“Get Ready for True Adventure
Some bikes are total game changers. And that’s the perfect description of Honda’s all-new Africa Twin®. The 998cc parallel-twin uses Honda’s exclusive four-valve Unicam® design. A 270° crankshaft delivers a deep growl as the rpm rises and also provides excellent power modulation to the rear wheel. The optional DCT transmission offers two automatic modes as well as a Sport mode with three different shift options. A steel semi-double-cradle frame wraps around all of this technology, with an inverted Showa fork and adventure-oriented 21-inch and 18-inch wheels to tackle the toughest terrain. And there’s plenty more to learn and see.”
I received the above in an email from Honda Motorcycles advertising their new Africa Twin adventure bike. Honda’s website states, “It’s been a long wait. But—trust us—it’s worth it. The all-new Honda Africa Twin is the machine that will let you wander wherever your adventures take you.”
Is the Africa Twin really a game changer? Can you wander wherever you want as long as you are on the new Africa Twin?
Honda says the weight of their new adventure bike is 503 lbs for the standard model, 511 lbs for the ABS model, and 534 lbs for the model for the DCT transmission. I don’t mean to be negative, but just how much of a game changer can another 500+ lb adventure bike really be?
The biggest factor in off-road ability is weight. The heavier the bike the less capable it is off-pavement. That’s why race bike are made as light as possible – the more serious the terrain the more critical every pound becomes. The average four stroke 450 motocross bike weighs about 230 lbs. Every pound above that hinders how well the bike will perform. I don’t care what the marketing folks say – a 500 lb motorcycle is not a dirt bike and never will be. The behemoths of the adventure world are street bikes with the ability to ride on easy, well-maintained dirt roads and nothing more.
Don’t get me wrong – I like those ginormous adventure bikes. I’m just not under any illusion that they are actually on- and off-road bikes. They are the modern two-wheeled drive SUVs of the motorcycle world – they look like they are off-road capable but that’s the extent of it.
Knowing Honda, their new Honda Africa Twin will probably be a wonderful motorcycle. In the world of enormous “adventure bikes” it’s might turn out to be the best of the bunch. Time will tell. I hope it sells in large numbers. But one thing I do know, without having ever seen the bike or read a review of it – it’s not a good choice for off-road riding. At 500+ lbs how could it be?