If you keep up to date with Cycle World, you’ll already know that next year’s Honda Africa Twin is getting some serious updates—and now pictures of the revamped machine have leaked onto the internet weeks before it’s due to be officially revealed.
As with the current Africa Twin, there are two distinct versions: a base model and a more serious adventure-oriented machine. For 2020, both are powered by a heavily revised 1,084cc parallel-twin engine, replacing the current 998cc twin and adding horsepower for a total of 101 at 7,500 rpm. While we already knew that from information leaked back in July, the new pictures reveal the bikes also get a new chassis and styling to set them apart from their predecessors.
The new frame shares the same layout as the current Africa Twin but features revised alloy castings near the swingarm pivot. The swingarm itself also appears to be new, but despite those changes the bike’s geometry remains familiar with the same 1,575mm wheelbase as the existing CRF1000L. At the back there’s a new bolt-on subframe, which should make repairs easier if the Africa Twin succumbs to the rough-and-tumble that it’s clearly designed for.
As before, both versions of the Africa Twin will be offered with either a manual transmission or Honda’s DCT gearbox, which gives semi-automatic changes and eliminates the clutch lever but adds 22 pounds to the bikes’ weights. Speaking of weight, the base Africa Twin comes in at 467 pound dry in manual form, 489 pounds with DCT—4.4 pounds lighter than its predecessor. The more off-road-ready version, previously called the Adventure Sports but set to go under the name “Africa Twin Adventure” in 2020, is 483 pounds or 505 pounds depending on transmission, representing an 11-pound weight reduction.
An additional, higher-spec bike is also due to be offered, based on the Adventure but featuring more kit that adds 4.4 pounds to its dry weight, however it’s not been revealed what those extra bits will be. Fuel and fluids will add around 42 pounds to each bike’s weight in the real world.
The styling changes are subtle but extensive. On the base Africa Twin, they include a new nose and redesigned lights. The side air intakes have moved to a spot under the fairing sides and there appears to be a new central air duct in the nose. The side panels are mildly reshaped and the tail is neater, without the prominent pannier mounts of the previous model.
The Adventure version has more extreme changes. Starting at the front there are the same new lights under a taller screen but now they’re joined by additional light units underneath them. These may simply be additional driving lights, but their position suggests they could be adaptive cornering lamps. Again the sides are mildly reworked, while the enlarged fuel tank of the Adventure Sports is carried over. The rear bodywork is unique to the Adventure version, covering more of the subframe and blending into the fuel tank. It also features a luggage rack that’s missing on the base model.
Underneath, the Adventure features a tough-looking bash plate that protects both the engine and a new catalytic converter that’s positioned relatively far forward on the exhaust, ahead of the rider’s right foot. The new exhaust also features an enlarged end can, reflecting the fact that the new CRF1100L has to pass tighter Euro 5 emissions laws.
As well as the new look, the 2020 Africa Twin is set for a technology upgrade. All versions of the bike get a new TFT display, mounted horizontally rather than vertically as on the current model, and you can be certain the bike will feature an increased complement of rider aids and modes.
All the details are expected to emerge in the coming weeks when Honda officially unveils the CRF1100L and the rest of its 2020 range.
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