Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports: The real deal

By A. NACHI | 26 April 2019


About 30 years ago in 1988, the first Honda Africa Twin, namely the XR650 was introduced to the world.

It became the talk of the town. At one point, it was synonymous with Dakar-Paris Rally.

Now in 2019, the latest model of the Africa Twin has been launched in conjunction with its 30th Anniversary.

It was also given a sportier Africa Twin Adventure Sports model name.

This 998cc top of the range adventure bike was designed to do long distance and off-road riding.

HONDA AFRICA TWIN


The flat firm seat is definitely comfy. I was able to clock 600km in a day without any rear end pain.

The upright sitting position is natural. The suspension and the ample legroom make long distance travelling a bliss.

And not to forget the wind shield ensures that my head do not move around aimlessly. The tall handle bar and big foot pegs are perfect for standing up and riding on the highway.

What is missing here - essential for any long distance ride on an adventure motorcycle - is the cruise control. I wonder why?

HONDA AFRICA TWIN


This 30th anniversary bike comes with a tri-colour paint job of white, red and blue.

With a white frame and gold rims, the bike looks handsome and rugged. This bike is equipped with a single panel LCD instrument panel, which is informative and easily viewed whether the rider is seated or standing.

However, in bright sunlight, it is a little tough to see all the information on the screen.

My review unit came with the Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) that changes gears automatically, and which also offers an option for manual mode.

HONDA AFRICA TWIN


However, the manual gear change is made available by an electronic gear selector which is placed on the left handlebars. There are no clutch or foot shifter but push button manual shifting.

There is also the manual transmission version. The 998cc engine delivers 94hp and 98Nm torque.

With a progressive powerband, the bike is very predictable. Riding the highway from Sungai Buloh to Ipoh and back, I could easily hit 120kph and go much faster without much strain.

Few of my other riding mates felt strong crosswinds but I did not feel anything at all.

It is obvious the sturdy Africa Twin chassis, which is the semi-double cradle steel frame-type, provided the strength with flexibility from the crosswinds.

HONDA AFRICA TWIN


I did not feel any vibration at all, be it from the belly of the bike or from the handle bar regardless of the bike speed or its engine revs.

The bike was solid like a rock and was planted on any corners that came on my way on the highway.

Torque and power delivery are immediate when I twisted the throttle to overtake cars and lorries.

Furthermore, the DCT makes the gear changes easy and seamless for fast acceleration.

This new Africa Twin 2018 gets the Throttle By Wire (TBW) system along with four riding modes of Urban, Tour, Gravel and a fully customisable User.

HONDA AFRICA TWIN
HONDA AFRICA TWIN


Each mode has individual settings for power, engine braking and traction control, which now gets a seven-level system, compared to the three-level control system on the previous Africa Twin model.

Honestly, there is just too much electronic aid in this Honda and it took me a whole day to familliarise myself.

The beauty about these this electronic aides is that the moment I found my sweet spot, I can save the settings under User mode.

The settings will remain the same unless changed, which is different from many other adventure bikes where the settings are lost the moment the engine is switched off.

HONDA AFRICA TWIN


The Africa Twin feels agile as its weight is distributed to the lower half of the bike, thus making the top feel light.

On my way up and down Fraser's Hill, the 21-inch front wheel with 250mm front fork travel handled all sorts of corners and twisties with ease. I was able to flip the bike without any concern on any corners thrown at me.

This machine comes with a big 24.2-litre tank that allows an uninterrupted ride for at least 500km. Now that is what I call a true adventure bike.

I took the bike into an estate in Sepang with the intention of trying out the off-road capability of this bike .

The gravel riding mode designed for off-road worked well here and I decided to set the traction control at level 1 to give me the needed confidence.

HONDA AFRICA TWIN


The rear and front Showa suspensions were able to absorb all sort of hump, bumps and potholes well. The fork travel is said to be the longest in its class and is a boon to any serious off-road enthusiasts.

However, the minus point is the Africa Twin nose dives under hard braking. The nose dive is nothing serious but riders have to set according to their preference.

The RM81,113 (without SST) Africa Twin Adventure Sports is a two-in-one real deal unlike other brands where their machine is termed an adventure bike but it is only practical either on the tarmac or off-road.

HONDA AFRICA TWIN


After clocking about 600km on this bike, I can assure you that this bike will be able to satisfy every touring need that you have and at the same time no offroad terrain challenge is too big for this machine too handle.

The question is: are you ready for an adventure with the Africa Twin Adventure Sports?

SPECIFICATIONSHonda Africa Twin Adventure SportsEngine: 998cc, liquid-cooled, four-stroke parallel-twin
Maximum power: 94hp at 7,500rpm
Maximum torque: 99Nm at 6,000rpm
Transmission: Six-speed
Front suspension: 45mm inverted telescopic fork; 9.9-in travel
Rear suspension: Pro-Link system with single shock; 9.4-in travel
Front brakes: Two dual-piston hydraulic calipers with 310mm discs; ABS
Rear brakes: Single one-piston hydraulic caliper with 256mm disc; ABS
Features: Dual clutch transmission, four riding modes with individual settings for power, engine braking and traction control (7 levels) and Honda Selectable Torque Control Fuel capacity: 24.2 litres
Wet weight: 252kg
Price: RM81,113 (without SST)

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Keywords

Overview

Styling
80%
Comfort
80%
Performance
90%
Safety
80%
Value
80%

CarSifu's Rating: 8.2