THE 2020 AFRICA TWIN IS COMING
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.