Trail – Africa Twin Adventure Sports 2020 test: more accessible but less affordable – Africa Twin 1100 Adventure Sports test page 1: Honda is looking for its way …

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Olbia (Sardinia), the

Africa Twin Adventure Sports 2020 trial: more accessible but less affordable

Trail - Africa Twin Adventure Sports 2020 test: more accessible but less affordable - Africa Twin 1100 Adventure Sports test page 1: Honda is looking for its way ...

The new Africa Twin Adventure Sports loses 50mm of saddle height and 5kg, while filling up with additional technologies and cubic centimeters. But this more road version of the 2020 Honda CRF1100L is paying a heavy price for its inspirations from across the Rhine…

Full test.

Africa Twin 1100 Adventure Sports test page 1: Honda is looking for its way…

Honda does not hide it: the enormous success of the BMW "" (GS) is at the origin of the repositioning of its new one, which breaks with its original simplicity with more displacement (it goes from 998 to 1084 cc), performance (from 95.1 to 102 hp) and technologies with its touch screen TFT screen and connected, its regulator and its six driving modes as standard (see and).

  • MNC test : Africa Twin CRF1100L 2020, the right measure ?
  • MNC special file 
  • MNC of October 11, 2019 : 

"The R1250GS will exceed 5000 units this year in France" (already, Editor’s note), notes with envy the director of the motorcycle division of Honda France Fabrice Recoque, before revealing to us for the new Africa Twin Adventure Sports: "70% "sales for this high-end version," 30% "for the standard CRF1100L previously .

  • Interview Fabrice Recoque (Honda France) :
  • MNC Africa Twin 2016 test : 

Honda embraces without qualms the cause of "maxi-trails-road-maxi-equipped", four years after having praised the right balance and the spirit "True Adventure" (the "real adventure"!) on its … Thus the Africa Twin Adventure Sports launched in 2018 at € 15,099 increases to € 16,499 (+ 1,400 euros!) and climbs to € 19,499 with tricolor color options, double clutch gearbox and electronically controlled suspensions !

This tidy inflation can however be explained by the Africa Twin 1100’s leap in sophistication, practicality and accessibility. The Adventure Sports progresses enormously in ease of handling thanks to its 5 kg less (238 kg) and especially its suspension travel now identical to the: 230 mm and 220 mm, against 252 and 240 previously.

Trail - Africa Twin Adventure Sports 2020 test: more accessible but less affordable - Africa Twin 1100 Adventure Sports test page 1: Honda is looking for its way ...

Consequence: its saddle – also much thinner – goes from 900 to 850 mm in the low position, as on the "basic" Africa Twin… and there it is! On the other hand, the upper thighs are less apart thanks to the refinement of this seat (-40 mm wide) and the new design of the 24.8-liter tank. In short, the new Adventure Sports is narrower and lower..

These improvements hit the mark: the 1.75m riders firmly put a flat foot on one side and the forefoot on the other on the Adventure Sports 2020, when its vertiginous predecessor put them to death every time. stop or during off-road trips! This critical aspect had also contributed to its defeat against the Tiger 800 XCA during our. Honda has taken this issue into consideration: bravo ! 

Clear progress, but room for improvement

However, certain aspects precisely linked to this new ergonomics clash on this essentially road-oriented motorcycle … Starting with its saddle identical to the standard Africa Twin, which logically provides the same rather average comfort due to lack of padding and sufficient maintenance. It’s not a Chinese torment, but the older Adventure Sports – softer – did better on long journeys.

Trail - Africa Twin Adventure Sports 2020 test: more accessible but less affordable - Africa Twin 1100 Adventure Sports test page 1: Honda is looking for its way ...

Another bad surprise: the limited deflection of its new adjustable windshield – which is sorely lacking in the base model. If the bust and head are perfectly sheltered (well above the helmet in the high position), the arms and shoulders remain unpleasantly exposed: lovers of large "verandas", opt instead for the or … the R1250GS, again it !

Handling this bubble is also tedious since two hands are required to release the latches on each side by pressure (in red above). It is therefore impossible to adjust while driving the 59.5 mm of amplitude available via five notches. A clamp system as on the or wheel like on the BMW are much more practical.

  • MNC duel: 

Finally, the narrow curve of this windshield – at the origin of its limited protection on the sides – is annoying because it is constantly in the visual field. It’s a bit like Captain Haddock’s beard: is it better to look above or below the bubble ?! MNC has opted for the low position, more suitable for a good visualization of turns.

The protection provided by the hand guards is however out of the question, especially the heated grips are standard. Same flattering observation concerning the lower limbs: the knees are mostly sheltered by the "pot-bellied" format of the tank and the aesthetically chiseled fairings. 

Trail - Africa Twin Adventure Sports 2020 test: more accessible but less affordable - Africa Twin 1100 Adventure Sports test page 1: Honda is looking for its way ...

The Africa Twin 1100 actually enjoys a line that is as feline as ever, worthy of the most beautiful rally-raid motorcycles. Its new "Full LED" optic sharpens its hypnotizing gaze in addition to affirming its opulent appearance: the Adventure Sports presents an excellent manufacturing quality … deserving of its consequent invoice !

Its enveloping aluminum shoe perfectly illustrates the care taken by Honda, in addition to affirming its adventurous appearance and preserving its parallel twin from off-road shocks. The icing on the cake: this beautiful piece partly protects the feet from projections !

A stunning balance

The Africa Twin 1100 Adventure Sports is now mechanically and geometrically identical to the base Africa Twin 1100, with their caster angle of 27.5 ° and wheelbase of 1575 mm. Only their tank volume and weight differ significantly: 18.8 l and 226 kg on the standard against 24.8 l and 238 kg on the Adventure Sports.

Trail - Africa Twin Adventure Sports 2020 test: more accessible but less affordable - Africa Twin 1100 Adventure Sports test page 1: Honda is looking for its way ...

Their behavior is therefore in all points similar, except that the AS requires more grip because of its additional 12 kg. Moving it with the engine off and steering it off-road is therefore a little more physical, but still very reasonable compared to the efforts required by some competing behemoths weighing 260 kg !

  • MNC of October 11, 2019 : 

As already described by MNC about the, its weight loss and improved chassis further elevate its agility: the Adventure Sports 1100 reacts with disconcerting ease despite its dimensions. Small tight hairpins or stony descents on slopes: the Honda ensures and reassures in the face of all obstacles, well helped off-road by its 21-inch rim.

The combination of its narrow wheels (90 mm and 150 mm) and its ideally placed center of gravity explains its obvious and precise nature, barely marked by the hint of inertia caused by its large front wheel when registering in curve. A real success which places it at the top of the category of "maxi" trails !

Its original suspensions are in tune with all its qualities thanks to their remarkable compromise between comfort and rigor. The large travel of the Africa Twin Adventure Sports 1100 (230 and 220 mm) offers "padded" shock absorption, like flying carpet, without causing crippling plate movements..

The best is not always the friend of the good

The Showa 45mm inverted fork and monoshock – with a handy offset preload wheel – provide high-end hydraulic support, which can be appreciated both for "energetic" driving on the road and during tough off-road excursions. bitumen. 

Trail - Africa Twin Adventure Sports 2020 test: more accessible but less affordable - Africa Twin 1100 Adventure Sports test page 1: Honda is looking for its way ...

The bike maintains exemplary directional precision in all circumstances, even under light brake pressure when entering curves. It remains perfectly stable in bumpy turns and benefits from amazing traction. Its traction control informed by the inertial unit is rarely called for reinforcement on the road, despite the 7 additional horsepower.

Its "mechanical" suspensions surprisingly surpass the electronically controlled Showa damping, offered as an option only on the Adventure Sports 2020 (+ € 1,500). This Electronically Equipped Ride Adjustment (EERA) damping system, however sophisticated and super complete, did not convince us…

The fault with the soft calibration opted on the default driving mode ("Tour"), which tends to significantly tilt the attitude of the Adventure Sports. The fork plunges excessively under braking, a phenomenon amplified by the somewhat brutal attack of the powerful 4-piston radial calipers. The bike keeps its course but is less precise than with the Showa "without chips".

Trail - Africa Twin Adventure Sports 2020 test: more accessible but less affordable - Africa Twin 1100 Adventure Sports test page 1: Honda is looking for its way ...

Fortunately, the rear brake offers a response close to perfection which allows the motorcycle to "sit" to reduce this mass transfer. Its effective action is also appreciable in off-road, where you can completely deactivate the ABS to trigger drift turns (the ABS always remains slightly active front-rear, even in "off-road" mode).

Surprised by the behavior of this electronic damping, MNC reviewed the other five driving modes (Urban, Gravel, Off-road and two customizable User modes) and all the settings. Remember that these semi-active suspensions evolve automatically according to the mode selected, which also acts on the sensitivity of the ABS, traction control, power distribution, engine braking and anti-abrasion (unpublished)..

Unfortunately, no adjustment is really satisfactory despite the multitude of parameters on which it is possible to intervene in a tactile way from the dashboard. MNC has however placed the damping to the hardest ("Hard") and changed the preload from "solo" to "duo", even "duo with suitcases", but nothing helped: the EERA does not equal never the successful calibration – neither too soft nor too hard – of its mechanical equivalent.

The Africa Twin 2020 has more trunk !

It is at the mechanical level that the Africa Twin Adventure Sports follows the escalation of maxi-trails: it takes 86 cc to boost its performance. And too bad for those who expected a more accessible Africa Twin from 750 to 800 cc: the motorcycle director of Honda France revealed to MNC that it was "

Trail - Africa Twin Adventure Sports 2020 test: more accessible but less affordable - Africa Twin 1100 Adventure Sports test page 1: Honda is looking for its way ...

Adventure Sports’ new 1084 cc engine – Euro5 approved – responds to market demand, clearly in favor of a rise in the trail genre in all senses of the word. The Africa Twin follows the trend thanks to better low and mid-range revivals, so far necessarily behind against its rivals of 1200 or even 1300 cc.

Still as flexible and available from 1,500 rpm, the new Honda 2020 unit responds with more conviction from 2,500 rpm. The increase in its stroke (from 75.1 to 81.5 mm) contributes to its more torquey character, which is then expressed by a significant increase in vigor between 4000 and 6000 rpm – a regime where vibrations reach the hands and feet.

Alert until sudden rupture at 8500 rpm, this engine has nevertheless lost that relative "explosiveness" which characterized the old 998 cc. Acceleration is certainly more sustained at all speeds, but also more linear. The huge twin cylinders of rivals BMW and KTM are more expressive and nervous, aided by their power worthy of sports motorcycles (respectively 136 and 158 hp) !

The precise management offered by the electronic accelerator is also one of the strengths of the new Africa Twin, even if a certain roughness taints the very fine gas management phases. Choosing a less reactive power distribution via the "P" mode makes it possible to tame this phenomenon.

Trail - Africa Twin Adventure Sports 2020 test: more accessible but less affordable - Africa Twin 1100 Adventure Sports test page 1: Honda is looking for its way ...

MNC also appreciated the smoothness of its clutch and the quality of its selection, wonderfully assisted by an optional shifter which allows up and down gears without disengaging. On road and off-road "engaged", the Journal moto du Net preferred this device to the optional dual clutch Dual Clutch Transmission (reread our road and all-terrain test of the).

The DCT – which weighs down the motorcycle by 10 kg and the bill of € 1000 – is on the other hand the ideal tool for distant trips with a predominantly road route, especially in duo: the automated gear change is fluid and absolute softness, offering incredibly restful transmission comfort.

A word finally on the consumption of this new engine, logically slightly higher due to its increased displacement: MNC recorded 6.21 l / 100 km at the pump with the Adventure Sports in manual gearbox configuration, but at a high rate. and with off-road passages and maximum speed tests (217 km / h counter with bubble at mid-height). A rather reasonable consumption, therefore !

Verdict: naturally profitable development

From a strictly technical point of view, the Africa Twin Adventure Sports 1100 is considerably better than its predecessor. In addition to its significantly improved accessibility, the Honda maxitrail takes a step forward thanks to its more efficient engine and advanced technologies.

Trail - Africa Twin Adventure Sports 2020 test: more accessible but less affordable - Africa Twin 1100 Adventure Sports test page 1: Honda is looking for its way ...

The Japanese manufacturer has also taken the trouble to remove a few extra pounds, an aspect unfortunately too often neglected by its "maxi-rivals"! The Africa Twin 2020, still as attractive and well finished, retains its fabulous balance and its enviable off-road capabilities. As such, the CRF1100L is a pure success.

Many will also applaud its new 6.5-inch color touchscreen: this "tablet" offers all modern features, such as a Bluetooth connection with the phone to take advantage of GPS guidance, listen to music and make calls – including while driving, but let’s move on … It remains to deal with a navigation that is not very intuitive and a left stalk overloaded with buttons.

In this respect, the Africa Twin 2020 satisfies many fans of maxitrails, who are more fond of comfort equipment than real off-road skills. The proof: "55%" of the orders already recorded by Honda France concern Adventure Sports with piloted suspensions. More than one in two buyers therefore wish to access this expensive optional sophistication without even having experienced it. !

Trail - Africa Twin Adventure Sports 2020 test: more accessible but less affordable - Africa Twin 1100 Adventure Sports test page 1: Honda is looking for its way ...

Honda, whose finality is, let us remember, to sell motorcycles, would obviously be wrong not to exploit this expectation: why let BMW reign supreme in this lucrative segment? And even if the Africa Twin Adventure Sports has increased significantly to reach € 16,499, its German rival has no qualms about showing itself at € 17,600 with stick rims, without suitcase racks. no hand guards ! 

  • Interview Fabrice Recoque (Honda France) :
  • Africa Twin 1100 Project :

However, all these technologies supposedly become "indispensable" contribute to the bourgeois mutation of the trail genre: these motorcycles have been transformed into road bikes with raised handlebars and appearance, joining the SUV approach in automobile production. Far from the pragmatic adventurous spirit put forward by Honda in with the Africa Twin in 2016…

According to MNC, rather than an Airbus dashboard and a power plant nuclear inertial, this Africa Twin Adventure Sports 2020 would have benefited from a better screen and a more comfortable saddle. And frankly, a central stand to maintain its chain is not it more essential than a cruise control ?!

But from you to us, are these types of considerations still important in this segment of the motorcycle market where the fully equipped versions flirt with – or even exceed – the 20,000 euros (19,499 € for the Honda Adv. Sports tricolor with DCT and piloted suspensions)? Le Journal moto du Net would like to respond without hesitation in the affirmative….

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Except that as the director of the French subsidiary has subtly pointed out to us, the latest generation of Goldwing 1800 has already reached one when we had issued – and – reserved opinions, in particular because of its incredible suitcases in which we do not put plus a helmet! Let us wish the Africa Twin 2020 the same success, and too bad for our dreams of no-frills escapes with a hypothetical CRF750L… 

  • All the details of our Africa Twin Sports Adventure 2020 test in

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