Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 13th June 2018

What do you picture when thinking of adventure sports?

 

Flying across a desert of Namibia, zips open in your adventure motorcycling jacket with the warm wind flowing through, or carving through the fjords in Norway on your way to Nordkapp, the northern end of Europe in sight?

 

Or just commuting through Corby on your way to the office in Market Harborough? Which is mostly what I have been doing over the last few weeks.

 

Honda Africa Twin

 

And the Africa Twin Adventure Sports is probably the best all-purpose go anywhere mobile office I have ever had. We’ll be running it all year as a long-term test bike on Insidebikes putting it through its paces as both a daily bike, and a weekend adventurer.

 

Let’s be honest. Many of us will never take that ride to Norway that we’ve been promising ourselves, but if you did, or have even promised yourself a big adventure, then few bikes are better rated to tackle it than Honda’s new Africa Twin Adventure Sports.

 

Think of it as the bike the Africa Twin probably should have been in the first place if you listen to adventure bike forums that is. And just look at it. In the 30th anniversary Africa Twin paint scheme which honours the legendary XRV650 Africa Twin, it’s surely the best looking adventure bike on the market yet.

 

Featuring a bigger 24.2-litre tank with a claimed range of more than 300 miles, an improved  and more comfortable riding position, increased ground clearance, three rider modes, taller suspension, and better wind protection thanks to a wider fairing and taller screen, the Africa Twin Adventure Sports is the best version yet of the much honoured Africa Twin.

 

Thanks to a redesigned airbox and exhaust it somehow manages to be noisier too. There’s a definite upgrade in sound and enjoyment on the 2018 Africa Twins which give the bike a bit more soul.

 

With the standard Honda luggage it takes all the kit I need to carry round the country, take an overnight bag when out on the road, and is ultra-comfortable for big jaunts up and down the country. Even the spokes are now stainless steel following years of complaints from Africa Twin owners that their spokes went rusty when being used as the Honda design team intended.

 

It’s one of the best mobile offices I’ve ever had the pleasure of running, happy to sit on the motorway at cruising speed as well as any big tourer, but drop the tyre pressures and it will ride trails with the best of them. It’s a hell of a lot of kit for the money.

 

Honda Africa Twin

 

We’re extremely lucky that me and my twin boys, Max and Fin, have access to a mate’s farm in the summer to go riding on. It’s 1500-acres of rolling Northamptonshire countryside with trails, woods, a water section/pond. Map it out right and there are miles of trails we’re allowed to ride on.

 

It’s as much as you’d ever want to get yourselves in trouble on.

 

The Africa Twin Adventure Sports might be big, but then I’m six foot four, and packed with a full tank it can be a handful along with the extra crash bars, luggage, heated grips, an AC socket and riding lights it weighs in as a heavyweight.

 

But take the panniers off, let the tyres pressures down a bit and the bike I used as an office in the week, suddenly takes me and my boys to new parts of the trails. We won’t talk about when it fell over after we were having lunch on the edge of a wood. It was totally my fault for leaving the bike a bit too upright on its stand, but all that happened was the brake lever got bent slightly.

 

The taller suspension is not only 20mm taller, it is also plusher, giving better control on the trails and also more feel when the bike has luggage or a pillion on. In general the ride quality is much improved and it feels like a classier affair than last year’s bike which I spent some 3000 miles on riding from Oslo to Nordkapp.

 

Like the standard Africa Twin and its parallel twin 998cc motor, the Adventure Sports is a well-balanced package that keeps the weight centrally and low down so the bike can cope with walking pace trails and ruts while still feeling in control.

 

Although the extra 5.4 litre tank makes the bike wider at the rider’s gusset and splays your legs slightly, the whole riding position is roomier in the legs, and better when standing up off-road.

 

Of course the tyres have limited use in mud, but in summer they’re fine for blasting down dusty trails, warm up quickly on the road and give immense grip in the wet. The bike can be ordered direct with Honda approved Continental off-road tyres.

 

Honda Africa Twin

 

For the first week after picking up the bike it rained. A lot. I couldn’t believe just how much grip the Bridgestone road tyres gave when on twisty country roads. They feel like they’re sucking water out of the way, while the tall, commanding riding position makes you feel like you truly are King of The Road.

 

The verdict for many people on the Dual Clutch Transmission version we have is still out, but Honda tell us that some 50 per cent of bikes sold where DCT is an option are sold with the seamless shift transmission. I’ve got used to it, find it more relaxing to use on the road and it saves any kind of clutch control on the trails. But we’ll cover that off in a bit more detail later on.

 

The Africa Twin Adventure Sports has a summer of fun planned, and we can’t wait to keep piling the miles on it and feeding back on what we find.

 

HONDA AFRICA TWIN ADVENTURE SPORTS DCT £13,549

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:

 

ENGINE
 

 

Type Liquid-cooled 4-stroke 8-valve parallel twin with 270° crank and uni-cam
Displacement 998cm3
Bore & Stroke 92.0 x 75.1mm
Max. Power Output 94 bhp/7,500rpm (95/1/EC)
Max. Torque 99Nm/6,000rpm (95/1/EC)
FUEL SYSTEM
 

 

Fuel Capacity 24.2 litres
Fuel consumption (WMTC mode) MT: 61.3 mpg (WMTC)
DCT: 61.6 mpg (WMTC)
DRIVETRAIN
 

 

Clutch MT: Wet, multiplate with coil springs, Aluminium Cam Assist and Slipper clutch

DCT: 2 Wet multiple clutches

Gearbox / Transmission Type Constant mesh 6-speed MT / 6-speed DCT with on and off-road riding modes
Final Drive O-ring sealed chain
FRAME
 

 

Type Steel semi-double cradle type with high-tensile strength steel rear subframe
CHASSIS
 

 

Dimensions (L x W x H) 2,340 x 930 x 1,570mm
Wheelbase 1,580mm
Seat Height (Standard position / Low position) 900/920mm
Ground Clearance 270mm
Kerb Weight 243 kg (MT), 253kg (DCT)
Turning Radius 2.6m
SUSPENSION
 

 

Suspension (front)  Showa 45mm cartridge-type inverted telescopic fork with hydraulic dial-style preload and damping (compression & rebound) adjuster, 252mm stroke, 224mm axle travel
Suspension (rear) Monoblock cast aluminium swing arm with Pro-Link with gas-charged damper, hydraulic dial-style preload adjuster and rebound damping adjustment, 240 mm rear wheel travel, 101 mm stroke
WHEELS
 

 

Wheels Front Wire spoke with aluminium rim
Wheels Rear Wire spoke with aluminium rim
Rim Size Front 21M/C x MT2.15
Rim Size Rear 18M/C x MT4.00
Tyres Front 90/90-21 tube type
Tyres Rear 150/70-R18 tube type
BRAKES
 

 

ABS system type 2-Channel with rear ABS off switch
 Type Front  310mm dual wave floating hydraulic disc with aluminium hub and radial fit 4-piston calipers and sintered metal pads
Type Rear  256mm wave hydraulic disc with 1-piston caliper and sintered metal pads. Also Lever-Lock Type Parking Brake System on DCT model with additional slide type 1-piston caliper
INSTRUMENTS & ELECTRICS
 

 

Instruments Rally style negative LCD instrument display including: Riding Modes, Speedometer, Tachometer, Fuel, Gear position, ABS, HSTC, Odometer, Trip and Clock
Headlight Dual LED (1 High/1 Low)
Taillight LED
Indicators LED

 

 

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