Africa Twin Crf1000l Review – A User’s Gripe

Discussion in 'Product Reviews' started by FaraGit, Oct 20, 2017.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    Just wondering now - would you ever buy another one, or is this one good enough.
    The new 2020 model has so much more

    2020 Africa Twin improvements

    1. The water-cooled, overhead-cam, parallel-twin engine receives an 86cc displacement increase, growing from 998cc to 1084cc. Honda says it has improved intake and exhaust systems, resulting in a horsepower boost of approximately six percent. The new bike makes 101 horsepower, up seven horsepower over the previous generation. It also puts out 77 ft/lbs of torque.

    2. The 2020 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin’s frame is updated for optimized for handling. The rear subframe is now aluminum and detachable, plus the CRF450R-style aluminum swingarm is lighter and more rigid.

    3. Due to the use of a six-axis IMU, the new CRF1100L Africa Twin has more advanced electronic aids. Functions include wheelie control, cornering ABS, rear-lift control, DCT cornering detection, and cornering lights.

    4. The new Adventure Sports ES model now features electronic ride-height suspension. The Adventure Sports ES model is also updated with tubeless wheels, heated grips, accessory socket, larger skid plate, aluminum rear rack, and a larger 6.5-gallon tank over the base model’s five-gallon tank.

    5. Although power has increased, the ADV motorcycle weighs less than the outgoing 2019 model. The base CRF1100L weighs 498 pounds, and the DCT model tips the scales at 520 pounds. The weight savings are due to a lighter engine and transmission.

    6. The seat also got lower—from 34.3 to 33.4 inches. A low seat is available at 32.5 inches, and a taller one up to 35.2 inches.

    7. The standard CRF1100L has a renewed focus on off-road use, with a shorter, fixed windscreen and a 5.0-gallon fuel tank.

    8. There are now four versions of the Africa Twin: the base CRF1100L in both standard and DCT; and the CRF1100L Adventure Sports ES in both standard and DCT.

    9. The 2020 versions have a new 6.5-inch TFT color touchscreen display that is compatible with Apple CarPlay. The touchscreen display is optimized for ease of use when changing the electronic adjustments.

    10. Cruise control is now standard on all Africa Twin versions.

    11. Wheel sizes are still dirt-oriented. The 2020 Africa Twin has a 21-inch front and 18-inch rear, both wire-spoked wheels. The Adventure Sports ES uses tubeless tires.

    12. Except for the addition of cornering ABS, the braking system remains unchanged. The 2020 CRF1100L arrives with dual 310mm front discs squeezed by four-piston Nissin calipers, and a single 256mm disc out back squeezed by a single-piston caliper.

    13. For 2020, two color options are available: Pearl Glare White/Blue, and Matte Metallic Black.

    Source: 2020 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin: 11 Fast Facts (Larger & Lighter)
     
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  2. Oddvar

    Oddvar Ol'Timer

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    With the crises going on there will be many AT for sale when this is over.
    If you are a dirt biker, 250's, you will appreciate the standard version as you can stand over the tank with your knees locked to the tank. Thanks to the "outside" air box. (A pain in the arse to actually get to the air filters.)
    If you are of the new breed,"Adventure rider", the adventure sport version is probably the right bike.
    DCT or manual is a personal choice.
    If I for some reason had to choose just one bike for my garage, it would be AT standard DCT.
    BMW says that less than 1% of the GS sold are never on dirt, wonder what those number would be on other "Adventure bikes".:p:p
     
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  3. Oddvar

    Oddvar Ol'Timer

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    Time to check the actual milage in one tank.
    20200425_142142.
    Loaded with one Rotopax tank I set off along the Boklua road. Right after the Santisuk intersection the bike started to "cough" in the uphills. But once up on the flats the bike was flying. In the hill leading up to the switch backs it started to give a clear message!
    As this was a hot day I chose to stop in the shade. Bike still idling.

    20200425_191433.
    388.2km. Various roads and engine settings. I am happy with that. 20.98 km/litre.
    A similar test with the CRF250L and the Acerbis tank gave me 386km. 32.16 km/litre.
    My Valkyrie F6 has been up to 8.4 km/litre. ;)
     
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  4. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

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    OK I just back read this post so Congratulations Oddvar! Catch up soon for a Look!
     
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  5. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    Impressed you were able to afford running the Valkyrie for so long.
     
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  6. Dodraugen

    Dodraugen Ol'Timer

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    Time to ride the Valk then when the gas price is down to 18-19 baht a litre...

    Joke aside - do you use 91or 95 gasohol on your bikes?
    On my Crf250 I get ~ 33 kilometers to the litre using 91 gasohol. Using 95 gasohol I get ~ 35 kms to the litre. And when the gas price is only 27 satang pr litre I have used 95 gasohol the last couple of years.

    The Valk I presume you use 100 % benzine?
     
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  7. Oddvar

    Oddvar Ol'Timer

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    About 10 years or so ago, the yellow benzine was 53 bath pr litre. And I manage to fill up for 1060 bath. 3-4 fillings a day made it an expensive bike to use. For other bikes I use 95.

    Knowing from a test can make a big difference.
    One time in China we were all short of fuel. I stopped next to a guy on a GS. He was not empty but his "meter" said 0 km. So as a good German, he stopped. I encouraged him to continue and I would ride behind him. After 18km we stopped at a gas station and he filled 2-3 dl short of full tank while mumbling "It should not be possible because the "meter" said 0 km'.:joy::joy::joy:
     
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  8. Eoin Christie

    Eoin Christie Ol'Timer

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    Is that to prolong or prevent...?
     
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  9. Oddvar

    Oddvar Ol'Timer

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    Anyone with experience with steering dampers?
    Is it worth getting one for the AT?

    136081-2f41464b0065de9c328e1c5014a7a11c.
     

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  10. Cruzer

    Cruzer Member

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    4 Days with the CRF1100L DCT ES
    Just want to share my experience on the fully decked out Africa Twin 1100 Adventure Sports DCT with Electronic Suspension. Rented this for 4 days riding from Chiang Mai to Nan and around Bo Kluea. I own a CB500x with upgraded suspension, and ridden a bunch of Versys 650s and V-Strom 650s on similarly long trips so those will be my main point of references.

    Highways
    From my experience, the bike's biggest strength overall is its ability to cruise on long trips. Everything from the comfortable seating position, larger fairings, larger windscreen, larger fuel tank, the DCT, and especially the engine, made it perfect for this. Passing other cars even on inclines was never an issue, and on the highway, it didn't shy away from reaching 200km/h on the two occasions I tried- more power than any of us will ever need. The electronics package comes into its own on long travels, being able to flip between power modes, suspension settings, traction control, engine braking and abs on the fly. Of particular use to me was changing from softer dampening for highways to a tighter setting on the twisties. Absolutely great and completely unnecessary, but great nonetheless. I would hate to think how much it would cost if a part fails though!

    Twisty Roads
    A friend of mine rented a cb500x so we got to switch bikes during the trip. While he had the newer 2019 version with a 19 inch front wheel (as opposed to the 17 on earlier models), hopping off an africa twin and back to a cb500x made the smaller bike feel... small... and nimble. The smaller bike was just more maneuverable (even with it's 19 inch front wheel), and more importantly, more alive than the Africa Twin on smaller roads. The line 'it's better to ride a slow bike fast than to ride a fast bike slow' comes to mind. The AT wasn't a slouch on twisties, but you could feel the size of the wheel, the longer wheelbase, and the weight of the bike more. It also lacked the direct feel of a lower tech (smaller?) bike. The cb500x with its gentle engine felt ALIVE on small roads and there's no two ways about it compared to the top spec Africa Twin. Maybe it was the 21 inch front, maybe it was the extra weight, maybe it was the bigger body, or the DCT... or maybe all of that combined. But it provided a different experience that was more like driving an S Class Benz than a little Mazda Miata. I wouldn't say there's anything wrong with either experience, but buyer beware! Expectations need to be managed.

    Off Road
    Ok, so no khao krajom trails but I did a little bit of gravel around Nan and maybe because it wasn't my bike, or maybe it was the size, or maybe the DCT- but i didn't feel 100% confident riding it off road. I don't think it was because the bike couldn't do it, but maybe because I wasn't a good enough rider to get the most out of it- or that it costs 700,000 baht and I didn't want the extra expense if I dropped it!

    Favorites
    This being my first bike with electronic suspension, I didn't know what to expect. But after 4 days and 1,300km, I've come away impressed. It is definitely something I wished every bike had. I'm quite particular with suspension on my cb500x, and adjust whenever I add or remove weight down to the last click. The electronic settings are much, much more general, but provide a 'good enough' setting, and with more time you can customize it even more to your liking. Two button presses I'm in a soft suspension mode, and two button presses back to a tighter setting. Brilliant!! I do everything with my bike from commuting to weekend trips to long trips, by myself, with my gf, and packed to the brim and having this feature would be great!

    The second best attribute is the engine. It's more power than you'll ever need on Thai roads and runs under stressed pretty much all the time. Cruising at 150kmh is effortless, and to be honest, running at 200 felt more like 140kph on smaller bikes- solid, slightly noisy but stable nonetheless. The engine seems solid through and through and will probably have a long life.

    Gripes
    I'm not sure if this is just for the Adventure Sports model but the radiator fans blow directly into my knees. I'm about 5 foot 10 with a 33 inch inseam which I think is a pretty standard height so it's curious that it was designed that way. My friend who is around 5 foot 9 with a 31 inch inseam didn't have this issue though- go figure!

    Despite a large windscreen- I couldn't find a good setting that suited me- on the lowest setting wind hit the top of my helmet, and the higher setting was somehow worse- I think because the wind is going through the side of the windscreen instead.

    Lastly, the biggest gripe with this particular model is the lack of 'feel'. The DCT is fine around town, it's also fine on the highways, but I definitely put it in manual mode for the twisties after I realized this bike can't read my mind. I love cornering while keeping the bike revs in the midrange for more response and engine braking, but the DCT didn't do that naturally (even in Sport 3 mode). No problem, I use the finger shifters and drop down to the gear I prefer which is fine- but it's a different experience to a clutch and manual transmission. With a powerful engine where gears mattered less, I would sometimes forget to shift (I could hardly hear or feel the engine through the bars or otherwise- curious!), whereas bikes like the CB will let you know when to shift (engine noise, handlebar vibrations, general feeling).

    For all the things this bike does well, it does not provide you with that direct mechanical experience. As a tourer, this matters less, but for me it's a deal breaker. As I said before, running at stupid speeds this bike makes you feel like you're on the living room couch- fine for a lot of things, but I don't want to run my bike that fast to get a bit of excitement! I do wonder if changing to a manual transmission would change this experience entirely, but for now I can't comment on that!

    Overall
    The 2020 AT Adventure Sports DCT ES is a great tourer with the latest gadgetry. But be warned that it is less of an off road machine and more of a luxury car, providing you speed and stability in a relatively quiet cockpit. If you enjoy the practicality of technology and don't mind the loss of 'feel' in the riding experience, this is a great bike. For those that care about riding feel, this is perhaps a good reason to keep 700,000 baht in your pocket!

    Personally even if someone gave me this bike for free, I couldn't ride it practically around Bkk as my commute is 30km either way in traffic. It's more to do with the size of the bike (getting between cars) and the engine heat more than anything else. In no part of my trip did I feel the bike's weight at low speed- i could crawl the bike while balancing easily even on a full tank but maybe this changes in the heat, in traffic, on a monday morning, in bangkok. In any case, it's the size, engine heat and loss of feel that doesn't make it a viable option for what I need. Perhaps a T7 is better suited? Anyone here have any experiences with that bike? Also, if I ever get to try the standard CRF1100L with manual transmission I will post an update as I suspect it is different from the top spec model!
     
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  11. Cruzer

    Cruzer Member

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    This is an old post but hope you and your bike have recovered from your injuries!! Just wondering if you had any long term updates with your africa twin? It seems to me that the older models had issues with foot pegs being weak, and the front fork have a stiction problems but wonder if you've experienced any of that? Would love to know, my friend is considering a used Africa Twin!
     
  12. Oddvar

    Oddvar Ol'Timer

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    I bought a second hand 2017 DCT. Never regretted that.
    I did not buy it to replace my dirt bikes;)
    The DCT is awesome once I let go of my conservative attitude.
    Once you know all knobs and buttons without looking, it is no going back.
    And on dirt it's big fun. The 16-17 mods have a narrow tank and suits dirt bikers better.
     
  13. Cruzer

    Cruzer Member

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    Yeah I agree it seems like one of those things that will take time to get used to if you're set in your ways with the clutch haha! I'll tell you something though, coming out of a traffic light the DCT shifts like a demon from hell in sport mode! I could never launch a bike that quickly if I tried on a manual transmission!
     
  14. Heineken

    Heineken Ol'Timer

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    Great review Cruzer, all bikes are a compromise ;)


    Are you familiar with the DCT or was this the first time ?...............................I have a DCT NC750X and the sports mode 3 is awesome in the mountains, sure I override down a gear sometimes with the toggle switch, but most of the time the bike gets it perfectly, I rarely, if ever use manual mode
     
  15. Cruzer

    Cruzer Member

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    Hi

    Hi Heineken!

    Thanks and yes this is 100% my first time so I can't say I am a good reference for using DCT haha! I can see its uses and I think if I owned the bike it would just be a matter of time to get used to it. The NC750x seems like a cool bike too and I'm actually waiting for the rumored smaller africa twin that's supposed to be based on that platform!
     
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