In what is one of the worst kept secrets in the motorcycle industry, Honda has teased the launch of a new Africa Twin adventure bike for 2020. And, the Japanese manufacturer is giving you the chance to be among the first to hear about it by registering your interest online.
Honda teased the new Africa Twin in a 33 second video released on the company’s social media channels. The short film doesn’t actually feature a motorcycle, but drops obvious hints that a new model of the popular adventure bike is on the cards.
A screen grab from Honda’s teaser video.
The video features a dust trail whipping its way at speed across a barren desert landscape, reminiscent of the scenery used in the marketing materials of the Africa Twin Adventure Sports. After 15 seconds the tagline ‘True Adventure’ flashes up on screen in the distinctive Africa Twin font used on the current models.
The words “true adventure is calling, can you hear it?” then emerge from a dust cloud. Accompanying the video is a link to a page on Honda’s website where you can register your interest in what the manufacturer describes as its ‘true adventure motorcycle’.
In itself, the short film is enough to suggest a new Africa Twin will be released in 2020, but we have also had months of rumours to support that assumption.
The current standard Africa Twin.
Africa Twin CRF1100L
Back in February, ABR ran a story about rumours Honda was developing a larger capacity Africa Twin, the CRF1100L, featuring a more powerful engine, larger fuel tank and new styling (the image at the top of this page is a mock up of what Japanese magazine Autoby thinks the larger Africa Twin could look like).
That story has been supported in recent days by claims online that leaked specification documents reveal the new bike will have a 1084cc engine, which represents an increase of 86cc over the current bike. The documents also claim the new Africa Twin will make 101bhp compared to the 94bhp of the current model. It will also be taller and boast a bigger fuel tank.
The Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports.
Two new Africa Twins
The increase in engine size will have come about in part to cater to new Euro 5 emission standards that come into force in 2020. By increasing the engine capacity of the Africa Twin, Honda can off-set any power loss caused by the new restrictions. With this in mind, the new model will most likely represent an evolution rather revolution of the current model.
However, there is a chance Honda may have something more exciting up its sleeve. Rumours persist that the manufacturer has been developing a smaller capacity Africa Twin, potentially around the 700cc to 800cc size. It’s certainly a gap in the manufacturer’s current line-up, with buyers looking for a mid-size adventure-style bike from Honda limited to the likes of the CB500X, NC750X or the VFR800X. These are all capable motorcycles but none are true alternatives to the Africa Twin, particularly off road.
The current Africa Twin is a capable off road machine.
Honda has pedigree in the mid-size adventure bike market having produced the Transalp in various engine sizes in the past, as well as the 650cc Dominator. Releasing a smaller capacity Africa Twin would also allow Honda to compete with the likes of the Yamaha Ténéré 700, the KTM 790 Adventure and the BMW F 850 GS in an increasingly crowded mid-size adventure bike market.
If Honda has been developing a smaller capacity adventure bike, we sincerely hope it will be based on the menacing-looking Africa Twin Enduro Sports concept that was revealed to the world back in 2016. This rugged concept of what a hardcore Africa Twin would look like caused a lot of excitement in the ABR office when we first laid eyes on it. We reckon there would be plenty of people lining up to test ride an 800cc version of this monster of a machine.
Honda Africa Twin Enduro Sports concept
Despite only being re-launched in 2016, the Africa Twin is looking a bit outdated compared to the competition. There’s no TFT dash, no cruise control, and no heated grips as standard. While we understand not all bikers crave these creature comforts, Honda must have noticed Yamaha has just launched an extremely competent no frills adventure bike in the form of the Ténéré 700 which costs just £8,699 – that’s £3,300 cheaper than the standard Africa Twin.
Honda’s marketing team may well have more teasers planned for us over the coming weeks and months. However, chances are we’ll see any new versions of the Africa Twin unveiled at the EICMA motorcycle show in Italy this November, traditionally the location manufacturers choose to reveal their new bikes. In the meantime, we’ll keep you updated when we hear any more news.
So, without further ado, here’s Honda’s 33 second True Adventure teaser…