Honda had entered the adventure motorcycling segment last year, in India, with the launch of the Africa Twin CRF1000L. The bike was quite successful and in the last one year, has sold 100 motorcycles, which is quite commendable. The company has launched the 2018 version of this big bike and we get a chance to check out the 2018 Honda Africa Twin, which comes with some upgrades. These upgrades make it an even more exciting motorcycle to ride. What all does it get now? Should you buy it? Read further for the review.
2018 Honda Africa Twin new features
- Throttle by Wire
- New instrument cluster
- 7-step Honda Selectable Torque Control programme
- 4 new riding modes – Urban, Touring, Gravel and User
- New Air filter
- New Exhaust
- Lithium-ion battery
- Auto cancelling turn indicators
2018 Honda Africa Twin Design
The 2018 Honda Africa Twin looks the same as the earlier version. There’s no change visually, when it comes to the design or the styling. The same twin headlamp setup, tall windscreen and long front suspension are the highlights. The fuel tank, seat, and the rear portion is also the same. Wide handlebar and the knuckle guards are as good as they were. It still comes in the Red and White combination which looks attractive on the road. The bike is comfortable, though it looks big and bulky. There are two levels of seat height – 820mm & 840mm. Though it looks tall, it is actually very comfortable to ride and also feels well settled when you ride it while standing.
Another change is the new instrument cluster which now gets more detailing. However, I would have preferred a TFT screen here, but the position is such that it faces you and is easily readable.
2018 Honda Africa Twin Performance
The engine remains the same 999cc, liquid-cooled, parallel-twin, which belts out 89 bhp at 7,500rpm. In fact it makes 0.6 bhp more. The torque is slightly better now by 1.1Nm as well, which is now 93.1Nm at 6,000 rpm. While these figures do not suggest much of change, the bike actually sees a difference in the way it performs. Especially the mid-range is where the difference lies. The improvement in performance can be attributed to the throttle by wire, which makes it very responsive and controlled.
The response is quick and from standstill, it is a matter of a few seconds when it reaches triple digit speeds. In fact, the Africa Twin feels so relaxed even at speeds around 140km/h, that it is deceptive. Unless you see the speedo, you may never realize the speeds you are doing. The 6-speed DCT is also a boon here. It makes the ride much more fatigue free.
2018 Honda Africa Twin Ride and Handling
While there were expectations about a manual box coming in this year, Honda has continued offering the Africa Twin only in the automatic version. The suspension is fully adjustable and is on the softer side and it helps a lot on long rides. The way the Africa Twin gobbles up bad roads is phenomenal. Though it has a 21- inch front wheel, which would make one think that it will cut down the agility, this bike defeats those presumptions. The way in which it handles corners, is a surprise. On our ride through the hilly roads of the Nilgiris, the Africa Twin provided loads of confidence, in the way it leaned into corners. This is fantastic for a big adventure motorcycle.
The tyres size is 90/90-21 for the front and 150/70-18 at the rear. The only glitch is that they are not tubeless. The brakes are 310mm dual-discs up front and a 256mm disc at the rear. The brakes are very good and have got the perfect bite which supports during off-road. The ‘G’ switch is mounted on the dashboard and helps in keeping the bike in control, when riding on gravel. There is switchable ABS available as well. The 7-step traction control provides greater flexibility now.
2018 Honda Africa Twin off-road performance
When off-road, the Africa Twin shows up its Honda CR genes. The bike feels at home on the off-road terrain and it is easy to maneuver the bike as well. No way does it feel as heavy as it is. What comes as a surprise is the way it tackles whatever is thrown at it. Riding on gravel has never felt so comfortable. The ground clearance at 251mm is just great and gives it the ability to climb most rocky terrains. While many would be wondering about why no manual transmission offered, I believe that the DCT is even more helpful during off-roading. You need not worry about shifting gears or managing the clutch.
Should you buy it?
The Africa Twin is not the most powerful adventure bike out there. But if you are the kind of person who cares more about adventure and going anywhere you wish to, rather than just outright performance, then it is hard to find a better bike. Additionally it comes with a DCT automatic, which makes it unique as well. At Rs.13.23 lakh (ex-showroom) it is about INR 30,000 odd more than the earlier version and with the upgrades it gets, I feel it is worth it.