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CRF1000L Africa Twin tested!


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I had a test ride of CRF100L Africa Twin with automatic DCT gearbox last Saturday. The bike was kindly provided by Norton Way Honda and it was a tricolor red version complemented by the tricolor seat as well and black rims. Personally I preferred the white tricolor version with gold forks and rims that looked stunning.




There was a full set of Honda luggage fitted however for the test ride I asked to take out the panniers. I must say I didn’t like the top box and panniers as they were almost all plastic and felt flimsy for adventure bike like AT. However mounting system looks smart without any brackets or frames. Obviously the right hand side pannier was smaller to accommodate the exhaust.

I had an little more than an hour on the bike. I don’t know if I would be able to ride more that day. Temperature was around zero and however bike had standard hand guards but no heated grips installed yet so my fingers were almost frozen after short ride.

I'm 5ft 11in with a 32” inseam and 150 lbs weight. I had no problem mounting the bike and when sitting I could just about put flat foot having the seat in the standard height. I didn’t adjust the suspension at all and was advised it was set up for standard rider whatever that means.

All controls on the handlebar and instrument panel are easy to operate and everything is clear and concise even though for us - NC750X owners some of them are a bit different (eg. starter is incorporated in kill switch, auto/manual switch is under right thumb etc.)


Bike has switchable ABS but just for the rear wheel only and three (plus off) modes of so called Honda Selectable Torque Control which in short is traction control. The mode with three bars is the default one with the highest level of intervention. Due to winter conditions I didn’t play with traction and left the default mode on.

It has as well modified DCT programmes having now D mode, three selectable S modes and G (I called it gravel) mode for off-road use. Talking about S mode – the one bar S mode is least sporty and three bar mode is the sportier one. However my feeling is these S modes it’s just the way the DCT software changes the gears without anything like engine power reduction etc.

I quite liked the sound of standard exhaust. It has more bass note than NC’s standard one. I could say I wouldn’t bother to buy the aftermarket one.

It was rather an easy ride without much leaning mainly due to some frost still on the tarmac here and there but as well as due to amount of excess (£2500) I would have been asked to pay if I damaged the bike.

Taking off I immediately felt confident and comfortable. Riding position was very much similar to my Honda NC750X. There was around half tank of fuel so I can assume the bike weight was around 250kg but strangely it felt lighter than my NC. I did some filtering and balance was lovely and I had no problem with bike’s slow handling. The suspension worked flawlessly and felt way more comfortable than the one we’ve got on the NC.

I ride in the Lazer Monaco flip front helmet with ear plugs and with the standard screen fitted I didn’t notice any excessive noise or buffeting so for me the wind protection seemed to be OK even around 70 mph. But as we know screen is so much personal experience so the taller screen is available should anyone need it.

Breaks felt great but again due to weather and fairly new tyres (bike had some 300 miles on the clock) I didn’t push them to the limit.

The only thing I didn’t like was the rider’s footpegs and brake pedal. They are simply too small. I can imagine these could be changed later for the aftermarket ones however I had couple instances of missing the brake pedal. And strangely the pillion’s footpegs are quite large…

And finally performance… I rode some dual carriageways and main A roads. As you can imagine this bike just flies comparing to the NC. There is enough power and torque available so you must be careful not to hit triple digit on the speedo. I didn’t feel any vibrations on the pegs and the handlebars and thanks to the DCT bike just goes through the revs. I didn’t like D mode at all. It hits 6 gear at 50 mph and is quite dull like on the NC. Talking about S modes, on S1 the gear shifting was quite similar to the NC. I didn’t really like the S3 (the sportiest one) as it kept the low gears to long (eg. 4 gear at 60 mph) and I had two situations when coming out of the roundabouts I felt the TC intervention. But this might be due to TC setting and road conditions . I noticed some I believe 21” front wheel related handling drawbacks as the bike is not that nimble as the NC is but no drama here.

Overall I was impressed with the bike. Felt like at home riding her. I wish they could put that engine in the NC body and that would be my future bike for sure.

Some pics and YT video below:






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