Honda Africa Twin DCT Review
- Published On: 20 August 2018
- 4 min read
Minor tweaks have made the Africa Twin better overall.
The 2018 version of the Africa Twin gets throttle by wire, which means it gets the Honda Selectable Torque Control programme with seven intensity levels, as opposed to the three on the older bike. If you want to ride aggressively, you go to Level 1 while level 7 is for when you want to be cautious in wet, slippery conditions. There are four new riding modes as well, namely Urban, Touring, Gravel and User.
The company has also updated the airbox and the exhaust unit, giving it slightly stronger mid-range performance and a more pronounced exhaust note. The new lithium-ion battery has helped the bike lose 2.35kg too. Our test bike had a lot of accessories, like a very tall windscreen, a crash guard with fog lights mounted on it, wind deflectors on the fairing and a top-box mount on the carrier.
The redesigned instrument cluster is an LCD unit and offers a terrific amount of information with better readability. The 999 cc, liquid-cooled, parallel-twin motor now gains about 0.6hp more, producing 89hp. Torque has gone up by 1.1Nm as well, taking it up to 93.1Nm. The bike will be sold in India with a six-speed gearbox which offers three drivetrain modes – D, which is fully automatic, S, which makes things sportier, and M, which lets you shift gears manually. The motor retains its tractability, Honda focussed on making the engine manageable rather than making it come across as intimidating. You sit in a commanding position without being aggressive and you have a great view of things around you thanks to the adjustable tall seat. In city traffic, this bike feels as effortless to ride as an Activa and it is just as comfortable cruising at high speeds on the highway.
Maintaining 120-140 kph is an easy task on this bike and thanks to the 18.8-litre fuel tank, you effectively have a nearly 300km range. The long travel suspension at either end (a USD fork and a monoshock are standard fare) is soft in its neutral setting but thanks to being fully adjustable, you can tailor it to suit your needs. The bike is fitted with 21/18-inch (front/rear) wheels so it isn’t particularly agile in the fast twisties, but it still is very easy to handle. The tyres, a 90/90-21 and a 150/70-R18, feature an on/off-road pattern (nothing too seriously off-road biased) which work well and the brakes (310mm twin-disc up front, 256mm disc at the rear) continue to retain a soft initial bite but they perform adequately, providing just the right amount of progression necessary.
The bike on the rough is like a mountain goat. It’s incredible how much the Africa Twin feels like a dirt bike - this thing can climb really steep rock faces with relative ease. Honda has equipped it with a ‘G’ mode, which engages the clutch for added tractability on loose surfaces on an incline. You also have the option of disconnecting ABS at the rear wheel, which helps you slide the rear and generally control the bike’s trajectory more.
So, if you aren’t fixated on horsepower for a motorcycle of this price, then you’ve just got to buy the Africa Twin. This is a bike that lets you explore, discover and live every long-distance fantasy you’ve ever had.