Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin

  • Motosikal Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin mengimbau kembali kenangan pada model Africa Twin tahun 90-an.
  • Ianya merupakan tawaran Honda dalam pasaran motosikal dwi-sukan berkapasiti tinggi.
  • Motosikal ini besar dan tinggi, dan ianya lebih cenderung untuk penunggangan ‘off-road’.


  • The Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin pays homage to the Africa Twin of the 90s.

  • This is Honda’s entrant in the heavyweight dual-sport market.

  • It’s big and tall, and biased towards off-road riding.

The “Africa Twin” moniker is one of the most celebrated names in motorcycling, so naturally, we were excited when Boon Siew Honda called us to pick up the new Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin.

Origins and Background

During the heydays of the Paris-Dakar Rally, the HRC-built NXR-750 tore up the Saharan dunes to four victories. It was no small feat. Being in the late-80s means there was no gimmickry of the modern bikes.

The first Honda Africa Twin was the XRV650, produced from 1988 to 1989, but the truly iconic XRV750 Africa Twin made its debut in 1989 for 1990 model year.

XRV650 Africa Twin

It is powered by a 752cc, four-sparkplug V-Twin (hence its name) and had all the trappings of an adventure bike including twin large headlamps, long-travel suspension, engine bash plate, wire spoked wheels, semi-off-road tyres. In short, it looked like it just got off the rally and straight into the dealerships.

XRV750 Africa Twin

Although the Africa Twin had stiff competition from the BMW R 100 GS, Yamaha Super Tenere, Cagiva Elefant, et al, the big Honda was a success. In fact, production carried on until 2003.

Introduction to the CRF1000L Africa Twin

Many fans and even motojournalists cheered when Honda announced their plans for a new Africa Twin. Heck, the romantics among us got teary-eyed when they recalled their exploits on the AT in the 90’s.

Designated as the CRF1000L Africa Twin, it’s a dual-sport more oriented towards off-road riding.

The new bike has a slim and tall front profile. Besides that, the front looks like an extended forehead above the tightly arranged headlamps. It’s the “Dakar styling” where a pace note scroller/GPS sits behind screen.

Moving back, the rear part of the bike from the head onwards invokes the profile of the XRV750. This is especially true when you view the back of the fuel tank and seat. Anyhow, we felt that Honda did a great job of amalgamating design elements of the old bike to the new.

Riding the CRF1000L Africa Twin

First impression? Oh my! This thing’s tall! We’ve tested plenty of tall dual-sport bikes, mind you. Of course, the Africa Twin isn’t as tall as motocrossers or enduros but it’s definitely the tallest among dual-sport bikes. Someone had adjusted the rear shock’s preload all the out to lower the rear end, but I still had to hang one leg in the air when I stopped.

I knew I should’ve worn my platform shoes. Just kidding.

However, traffic lights became my No. 1 enemy (for the moment). That’s because I had to first determine if the road was slanting to the left or right, before shifting my buttock and leg out while coming to a stop. The slim profile helped a lot, but the badly adjusted chassis meant that the handlebar was sitting too high up, making the bike feel like it’s carrying bricks on its fuel tank.

We decided to ride it to Kuantan together with the Honda X-Adv.

The engine’s torque was impressive, keeping the engine rolling at low revs at highway speeds. The 998cc parallel-Twin uses a 270oto mimic the firing order of a 90oV-Twin, so a smooth character was expected. It produces 94 bhp and 98 Nm of torque.

The AT picks up speed quick to the sound of a rumbling engine. Small pops accompanied the DCT upshifts.

But we wished the front end has a little more high-speed stability and the handlebar moved around at higher speeds. We could expect this of dual-sport bikes with high handlebars but the AT’s moved the most. Then again, this bike is biased towards off-roading.

As such, it didn’t like being slammed into corners. You need to brake and release early, coast a bit to let the chassis settle down before turning in. Similarly, you need to be super smooth with the gas during the lean to straight up transition. Being throttle happy will send the handlebar waggling back and forth.

These handling traits disappear when the road turns to no road. There’s a large button marked with a “G” (for gravel) right next to the instrument panel. Pressing that switches into gravel ride mode and the corresponding levels of electronic intervention.

The softly sprung suspension absorbed the bumps easily and the bike seemed to float. Again, the bike’s slim waist was advantageous as it lets you move around while standing up.

However, it still felt top heavy for me. It possibly has to do with my height. At 167cm, I’m probably too small for the bike. A person from 180cm and up ought to reap the benefits of its ergonomics.

DCT (Dual-Clutch Transmission)

Oh yes, the test unit was fitted with Honda’s proprietary DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission). It’s actually a semi-automatic/semi-manual gearbox. The rider could select D (Drive), S (Sport) or M (Manual). N (Neutral) position needs to be selected manually.

Shifting is via toggles on top and below the left switch cluster.

In D, the bike drives like a giant scooter. The transmission takes care of the upshifts and downshifts automatically. The rider can intervene at any time, but it upshifts early for smooth power and fuel savings

In S, shifting is still automatic but it will hold on to a gear until peak torque before shifting up. The gearbox will downshift when a certain limit is reached, and it will blip the throttle automatically. The rider can also intervene at any time.

In M, the rider is in charge of gear selection. The engine will also auto-blip the throttle when downshifting.

Riding the Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin with DCT

Just like the VFR1200, the Africa Twin with DCT doesn’t feature a clutch lever and gear lever. This is when you have re-learn how to ride a motorcycle.

Using the fully automatic “D” feature was convenient but bear in mind that it shifts when you least expected it to. Like upshifting in the middle of a corner or downshift when you’re rolling to a stop. We found out the hard way.

DCT Lesson No. 1

I was riding with my wife as the pillion. The transmission was in D-mode, 2ndgear as I filtered past two rows of cars. It suddenly kicked down to 1stgear without warning. But since there was no clutch lever, it felt like the engine had cut out, followed by that sickening feeling of a bike toppling over.

There was a BMW 3-Series on our left, but thankfully my reflex kicked in and I pushed out my left elbow which landed on the car’s driver side window. It held the bike up from falling onto his car!

So, lesson learned. I tried S-mode for a while then decided to just use M-mode anytime I ride.

DCT lesson No. 2

Nearing my house, I shifted into 1st(you can’t shift into N when the bike’s moving) and stopped to let a car pass. I reapplied a little bit of throttle to drive the bike up to my gate.

BUT! The engine “caught” like what happens when you release the clutch lever with no engine RPM. It put out a “CLACK!” Again, no clutch lever. My reflex tried to reopen the throttle but it didn’t catch. The bike went over on the right side like a poor tree while blasts of profanities violated my neighbours’ ears. And I swear I didn’t touch the brakes!

It meant that you can’t pussyfoot with the throttle.


We know, it sounds like we didn’t enjoy ourselves with the Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin. But we assure you that it was okay 75% of the time. It was too bad that the DCT and height needed too much concentration.

It’s a nice bike to ride if you’re an Africa Twin and Honda fan, not bad if otherwise.

The caveat is you need some time to learn it, especially if you opt for the DCT version. Besides that, the ergonomics really need some getting used to as it’s rather different from other dual-sport bikes we’ve ridden.




ENGINE TYPE 2-cylinder, 4-stroke, DOHC, 8-valve, liquid-cooled, parallel-Twin with 270crankshaft
BORE x STROKE 92.0 mm x 75.1 mm
POWER 93.8 hp @ 7,500 RPM
TORQUE 98 Nm @ 6,000 RPM
TRANSMISSION Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT)
FUEL SYSTEM Electronic fuel injection with ride-by-wire throttle
CLUTCH Multiple-plate wet clutch with slipper feature
FRONT SUSPENSION Showa cartridge-type upside down ø 45 mm forks, adjustable for preload, compression damping and rebound damping
REAR SUSPENSION Monoshock with Pro-Link Arm, remote gas reservoir, remote preload adjuster, adjustable for rebound damping
FRONT BRAKE 2x radially-mounted 4-piston monobloc calipers, ø 310 mm floating discs
REAR BRAKE 1X single-piston floating caliper, ø 260 mm brake disc
ABS 2-channel ABS (rear disengable)
TIRES FRONT/REAR 90/90-R21; 150/70 R-18 (both tube type)
WHEEL BASE 1,580 mm
SEAT HEIGHT 920 mm standard, 900 low seat position



  • Boon Siew Honda has launched the CB1000R and CB250R as part of their Neo Sports Café lineup.

  • The two new bikes augment the X-ADV and Africa Twin as part of Boon Siew Honda’s Big Bike offerings.

  • The CB1000R is priced from RM 74,999 and CB250R from RM 22,999 (basic selling price with 0% GST).

Malaysian Honda motorcycles distributor, Boon Siew Honda, has just launched the Neo Sports Café lineup – the CB1000R and CB250R.

The launch event also served as an occasion for BSH to celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri with members of the media. It is a tradition that BSH has observed throughout the years and to spice things up even further, the media was treated to riding the CB1000R, CB250R, X-ADV and CRF1000L Africa Twin at the Sepang International Circuit.

In his speech, Mr. Keiichi Yasuda, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Boon Siew Honda revealed that the company had received overwhelming response for the Africa Twin and X-ADV – which became the catalyst to introduce the Neo Sports Café bikes.

Safety briefings from both BSH’s riding instructor and SIC’s clerk of course followed Mr. Yasuda’s speech and we were then ushered to the paddock downstairs for a short product introduction and briefing.

The briefing centred primarily around the Africa Twin and X-ADV as they were both with Honda’s proprietary Dual-Clutch Transmission (DCT). The DCT on both bikes could perform as fully automatic, more “aggressive” SPORT auto and manual by way of push buttons on the left handlebar.


I drew the X-ADV on our first trip out. I had ridden this bike around in Pattaya, Thailand and found it to be superb around the congested city. I left the transmission in “D” (for “DRIVE” as in fully automatic just like in a car) while I concentrated on navigating through heavy traffic and throngs of tourists.

Of course, it looks like scooter with some offroad capability thrown in, but truth is, the X-ADV is a motorcycle of a different concept. It’s a bike that’s meant to go anywhere and does it in seamless fashion. Honda’s copywriting blurb says that it’s “A motorcycle that thinks it’s an SUV.”

Since we were given only three laps per bike here at SIC, I decided to just keep in “D,” too. Well, it was also because I kept finding the horn button through my race gloves, instead.

Out of the pits and into Turn One, the X-ADV felt strange initially. It turned out that I was trying to trail brake into the corner.

Anyhow, it didn’t take long to learn the bike and I was already speeding into Turn Five with the throttle held open. But when I let of the gas to set up for Turn Six, the transmission downshifted almost imperceptibly, and I had the right amount of power at the exit.

It was just a seamless piece of cloth as I blasted down the front straight (it’s a 750cc bike, by the way). The brakes were superbly strong as I braked for Turn One. It was as easy as that. The X-ADV touched down its centrestand through Turn Two but there was lots of cornering clearance, overall.

And it’s NOT a scooter!


Just like the X-ADV, I’ve also ridden the ‘Twin before but that one had a “normal” gearbox. The first thing I noticed about this one was the low seat height which took me by surprise.

Then I did a noob thing: I tried to grab the “clutch lever” but it was waaay further than the reach of my fingers. The group was about to leave the pits, so I waved my arms around like one of Caesar’s friends (as in Caesar in Planet of the Apes). The Honda guys ran over and stifled their laughter as they told me, “That’s the parking brake for uphill.” Ooooh-kaaay.

Now, a noob thing #2. I started searching for the gear pedal. The same guy saw it and told me to shift using the up and down buttons on the left switch cluster. I tried dabbing at them with my stiff gloves and found the horn again. So, yes, I decided to leave it in D.

The Africa Twin may have more cc’s than the X-ADV but it got going a lot smoother. The suspension was also much softly damped and I could feel that as I started braking for Turn One. However, while I could feel the rear swingarm moving up and down to cope with the cornering forces, the good news was the bike didn’t wallow like an old KL taxi.

Riding the Africa Twin with DCT was so easy perhaps anyone could do it. Accelerate, brake, turn, repeat.

Through this first experience, I could safety assume that the bike was geared mainly for the dirt, hence the soft suspension. Its power character was also on the softer and smoother side. Not that you couldn’t push it on tarmac, but it kind of defeats the bike’s real mission in life. As for the DCT, it should take the workload off the rider while he concentrates on negotiating the trail.

Please click on the link below for the prices of the X-ADV and Africa Twin.

2018 Honda X-ADV & Africa Twin prices announced! From RM57,999


Now, we’re talking! VROOOM! VROOOOM! Yeah, heh heh. The exhaust note was raunchy enough it could be heard through my Arai and racing earplugs. It’s probably one of the few bikes which the owner doesn’t have to bin the stock exhaust.

The styling was definitely a funky mix of new and old elements, hence Neo Sports.

The engine is derived from an old CBR1000RR Fireblade and has a longer stroke. It produces 143 bhp at 7500 RPM and 104 Nm of torque at 8250 RPM.

In SPORT mode, the bike charged ahead but it did so very smoothly. Its engine braking was equally as smooth without robbing you of corner rolling speed. The suspension and seat were equally comfortable.

Despite being comfy, the CB1000R could be hustled through corners with ease, even at the narrow Turns Two and Four. It flicked over with hardly any steering input.

But it did fly down the straight. Braking hard for Turn One, I was surprised to find a lack of fork dive. I only found out later that the forks are Showa’s new Separate Function Fork – Big Piston (SFF-BP).

I was just starting to have fun when Ahmad Zakhwan, our lead marshal waved us into the pits. Sheesh.


This is gonna be awkward, I thought. I should’ve started on this one instead of the progressively bigger bikes.

But it felt so good to ride a lightweight bike as soon as the clutch went out. The single-cylinder engine revved very quickly without much vibration. Just as the rest I’ve tested earlier, the suspension may be on the softer side but it didn’t mean the bike was going to squirm around.

And since it was so light, I just chucked it into all the corners in a gear too high. The engine was also super smooth for a single and didn’t feel like it was being revved to destruction despite hitting the rev limiter a few times. I had so much fun I actually missed the checkered flag and had to circulate for one extra lap.

But the best thing about it was just amazingly easy it was to ride. Coupled with the low seat height, beginners will find it easily accessible.

In closing, all four bikes were great and showcased Honda’s attention to detail and quality. All panels joined uniformly, the paint quality was consistently good for all four bikes.

But I couldn’t wait to fully review the CB1000R at a later date.

Boon Siew Honda (BSH) has unveiled the official prices for the 2018 Honda X-ADV and Honda Africa Twin for the Malaysian market.

The announcement was made in conjunction with the launch of the Malaysia Autoshow 2018.

The X-ADV is priced from RM57,999 whereas the Africa Twin is from RM69,999 (basic prices without GST).

Boon Siew Honda (BSH) has officially announced not one but two of their highly-awaited big bikes for this year which are the 2018 Honda X-ADV adventure scooter and 2018 Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin earlier today. The announcement was made in conjunction with the launch of the Malaysia Autoshow 2018.

2018 Honda X-ADV – from RM57,999 to 59,999 (basic price without GST)

It was recently implied that Boon Siew Honda is ready to sell the 2018 Honda X-ADV adventure scooter at a price of below RM70,000. In fact, this statement was released during the launch of Malaysia’s first Honda Big Wing Centre in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur earlier this year.

The X-ADV is indeed a formidable off-road machine capable of some very interesting things. Fitted with a 745cc liquid-cooled SOHC parallel-twin engine, the X-ADV is able to produce over 57hp and 68Nm of maximum torque.

What makes the X-ADV even more special is its six-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) gearbox. This allows the rider to switch the transmission riding mode to accommodate different riding situations. Whether it’s for highway cruising or some off-road fun out in the dirt, the X-ADV is designed to conquer them all.

Bookings are already accepted at the Honda Big Wing Centre at a price of RM61,478.94 whereas the Special colour will set you back at RM63,598.94 (basic price with GST). Other amazing specs include a fully-adjustable 41mm upside-down front fork, 21-litre under-seat storage, 13.1-litre fuel tank, selectable riding modes, and many more.

2018 Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin – From RM69,999 (basic price without GST)

Boon Siew Honda did mention earlier this year that their latest Africa Twin series will be available for purchase around the RM80,000 mark. Highly-regarded as one of the most successful rally bikes of all time, the Africa Twin has already made their way here to our shores as Honda Big Wing Centre are already accepting bookings for the bike.


A bike that’s capable to do it all even managed to climb up a 5,965-metre volcano which also set the world record for highest altitude reached by a twin-cylinder motorcycle. This is partly thanks to its 998cc, parallel-twin, liquid-cooled engine that’s able to produce around 94hp and 98Nm of maximum torque.

With a curb weight of 232kg, the Africa Twin is indeed a formidable machine with specs like a fully-adjustable 45mm USD Showa front forks, fully-adjustable Showa rear shock, front dual 310mm floating discs with four-piston radial calipers, and a 256mm rear disc with two-piston caliper just to name a few.

There will be two different models available; one with a normal six-speed transmission and another fitted with Honda’s Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) gearbox. BSH has priced them at RM74,198.94 and RM80,558.94 (basic prices with GST) respectively.

Interested in the CRF1000L Africa Twin Adventure Sports? Get yours for only RM77,378.94 and RM83,738.94 (basic prices with GST) for the Standard and DCT models respectively.

Well, what are you waiting for?

Isle of Man TT: Who’s going to ride the Honda RC213V-S?


Artikel oleh: Wahid Ooi Abdullah

  • Motosikal Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin adalah sebuah jentera yang cukup hebat untuk ditunggangi.
  • Namun begitu, ianya agak besar dan juga tinggi, terutamanya bagi kita warga Asia.
  • Honda menyedari yang mereka tidak mempunyai sebuah motosikal kembara kelas pertengahan.


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