Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin Details Leaked

More power, more range, less weight, and a bigger engine in 2020.

CRF1100L Africa Twin
Although no images have surfaced for the upcoming CRF1100L Africa Twin, details show a larger-displacement engine with more power.Jeff Allen

Rumors of a new larger-capacity Honda Africa Twin for 2020 have been swirling since the start of this year but we've finally got some hard evidence of the existence of just such a bike including some comprehensive specifications.

The new bike, which is likely to get an official launch in the next few months, is to go under the title CRF1100L and will be offered in four distinct versions, just like the existing Africa Twin. Inside Honda, it goes under the internal code name SD09—a clear step forward from the existing 2018–2019 model which was called SD06, while the original 2015–2017 version was SD04.

As its CRF1100L name suggests, the 2020 bike’s engine is larger than the existing CFR1000L’s parallel twin. In fact, it’s a 1,084cc unit, 86cc more in displacement than the current model. While the extra capacity does give the bike a power hike, rising from 94 hp to 101 hp, it’s clear Honda still isn’t trying to get involved in the battle for out-and-out performance supremacy. BMW’s 134-hp R 1250 GS is still far ahead on that front, not to mention the 158-hp Ducati Multistrada 1260. Instead the 2020 Africa Twin’s slight boost serves merely to put some air between it and the upcoming batch of smaller parallel-twin adventure bikes: Both BMW’s F 850 GS and KTM’s 790 Adventure already claim 95 hp, matching the existing 998cc Africa Twin despite its capacity advantage.

CRF1100L Africa Twin
How close in styling the new CRF1100L Africa Twin is to the current model remains to be seen.Jeff Allen

The 2020 Africa Twin’s power peak still arrives at 7,500 rpm, the same as the current model. While peak torque wasn’t confirmed on the leaked specifications that we saw, it should be around 79 pound-feet at 6,000 rpm—a useful advantage over both the current bike’s 73 pound-feet and the 65–68 pound-feet offered by the smaller KTM and BMW parallel-twin rivals.

The engine’s increased size also means it’s going to be able to meet upcoming Euro 5 emissions rules that will be phased in across the European Union during 2020 and 2021. More effective catalytic converters are part of that solution, reflected in the fact that the 2020 CRF1100L is some 3 decibels quieter than the 2019 CRF1000L.

As with the current Africa Twin, the range will be made up of four distinct versions. The base model will be the CRF1100L A2, while the more off-road-oriented Adventure Sports version goes under the CRF1100L A4 model code. There will also be semi-automatic versions of both bikes – the CRF1100L D2 and D4 – using Honda’s DCT (dual clutch transmission) system. However, there will be far less distinction between the base model and the Adventure Sports than in previous years. The main differences are likely to be a higher seat and restyled tail bodywork on the Adventure Sports version.

Speaking of styling, while we haven’t seen pictures of the new bike yet, sources in Japan suggest the main changes will be at the front where the CRF1100L will get sharper-looking headlights in a reshaped nose.

Most notably, all versions of the CRF1100L will adopt the larger, 6.4-gallon tank of the current Adventure Sports, ditching the old 5.0-gallon version used by the existing base model. That means the bikes’ weights—measured complete with fuel—are far closer than they currently are. The base CRF1100L A2 will come in at 524.7 pounds—17.6 pounds more than the CFR1000L Africa Twin thanks to the additional fuel capacity—while the CRF1100L A4 Adventure Sports will weigh 529.1 pounds wet; fractionally less than the 2019 bike’s 532.6 pounds. The DCT gearbox adds 22 to either version.

tall windscreen
All versions of the 2020 CRF1100L Africa Twin will get a large 6.4-gallon fuel tank and tall windscreen similar to the 2019 Adventure Sports model.Jeff Allen

Additionally, all versions of the 2020 Africa Twin will have a tall screen, similar to the current Adventure Sports. The specs we’ve seen list the height for all versions as between 61.4 inches and 63.8 inches, suggesting the new model’s screen could be adjustable.

When it comes to the chassis, we’re not expecting many changes. The bike’s wheelbase and overall length isn’t changing, although all versions are wider than the existing models at 37.8 inches instead of 36.6 inches, pointing to the adoption of broader bars for more steering leverage.

It’s very early for the 2020 bike’s specifications to be set in stone; manufacturers often don’t finalize power and weight until after their new models have been officially unveiled. That suggests Honda is very close to the official launch of the 2020 Africa Twin, so don’t be surprised if details and pictures are released within the next few weeks rather than being delayed until the usual end-of-year bike shows.