 270-degree two-cylinder, which now brings it to 1,084 ccm³ by means of extended hubs and is Honda’s first Euro 5 engine, remains true to its familiar features for the time being. He is a pleasantly reserved, relaxed, strong companion for all occasions. Gently pulsating running, fine manners, moderate consumption, easy thrust in the first third of the engine speed. Even as the CRF 1100, the Africa Twin will not be a boisterous puller. Especially not when we sit on the DCT version, which always engages the next of the 6 gear steps as early as possible in automatic D mode. Suitable for the cozy.


Honda

The Honda CRF 1100 L Africa Twin Adventure Sports gravel is pleasantly balanced, no trace of top-heaviness.

Lean position sensors and DCT perfect

For more pleasure, we choose the S-modes, which are known to keep the gears longer, and downshift earlier. Depending on your taste, there are S1 and S2, here then with gradually increasing switching speed, the propulsion to an 1100 – S3 brings a lot of hectic to the matter, that’s only good when the smock is burning. Incidentally, thanks to the IMU lean angle sensors (six axes), the double coupler also knows about cornering and incorporates this into its shifting strategy. This works well without being noticed. Anyone who has never ridden DCT: Within the first hour of driving time, you internalize the gearshift points quite well, you can then drive the motorcycle wonderfully alone with the throttle, here and there manual intervention is still an option – for example if you do not use the "Kickdown" want to wait. The extreme technical maturity of the system is undisputed. Since generation 2, the gear changes have been done gently and finely, now even better, and the computer has always pre-sorted the correct gear. An impressive piece of technology that is only available from Honda. And still one on which opinions differ. You love it, or you love switching yourself. Advantage of the DCT: great gain in convenience, unique selling point. Advantage of the manual switch: 1,100 euros saved, minus 10 kilos, less loss in the drive train.

Driving characteristics of the basic Africa Twin

This brings us to the base model Honda CRF 1100 L Africa Twin, which we drive with a manual transmission and which only has the conventional Showa chassis. Side note: Both models now have the same spring travel, the new positioning of the variants looks more coherent. The basic model as an affordable, lighter, more offroad-affine variant, the Adventure Sports (which, this is still important, in its dimensions is now much less intimidating, thanks to the significantly reduced seat height also fits normal people) no more than "extreme" – Version, but as a touring full dresser. The low windshield of the base as the most obvious distinguishing feature offers, of course, less wind protection, but in return the significantly better view, because the tear-off edge of the high Adventure Sports counterpart unfortunately runs pretty much through the field of vision. Ergonomically, both are largely the same, and apart from a slightly higher handlebar and the new seat, they also essentially correspond to the 2016 model, which for its part could already be considered practically perfect: beautiful, open knee angle, appropriately wide handlebars that are ideally cranked to hand, upright sitting position, good overview of the game. There is also a very comfortable bench, now with a shorter step length. Excellent ergonomics was and remains, in addition to the wonderfully smooth handling, the great pound of the Africa Twin. Even if the huge 24.8 liter tank of Adventure Sports doesn’t bother you anywhere, its sister with the still large 18.8 liter tank looks much slimmer and more compact. If not petite, so well trained.

In any case, the clutch and gearbox of the manual Honda CRF 1100 L Africa Twin are not a compelling reason to use the DCT, on the contrary. The manual force of the already very good cable pull clutch was reduced again, soon one can speak of a one-finger clutch. Its controllability is excellent, only the adjustable lever is missing. Perhaps a hint to Honda which gearbox they want to sell? The switching processes themselves are light-footed and noiseless.

According to Honda, all the new Africa Twin lost 5 kilograms, certainly a commendable step, but the effect of which can only be assessed in a direct comparison between old and new. More clear: Compared to the 250 kilos (factory specification) of Adventure Sports with DCT and EERA, the 226 kilos (factory specification) of the "naked" CRF 1100 L are simply much less. Thanks to this weight advantage, and certainly thanks to the more direct gearbox, the basic Africa Twin then dashes forward considerably more lively and is more clearly recognizable than the 1100 in terms of engine speed. Even brings the new, three-stage, very cleanly applied wheelie control to work in first gear. With the switch, the engine upgrade is more obvious than with the DCT motorcycle.

Chassis and standard tires

The conventional chassis? It was great, but it got a little better with an adjusted spring and damping rate. The responsiveness of the 45-millimeter cartridge fork from Showa is among the best the market has to offer, even without EERA, and the shock absorber loaded by deflection is hardly inferior. In the factory settings, the ensemble also dampens everything in a very controlled manner, accurately and comfortably, even in an inclined position. The simple adjustment option at the push of a button and the adjustment of the base of the rear shock absorber by means of a servo motor is reserved for Adventure Sports with EERA – which gives it significantly more broadband overall on the chassis side. Electronic chassis yes or no? In the case of the Africa Twin, where both work brilliantly, this is a particularly tricky question.


Honda

In contrast to the initial tires of the 2016 model, the CRF 1100s roll on the well-harmonizing Bridgestone AX41T for the 2020 model year.

A word about the rubbers: In contrast to the unfortunate first tires of the 2016 model, the Honda Africa Twin CRF 1100 for the 2020 model year now roll on the new Bridgestone AX41T, and it harmonizes wonderfully with the motorcycle. Neutral, without tilting, lots of grip, feeling even when wet. The coarser Metzeler Karoo Street is also homologated.

Honda CRF 1100 L Africa Twin off-road

The 230 millimeters of spring travel at the front and 220 at the rear on all models bring ample reserves, the Africa Twin gravel is pleasantly balanced, no trace of top-heaviness. In tight bends, the fine controllability of the clutch is particularly helpful, the DCT offers a special gravel fashion that establishes traction earlier – that makes sense. However, it is not clear to us that the traction control, called HSTC at Honda, retains its setting independently of the driving mode and therefore always needs to be adjusted individually for off-road driving. The Honda CRF 1100 L Africa Twin does not want to be a bullet suitable for MX piste either, it remains too much of a motorcycle for that. But what it should do, the 2020 model does exceptionally well off the asphalt.

Africa Twin 2020 prices

  • CRF 1100 Africa Twin: 14,165 euros
  • CRF 1100 Africa Twin DCT: 15,265 euros
  • CRF 1100 Africa Twin Adventure Sports: 15,965 euros
  • CRF 1100 Africa Twin Adventure Sports DCT: 17,065 euros
  • CRF 1100 Africa Twin Adventure Sports EERA: 17,565 euros
  • CRF 1100 Africa Twin Adventure Sports EERA DCT: 18,665 euros

Conclusion

The Honda CRF 1100 L Africa Twin for the 2020 model year further expands on the well-known strengths: great ergonomics – now in the case of Adventure Sports also for smaller children – extremely pleasant, fluid handling, high driving comfort, and an entirely manageable engine. The increase in power and torque is moderate, but noticeable, does not in itself constitute a compelling reason to change the model. The multitude of new features – more driving modes, cornering ABS, electronic chassis, TFT, connectivity, etc. – as well as the finishing touches all around the weight. The times of the Africa Twin as a simple motorcycle are clearly over. Those who enjoy it will find the CRF 1100 L to be an extraordinarily well-developed, but above all pleasant travel enduro. However, equipped with everything Chi-chi has become significantly more expensive. If the basic price surcharge is a reasonable 700 euros, the price tag for a fully equipped Honda CRF 1100 L Africa Twin Adventure Sports EERA DCT is now 18,665 euros. Which brings it to the league of the really big adventure giants.

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