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!

  5. I’ve been looking at new bikes.. the adventure sports Would have been Perfect for me. How/why would they add throttle by wire, and leave off the cruise control? I definitely prefer tubeless, but I could have lived with tubes. Without cruise though? I ride way too many road miles, to not have that!

    Sure kaoko, and other similar options are cheap..but they absolutely suck compared to “real”, cruise. Sure, MCC (motorcycle cruise control, which is a company) will come up with an option, (they might already have one) but that’s another $1k’ish. That 1k would buy a lot of gas!

    Honda goes out, builds an amazing world tourer, but stops just short of making it “complete”. Couple years later, they do excellent upgrade to it, but still leave off the cruise? They Know which bikes it’ll be compared to, they are just scared the AT would steal some Goldwing sales.

    Take a lesson from Kawasaki Concours. When they first released it, it won pretty much every review/shootout. Now, 10yrs later, it just keeps losing. Every single review/shootout complains about lack of cruise.

    This is where Honda will be in a couple’s years, if they don’t add it. Future reviews will go. It’s an amazing machine off-road, but for any street touring, look elsewhere. Lack of cruise really holds this bike back.

  6. Self cancelling indicators….but no cruise control. Really.
    That’s a deal breaker for me. These bikes are meant for long distance. A lot of which is highway riding.

  7. Not sure how the conversation went at the strategy session when the decision was made to omit cruise control but I have to believe the decision was made by people who don’t spend much time riding. Often times there is a lot of pavement between one adventure ride and the next. Cruise control on a bike like this ranks right up there in importance with handlebars.

  8. I don’t get the cruise control thing at all little if any place for it off road and if your wrist cant hold a throttle for 3 or 4 hrs then get a push bike lol. I’m an Overlander travel across continents and never used cruise control. My gripe with it is that as with all the current trends it has far too much electronics. I wish Honda would make a stripped down version without abs, without computer controlled wizardry and give us a proper fix it by the roadside genuine RTW adventure bike again like the older xrv750. Until then Ill continue with my 2002 Africa Twin. Don’t get me wrong I rode one for 2 hrs and it handles like a 600 in traffic and then has the bigger power band and Id consider selling my AT, XL600, pegasso 600, Royal Enfield and R850GS and get the one bike. PS, never use my GS as its too heavy and unbalanced compared to the AT.

  9. Been riding an AT 2016, which I bought new after the 2017s came out; to ride to Alaska. It was a terrific ride; and tore up the off-road against the 1200GSs with me.

    BUT—But I have been ready to get a new one as soon as they add Cruise Control and I am totally miffed by how Honda adds all the cool stuff missing from the 2016 and leaves off CC. I’ll keep waiting.

  10. I HAVE to have cruise control, bad wrist so it’s a no go sadly… Don’t want to buy a 16-17 and then spend $1300 on a McCruise unit.

  11. Need cruise, I have to ride at least 100 miles sometimes 200 on freeways to get anywhere fun and hate constantly looking at speedo, plus I’m old.

  12. I was this close to buying a 17′ AT. The lack of cruise control pushed me to a 1290 Super Adventure. Very happy with the SA, but will probably go to an AT if/when they add CC.

  13. It seems there are many top end bikes in this segment of the market that do have cruise control and heated seats as options – why are Honda so behind on this? I’ve got a Triumph XCA 800 which has those features, but would trade it tomorrow for an Africa Twin with those features. As some have said you don’t need it off road, but there are a lot of (well policed) sections of sealed road between the off road sections, which is where cruise control is extremely useful. Have it as an option – if you don’t want it then don’t get it, but reading this suggests it is a deal breaker for many – come on Honda – give us the choice.


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