2018 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports | First Look Review

2018 Honda CRF1000L2 Africa Twin Adventure Sports
2018 Honda CRF1000L2 Africa Twin Adventure Sports

Since its introduction for 2016, Honda’s CRF1000L Africa Twin has been a runaway success. It has been a best seller in the red-hot adventure-touring segment, and it has proven itself to be a solid platform in road tests and comparisons. Powered by a torquey, compact, liquid-cooled 998cc parallel twin and available with either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT), the Africa Twin rolls on off-road-ready 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels, has switchable ABS and traction control, and a solid chassis with long-travel suspension.

Read our 2016 Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin first ride review

2018 Honda CRF1000L2 Africa Twin Adventure Sports
The 2018 Honda CRF1000L2 Africa Twin Adventure Sports in its element. It has a bigger gas tank, taller suspension, crash bars, a bigger fairing and windscreen, and more.

At the EICMA show in Milan, Italy, Honda unveiled an updated version of the Africa Twin as well as a new version, the CRF1000L2 Africa Twin Adventure Sports. Both models will be available in the U.S. in summer 2018, and the Adventure Sports model will carry a $2,000 higher MSRP, though the price for the 2018 Africa Twin has not yet been released.

Read our 2016 Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin DCT tour test review

2018 Honda CRF1000L2 Africa Twin Adventure Sports
For 2018, both Honda Africa Twin models have an instrument panel that’s easier to read during stand-up riding.

To ready it for long-haul adventure touring, the Africa Twin Adventure Sports has a larger fairing, a 3.15-inch taller windscreen and heated grips and a 12V power socket as standard equipment. It also has a larger fuel tank (6.37 gallons compared to 4.97 gallons on the standard model), a bigger skid plate, crash bars, brushed-aluminum cowling panels, a rear mudguard, an easily removable steel luggage rack and a storage pocket on the right rear of the bike. The Adventure Sports gets updated, longer-travel Showa suspension, raising ground clearance from 9.8 inches to 10.6 inches. It also has a flatter seat that’s 1.2 inches taller than the standard model—its two-position seat can be set at 35.4 or 36.2 inches (compared to 33.5 or 34.3 inches)—and its handlebar is 1.3 inches higher and 0.2 inch closer to the rider than the standard version’s.

Watch our 2016 Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin video review

2018 Honda CRF1000L2 Africa Twin Adventure Sports
2018 Honda CRF1000L2 Africa Twin Adventure Sports

Many updates to the engine, electronics and rider interface are common to both models. The parallel twin gets a new airbox with a longer funnel length and redesigned exhaust internals that significantly improve midrange response and sound quality, and the engine’s balancer-shaft weights have been lightened by 10.6 ounces to liven up power delivery. A new lithium-ion battery is 5.1 pounds lighter than the previous lead-acid unit. New throttle-by-wire enables four riding modes and an expanded Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC, or traction control) system with seven levels (up from three). HSTC can also be completely switched off, and three levels of power and engine braking are available. Throttle-by-wire can also enable electronic cruise control, but Honda hasn’t yet added this feature, which will be a deal-breaker for some riders.

Read our 2017 Honda Africa Twin vs KTM 1090 Adventure R comparison review

Both CRF1000L Africa Twins now have auto-canceling turn signals, wider rider footpegs mounted to stronger steel plates, redesigned passenger footpeg hangers that allow more room for stand-up riding. Furthermore, the instrument panel is positioned at a shallower angle to allow the rider to see it more easily from a standing position.

Check out more new bikes in Rider’s guide to new/updated 2018 motorcycles




    • Actually I LOVE the paint job, but I also come from the 80’s era of riding Honda’s so it brings back nice memories for me. 🙂

  1. NO CRUISE? Come on Honda! I So want this bike but can’t live without my cruise control on long journeys I’ll just have to stick with my explorer till you get this put right 🙁

  2. Agree with most that there is no reason why this bike does not have Cruise Control. Especially for this new Sport verion that has all the bells and whistles. C’mon Honda this is a no brainer and will cost you sales with some.

  3. I’m not sure why people are so stuck on cruise control. The roads (in South Africa at least) are generally so congested that one cannot run cruise control for very long anyway before having to brake or slow down or accelerate. Off-road is not a place for cruise control, and that’s where the Africa Twin is designed to be used more often. Like most electronics on cars and bikes nowadays, it is not really that important or used that often, but everybody wants it ’cause it’s cool. All these things just add cost to the bike and takes away real riding fun and involvement. The best may be to not buy a bike and wait for them to finish self-balancing and self-driving technology, then you don’t have to do anything for yourself.

  4. Totally agree on the cruise control. Every long distance bike should be equipped with this option. Deal breaker for me, come on Honda get it together!


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