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Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin (2024) – Technical Review

Has written for dozens of magazines and websites, including most of the world’s biggest bike titles, as well as dabbling in car and technology journalism.

Posted:

04.10.2023

2024 Honda CRF1100 Africa Twin Review Price Details Spec_09
2024 Honda CRF1100 Africa Twin Review Price Details Spec_11
2024 Honda CRF1100 Africa Twin Review Price Details Spec_13

 

Price: from £13,199 | Power: 100bhp | Weight: 231kg | Overall BikeSocial Rating: TBA

 

Can you believe it’s been nearly a decade since Honda revived the Africa Twin name on a new parallel twin adventure bike? First shown in 2014 as the CRF1000L the bike has already gone through three distinct generations – including the 2020 revamp that saw the engine grow to 1084cc – and for 2024 it enters a fourth with a new look and some subtle but significant mechanical improvements.

Honda continues to plough its own furrow with the Africa Twin, steering clear of the battle for outright horsepower that’s fought at the upper end of the adventure bike market and focussing on more genuine off-road prowess than many of its rivals can offer. However, while its 100hp twin and near-1100cc capacity once placed it well clear of smaller-capacity competition, a new generation of mid-sized adventure bikes including KTM’s 890 Adventure and BMW’s new F900 GS mean it no longer sits in an unpopulated middle ground, and the launch of the new 2024 BMW R1300GS will be making life extremely touch for every other bike in the litre-plus category. Does the 2024 Africa Twin still do enough to chisel out a clear niche in the most competitive field of adventure bikes that the market has ever seen?

 

pros
  • The focus on adding more usable torque promises real-world riding improvement

  • The Africa Twin name is still a big draw, with more heritage than most rivals

  • New option of electrically-adjustable suspension adds further flexibility

cons
  • Smaller-engined bikes like the new BMW F900GS now offer more power, less weight and a lower price tag. Honda’s own Transalp is just 10hp shy and much more affordable.

  • No major changes to the chassis

  • Popular DCT transmission adds 11kg

 

Review – In Detail

Price & PCP
For and against
Engine & Performance
Handling & Suspension (inc. weight & brakes)
Comfort & Economy
Equipment
Rivals
Verdict
Specification

 

2024 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin Price

Although the £13,199 starting price means you can get aboard a 2024 Africa Twin for thousands less than you’d pay for a BMW R1250GS Adventure it’s easy to inflate that figure by ticking a few key option boxes.

Adding the Showa electronic suspension, newly available for the 2024 ‘ES’ variant of the Africa Twin, slaps an extra £1500 onto the starting price, and if you want the clever DCT dual-clutch, seamless-shift, semi-auto transmission you have to start with the electronic suspension version, with DCT adding another £1200 to the bottom line for a total of £15,899. Pick one of four options packs and you can push the price higher still. There’s the Rally Pack with wider pegs, a quickshifter (on the manual version only), a foot shifter (for the DCT bike), engine guards, knuckle guard extensions and stripes, the Adventure pack with body protection pipes, fog lights and a tank bag, the Urban Pack with a 58-litre top box, heated grips and a centre stand, and finally the Travel Pack with alloy or plastic panniers giving 70 litres more luggage space and air deflectors on the fairing.

Colour options are red, black or the classic white/blue ‘Tricolour’ scheme, with the last of those only available on the ES model.

 

 

2024 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin Engine & Performance

The basics of the 1084cc, single-overhead-cam parallel twin engine are carried over from the previous model, with no changes to the 100hp peak power, but internally there are some substantial changes contributing to a 7% increase in peak torque, now 82.6 lb-ft, with improvements across most of the rev range.

The updates start with a new 10.5:1 compression ratio, up from 10.1:1, and as well as making the torque peak higher, it brings it down in the rev range from 6250rpm on the old model to just 5500rpm on the 2024 bike.

Further revisions see the adoption of wider airbox intake ducts, up from 29mm across to 35mm in diameter, while the throttle trumpets inside the airbox are 65mm longer than before. The engine electronics are suitably tweaked to suit. As before, there’s a 270-degree crank to give a V-twin-style delivery.

The exhaust is also revised with a new silencer, lighter than the old version and internally reworked to improve performance and give a more appealing engine note.

As usual, there’s ride-by-wire and four preset riding modes – Tour, Urban, Gravel and Off-Road – each altering the power level (Tour is highest, Gravel lowest) and the engine-braking, as well as the settings for the cornering ABS. There’s also wheelie control and seven-level traction control, plus two rider-programmable riding modes.

While the base model has a six-speed manual transmission with an assist-and-slipper clutch and the option of a quickshifter, around half of Africa Twin buyers opt for the DCT transmission with two clutches, allowing a seamless electronically-operated shift. The 2024 DCT system is essentially the same as before, but with setting tweaks to improve the way the clutch is fed in when you start from standstill, and the shift points in automatic mode are adjusted to suit the new torque curve.

 

 

2024 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin Handling & Suspension (inc. Weight & Brakes)

There’s no change to the frame of the 2024 Africa Twin (it was updated for the 2020 model) but the Showa ‘Electronically Equipped Ride Adjustment’ (EERA) electronically-adjustable suspension is a new option for the model. Previously available only on the Africa Twin Adventure Sports, the setup has the same travel as the standard suspension – 230mm front, 220mm rear – but automatically tweaks the damping settings based on speed, stance and attitude, using information from the built-in inertial measurement unit and the fork stroke sensor. It takes 0.015 of a second to make the calculations and automatically adjust the damper settings, so it’s essentially constantly reacting to the road conditions and your riding style.

The setup can also be programmed to change the damping behaviour as speed increases, and can even recognise certain conditions and pre-prepare itself, for instance to be ready to land from jumps or to reduce dive during heavy braking.

There are five preprogrammed modes. Hard, Mid and Soft are self-explanatory, automatically selected with Tour, Urban and Gravel riding modes respectively, while the Off-Road EERA setting changes fork damping relative to stroke speed and firms-up the rear end. It’s automatically selected with the Off-Road riding mode. In the ‘User’ riding modes, you can preselect from 24 steps of front and rear preload.

If you don’t want the cost and complexity of the EERA suspension, the standard 45mm USD forks and 46mm remote-reservoir shock are also from Showa and offer conventionally adjustable preload and damping. There’s no option to have base suspension and the DCT transmission, though – if you want the seamless-shift gearbox, you’re getting EERA as well.

Braking is achieved via radial four-pot calipers and 310mm wavy discs at the front, plus a single-piston caliper and 256mm disc at the rear. Cornering ABS is standard, and the rear ABS can be deactivated in Off-Road mode.

As before, the wheels are 21-inch front and 18-inch rear, with 90/90-21 and 150/70-18 tyres (Metzeler Karoo Street as standard, Michelin Anakee Wild as an option) but unlike earlier models the tyres are now tubeless rather than tubed.

The base Africa Twin is the lightest variant at 231kg wet, while the EERA suspension adds 2 kilos. The DCT model, with EERA as standard, comes in at 244kg.

 

 

2024 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin Comfort & Economy

The styling changes to the 2024 Africa Twin aren’t purely to distinguish it from its predecessor – they’re also meant to improve the riding experience.

At the front, the new nose fairing adds a five-position adjustable screen, while the new rear seat unit allows the rider’s seat to be set to either 850mm or 870mm height. There are also thicker ‘comfort’ and thinner ‘low’ seats available as options, putting the lowest possible seat height to 825mm and the highest to 885mm.

Plump for the ES model, with the EERA suspension, and you also get heated grips as standard along with an accessory charging socket.

Fuel consumption is rated at 57.9mpg, which should equate to a range of more than 235 miles from the 18.8 litre tank.

 

 

2024 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin Equipment

Equipment levels for the Africa Twin are already high and the 2024 model doesn’t change that. There’s a large, 6.5-inch colour TFT dash to give access to all the main functions, including the riding modes and EERA suspension settings when it’s fitted, and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, allowing connectivity and app-based navigation and media. There’s a USB socket to attach the phone, as well as Bluetooth connectivity for helmet headsets.

Other kit includes full LED lighting and an Emergency Stop Signal function that flashes the hazard lights under hard braking. Cruise control is standard, too, although Honda has yet to fit the radar-assisted cruise that an increasing number of its rivals – including BMW’s new R1300GS, KTM’s 1290 Super Adventure and Guzzi’s upcoming Stelvio – can be had with.

 

 

2024 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin Rivals

We’ve yet to ride some of the Africa Twin’s key 2024 rivals, including the all-important BMW R1300GS and new Guzzi Stelvio, but it’s dropping into an increasingly competitive market and even some smaller, cheaper bikes can be seen as genuine competitors. BMW’s new F900GS, for instance, and KTM’s 890 Adventure, will be key competitors, while Triumph’s Tiger 900 Rally is another one to consider.

 

BMW F900GS | Price: £11,995

Power/Torque: 105bhp/68.6lb-ft | Weight: 219kg (wet)

 

KTM 890 Adventure | Price: £11,999

Power/Torque: 105bhp/74lb-ft | Weight: 210kg (wet)

 

Triumph Tiger 900 Rally | Price: £12,795

Power/Torque: 94bhp/64lb-ft | Weight: 196kg (dry)

 

 

2024 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin Verdict

We’ll give a verdict once we’ve ridden the 2024 Africa Twin!

 

If you’d like to chat about this article or anything else biking related, join us and thousands of other riders at the Bennetts BikeSocial Facebook page.

 

 

2024 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin - Technical Specification

New price

From £13,199

Capacity

1,084cc

Bore x Stroke

92mm x 81.5mm

Engine layout

Parallel twin

Engine details

Liquid-cooled, SOHC UniCam 8-valve, 270-degree crank

Power

100.5bhp (75kW) @ 7,500rpm

Torque

82.6lb-ft (112Nm) @ 5,500rpm

Transmission

6-speed, chain final drive, optional seamless DCT transmission or quickshifter

Average fuel consumption

57.9 mpg

Tank size

18.8litres

Max range to empty

238 miles (MT) 243 miles (DCT)

Rider aids

Traction control, six riding modes, cornering ABS, wheelie control

Frame

Steel semi double cradle

Front suspension

Showa 45mm cartridge-type inverted telescopic fork, 230mm stroke. Optional EERA electronic suspension

Front suspension adjustment

Dial-style preload adjuster and damping adjustments, optional electronic adjustment.

Rear suspension

Monoblock aluminium swing arm with Pro-Link with Showa gas-charged damper, 220 mm rear wheel travel. Optional EERA electronic suspension.

Rear suspension adjustment

Hydraulic dial-style preload adjuster and rebound damping adjustments. Optional electronic adjustment.

Front brake

2 x 310mm dual wave floating hydraulic disc with aluminium hub and radial fit 4-piston calipers and sintered metal pads

Rear brake

256mm wave hydraulic disc with single piston caliper and sintered metal pads.

Front wheel / tyre

21M/C x MT2.15 wire spoke with aluminium rim, 90/90-21M/C 54H tubeless Metzler Karoo Street

Rear wheel / tyre

18M/C x MT4.00 wire spoke with aluminium rim, 150/70R18M/C 70H tubeless Metzler Karoo Street

Dimensions (LxWxH)

2,330mm x 960mm x 1,485mm

Wheelbase

1575mm

Seat height

850/870mm (Low Seat option 825mm, Comfort Seat option 885mm)

Weight

MT: 231kg, 'ES' MT: 233kg, 'ES' DCT:244kg

Warranty

2 years, unlimited miles

Servicing

TBC

MCIA Secured Rating

Not yet rated

Website

www.honda.co.uk

 

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What is MCIA Secured?

MCIA Secured gives bike buyers the chance to see just how much work a manufacturer has put into making their new investment as resistant to theft as possible.

As we all know, the more security you use, the less chance there is of your bike being stolen. In fact, based on research by Bennetts, using a disc lock makes your machine three times less likely to be stolen, while heavy duty kit can make it less likely to be stolen than a car. For reviews of the best security products, click here.

MCIA Secured gives motorcycles a rating out of five stars (three stars for bikes of 125cc or less), based on the following being fitted to a new bike as standard:

  • A steering lock that meets the UNECE 62 standard

  • An ignition immobiliser system

  • A vehicle marking system

  • An alarm system

  • A vehicle tracking system with subscription

The higher the star rating, the better the security, so always ask your dealer what rating your bike has and compare it to other machines on your shortlist.