Honda Africa Twin-1
Honda’s Africa Twin isn’t just a revered name, it has also been a very capable motorcycle. With the arrival of this brand new version of the motorcycle, it’s the start of a fresh adventure for Honda and fans of the Africa Twin

Words Aninda Sardar

The year was 2017. Somewhere around Udaipur washed by rain that the world’s foremost weather app had miserably failed to forecast, a bunch of us were having a blast. We had just reached a lake bed after a fairly long ride over some beautiful back roads and we were basically monkeying around on a motorcycle that till then we had only heard about. The famed Honda Africa Twin. 

Cut to 2020, I find myself at a press con in a posh Delhi hotel, surrounded by masked men and women. While there is nothing sinister about these people, fact is the health threat that they are trying to protect themselves certainly is. But even the threat of the dreaded Corona Virus can’t keep us from the arrival of the new, and Honda says much improved, Africa Twin.

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At the heart of the Honda Africa Twin

We start exactly where everything to do with motorcycles starts – the engine. It is now roughly 10 per cent larger, so in place of the old 1-litre twin cylinder motor the Africa Twin now gets a 1.1-litre engine (1084cc to be precise). While the displacement is up, the engine has actually become lighter. At the same time, that increase in capacity means 12 per cent more peak power at 101hp and 11 per cent more max torque at 105Nm. This means a better power-to-weight ratio, which will definitely mean brisker acceleration and a higher top speed. Unlike in 2017, Honda is offering the new Africa Twin with both the manual gearbox as well as the DCT (dual clutch transmission).

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A brand new frame for the Honda Africa Twin

The next most crucial thing for a biker is the frame, which is the case of this new Africa Twin is completely new. It now features a bolt on aluminium sub-frame and a brand new aluminium swingarm. The main tube is slimmer too. The earlier standard seat height of 830mm has been lowered by 20mm to 810mm, which should make it easier for riders to get their feet on the ground. The seat width has also been narrowed by 40mm to help with this and to offer what Honda says is the perfect rider’s perch.

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Gadgets and gizmos in the Honda Africa Twin

New to the Africa Twin is a 6-dimensional Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) that operates on six different axes and controls both the bike’s throttle-by-wire as well as the 7-level Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC).  In addition to this there are a bunch of new electronickery that’s meant to act as a rider’s safety net, among them – 3-level wheelie control, cornering ABS with off-road setting, rear lift control (basically stops the rider from pulling an inadvertent stoppie) and cornering detection feature in the DCT, which allows the automatic transmission to make more natural gear changes when the bike is being ridden around a turn.

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Besides, to make journeys more comfy, there is a five-stage adjustable windscreen, heated grips, cruise control and a multi-function 6.5-inch TFT screen with not just Bluetooth connectivity but…wait for it…Apple CarPlay! The new Africa Twin also gets dual LED headlamps and tubeless tyres. 

How much for all this? Well, Rs 15.35 lakh for the one with the manual transmission and Rs 16.10 lakh for the one with the DCT. Both prices are of course ex-showroom.

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