2020 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin | First Look Review

2020 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin Adventure Sports ES in Pearl Glare White/Blue
For 2020, Honda has updated its Africa Twin platform–now designated CRF1100L–with a larger, more powerful engine, new electronics and more.

Back in 2016 Honda launched a reboot of the Africa Twin, a legendary, ’80s-era, Dakar-inspired dual-sport that never made it to the U.S. Sharing the “CRF” model designation with Honda’s line of off-road bikes made it clear that the all-new CRF1000L Africa Twin was designed to be just as capable off the pavement as on it.

Read our 2016 Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin First Ride Review

2020 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin in Matte Black Metallic
2020 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin in Matte Black Metallic

Powered by a snappy 998cc parallel twin, the Africa Twin shared DNA with Honda’s Dakar competition bike, the CRF450R Rally, with a semi-double cradle frame, 21-inch front/18-inch rear spoked wheels with tube-type tires, extra-long suspension travel (9.1 inches front, 8.7 inches rear) and nearly 10 inches of ground clearance. It was offered as a standard model with a 6-speed manual transmission with an assist-and-slipper clutch, or as a DCT model with Honda’s Dual Clutch Transmission with automatic and manual modes.

Read our 2016 Honda Africa Twin DCT Touring Review

2020 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin Adventure Sports ES with accessories
The 2020 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin Adventure Sports ES with factory accessories including aluminum luggage, engine protection bars and more.

For 2018, Honda introduced a more touring oriented version called the Africa Twin Adventure Sports, which benefited from engine updates, a lightweight lithium-ion battery, throttle-by-wire with riding modes, an extra inch of suspension travel, a 1.4-gallon larger fuel tank (6.4 gallons), a taller windscreen, a taller handlebar and other cosmetic, ergonomic and functional changes.

Read our 2018 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports Road Test Review

There’s been buzz for a while now something new coming down the pike, and today Honda announced the new 2020 CRF1100L Africa Twin and CRF1100L Africa Twin Adventure Sports ES. Both get a larger, more powerful engine, a more advanced suite of electronic rider aids and other updates. The standard Africa Twin is geared more toward off-road performance, while the Adventure Sports ES is designed to deliver more comfort and confidence for long-distance touring.

2020 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin engine
With an 86cc bump in displacement and intake and exhaust updates, the parallel twin that powers the CRF1100L Africa Twin is said to be 6% more powerful than its predecessor.

The liquid-cooled, DOHC parallel twin powering both Africa Twin models gets an 86cc bump in displacement, to 1,084cc, which, along with along with improved intake and exhaust systems, results in a claimed 6% increase in horsepower. The frame has been updated for optimized handling, the rear subframe is now made of aluminum construction and is detachable, and the CRF450R-style aluminum swingarm is lighter and more rigid.

2020 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin Adventure Sports ES TFT display
Both 2020 Africa Twins get a six-axis IMU, new rider aids, a full-color TFT touchscreen display and standard cruise control.

A six-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU) enables new rider aids including wheelie control, cornering ABS, rear-lift control and, for models so equipped, DCT cornering detection. A new 6.5-inch TFT color touchscreen display is compatible with Apple CarPlay, and cruise control is standard on both models.

2020 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin

2020 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin in Matte Black Metallic
2020 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin in Matte Black Metallic

Honda says the 2020 Honda Africa Twin is 6 pounds lighter than the 2019 model and it features a shorter, fixed windscreen and a 5-gallon fuel tank. It will be available in March 2020 in Matte Black Metallic for $14,399 with a 6-speed transmission or $15,199 with DCT.

Read: Honda Celebrates 60 Years in America

2020 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin Adventure Sports ES

2020 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin Adventure Sports ES in Pearl Glare White/Blue
2020 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin Adventure Sports ES in Pearl Glare White/Blue

The 2020 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports ES, which is said to be 3 pounds lighter than the 2019 Adventure Sports, features new Showa Electronically Equipped Ride Adjustment suspension (EERA), cornering lights, tubeless wheels, heated grips, an accessory socket, a larger adjustable windscreen, a larger skid plate, a lower seat than last year’s model, an aluminum rear rack and a 6.5-gallon tank. It will be available in March 2020 in Pearl Glare White/Blue for $17,199 with a 6-speed transmission or $17,999 with DCT.

2020 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin Adventure Sports ES front wheel
Tubeless wheels on the 2020 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin Adventure Sports ES responds to a common complaint about the standard Africa Twin. Many touring riders appreciate the convenience of quick roadside flat repairs.

Check out more new bikes in our 2020 Guide to New Street Motorcycles


  1. Offer a model with a 19 inch front wheel, lowered an inch with high quality 80/20 tires and I’m in the showroom. As it sits now, I’ll be hunting Tigers.

    • Thats my thoughts. Not enjoying the 21/18. Most adv biking is 70/30, 60/40, even 50/50 Triuph, BMW and KTM seem to have it right with 19″ fronts.

  2. Rode the 2019 DCT ADV Sport recently. I was surprised how much I liked it. Well balanced, torquey, smooth and refined. First bike I’ve ridden in several years that’s got me considering a trade in of my KTM 1290 Super ADV. I suspect anyone who’s been riding large ADV bikes for a while won’t be intimidated by its 500+ lb weight either.

  3. The ATs are great allrounder bikes. I don’t know why people are complaining about things they can change like tyres and seat hight. ADVs that are more dirt oriented use a 21″ front and by no means it makes the bike feel any different on long road rides either. All in all any ADV bike is a compromise but I think the AT is well balanced.

  4. Great bike, just picked up a 19 AS model. I’m 5’9 tall. The standard height is WAY TOO TALL, but the low seat is only $140 and an easy fix to get the bike ridable. This is where Honda screwed up – if they offered the low seat as the standard seat and showed better specs, they would have sold a lot more. Tall seat should be an option for tall riders, or give customers a choice. They nailed it with the 2020 model but now the price is $18-19K. Honda, for that price customers will start comparing you with R1250GS and 1290 Adventure R. Why?? Even us Honda fans won’t pay that much if it can buy us better electronic, display, comfort an a whole lot more power.

    • Yes, Yes, Yes. Plus the suspension is updated, it feels even more nimble and the electronics are great
      (if you like that sort of thing). I had a 17′ and they improved many of the things I felt were lacking .

  5. Hmmmm….I owned a 2016 clutch Africa Twin…..two seasons in Canada and 30,000 km…..great bike and absolutely nothing to report….no problems….I miss the AT. Thinking of going back to an Africa Twin DCT. Presently riding a Super Tenere ES, great bike, 2018 ES model, 45,000 km on on it now….still thinking

    • I bought a used 2016 AT DCT and love the bike but the transmission has problems. Goes from Drive to Sport but stuck in Sport2 mode. Been using the paddles and shifting manually for the most part. Anyone know if there’s an easy DIY fix? I would think this would be a recall or at least Honda would fix it free. 25K miles is a bit early to be having transmission trouble.

      • Have you tried to do a reset? You can do a google, but here is the process:

        Start the engine.
        Select N
        Stop the engine.
        While pressing D, switch the ignition on, wait until the yellow ‘engine’ symbol goes out on the dash, then release D
        Press in fast sequence: DDNDN
        On the dash, the letters D and S should appear together
        Restart engine, allow it to idle.
        After a few seconds, the letters D and S should go out.

        Coutresy James MC on the AT Forum

    • How would you compare both bikes as I am considering both bikes and I am undecided at this point? And why would you go back to the Honda that the Yamaha is not able to give you (apart the DCT)?

      • Hi Alex,
        Just saw this, simply put, the Super Tenere is a better on road bike, and the Africa Twin is a better gravel road bike.
        For trips of any long distance, can’t beat the shaft drive of the Tenere.

  6. I’ve been riding my 2016 AT through a good variety of off road and on road conditions. I have been very satisfied with the overall performance. I installed full Ti exhaust, power commander with auto tune, bark busters and a few other modifications. Honda nailed it with the 2016 model in my opinion. I don’t need the 1100 cc engine and the extra electronics. I looked at the 2020 standard model but the higher price and cost to bring it up to my 2016 spec just couldn’t be justified for me.

  7. 2016 Africa Twin clutch model 30 000 kms in two seasons…zero issues
    2018 Super Tenere ES 45,000 kms in two seasons…buggy cruise control…contact cleaner on brake micro switches was the cure…
    2020 Africa Twin DCT non adventure model 54,000 kms in two seasons.
    Love the DCT due to the arthritis in my hands. Tube type tyres…booo…
    Two recalls on the 2020…. ABS modulator changed under recall…software update on second recall. ABs warning light at 50,000 kms, believed to be a loose connection. Electronics a bit “over the top”.
    About to purchase a new 2021 Africa Twin DCT Adventure Model…
    Tubeless tyres and a larger gas tank.
    Electronic suspension that I could do without, both the 2020 and the 2021 have cruise control as did the Tenere.
    Hint, if a bike is just a little bit too tall for you, invest in a good riding boot with a thick sole, works for me at 5 foot 8 inches


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