To ride the Honda CRF 1000L Africa Twin you need to master the electronic functions first, says P Tharyan.
All photographs: Courtesy Honda motorcycles
The CRF 1000L Africa Twin comes with a Dual Clutch Transmission, which means it is an automatic with paddle shifters.
In short, the conventional gear shift lever at the left foot area is missing, and so is the clutch lever on the handle bar. The bike owes its performance to the sophisticated electronics inside its belly.
The CRF 1000L Africa Twin is powered by a parallel twin-cylinder OHC engine that produces around 87hp at 7,500 rpm and a peak torque of 91.9Nm at 6,000rpm. The bike can reach a top speed of 190kmph.
The moment you tweak the ignition and press the start button on the right of your handlebar, the engine comes to life with a great sound that is not jarring or irksome.
Another button on the right helps you to put the bike into 'D' (drive) mode.
The bike has a Dual Clutch Transmission, or DCT, that acts like an automatic transmission with paddle shifters on the left side of the handlebars.
The thumb switch on the right allows you to select 'D' or 'S' (sports) riding modes.
There is also a button for you to select MT, or manual transmission, which means you can play manually with the paddle shifters to shift up or down the six gears.
The D mode is ideal for city riding, where you want to achieve good fuel efficiency.
The S mode allows you three levels of sporty ride -- S1, S2 and S3 all engaged with long pressing the button.
The Africa Twin also has a rally style LCD display that digitally informs you about the speed, RPM levels, fuel position, gear position, odometer details, trip functions, ambient temperature and clock.
It also displays all your drive settings, whether your traction control is engaged or disengaged, and most important, the Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) and ABS.
You need to master the electronic functions first.
The HSTC and ABS work in unison, but they can be independently set to give the rider 80 different possible combinations. Thus, depending on your skill and your track or terrain, this setting can be changed.
As you ride, the human and computer generated algorithms come into play to programme gear changes. This ensures optimum automatic gear changes.
Both the power and torque delivery are very strong and linear.
As I rode into some off road terrains, I changed my settings to Sport mode, pressed the G switch. The G function is like when you half press the clutch, and it responds directly to your throttle inputs.
Going over rough terrains or even bumps and pot holes is a breeze with the Africa Twin.
The vehicle sits on 21 inches 90/90 54H front tyre and 18 inches 150/70R rear tyre. The tyres come with tubes.
I found the suspension of the Africa Twin perfectly tuned to absorb all the undulations and ensure a comfortable ride. It has telescopic front suspension, a pro-link suspension at the rear and a semi double cradle frame to boot.
Disc brakes are there both in front and rear.
This half-faired motorcycle comes with twin LED headlamps, an aggressively poised handle bar, knuckle guards and spoked wheels along with an artistically painted fuel tank and seats.
The rear mud guard and tail light give it a sporty character.
The small windscreen and the cowl are well designed for the aerodynamic look.
The smart two-in-one exhaust with two tiny outlets add to the good looks of the bike.
This bike is 2,334 mm in length, has a 932 mm width and a height of 1,478 mm.
The seat height is around 820 to 840 mm and is adjustable.
It also has a high ground clearance of around 250 mm and a kerb weight of 245 kg.
The bike has a fuel tank capacity of 18.8 litres that can ensure you a travel of around 400 km. Fuel efficiency is around 21.5 km per litre.
|HONDA CRF 1000L Africa Twin
|Liquid-cooled, 4 –stroke, SI engine, twin-cylinder 999.11cc
|Fuel tank capacity:
|Dual Clutch Transmission, 6-speed
|Rs 13.06 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)