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Honda Africa Twin CRF1000L 30th Anniversary Adventure Sports | Bike Tests | Latest Tests

Thirty years after the birth of one of motorcycling’s most renowned monikers, Honda’s Africa Twin is refined and ready for adventure

I was glad I didn’t have an audience when I tried to reverse the bike out of my shed. Puffin’ and blowin’ to get the thing to roll backwards out the door – it wouldn’t budge. Naturally, I checked it wasn’t in gear… and after a few too many moments, it struck me. Because the Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) will always default to neutral, I’d forgotten I’d done just as the manual advised and employed the park brake – but more on that later.

It was Friday arvo and the Adventure Sport and I were heading off for Kelly Country. To avoid long-weekend traffic, we skirted the eastern edge of Melbourne to the Black Spur. An hour and half later, at the top, it was raining, the fog was rolling in and the light was fading – fast. Did someone say adventure? Bring it on.

When the bike had arrived, I’d been struck by its sheer presence. Gleaming, pearlescent white, trimmed with deep shimmering red and blue Tricolour decals popping in the winter sun. My next thought was, where’s the ladder? This thing is tall. With a seat height of 900mm (and that’s on the low setting), it’s a big bike, but it was when I was tucked behind the wide tank and tall screen I began to appreciate its big-bike comforts.

And it’s roads like Victoria’s notoriously fun Black Spur that had me falling for the Africa Twin’s engine. A little cranky, a lot grunty and a smidgen lumpy-licious! Often Honda makes engines that are so good, they tend to lack a bit of personality. Not this liquid-cooled 998cc parallel-twin.

Thanks to its 270-degree firing order, the off-kilter V-twin-like engine just talked to me.

I got the feeling the engineers put a lot of effort into the intake noise for rider feedback and to provide its owner with that special tingle. It’s quick, too. If you want to play silly buggers, leave yer licence at the door. The donk is a compact and narrow thing, and the 2018 models get an upgrade to the airbox to improve the mid-range, which is where the Adventure rider needs it. This is a rider’s motor, no doubt.

On the black top, the Sports part of its moniker shines. Stable, accurate road manners and a more than respectable clip in winding mountain roads. The suspension offering is about right for my 80kg with a small bag on the rear rack  – which is a bit small; ample for one-up but stubby for two – and not many riders will be spending their hard-earned on suspension upgrades.

Read the full story in the current issue of AMCN (VOL 68 No 01) on sale now