Find yourself wanting a Dakar style adventure but no bikes on the market that meet your specific list of needs? Honda may have an answer with a brand new rendition of their adventure race derived Africa Twin.
Honda is delighted to announce the return of one of motorcycling’s most celebrated and evocative names—the Africa Twin. Having clearly shown the direction of its development and intent with the reveal of the True Adventure prototype at EICMA in November 2014, American Honda can now confirm that the all-new CRF1000L Africa Twin will be in U.S. dealers early next year.
Some motorcycles encapsulate perfectly what an adventure motorcycle is all about. The original XRV650 Africa Twin—which debuted in 1989 after Honda’s four successive wins in the Dakar Rally—was one such machine. Its go-anywhere ability, rugged durability, agile handling and all-day comfort made it the perfect partner with which to explore. And it helped to define a motorcycling segment that has now grown into one of the most popular worldwide. The new Africa Twin remains true to all the attributes and abilities of the XRV650 and its successor, the XRV750, while adding the benefits of everything Honda has learned on and off-road over the last decade, including Team HRC’s return to the Dakar in 2013.
Furthermore, in a first for the category, the Africa Twin will feature the option of a new evolution of Honda’s Automatic Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) technology, which remains unique to Honda in motorcycling. This latest evolution of DCT has been specifically developed and programmed to provide the off-road ability with which the Africa Twin is synonymous.
The all-new CRF1000L Africa Twin is set to redefine expectations of just what a large-capacity adventure motorcycle can and should be capable of, both on and off-road, and it opens an entirely new chapter in Honda’s illustrious history of dual-purpose motorcycles made for true adventure.
THE AFRICA TWIN AND THE DAKAR RALLY
The NXR750V, a full HRC race machine, faced stiff competition in the grueling Dakar Rally through the late 1980s but won in 1986 and 1987 in the hands of Cyril Neveu, in ’88 with Edi Orioli and finally in ’89 piloted by Gilles Lalay. The road-going XRV650 Africa Twin was produced in 1988 and ’89 by HRC in tribute to their efforts, and it laid the foundation of what would become a legendary machine.
In late 1989 the XRV750 Africa Twin was launched and quickly became an adventure touring benchmark. It featured a 742cc, 6-valve liquid-cooled V-twin engine (producing 60 hp and 46.2 lb.-ft. torque), long-travel suspension, a large fuel tank, chain final drive, a 21-inch front wheel (widening off-road tire choice) and dual front disc brakes. Revised twice and in production until 2003, it remains a sought-after machine today, with good examples commanding premium prices.
HONDA’S CURRENT DAKAR RALLY EFFORT
After a 24-year absence, Honda returned to the Dakar Rally in 2013 with Team HRC. For that edition of the race (now run in South America) they developed the CRF450 RALLY—a motorcycle based around the enduro-spec single-cylinder CRF450X—and entered three riders; Team HRC reached their primary target of all machines reaching the finish line.
In 2014, with a completely new CRF450 RALLY, Team HRC brought a five-man squad to the event; Spaniard Joan Barreda went on to take five stage wins.
The 2015 event saw Team HRC come even closer to their ultimate goal, with Portugal’s Paolo Goncalves finishing runner-up in Buenos Aires. Team HRC scored the greatest number of stage victories and Joan Barreda proved an unyielding leader throughout the first week of the rally, collecting more stage wins than any other rider in the 2015 edition. Laia Sanz, in ninth, surpassed all of her own objectives and made history by finishing higher than any other female in the history of the Dakar Rally.