Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin – your questions answered!

We’ve been spending some time with the new 2020 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin to answer your questions

Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin Adventure Sports Review

THE second generation of the Honda CRF1100L Africa saw the big adventure bike take a quantum leap forward in terms of spec, equipment, and performance.

We spent a week riding the Africa Twin Adventure Sports and it’s smaller sibling on and off-road at the Honda Adventure centre in Devon.

During that time we asked Visordown readers to submit their questions regarding the new machine – here are the answers.

Tony Amos

How does the 1100 compare to the 2018 1000cc


The power to weight ratio has increased 10% for this year and the electronics are all updated and much slicker in their operation both on and off-road. But what you really notice most is the reduction in weight over the old model. The new bike feels lighter when being wheeled about and at low speeds.

I spent thousands of miles riding the previous generation Adventure Sports and the drop in weight was noticeable in seconds.

Steve Moriaty 

What R.P.M is it spinning at 70 M.P.H. In top gear?


70mph in top will see you doing around 3,750rpm and returning between 65-70mpg from the onboard computer. There is very little in the way of vibration to speak of, at that or any other engine speeds, and you’re still in the fat of the torque curve should you need to overtake.

Spencer Elver

Why is the centre stand not a standard feature?!


It could just be trying to keep the bike at a viable price point while still retaining some value from added accessories. Also, the bike is being billed as an adventure bike and no centre stand sort of goes along with that – in my mind anyway!

Steve Welder

Why is it £5000 more than the new V-Strom 1050


First off, the Africa Twin isn’t £5,000 more but we’ll come onto that in a moment… Simply put it comes down to specification and technology. The base Africa Twin comes in at £13.049, for that you get touch screen TFT – that actually works with winter gloves on – Apple CarPlay, cruise control, Cornering ABS, six riding modes which you can tailor to your riding style, traction control that works via the IMU, wheelie control and Bluetooth connectivity.

The V-Strom is £9,999 for the base bike or £11,299 for the XT so the gap isn’t £5k is compare like for like. Granted the V-Strom has IMU control and a host of gadgets, but the adjustability for hardcore off-road isn’t on the same level as the Honda.

James Jerome

Which would you choose the New cb500x or Africa twin?


Brilliant question! If I was looking for something that would rarely go more than 100 miles in one go and that I wanted to take off-road a lot, I’d go for the CB500 X, It’s a mega bike that can genuinely do everything off-road the Africa Twin can. I’d just miss the legs of the Africa Twin and its range if I was looking to travel further afield.

Angus Tickner

Why are they so expensive, why such a big (heavy) engine and why don't they have better-sized tanks?


Okay, first off, big bikes need big engines. 1100cc for a full-size adventure bike isn’t that big, KTM and BMW and Ducati all make bigger and no probably heavier units in their ADV bikes. Also, the Africa Twin manual engine for this year has shed 2.5kg over the previous model, and 2.2kg over the DCT version – modern bikes are ever-evolving and improving beasts.

On the tank part of the question – the base Africa Twin has 19l tank good for 230 miles or more, and the Adventure Sports has 24.8l which is good for 300 miles if you take it easy. They could make it the tank bigger, but then it’d be heavier, and wasn’t weight the target of your first question???

Simon Hood 

Is it under 200kg


Not quite, the base Africa Twin comes in 226kg for the manual model and 236kg for the DCT. The Africa Twin Adventure Sports – the daddy of the range – is 238kg for manual and 248kg for the DCT version – all weights at claimed kerb weights so will be with oil, battery and enough fuel to ride but probably not a full tank.

Colin Organ

Does it make every day feel like an adventure?? as in the work commute?


Riding anything with such a commanding view of the road does make every ride feel a bit like an adventure. But I think there is one thing that Honda has missed in all the marketing for this bike. They’ve played the adventure card heavily, and rightly so it sells. But the Africa Twin is a bloody good road bike. It’s quick, handles twisties better than something this big should and is actually pretty damn quick once you give it a poke. Is it a sports tourer, absolutely not, but it’d more than easily keep up with one on a fast road ride.

Neil Mackie

What are typical service costs?


As a ballpark figure, I’ve been told by a Honda dealer it’d be £120-130 for a standard bike. The DCT will be slightly more as it has its own oil and filter to change at the service.

Harrison Blakeburn

What sort of range is it getting on long rides (A and B roads)?


So, I’ve had the bike a few days now and completed 427 miles on it. That’s been a proper mix of motorway, A-road, B-road and even a few cow shit covered single track roads in North Devon and Somerset. My indicated average MPG is showing 52.8MPG with an average speed over those 427-miles of 42mph.

For that riding I’ve been switching between sports mode – for twisties and B-roads – and the extremely fuel-efficient D (Drive Mode) for motorway and plodding through town.

Rob Wicks

You riding the automatic or manual?


I’ve been testing the DCT version on-road and riding the manual off-road. It’s a good test for DCT to give it to me as I’ve not previously got along with the system. I’m still not 100% sold on it – I still have use of my left hand and right leg so don’t mind changing gear. That said, the latest generation DCT in the Africa Twin makes the most sense and works better than any system I’ve used before. The DCT now links through the six-axis IMU so some of the clunky upshifts mid-corner have been almost totally eradicated which is a big plus in my mind.

The problem with relying on zeroes and ones and algorithms is that until you can plug a bike in Matrix-style to the back of your head and let it read your mind, it’s still going to change gear when it wants to, not when you want to.

Alexander Chatterly

Why have they made it so expensive? The price point they have put it at competes with the R1250GS, Triumph Tiger 1200 and the KTM 1290 Adventure. Can it compete with those and do you get the same tech, quality, and features as those other machines?


The problem is Alex you are only looking at the Pinnacle of the Africa Twin range and then comparing it to the bikes mentions above.

To answer the second part of the question, yes. Even the base model in the Africa Twin range can compete with the bikes above. And if you move up from there, and are willing to shell out a bit more, you can get the top Africa Twin with every electronic gizmo under the sun fitted to it, electronic suspension and a DCT auto-box that nobody else on the planet offers.

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