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2020 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports ES

2020 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports ES

Yes! "ES" Means Electronic Suspension

Honda expands its 2020 Africa Twin lineup with the addition of the CRF1100L “Adventure Sports ES” model that turns an already capable dual-surface machine into a terrain-gobbling off-road tour de force. A larger, more powerful engine and lower overall weight boosts performance, and handling is improved, as well, through the electronically adjusted suspension system. Also boosted, fuel-tank capacity is increased to extend the range and make the “ES” even more suitable for work as a bona fide globetrotter.

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2020 Honda Africa Twin

2020 Honda Africa Twin

The New 1,084 cc Engine Has Seven Percent More Power

Honda’s globetrotting Africa Twin line has always represented a lot of bike for your buck, but the factory buffed that reputation ahead of MY2020 with a series of improvements that go far beyond the cursory “Bold New Graphics” that frequently makes up Honda’s upgrades. I’m talking about a new engine and updated transmission that deliver more power and control over a frame that drew from Honda’s not-inconsiderable experience with off-road machines. Top-shelf rider-aid electronics and finely-tuned comfort features round out the package to make the new Africa Twin an all-around winner on the global stage.

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2018 - 2019 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports

2018 - 2019 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports

Not A ’Soccer Mom’s SUV’ Equivalent Of An Adventure Bike

Honda’s Africa Twin Adventure Sports makes the jump from concept to production to further expand the CRF1000L lineup. This newest model — dubbed the CRF1000L2 — brings a decidedly more rugged visage to the table along with the same 998 cc powerplant that drives its more street-centric adventure siblings. I submit to you that the importance of this model goes beyond a handful of special features and a clever name; in a way, it fulfills the promise of the capabilities implicit with the “Africa Twin” moniker. The updated engine churns out 94 ponies with street-knobbies to put the power to the pavement and an updated suspension system to keep the rough roads and trails from rattling the fillings out of your head.

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2018 Honda NC750X

2018 Honda NC750X

A Pragmatist’s Approach To Two Wheels

Honda introduced the NC750X to the U.S. market last year in a bid to solidify its position in the adventure-commuter sector. Like its predecessor, the NC700X, the new sled is built for comfortable riding with a capacity for touring. The new engine lends it a sportier attitude with 54 horsepower on tap and a two-level torque control to help you keep it under control.

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2019 Honda CB500X

2019 Honda CB500X

Even More Adventure-Tastic

Honda brushed up its CB500X ahead of MY2019 with a number of improvements that come hot on the heels of the buffs it got just last year. There’s a number of engine tweaks that net a small gain in torque with a larger front wheel to better tackle road bumps and light terrain. The ’stop’ was boosted right along with the ’go’ in the form of a few refinements in the electronics department, as well as the hardware. Improvements in the suspension and rider’s triangle do their bit to increase rideability and comfort too, so without further ado, let’s dig into Honda’s new smallish-displacement adventure bike to see what else the Red Riders have going on over there.

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2018 - 2019 Honda Africa Twin

2018 - 2019 Honda Africa Twin

After A Trip To Fat Camp, The Africa Twin Is Badder Than Ever

Honda gave its CRF1000L “Africa Twin” a complete overhaul for the 2018 model year, a rebuild so complete that the new version shares not a single part with the old, according to the factory. Engine improvements include both hardware and software that starts with a Throttle-by-Wire system that enables even more electronic wizardry under the hood, as it were. The improvements make their way into the gearboxes on both the manual tranny and the optional, auto-shifting DCT. The factory buffed safety as well with a handful of new features such as the Emergency Stop Signal feature that flashes the hazards during hard braking actions. There’s plenty more packed in there, so let’s go ahead and get into the details.

Continue reading for my review of the Honda Africa Twin.

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2017 - 2018 Honda X-ADV

2017 - 2018 Honda X-ADV

What If A Honda Integra And An Africa Twin Had Offspring?

Honda blurs the line between the scooter and motorcycle worlds with its genre-bending X-ADV model. The X-ADV brings a scooter-like body together with a proper motorcycle drivetrain that delivers twist-and-forget operation not unlike a CVT-equipped, swingmount scooter. The Red Riders further confuse the issue with dual-purpose tires meant to turn in a decent performance on soft surfaces while maintaining a certain amount of roadworthiness for your urban commute. Chuck in the 745 cc powerplant and you’ve got one confused ride. Perhaps the confusion is all on my end? Let’s dive in and find out.

Continue reading for my review of the Honda X-ADV.

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2016 - 2017 Honda VFR1200X

2016 - 2017 Honda VFR1200X

A Big Ol’ Street-Oriented Fun Machine

Honda brought its VFR1200X — a.k.a. the ’CrossTourer’ in other markets — to the U.S. back in 2016, and it rolled as a direct carryover into the ’17 model year. Built as an adventure bike with a bias toward the blacktop, the “X” sports a powerful, 129-horsepower engine and a choice between a manual, six-speed gearbox and Honda’s Dual Clutch Transmission that provides seamless automatic gear changes sans clutch or toe shifter. The factory also sought to boost its tour-ability with its proprietary Selectable Torque Control, adjustable suspension components and a robust accessories lineup that boasts all manner of gadgets meant to expand capabilities and comfort alike. Around the world, the adventure-bike market is expanding like mad, and Honda is even taking some wind out of the X’s sails with its own Africa Twin model, so today I want to see if it has what it takes to compete in this rapidly evolving and expanding market.

Continue reading for my review of the Honda VFR1200X.

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2015 - 2018 Honda CB500X

2015 - 2018 Honda CB500X

Not A Lot Of Bike, But A Lot Of Bike For The Money

Honda’s CB500X pushes the adventure-bike envelope well into entry-level territory with a mid-displacement engine and low-impact price tag meant to bring more riders into the genre. Let’s face it; the one-liter Africa Twin and larger VFR1200X are a lot of bike for new riders who are not — I repeat: NOT — liable to ever see a trek down the Ivory Coast. Could it be used as a trainer for the larger bikes? Certainly, but its main lot in life will be as an urban commuter with the capacity to handle some poorly-maintained roads and the occasional pothole. If it sounds like I’m downplaying the bike a bit, I would submit that the urban adventure ride is about all most of us manage in a lifetime, thus making it good enough for its designed purpose.

Continue reading for my review of the Honda CB500X.

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2015 - 2017 Honda NC700X

2015 - 2017 Honda NC700X

Adventure bikes are fairly ubiquitous these days, and Honda makes sure to get its share of that market segment with the entry-level-ish NC700X. Priced well below 10 grand with a rider-friendly engine, the NC700X can serve as a trainer bike for more serious on/off-road work, or as an affordable commuter in a strictly urban environment.

Naturally, as new genres develop the first development race is to get something in the market that will establish a toehold, then the onus is on refining the product and looking for an edge in the resulting arms race as it were. The Red Rider engineers and designers cut their teeth on bigger/badder rides, and now are dropping back a bit to try and grab customers who aren’t liable to ride across some African desert or some such. Join me as I take a look at this effort and see what lessons Honda learned on the big bikes, and what features made the jump downhill.

Continue reading formy review of the Honda NC700X.

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2016 Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin

2016 Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin

Having won four successive Dakar Rallys with its NXR-750, Honda launched the original XRV650 Africa Twin in 1989. It was a lighter, higher-spec version that preceded the XRV750 Africa Twin — a dual-sport bike more closely modeled on the NXR-750 — which Honda produced until 2003. With the renewed and growing interest in the adventure-bike market, Honda is back with the CRF1000L Africa Twin.

In order to carry the legacy of the "Africa Twin" name, the designers focused hard on what made the original XRV750 Africa Twin such a great bike: off-road performance, on-road touring comfort, and the nimbleness and agility to be an all-purpose, everyday bike.

Released in the UK in late 2015 and slated for its U.S. debut in early 2016, the CRF1000L Africa Twin pays homage to its predecessors as well as embraces modern technology by offering Honda’s exclusive automatic Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) technology, specifically developed and programmed to provide the off-road ability the Africa Twin legacy demands.

Continue reading for my look at the 2016 Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin.

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