Bryn Davies takes delivery of Honda’s updated Africa Twin Adventure Sports.
Two years ago, I found myself being wined and dined in the mountains of southern Spain on the press launch for the all-new Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin Adventure Sports. Usually, that part of the world is a safe bet for good weather and agreeable temperatures, but the sun was hiding behind a thick covering of clouds while a blanket of snow covered the hills around me.
It was a fantastic if somewhat unintentional introduction to Honda’s beefier, more expensive iteration of the successfully re-imagined and re-booted Africa Twin. Back then, I found myself enjoying my time on the Adventure Sports, though there was a definite feeling that the bike was a nearly man. It had all the makings of a great adventure bike, but it lacked the finer touches to bring it in-line with the other premium offerings (like a TFT dash and cruise control). It was also a monster in stature and I might as well have been sat on a penny farthing the seat was that tall.
Fast forward from the snowy mountains of 2018 to the busy halls of the NEC at last year’s Motorcycle Live, and I was standing next to the updated model of the Africa Twin Adventure Sports (which I’ll call the ATAS from here on in to save on word count…). On the face of it, not much had changed. The new ATAS looked much like the old one, though sleeker and with more of an edge. A bit like it’s the old model’s tougher, cooler brother. Under the fairings though, the bike had undergone a total redesign.
Just about every component has been either tweaked, reinforced, replaced, lightened, or improved, save for the brakes and a few nuts and bolts. The 2020 model is more powerful, more agile, lighter, and more technically advanced than its predecessor, and so when I heard that we were getting one on long term loan, I began counting down the sleeps ‘til it arrived.
I took delivery of the bike just a few weeks before this issue of ABR went to print and a busy schedule has so far seen me have limited time in the saddle. Of course, I’m going to have to do something about that in the coming months, but in the few miles that I’ve ridden it, I’ve noticed one big change that’s definitely for the better: the seat height.
It’s gone from a sky-scraping 920mm to a more user-friendly 870mm, and the seat itself is narrower. This has completely transformed the bike from an intimidating stallion that even I, at 6’2, would have considered too tall, to a manageable ride where I can get two feet firmly planted on the ground. This in mind, the ATAS should be a far friendlier bike to live with.
In the coming issues of ABR, I’ll keep you informed and up-to-date with my experiences on the bike, and I’ve got a feeling I’m going to be enjoying myself.