WORLD LAUNCH: 2020 Honda Africa Twin & Adventure Sports road & off-road riding impressions


2020 Honda Africa Twin
2020 Honda Africa Twin. Photos: Ross Mowbray

We’re out in Sardinia, Italy for the launch of THREE new Honda Africa Twins. Yesterday we spent the day on the Africa Twin Adventure Sports with Showa semi-active suspension – but today we’ve been on the standard 2020 Honda Africa Twin and standard Adventure Sports.

We started the day by heading out in to the Sardinian countryside on the new, slimmer, lighter and more powerful Africa Twin. As with the Adventure Sports we were riding yesterday, the big news for 2020 is its new motor – which kicks out 100.5bhp and 77 lb-ft of torque.

Interestingly, there’s been a slight shift of priorities for 2020 too – so while the Adventure Sports was previously Honda’s hardcore off-roader, this time, the standard Africa Twin’s the one that’s ready to hit the trails.

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The off-road section of the ride offered an excellent opportunity for us to see just how well the new AT handled the dirt. Quite often on launches you get to ride a 200 metre stretch of flat fire trail. Not today. Admittedly, it wasn’t overly technical or tight, but with a mix of wide open trails, tight switchbacks, climbs and downhill sections across sand, gravel and rocks; we got a good chance to see the new Africa Twin in its natural environment.  

Off-road riders will be amazed

The Africa Twin’s new 6-axis IMU was working overtime today. I’m no off-road god – but the electronics helped me push harder and harder as the day went on.

I had a couple of sketchy moments where it felt like the front end was going to wash out on loose gravel and sand and somehow I managed to stay up. If you’re a serious off-road rider, you’ll be amazed at what the bike’s capable of doing. And if you’re an average off-roader who likes to tackle the occasional trail, the Africa Twin will help you get a real wriggle on.

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I split my time across the DCT and Manual versions of the bike today – tackling the 20 (odd) km off-road loop on each. I started on the DCT, and for the first time on the 2020 Honda Africa Twin, I was really quite impressed with the system.

It’s just one less thing to worry about. And if you really need to shift gears, you can just tap the up or down paddles and away you go. If you’re a less experienced off-roader, I’m fairly confident in saying it’d help you tackle more challenging terrain than if you were on the manual model. Saying that, I did still prefer the manual – but that’s just a personal preference.

Seriously impressed

Overall, I’m very impressed with Honda’s newest off-road ready Africa Twin. It’s agile and aggressive when it needs to be – and soft, stable and sedate when it needs to be. It’s also the cheapest of the bunch, coming in at £13,049 for the manual model and £13,949 for the DCT.

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After lunch, we switched bikes and jumped on the new ‘standard’ Adventure Sports. You know – the one without the Showa semi-active suspension. We got the chance to see how well it went on some tight twisty little back roads, some fast sweepers, in town, and even on some sandy trails.

In short, it goes well. I was seriously impressed with the top of the range Adventure Sports yesterday – and aside from that semi-active suspension, the ‘standard’ machine’s much the same bike.

Priced at £14,649 for the manual model and £15,849 for the DCT, it’s one hell of a step up from the previous generation machine.

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So that’s it. Two days, six bikes – and I’ve loved every second. If I had to pick only one of them to go in my garage, which would it be…? I don’t know. Honest. They each do different things very well.

If I was planning a serious off-road around the world adventure, I’d be very tempted by the standard Africa Twin. If I wanted a comfortable sport tourer to traverse continents and tackle a bit of off-road on the way, it’d probably be the standard Adventure Sports.

And if I wanted to go all out and spend some serious cash on a bike that’s super agile on the road but would handle some tricky trails without a problem (and has suspension that’s adjustable with the click of a button, which is monitoring your every move to ensure you get the best performance at all times), it’s going to be the top of the line Adventure Sports.

I know that’s not really an answer. Can’t I have all three? Never mind me though – which one would you go for?


The full launch report of all three bikes will be published in the December issue of Motorcycle Sport and Leisure magazine. For more information on how to get your hands on a copy once it’s out, click HERE.

And for more information from Honda about how to get your hands on one of the new Africa Twins, click HERE.

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