One thing is clear: The Honda Africa Twin is a real successful model. The extremely off-road bike is considered the ideal companion for the annual world tour. The normal model also left a good impression on us. Can the powerfully pimped-up version of "Adventure Sports" be even better?
It is the same every year: Just before the annual world tour, the view wanders through the garage and over the globetrotter bikes of the past decades. At the back the Yamaha XT 500 is coming out, right after the Abi we are off to Goa in India. The Honda Africa Twin is in front. With 130,000 kilometers almost new, but one could well think about a new acquisition. And, to be honest? A little more comfort would be quite nice.
Of course we choose the cult bike from Honda again, but this time in the version Adventure Sports. Compared to the normal Africa Twin, we get the larger tank (24.8 instead of 18.8 liters), also hoseless tyres, the larger windshield, the luggage rack, and we can also spend another 1,800 euros on the electronic chassis, this is reserved for sports.
The view immediately falls on the large and two-part display as well as the masses of operating buttons. The realisation quickly spreads that sitting up and driving off is not going to be anything. An IT degree is not required, but a longer look at the user manual is definitely required. But, so much in advance, really easy and catchy, the operation is still not. In the two-part display, the speed is always shown at the bottom, because Apple Carplay may be running at the top. Whether navi or music, whether taking up your phone via buttons or the touchscreen, everything is possible here. The other side of the medal: on the right there is the function button and cruise control. On the left, the brain is threatened with overload: No less than eighteen buttons including the shifter for the DCT must be operated here with a clear sense of purpose. As we get used to it, it works better and better, but it never gets really good. And: Just practice this during the day, the buttons are not illuminated.
Our test bike has also installed the DCT transmission, and more on that later. In addition to 1,100 euros less in the cash register, this brings 12 kilos extra weight. In general: The current Adfrica Twin is a very large motorcycle. In total and with all the extras, it weighs 240 kilos, which you have to master in the off-road. On the other hand, the long 1.57 metre wheelbase ensures a really good social comfort. The driver is also very well accommodated, the bench is a little narrower at the front. Honda offers different seat heights, 825 to 895 millimeters, which should suit most people. By the way: If you make a cross everywhere and indulge in the suitcase set, you will break the 20,000-euro mark. This puts this AT version in direct competition with the BMW 1250 GS.
Because let's go.
Climbing and bucking is one thing, whereby bucking here means folding the side stand. There is no main stand as standard. We have read the user manual and are reasonably prepared. The display as such is good, it can also be read perfectly in the sun or with a dust layer. The electronic chassis immediately impresses. It has some gimmicks to offer, but above all an immediate adaptation to the driving conditions. For example, if you jump over a hill, it tightens in flight. This avoids a break-through on landing. Showa's EERA (Showa Electronically Equipped Ride Adjustment) costs 1,600 euros and adjusts the damper rate in 15 milliseconds. It makes the motorcycle more stable in emergency situations because it tightens the machine, usually creates a hovering, but is not raptured.
Even if the AT is a very nice chunk: the 21-inch front wheel alone underlines the Enduro claim. And, what to say, terrain can make the Adventure Sports easy.
The DCT transmission (dual-clutch transmission) is not technically automatic, but can be operated in this way. The Honda finds the right gear, different modes can be set here. If you don't like this, you can intervene at any time via the shifters, but you hardly get the engine brake even then. Overall, this is an extra that should be considered. 12 kilos more is an announcement, and it further complicates matters. With the famous African village blacksmith, that much is certain, you can not repair the sports. The DCT is really good and helpful where you wouldn't necessarily have guessed it: in the city. Those who else had to juggle with clutch and gas while manoeuvring and parking are now simply cautiously gasping.
The engine with 102 hp is not a performance miracle, but pulls itself more than mindful from the affair. Once again, it turns out that around 100 hp is always enough, even on the long haul. However, the Twin is a short-wheeler, so it needs speed. By the way: Honda relies on a chain drive, where others install a gimbal on travel machines.
Class is the comfort, here the electronic chassis shows itself at its best. The AT puts its pilot in a very upright sitting position. This increases the clarity even when standing in the off-road, but requires good wind protection for longer speed stages. What luck: The protection by the multi-adjustable windshield is also good.
So what is the Honda CRF 1100 L Adventure Sports? It is the further development of the normal variant. But is it still better? In terms of comfort and technical equipment, in any case. Whether it really is the better way to stroll around the world can be doubted: the AT makes an all-round adult and mature impression. Nevertheless, all these helpers complicate the motorcycle in terms of operation, maintenance and repair.
Overall, the picture is surprising: what Honda offers with the addition of Adventure Sports is less suitable for the rough adventure and less sporty than the variant without sports. So the world was in verts. A good motorcycle, however, that's it definitely.
The test bike was provided to us by Motofun in Kaltenkirchen.
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