Africa Versus the World

How does the Africa Twin stack up against the competition?

2016 Honda Africa Twin static side view

The adventure-bike market is crowded with options, and sorting out the best one for any individual rider is an exercise that typically requires several opinionated friends and a copious amount of beer. The Africa Twin does not make this exercise easier, because in my view it claims new ground.

It does not stack up against the big twins (KTM 1190R and 1290 Super Adventure, BMW R1200GS, Yamaha Super Tenere) insofar as the engine makes much less power. But does screaming down the motorway at triple-digit speeds really qualify as an "adventure"?

It also does not fit in with the other mid-size ADV bikes, such as the Suzuki V-Strom 650, BMW F800GS, or Triumph 800XC. Those bikes are less capable off-road, and less integrated to a true adventure design brief. They all have their bright spots, but none of them is as consistently capable as the Honda.

The closest competitor I see is the now-retired KTM 950/990 Adventure. The Africa Twin is less raw than the original Adventure, and that's both good and bad—you won't feel like Fabrizio Meoni winning Dakar on your way to work, but then again, none of us are Meoni, and the Honda is never punishing like the old KTM could be.

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2016 Honda Africa Twin action.

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2016 Honda Africa Twin action.

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2016 Honda Africa Twin static.

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2016 Honda Africa Twin static.

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2016 Honda Africa Twin static.

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KTM 1190 Adventure R action.

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KTM 1190 Adventure R studio.

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KTM 1290 Super Adventure action.

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KTM 1290 Super Adventure static.

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KTM 1290 Super Adventure studio.

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Triumph Tiger 800 XCx action.

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Triumph Tiger 800 XCx static.

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Triumph Tiger 800 XCx studio.

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Yamaha Super Tenere studio.