2016 Honda Africa Twin CRF1000L Preview
Honda has released details on the new 2016 Africa Twin, and the CRF1000L has a tantalizing list of features that will only intensify interest in Honda’s serious adventure motorcycle.
Powering the 2016 Honda Africa Twin is a parallel-twin motor that combines features from the CRF450R motocrosser and the CBR1000RR superbike. From the CRF450R, comes the Unicam architecture that uses a single cam to directly actuate each cylinder’s two intake valves, and rocker arms to control the two exhaust valves in each cylinder. The camshaft is a lightweight cast design and uses the same materials used for the CBR1000RR’s cams.
The CRF1000L’s six-speed transmission is patterned after that on the CRF450R, and a slipper clutch helps maintain traction when downshifting abruptly, or on slick roads.
The engine has a full electronics package, which allows the rider to optimize both on- and off-road performance. The Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) has three levels of control. Additionally, the ABS can be turned off when desired.
The catch is, HSTC and ABS are only available on the Dual Clutch Transmission version. Yes, the premium version of the 2016 Honda Africa Twin CRF1000L will have Honda’s highly successful self- or manual-shifting, automatic clutch.
The DCT have D(rive) and S(port) modes, with the D-mode offering something Honda describes as “three different shift patterns to choose from: S1, S2 and S3.”
Honda believes the DCT will be appropriate off-road, and has a fairly esoteric feature – the Africa Twin has incline detection. According to Honda, “During ascents, upshifts are delayed in order to allow a higher rpm to be held; on descents, downshifts happen earlier to enable better engine braking.”
Additional, the DCT it will partially disengage the CRF1000L’s clutch at low speeds to moderate the power going to the rear wheel, as necessary. A “G switch” can be engaged to counteract that and give the rider a more direct feel for the rear wheel off-road.
Whether or not riders will embrace the DCT for off-road excursions remains to be seen. However, a standard version with a manual clutch and no ABS will also be available.
The use of the Unicam design allows for a more compact motor, which means the Africa Twin has additional ground clearance. Also adding to the compact nature of the motor is a water pump inside the clutch case, and a shared balancer shaft that drives the water and oil pumps. Down in the wet sump crankcase is a pressure-fed oil pump.
As expected, the Africa Twin is designed to have a linear power deliver, and uses such features as a 270-degree phased crankshaft to do it. This gives the rear tire time to find traction between power pulses. Igniting the fuel/air mixture are two spark plugs in each cylinder.
Using a steel semi-double cradle frame, the chassis is intended for both street and off-road performance. As shown in the promotional video, the Africa Twin can be jumped amazingly high. It’s doubtful that Honda would show the CRF1000L jumping in that way if it couldn’t reliably handle the landings.
Helping with airtime are fully adjustable inverted Showa forks and a preload-adjustable Showa shock. Like the CRF450R Rally, which is not yet a US model, the CRF1000L gets off-road focused wire-spoked wheels – 21-inch 90/90 front and 18-inch 150/70 rear.
We fully expect that the 2016 Honda Africa Twin CRF1000L will be an outstanding street machine. Of course, we absolutely can’t wait to take it out into the dirt and see if it lives up to the expectations that Honda is building.
2016 Honda Africa Twin CRF1000L Spec:
- Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, 8-valve parallel twin with 270° crank and Unicam
- Displacement: 998cc
- Bore x stroke: 92.0 x 75.1 mm
- Clutch: Wet, multi-plate with coil springs, aluminum cam assist and slipper clutch
- Final drive: O-ring sealed chain
- Transmission: Constant mesh 6-speed manual, or optional 6-speed DCT with on- and off-road riding modes
Honda Selectable Torque Control System (HSTC): HSTC 3-levels + switch-off (DCT/ABS model only, not on STD model)
- Frame: Steel semi-double cradle type with high-tensile strength steel rear sub-frame
- ABS system: ABS 2-channel with rear ABS off switch (DCT/ABS model only, not on STD model)
- Front Brakes: 310mm dual wave floating hydraulic disc with aluminum hub and radial-mount four-piston calipers and sintered metal pads
- Rear Brake: 256mm wave hydraulic disc with two-piston caliper and sintered metal pads.
- Wheels: Wire spoke with aluminum rim
- Front tire: 90/90-R21 tube type
- Rear tire: 150/70-R18 tube type
- Length x width x height: 91.9 x 34.4 x 58.1 inches (STD), 91.9 x 36.6 x 58.1 inches (DCT/ABS)
- Fuel capacity: 4.96 gallons
- Wheelbase: 62.0 inches
- Seat height (standard position / low position): 34.3/33.5 inches
- Ground clearance: 9.8 inches
- Curb weight: 503 pounds (STD), 534 pounds (DCT/ABS)