2022 Honda Africa Twin Review [A Personal Adventure Bike Test]

They say age is just a number, but tell it to my hip, which decided my “active lifestyle” was too much and packed it. Africa Twin, I wonder about my unquenchable thirst for adventure and about the motorcycles that will take me there.2022 Honda Africa Twin Review: Freeman WoodRealistically, most of my riding adventures these days consist of long distance treks with dirt roads and trails to my destination. I realized a while ago that gear-laden 500+ pound adventure bikes aren’t all that fun in really tough off-road conditions. Do not mistake yourself. Having the flexibility to take any road I find with the confidence that my bike can handle is fantastic, and I like having that option even when I’m not exercising it. The Honda Africa Twin is a perennial favorite and on any short list when buying an adventure motorcycle. The AT is in a somewhat unique location. With a 1084cc engine and weighing 529 pounds with DCT, it has the dimensions of an open-class adventure bike. However, with 100 horsepower on tap and more of a dirt bike look and feel, it has more in common with the middleweights than the 1200-plus ADV bikes. As an adventure bike enthusiast, I have ridden or owned many types of adventure touring bikes over the years. I gravitate towards the upright position and love the versatility that comes with them. Although the Africa Twin has been on my list for a long time, it never made its way into my garage.2022 Honda Africa Twin Review: PriceDespite its beauty, reputation and reliability, the numbers never added up for me. A 529-pound bike with only 100 horsepower and a saddle that didn’t look super comfortable, the Africa Twin didn’t seem competitive with other bikes in the class for my purposes. I knew there was probably more to the AT, so I was looking forward to getting to know the Honda better. My first impressions when taking it? The Africa Twin is beautiful. The front lights look serious and ready for business. The AT’s proportions and looks give it the look of an overgrown dirt bike that was ready for fun, even if the seat still didn’t look comfortable. The tall stance and 21-inch front wheel made me think it wouldn’t be as fun in the twisty canyons around Los Angeles. However, once I threw my leg over the seat, it felt well-built and proportionate. Starting the engine was a huge surprise for me. The reputation of Honda powertrains precedes it, so I expected a sweet and buttery Japanese mill to start. Instead, I got a noisy motor that felt more like a single-pot dirt bike than a smooth, buttery adventure tourer. It didn’t suit me at first.2022 Honda Africa Twin Review: DCTThe next impression was little better than the sound of the engine. Looking at the cockpit, all the switches and buttons on different parts of the handlebars, and the Africa Twin’s two screens, I immediately felt it was too cluttered. I was certain I would find uses for all the controls, but there had to be a cleaner way to perform it. When I pulled back, looking for the turn signal, I immediately honked the horn, something I would do over and over while driving the Africa Twin. On the street, then accelerating down the freeway ramp, the Africa Twin’s engine began to show its character. The initial pinging sound gave way to a much smoother sound, delivering linear power with a lot more thrust than I expected. Although three still had vibrations in the grips, the engine started to hum in a very nice way. I wouldn’t say it’s the fastest 1000+cc adventure bike I’ve ever ridden, but I never felt it was underpowered. These feelings continued throughout the test, regardless of the conditions. When it came time for sporty driving, the Africa Twin provided spirited canyon driving and high-speed passages on the Angeles Crest Freeway.2022 Honda Africa Twin Review: MSRPThe standard model I tested has adjustable Showa suspension, but not the Adventure Sports ES edition’s semi-active electronic suspension. Fortunately, the suspension as it comes is terrific, providing a firm ride and a well-planted feel. The Africa Twin soaked up various tarmac imperfections but never felt overly soft or washed out like some adventure bikes can. I didn’t make any adjustments to the suspension, though I’d probably soften the settings a bit if I was going to be doing long-distance touring and off-roading. For the canyoning and traffic dodging I did in Southern California, it was set up perfectly. Like most adventure bikes, the Honda Africa Twin is not intended for people with reduced mobility. At 6 feet with a 31 inch inseam, the soles of my feet were on the ground at stops, but the seat was still high.2022 Honda Africa Twin Review: Adventure MotorcycleMost of my personal bikes are taller scramblers or adventure bikes because I prefer the leverage of that height in corners. The Africa Twin, with its 21-inch front wheel and long-travel suspension, isn’t quick in transitions, but it never feels heavy. On a photography day in the Angeles National Forest, I was pursuing Ultimate Motorcycling Editor Don Williams on a much faster BMW S 1000 XR. I continued, although it is possible that Don was nice. Editor’s Note: He wasn’t.Tracking a bike like the XR requires setting up the Africa Twin the right way to get the maximum performance for the way I ride. Fortunately, the AT offers quite a few adjustment and customization possibilities. as well as the suspension, if you have the Adventure Sports ES and its semi-active suspension). The AT comes with four preset riding modes, as well as two fully customizable modes.The four preset modes are Tour, Urban, Gravel and Off-road. Each mode has appropriate levels of electronic intervention and allows easy switching under different driving conditions. Curiously there was no designated Sport mode, although the two user modes mean you can customize a sport mode (or two) to your liking. The Africa Twin I tested has the dual-clutch transmission (DCT, an $800 option). Like it or not, it works just fine. I will admit that I am not a fan of automatic transmissions, as there is something about using a clutch and choosing shift points that appeals to me. That being said, I like to use a quickshifter over standard transmissions in certain circumstances, and I like the lag-free power of electric motorcycles. My biggest issue with the DCT is that it tends to upshift too quickly and downshift too slowly, and I often found myself in 5th or 6th gear at much slower speeds than I would like. This made it hard to keep up with Don no matter how “powerful” I dialed in user mode.

2022 Honda Africa Twin Review: TFT Dashboard
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Fortunately, Honda has given the Africa Twin customizable power, ABS, traction control, engine braking and shifting aggressiveness to tailor the experience to exactly what the rider wants. The AT also allows manual shifting with paddle shifters around the left grip, though they won’t let you shift too early or downshift too aggressively. After experimenting with the different riding modes, I dialed in the user mode for more power and aggressive engine braking. DCT Sport Level 2 executes sporty shift points without being overly aggressive. I like the three display modes that the Africa Twin offers for its console. Each mode provides increasing levels of information on the display. I like a lot of information in front of me, so I settled on the highest level.2022 Honda Africa Twin review: for SalwHonda throws a bit of engineering magic at you, along with a cockpit that has a complexity to match. At first I was overwhelmed by it all. However, the more I rode the bike, the more I got used to it. Once I tuned everything to my liking, I really enjoyed riding the Africa Twin. The 2022 Honda Africa Twin DCT is sporty and comfortable for street riding, but it still looks like a fun big dirt bike. Although I didn’t put it through its paces in aggressive off-roading, the times I got into dirt the Africa Twin felt calm and confidence-inspiring despite running on street-oriented Metzeler Karoo tires. road. As mentioned above, the AT sits in a bit of an odd position between the middleweight and heavyweight ADV segments. The standard 2022 Honda Africa Twin with DCT is priced at $15,299, which compares to other mid-weight ADV motorcycles. While the power-to-weight ratio might not seem favorable, the seat-of-the-pants feel tells a different story. The Africa Twin should be on the shortlist of anyone torn between middleweight and heavyweight in the class.Photograph by Don WilliamsDRIVING STYLE2022 Honda Africa Twin DCT SpecificationsENGINE

  • Type: parallel twin with 270 degree crankshaft
  • Displacement: 1084cc
  • Bore x stroke: 92.0 x 81.5 mm
  • Compression ratio: 10.1:1
  • Valvetrain: SOHC, 4vpc
  • Power: Dual 46mm throttle bodies
  • Transmission: 6 speed
  • Clutch: Fully and semi-automatic DCT with slipper function
  • Final drive: 525 chain

FRAME

  • Chassis: Steel, semi-double-cradle
  • Front suspension; travel: 45mm Showa fully adjustable inverted fork: 9.1″
  • Rear suspension; Travel: Link-Assist Fully Adjustable Showa Damper; 8.7 inches
  • Wheels: tubeless wire spoke
  • Tyres: Metzeler Karoo Street
  • Front tire: 90/90 x 21
  • Rear tire: 150/70 x 18
  • Front brakes: 310mm floating discs with radially mounted 4-piston calipers
  • Rear brake: 256mm disc with single piston caliper
  • Parking brake: cable-operated single-piston caliper on rear disc
  • ABS: Standard (adjustable)

DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES

  • Wheelbase: 62.0 inches
  • Rake: 27 degrees
  • Trail: 4.4 inches
  • Seat heights: 34.3 or 33.5 inches
  • Ground clearance: 9.8 inches
  • Fuel Capacity: 5.0 gallons
  • Curb Weight: 529 lbs.
  • Colour: Grand Prix Red

2022 Honda Africa Twin CSD Price: $15,299 MSRP

2022 Honda Africa Twin DCT Test Drive Photo Gallery

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