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16YM HONDA CRF1000L Africa Twin
New model:Inheriting the “go anywhere” spirit of its celebrated predecessors, the all-new CRF1000L
Africa Twin packs an innovative and powerful parallel twin-cylinder engine into a lightweight, agile
chassis ready for true adventure both on and off road, whether crossing continents or commuting. In
addition to the standard model, two further versions are available: the first with switchable rear ABS
and multiple mode Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC), and the second equipped with Honda’s
unique Dual Clutch Transmission (featuring new off-road functionality), switchable rear ABS and HSTC.
1. Introduction
The essential features of an adventure motorcycle - strong engine, tough chassis with long travel
suspension, upright riding position and wide handlebars - ensure its usability whatever the terrain. This
practicality has been key to the popularity of these machines: they are easy to ride, comfortable and
adaptable, at home on the road whether touring mountain passes and highways, or filtering through
jammed city streets. And when the desire for a true adventure takes hold, they’re capable of traversing
great swathes of distance after the tarmac runs out.
Throughout the development of the CRF1000L Africa Twin, the search for the optimal blend of off-road
performance, touring comfort and agility was a constant theme. One motorcycle consistently
impressed with its usability, poise and handling both on road and in the dirt: the original XRV750L
Africa Twin. It proved a worthwhile benchmark when set against today’s myriad choice of adventure
bikes. The machine that now bears its name may share no common part with the old model but - on
road or off-road - it inherits to the full the essence and spirit of what made the XRV750L Africa Twin so
Mr Y. Hasegawa, Series Large Project Leader (S-LPL) CRF1000L Africa Twin:
“From the outset of designing and engineering our new Africa Twin, we wanted to create a full-scale
true adventure motorcycle that was equally enjoyable and capable in crossing vast continents as it was
on the highway and in everyday use. The legacy and performance of the previous model was a
significant reference point in our thinking and after many satisfying months of research work, testing,
development and riding, our CRF1000L has off-road ability that makes dirt roads a joy to tackle, with
the comfort of a tourer and agility of a commuter. In other words, a model truly worthy of inheriting
the Africa Twin name.”
2. Model Overview
It all starts with the engine, which has to
perform in off-road situations as well as
on-road long-range touring, and all points
in between. The CRF1000L Africa Twin’s
998cc parallel twin power plant draws
heavily on Honda’s CRF250R/450R
competition machines, using the same
four-valve Unicam head design for
compact overall dimensions.
Strong and linear power and torque
deliver instant response anywhere in the
rev-range - accompanied by a satisfying,
characterful deep growl as rpm rises. A
270° phased crankshaft gives the power
delivery a distinct character as well
delivering excellent feel for rear wheel traction. Biaxial primary balance shafts cancel vibration.
The semi-dry sump engine’s short height contributes to the CRF1000L Africa Twin’s 250mm ground
clearance. It also uses clever packaging of componentry to both dynamic and aesthetic effect. The
water pump is housed within the clutch casing, and both water and oil pumps are driven by the
engine’s balancer shafts.
The lightweight six-speed manual gearbox uses the same shift-cam design as found on the
CRF250R/450R to ensure positive changes and is equipped with an aluminium assist slipper clutch.
In addition to the standard model, two further versions are available: the first with ABS and multiple
mode Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC), and the second equipped with Honda’s unique Dual
Clutch Transmission (featuring new off-road functionality), ABS and HSTC. On ABS-equipped models, it
is possible for the rider to turn off the ABS system for the rear brake, allowing the rider to lock the rear
wheel when riding off-road. There are four levels of control to choose from the Honda Selectable
Torque Contol: Level 1, 2, 3 and Off. The degree of intervention decreases as the levels rise, allowing
increasing amounts of rear wheel spin.
The unique DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission) version features the standard manual mode - allowing the
rider to operate gear shifts through triggers on the left handlebar - and two automatic modes. D mode
offers the best balance of fuel economy and comfort cruising whilst S mode has been revised to give
extra levels of sports performance, with three different shift patterns to choose from.
Of course, for the CRF1000L Africa Twin, DCT is also fully equipped to operate in an off-road
environment and off-road functionality is enhanced by the G button. Pushing the G button in any riding
mode modifies the control of the clutch system to give a more direct drive.
The CRF1000L Africa Twin’s semi-double cradle steel frame provides the perfect balance of high-speed
stability - while fully loaded - matched to genuine off-road ability by combining sheer strength with
flexibility. Mass centralization - with items like the battery packaged at the rear of the cylinder head contributes to a low centre of gravity and aids agility.
The 45mm Showa inverted forks are fully adjustable and feature dual radial-mount Nissin four-piston
brake calipers and 310mm ‘wave’ style floating discs. The Showa rear shock has hydraulic spring
preload adjustment. Like the CRF450R Rally, the CRF1000L Africa Twin uses 21 inch front and 18 inch
rear spoked wheels. This enables a wide range of off-road tyres to be fitted in addition to the standard
duel purpose 90 front / 150 rear tyres.
Following its design theme of “unlimited adventure”, the Africa Twin is styled with minimum bodywork
in a tough, lightweight form that offers both weather protection for the rider and a slim, agile feel. Dual
LED headlights maintain the original’s presence and the seat height adjusts 20mm from the standard
870mm down to 850mm. A large 18.8-litre fuel tank - and the engine’s fuel efficiency of 21.8km/l
(WMTC in DCT mode) - provides a range of over 400km.
3. Key Features
3.1 Engine
Compact, lightweight and powerful; the CRF1000L Africa Twin’s parallel twin-cylinder
engine makes 70Kw peak power @ 7,500rpm, and 98Nm torque @ 6,000rpm. It features a
270° phased crank, Unicam 4 valve-per-cylinder head and dry sump plus common
crankcases for both DCT and manual 6-speed gearbox versions.
The CRF1000L Africa Twin’s engine has been engineered with a special focus on two key areas tractable and usable all-day touring performance and a power and torque delivery that offers
genuinefeel for rear wheel traction. The natural by-product of these abilities is that the machine is also
a great all-rounder - as happy on the urban commute as anywhere else.
The parallel twin layout in 998cc form gives an optimum balance between power, torque, mass and
physical dimension, especially when designed from the ground up with weight saving, mass
centralisation and a low centre of gravity in mind. And lessons learned in both HRC’s CRF250/450R
Motocross and CRF450R Rally competition programs have been thoroughly applied to keep the
dimensions and weight to a minimum - longitudinally the CRF1000L engine is the same length as the
CBR500R engine.
A V-twin of the same capacity and output is physically too long and tall to effectively package a
motorcycle with the Africa Twin’s performance objectives. With 70Kw peak power produced at
7,500rpm, and 98Nm torque arriving at 6,000rpm the new engine creates a linear, straight power
curve and bulging torque curve for fluid, accessible bottom and mid-range drive, plus consistent topend punch.
Good ground clearance - crucial to
off-road performance - starts with
a compact, short engine. The
crankcases are split vertically with
a built-in oil tank (the first Honda
to feature such a design). The
water pump is housed within the
clutch casing (a first for a
motorcycle engine) with a
thermostat integrated into the
cylinder head.
This allows a shorter hose length
and frees up scope for appealing
exterior design (also eliminating
the external mounting bolts) while
saving weight. The water and oil
pumps are driven by the engine’s
balancer shafts; Manual and DCT
versions of the engine share
common crankcases with only
minor external differences.
The engine uses a semi-dry sump and in-tank lower crankcase oil storage. This allows a lower pan
depth, reducing overall engine height. As the pressure-fed pump is located within the tank where it
delivers its oil from, there is no need for a pressure-feed passage; again saving weight and space.
The four-valve cylinder heads, fed by PGM-FI fuel injection, each employ twin spark plugs and dual and
sequential ignition control for even combustion, and their phased firing order contributes to engine
character and feel. Compression ratio is set at 10:0:1.
Honda’s SOHC Unicam valve train is a feature of the CRF250/450R and the low-set position of the cast
camshaft (as used on the CBR1000RR Fireblade) contributes to the compact nature of the cylinder
head and allows freedom for the included valve angle, and therefore an ideal combustion chamber
shape. It’s also a lightweight design and helps with mass centralization, thus low centre of gravity. The
inlet valves are 36.5mm in diameter, the exhaust valves 31mm.
The firing order and ‘power pulse’ of the XRV750 Africa Twin’s V-twin engine gave excellent traction
and feedback for how much grip the rear tyre was finding. For the CRF1000L Africa Twin to achieve the
same kind of throttle feel an uneven-interval firing order, through use of a 270° phased crank system
is employed.
Secondary vibrations are neutralised by the mutually reciprocating motion of the pistons, while primary
inertial and coupling vibrations are cancelled by the use of biaxial balance shafts. The front balancer
shaft uses two weights, the rear only a single weight in order to save weight.
Bore and stroke is set at 92 x 75.1mm. This bore size is used to optimise the CAE-designed pistons’
balance of rigidity and strength and a resin coating on the skirts reduces friction. Further reducing
friction, AB-1 chromium plating and Palphos M1-A treatment (as used on the CBR600RR) are applied to
the piston pins and con-rods.
The aluminium clutch centre and pressure plate use ‘assist’ cams to ease upshift and downshift (with
lighter lever feel) and ‘slipper’ cams for deceleration and downshifting. Backlash between the pressure
plate and centre has been optimized, as has backlash between the friction plate and clutch outer.
As the six-speed gearbox is a brand new design - with ‘pierced’ shape dogs for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th
gear - the clutch itself is physically smaller, saving 500g compared to conventional units. Oil gathering
ribs have been added to the main journal side of the primary gear, ensuring consistent lubrication for
the gear, damper spring and primary sub-gear.
The shift cam design is the same as
used by the CRF250/450R, giving
secure gear shifting no matter the
riding conditions. And to ensure
direct drive - and consistent feel for
traction - the cush drive rubbers in
the rear wheel have been optimised
in terms of physical size and shape.
Enhancing the rider’s experience
the unique internals of the exhaust
muffler are designed through CAE
to boost the sound and feel of the
engine’s beat, and patented by
Honda. Acoustically tuned, chamber
two creates a light, crisp feel at
higher rpm while chamber three
accentuates the deep, solid tone of
a large-capacity twin.
There are four levels of control to choose from on the Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC): Level
1, 2 and 3 and off. The degree of electronically-generate control from the system decreases as the
levels rise, allowing increasing amounts of rear wheel spin and, with rear ABS off, freedom to fully lock
up the back wheel.
The Africa Twin’s DCT features a revised S mode offering three levels of sports performance (faster
down changes and the ability to hold a higher/lower gear). The three modes make it possible to tailor
gearbox response to preferred riding style. The selected level is stored, and acts as the default - thus
making it possible to permanently ride in S mode. It is also displayed on the dash.
The DCT also features ‘adaptive clutch capability control’ that gives a natural ‘feathered’ clutch feel at
low speed on/off throttle situations for smooth gear changes at low-speed. For essential additional offroad DCT performance, the CRF1000L Africa Twin offers new functionality through the use of
the Gswitch positioned on the right side of the instrument panel. Pushing the G switch in any riding
mode modifies the control of the clutch system to give a more direct drive.
Further new functionality for the DCT system comes in the form of incline detection, by means of which
the gear shift pattern is adapted depending on the grade of any incline to provide optimum control.
3.2 Chassis
Fully adjustable Showa suspension is matched to a tough double cradle frame, with rigidity
levels tuned for optimum handling. Wheels are 21/18-inch with 310mm ‘wave’ style floating
front discs and radially mounted four-piston Nissin calipers. Dunlop 90/90-21 and 150/7018 tyres provide all-round performance.
The key objectives laid out for the CRF1000L Africa Twin’s chassis were threefold: the ability to cover
considerable amounts of off-road ground, with excellent on-road high-speed stability both when riding
solo and when fully loaded with pillion and luggage.
Combining all three attributes presented a stimulating challenge for Honda’s development engineers.
The resulting steel semi-double cradle frame (a similar design is used by the CRF450R Rally) has a
finely tuned rigidity balance, not only within the frame spine and tubes but also through the use of 6
carefully placed engine hangers.
Thanks to the compact design of both engine and frame ground clearance is 250mm, with wheelbase
of 1,575mm and rake and trail of 27.5°/113mm. The lightweight subframe features diagonal cross
bracing and will carry a cargo weight of 30kg. Dry weight of the standard model is 208kg with wet
weight of 228kg and a front/rear weight split of 49.1/50.9; seat height is 870mm (the same as the
XRV750L Africa Twin) and can be lowered 20mm in a single operation.
Compared to the XRV750L the distance between the swingarm pivot and front tyre is 8mm shorter at
931mm, with the new machine using a 20mm longer swingarm. Add packaging of items like the
battery nearer the centre of mass (behind the engine cylinders) and load on the front tyre is increased,
improving both stability and traction. The steering angle of 43° either way equates to a turning radius
of just 2.6m - useful for threading through busy streets or tricky trail.
And even though the CRF1000L’s engine is 25% larger in capacity and produces approx. 50% more
power than the original, the new Africa Twin is only marginally lighter, with slim dimensions around the
tank and seat area, and a riding position that enhances control and movement.
With stroke length of 230mm, the 45mm Showa cartridge-type inverted front fork offers class-leading
levels of performance. For all-round compliance and feel the long extension stroke combines with a low
spring rate and spring preload; rebound and compression damping are fully adjustable.
The leading axle maintains the required fork offset and centre of gravity of the steering system
(compared to a centre axle design) aids mass centralisation and saves weight. A cast aluminium top
yoke and forged bottom yoke - joined by hollow aluminium stem shaft - clamp the fork legs with two
bolts each top and bottom.
The new 45mm Showa fork and yokes combined - thanks to extensive weight reduction through
hollowing and thinning - are actually 860g lighter than the 43mm ‘upright’ fork and yokes of the
XRV750L Africa Twin.
Matching the supple front suspension and generous ground clearance the Showa rear shock delivers
220mm axle travel. Its upper mount is set low for mass-centralisation and it features a 46mm cylinder
and remote reservoir (as used by the CRF motocrossers) for stable damping control under more
extreme off-road riding conditions. Spring preload can be adjusted via a dial on the shock body;
rebound and compression damping are also fully adjustable.
The Monoblock cast aluminium swingarm in cross-section has hexagonal trapezoid spars, with the right
(muffler) side thicker in depth - to maintain lateral rigidity balance - and shaped to clear the exhaust.
Tough 6000-series forged aluminium is used for the Pro-Link linkage, saving weight while improving
durability. The swingarm mounts to the engine cases through 17mm hollowed co-axial bolts.
The CRF1000L Africa Twin uses the same wheel size as the CRF450R Rally, 21-inch front and 18-inch
rear; this allows a useful choice of off-road tyres to be applied. Widths of the rims are 2.15-inch/4-inch
and 20mm front and rear hollow axle shafts improves rigidity while saving weight. On the rear wheel’s
left side the spokes are arranged tangentially, to make space, and on the right the layout is linear to
the hub and rim for strength.
Compact two-piece radial-mount four-piston calipers are designed to work the 310mm ‘wave’ floating
discs through sintered pads (similar to the setup used by the CRF450R Rally) and serve up consistent
stopping power and feel on-road or off. The pads’ bracket cotter pins have been done away with,
simplifying the design and shaving grams, while aluminium disc hubs - the first on any Honda - also
save weight.
The rear 256mm ‘wave’ disc is also CRF-derived and has been optimised for the Africa Twin, with hole
punching and shaping to deliver secure braking performance. Lightweight two-channel ABS can be
turned off for the rear caliper only.
The OE 90/90-21 and 150/70-18 Dunlop tyres - featuring large groove widths and narrow pitches
between adjacent grooves - use a carcass and compound developed specifically to work well on tarmac
or trail.
3.3 Styling & equipment
Minimal bodywork provides protection for the rider without bulk; the negative LCD display
stacks rider information vertically rally-style for fast reading. New switchgear is
ergonomically designed for ease of use and mounted on a tapered aluminium handlebar.
Lighting is full LED.
The styling concept of the CRF1000L Africa Twin is one of ‘unlimited adventure’. The compact power
unit features minimum exterior parts and this is reflected in the slim body and 18.8L fuel tank, which is
designed to increase rider control and movement. It also features limited overhang, greatly improving
chance of damage in a minor spill. Fittingly dual LED headlights pay homage to the XRV750L Africa
Twin, reinforced with a ‘twin ring’ signature halo of LED light. The rear light is also LED.
To give maximum wind protection
while touring - without hindering
freedom off-road - the cowl and
screen are an integrated unit. The
screen’s centre duct controls
turbulent air and allows a higher
screen height, while dual side
ducts deflect wind around
shoulders and arms. A 90mm
taller/30mm wider screen is
available as an option for
extended touring.
Internal airflow for the engine has
also been carefully managed with
baffle plates, bypass conduits and
doglegs. To channel consistent air
to the airbox - while under
acceleration or steady load - the
four ducts feeding from the radiator area are supplemented by duct ports in three locations; three on
the front spoiler, twelve on the inner cover and two on the rear of the inner cover.
A negative LCD meter, vertically stacked, follows closely the dash layout of a rally race bike, allowing
information to be rapidly assessed with little eye movement left or right. Three rows (clock, gear
position, HSTC, odometer. trip meter, ambient temperature gauge and fuel gauge) display in the
bottom section, and can be switched around by the rider through use of a cursor. The upper section
LCD displays the essential speed, rpm and fuel. DCT information - with D-S mode selection
and Gswitch setup - is clustered together.
The switchgear for both manual and DCT machine has been designed to improve rider control and ease
of use. The dash functions are controlled from a button on the left switchgear, as is control of HSTC,
with the indicator switch set closer to the handlebar. The right hand switchgear has an integrated
start/engine stop switch, plus a hazard light button.
To manage the CRF1000L Africa Twin in DCT form the left switchgear incorporates an ‘up’ shift trigger
on its rear - in a place naturally found by a forefinger - with the ‘down’ shift trigger on the front ready
for a thumb. The right switchgear features an AT/MT (automatic/manual) select button and N-DS(neutral, drive, sport) switch. The parking brake is operated by pulling a lever on the left handlebar,
with four levels of braking force to suit conditions - up to an 18% gradient with two people and full
load - and slipping on the small lock lever; it’s taken off by simply squeezing the lever. A plastic guard
shields the parking brake caliper and rear disc.
The tapered aluminium handlebar is both tough and attractive. It’s made in Japan from a new grade
material with a high strength to thickness ratio, meaning it’s manufactured with 3mm walled tubing. It
clamps on a 28.45mm diameter, tapers to 22.2mm and is 50% lighter - and much stronger - than a
conventional steel handlebar.
Rubber mounts reduce impact shock off-road while brass inserts minimise the vibration fatigue of longdistance touring; bar end weights incorporate with knuckle guards for hand protection.
The CRF1000L Africa Twin will be available in four colour options: two standard and two Special Edition
CRF Rally (SE)
Africa Twin Tricolor (SE)
Digital Silver Metallic
Matte Ballistic Black Metallic
Racing is in Honda’s DNA and the CRF Rally, with its Extreme Red and Victory Red stripes, plus threetone seat echoes HRC’s CRF450R Rally machine. The Tricolour option pays its dues to the heritage of
the original XRV750L Africa Twin, with unmistakable lines and paint to celebrate the machine’s return.
4. Accessories
A full range of genuine Honda accessories will be available, including top box, panniers, smoke screen,
high screen, upper and lower wind deflectors, rubber pillion step, DCT foot shifter, heated grips, 12V
socket, fog lamp including cowl bar, wheel stripes and alarm system.
5. Technical Specifications
Liquid-cooled 4-stroke 4 valve-per-cylinder parallel twin with 270° crank
and uni-cam
Bore & Stroke
92.0 x 75.1mm
Max. Power Output
70kW/7,500rpm (95/1/EC)
Max. Torque
98Nm/6,000rpm (95/1/EC)
Fuel Capacity
18.8 litres
Fuel consumption (WMTC mode)
MT: 21.7 km/l (WMTC)
DCT: 21.8 km/l (WMTC)
MT: Wet, multiplate with coil springs, Aluminium Cam Assist and Slipper
clutch DCT: 2 Wet multiple clutches with coil springs
Gearbox / Transmission Type
Constant mesh 6-speed MT / 6-speed DCT
Final Drive
O-ring sealed chain
Honda Selectable Torque Control
System (HSTC)
* HSTC 3-levels + Switch Off (*ABS & DCT models only, not on STD
Steel semi-double cradle type with steel rear subframe
Dimensions (L x W x H)
2,335 x 875 x 1,475mm (STD), 2,335 x 930 x 1,475mm (ABS/DCT)
Seat Height (STD position / Low
Ground Clearance
Dry Weight
208kg (STD), 212 kg (ABS), 222kg (DCT)
Kerb Weight
228kg (STD), 232 kg (ABS), 242kg (DCT)
Turning Radius
Suspension (front)
Show 45mm cartridge-type inverted telescopic fork with dial-style
preload adjuster and DF adjustment, 230mm stroke.
Suspension (rear)
Monoblock cast aluminium swing arm with Pro-Link with gas-charged
damper, hydraulic dial-style preload adjuster and rebound damping
adjustment, 220 mm rear wheel travel.
Wheels Front
Wire spoke with aluminium rim
Wheels Rear
Wire spoke with aluminium rim
Rim Size Front
21 x 2.15
Rim Size Rear
18 x 4.00
Tyres Front
90/90-21 tube type
Tyres Rear
150/70-18 tube type
ABS system type
ABS* 2-Channel with rear ABS off switch (* ABS & DCT models only, not
on STD model)
Type Front
310mm dual wave floating disc with aluminium hub and radial fit 4piston calipers and sintered metal pads
Type Rear
256mm wave disc with 1-piston caliper and sintered metal pads. Also
Lever-Lock Type Parking Brake System on DCT model with additional
slide type 1-piston caliper
Rally style negative LCD instrument display including: Speedometer,
Tachometer, Fuel, Gear position, *ABS, *HSTC, Odometer, Trip and Clock
*denotes ABS/DCT type
Dual LED (1 High/1 Low) with LED
STD: Bulb type
ABS/DCT: LED type. Both with Amber Position Light function (APL)
All specifications are provisional and subject to change without notice.
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