The third generation of Honda Africa Twin has finally matured into the bike that so many of its fans hoped it would be from the outset. Armed with enough of the latest electronic technology and a bit more go in its super-sized motor, it is a serious contender in the adventure bike market. But is Honda’s decision to move the stock bike more towards the off-road side the right one?
It may be more agile than the 2020 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports, but I can’t help but feel riders will be swayed by the practicality offered by the Sports over the stock model’s rugged outlook on life and lighter overall weight.Out of the two models available on launch, the Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports is certainly the one to opt for if you are a road rider who wants a mile-muncher and has limited interest in off-road riding.
The new engine injects a boost in performance that while not R1250GS topping, is certainly a noticeable improvement. The lower seat height and narrower waist mean it feels less intimidating at slow speed and the electronic suspension delivers a plush ride quality.Showa’s Electronically Equipped Ride Adjustment (EERA) is linked to the six-axis IMU as well as stroke sensors and has three road settings and an off-road setting and can have its shock’s preload adjusted while the bike is stationary to suit two-up or riding with luggage.
On the road the system responds extremely well with a noticeable difference in damping between settings and a feeling of compliance. While lacking any self-levelling function, it delivers a plush ride quality and is a worthy addition. The Sports’ lowered seat height (dropped 50mm for 2020) and narrower waist makes it more reassuring at slow speed as your feet are planted on the ground and the five-way adjustable screen gives good shelter.The parallel twin has received an increase in capacity from 998cc to 1084cc for 2020 through a 6.4mm longer stroke, boosting peak power and torque by 6.8bhp and 4.4ftlb respectively while also delivering increases throughout the rev range. Honda’s parallel twin has certainly benefitted from a very welcome bit of extra pep without losing its overall feeling of refinement. It’s not going to blow your socks off, but it is a definite improvement and certainty fulfills a touring brief with little vibes, a good throttle connection and slick gearbox.
Also new for 2020 is a 6.5-inch touch screen TFT dash as standard. Incorporating Apple CarPlay, it is Bluetooth ready, can display navigation apps, has a USB charging point and can be accessed with a gloved hand, however the touch screen is only available when the bike is stationary and Apple CarPlay requires a Bluetooth headset to be linked to function, which is annoying. An ES version of the Adventure Sports adds Showa’s semi-active suspension for a premium.