Honda have unveiled this significantly updated Africa Twin for 2020 that’s more powerful, lighter and easier to ride.
The cylinder head has been revised, valve lift increased, the throttle body is larger and the injectors deliver a more direct spray into the combustion chamber.
While for a slightly fruitier sound, as well as a bit more torque low down, Honda have also fitted an exhaust valve (much like that in the Fireblade). The result is a peak power boost from 94 to just over 100bhp and a 6% torque increase to 77.4ftlb. A smaller, lighter clutch for an easier pull should make it feel livelier still.
There’s also a whole new electronics package. For 2020 the Twin gets a six-axis Bosch IMU. This means the bike now has lean-sensitive traction control, cornerning ABS and wheelie control as well as rear wheel torque control.
In addition there are now four riding modes (Tour, Urban, Gravel and Off-Road) with various levels of electronic intervention. The IMU also adds its sensory input to the DCT models, which will now use the lean sensors to determine appropriate gear changes while cornering or going downhill.
The Twin’s chassis has also been totally redesigned. The steering head has been lightened with skinnier tubes and the removal of the front cross pipe which saves 1.8kg. The subframe is a now a separate, bolt-on, aluminium affair, which is 40mm slimmer to make it easier to reach the floor while saving another 500g.
While the front end has had a restyle, too, with new lights that adjust intensity based on natural light, as well as a lower screen for better vision when trail riding and the forks have been resprung and come with new damping settings. All in all the whole bike is 5kg lighter than the old machine.
If you have your heart set on crossing continents in complete comfort, the Adventure Sports version of the new Africa Twin is the one to have.
Like before, the AS has a bigger tank (24.8 litres) plus larger fairing and taller screen (which is now adjustable). The longer suspension, however, is gone, so its seat height is now the same as the standard model. While the tail section is also slimmer to make it easier to move around. The AS also comes with heated grips and an accessory power socket as standard.
The previous tubed wheels are also gone, replaced with a set of tubeless, spoked rims.
But the biggest change is the AS is now available with Showa’s new electronically-adjustable suspension. Showa ‘EERA’ is a semi-active set-up that adjusts the damping relative to the setting it’s currently in.
There are four modes (Soft, Mid, Hard and Off-Road) that provide baseline settings, with stroke sensors helping the ECU adjust the damping to the road surface and riding style. The rear preload can also be electronically-adjusted, again with four presets (Rider, Rider + Luggage, Rider + Pillion and Rider + Pillion + Luggage).
There’s also a User mode that offers 24 clicks of preload adjustment. Again, there’s no word yet from Honda on price but we’d expect a significant premium over the base model for the semi-active suspension.
To coincide with 50 years of the CB750, Honda UK – with a huge nod of respect to such long and storied history – has partnered with 5Four Motorcycles and commissioned a limited run of unique custom motorcycles, based on the CB1100 RS.
The stripped-back and lean CB1100 RS already has the look of a golden-era race tool, with more than a hint of cafe’ racer and sporty steering geometry, matched to high-quality Showa suspension, front radial-mount four-piston brakes and cast aluminium 17-inch wheels.
But for Guy Willison, the creative force behind 5Four Motorcycles – a professional bike builder who has found two-wheeled TV fame on The Motorbike Show but who has also been a despatch rider, mechanic and tuner in his time – the CB1100 RS holds the capacity to become something truly special, as he explains:
“5Four Motorcycles was created to move away from the one-size-fits-all standard and to build thoroughbred machines with cool design, a statement of individualism, quality, performance and exclusivity. From the moment I first saw the CB1100 RS I knew it had the potential to be a thoroughbred, single seat, point-and-squirt A and B road blaster. So we’re making a strictly limited production run of 54 CB1100 RS 5Four motorcycles, each individually numbered. The number is etched subtly into the number 5 of the nickel plated 5Four badge which itself is inset into the tailpiece. And the paintwork had to hark back to the period in my youth when Honda dominated World Endurance Racing with their Red, White and Blue Works racers; there are no stickers or transfers – even the retro Honda logo and Wing are lovingly hand-painted. We’re passionate about this motorcycle. We have just selfishly designed and built it and it stirs us when we walk up to it and we don’t want to leave it at the end of a day’s riding.” And why 5Four? Simple: “That was my despatch call number…”
Willison’s long perspective on motorcycling (and the details that elevate his work) are obvious on his exquisite creation. Every component on the CB1100 RS 5Four could be a work of art in its own right, easily displayed in a spot-lit cabinet. And each detail has been chosen to enhance each sensory contact the owner has with their machine whether it be visual, auditory or actual physical contact.
The CB1100 RS 5Four’s riding position has been tailored using Renthal Ultra Low handlebars, Tomaselli racing grips, short racing brake levers and beautiful billet mirrors, all finished in black. The single seat is handstitched Alcantara and leather in a diamond stitch pattern. The footrest hangers are mirror-polished aluminium.
There’s no plastic to be seen either; the wind-cheating handlebar fairing and single seat tail unit are both handcrafted from aluminium. A pair of titanium Urban Growler end-cans* from Racefit – the quintessentially British exhaust manufacturer – are beautifully welded and engineered to look stunning and provide a deeply distinctive, spine tingling sound.
HONDA CB1100 RS 5Four SPECIFICATIONS
Limited production run (of 54 units) based on the standard CB1100 RS.
Stunning 1980s works endurance racer-inspired paintwork.
Each machine individually numbered with 5Four badge.
Handmade aluminium single seat tailpiece with handstitched diamond-pattern Alcantara and
leather seat cover.
Handcrafted aluminium handlebar fairing.
Racefit 4-2 Titanium end-cans*.
Slimline mirrors, short colour-coded race brake/clutch levers, Tomaselli racing grips and
Ordering a CB1100 RS 5Four is easy. Give us a quick call on 02380 403203 with your deposit ready and you’ll secure a place in the line; We’ll then confirm an estimated delivery date as well as the number of the bike. As each is hand-built to order this is likely to be around three months.
When the bike is ready, you can either collect it from us or we can arrange for you to collect the CB1100 RS 5Four from Corby, where the bike will be handed over personally by Guy (subject to availability).
CP Terms and Conditions: New retail CB1100 RS Special Edition orders from 1 September 2019 to 30 November 2019 and registered by 30 November 2019. Subject to model and colour availability. Offers applicable at participating dealers and are at the promoter's absolute discretion (excluding Channel Islands). Representative example based on 3 years 6.9% PCP. Excess mileage rate applies. Final payment includes £10 option to purchase fee. You do not have to pay the Final Payment if you return the bike at the end of the agreement and you have paid all other amounts due, the bike is in good condition and has been serviced in accordance with the Honda service book and the maximum annual mileage of 4,000 has not been exceeded. Excess mileage rate applies should this be exceeded. Indemnities may be required in certain circumstances. Finance is only available to persons aged 18 or over, subject to status. All figures are correct at time of publication but may be subject to change. Honda Franchise Dealers are credit brokers, not lenders. Credit provided by Honda Finance Europe Plc. Cain Road, Bracknell, Berkshire RG12 1HL. Honda Financial Services is a trading name of Honda Finance Europe Plc. a company registered at Companies House No 03289418. Honda Finance Europe plc is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Financial Services Register number 312541.
At Crescent Honda we know motorcycling is more a way of life than a mode of transport and we want everyone to enjoy the freedom of the road safely and confidently. So we’ve partnered with Fatboy Motorcycle Training to tailor training to your needs, opening up possibilities for riders of all levels. Whether you’re an absolute beginner, you want to step up your licence, or just want a refresher course, thanks to our partnership with Fatboy Motorcycle training we can offer you a winning combination of approved Honda instructors and learning on the latest Honda bikes.