Honda has revealed its intentions to develop a mid-capacity version of its adventure-tourer, the CRF1000L Africa Twin. According to MCN, in the wake of the KTM 790 Adventure making headlines before its public unveil, Honda has identified the need for a smaller, lighter and beginner-friendly Africa Twin which will also be more affordable.
While Honda is yet to begin development of this model, it is possible that the company could use the existing 750cc parallel-twin motor from the NC750X, which is an entry-level, road-focused sport tourer. This liquid-cooled, SOHC, 745cc motor produces 54.7hp at 6,250 rpm and is mated to a 6-speed transmission. The same motor is also available in the funky adventure-scooter – the X-ADV – and in this model, is equipped with a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission. Given the mid-size Africa Twin’s expected rider-friendliness, we expect Honda to provide it with both transmission options.
This motorcycle will likely be smaller in dimensions than the CRF1000L, which means it may have a lower seat height of around 770-790mm. The current Africa Twin has an adjustable seat height of 820-840mm. Another big change may come in the form of a smaller front wheel – Honda may go from the 21-inch wheel on the 1000 to a 19-inch one for this mid-size bike. All of this downsizing could result in a lower kerb weight, which is a good thing, since the 1000 weighs a hefty 245kg. Honda may employ a less sophisticated rider-assist programme on this version, which will suit the less-demanding entry-level class of riders as well as bring costs down.
It’s unclear if Honda will go to the lengths of creating an all-new 650cc parallel-twin specifically for this purpose since this will make it more accessible – mannerism-wise and on a price point – to developing markets such as India and south-east Asia, as well as to A2 licence holders in the UK. Considering the original Africa Twin was a 650 (XRV650, 1988), Honda may see merit in considering this engine size.
This baby Africa Twin could first emerge by around 2020. Honda also recently unveiled an Adventure Sports variant of the CRF1000L, click here to read more about it.