The bike was showcased to the country at the 2016 Autoexpo when Honda officially announced its plans on launching the Africa Twin in the country. The bike grabbed a lot of attention at the show and created ripples with its not-so-common presence which is somewhat new to the Indian eyes. The company launched it a few weeks back and out of surprise, the Japanese auto-maker even managed to price it very well at Rs 12.9 lakh (Ex-showroom, Delhi).
The adventure motorcycle segment in India is still at a very nascent stage and a major chunk of motorcyclists are yet to cherish their interest in this segment. The Royal Enfield Himalayan became the most affordable adventure motorcycle in the country and with this motorcycle, the adventure junkies got a slight taste of a motorcycle which does more than just one duty. It is only the smaller bikes which make a base for the bigger ones as it takes many skills, patience, and practice to handle bigger bikes which is gathered from riding small ones.
Africa Twin, on the other hand, comes in a much larger picture. It is clearly not for novice riders who will be riding a bike for the first time but yes many riding a Himalayan today will be dreaming of owning an Africa Twin one day.
The bike came to existence in 1988 and many forms of it can be seen in the history books from 650cc to 750cc and 1000cc. It's former model, the XRV750 Africa Twin won the Paris-Dakar rally four times in the late 1980s and in 2003 its production was ceased. It was then succeeded by the 1000cc CRF Africa Twin which is present today. The new bike is in production since 2015 and the Indian version will be coming up with a DCT transmission instead of the conventional 6-speed manual gearbox. Talking about the engine, it gets 999.1cc parallel-twin liquid-cooled engine that delivers 88.3PS of power at 7500rpm and 91.9Nm of torque at 6000rpm in its Indian spec.
The DCT transmission is a 6-speed unit with both manual and automatic transmission modes in it. When the automatic mode is selected, a rider can choose from ‘Neutral’, ‘Drive’ or ‘Sport’ mode. While if the manual modes is on, gears can be selected with up and down buttons on the handlebar. The bike also has three modes of power delivery which is offered as S1, S2 and S3 options in the Sport mode. The DCT of the bike also gets hill climb detection. In terms of more electronic gadgetry, the bike gets three-level Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) System, dual channel ABS, ‘G’ switch for immediate throttle response/half clutch control and Advance Traction Control System with three level intervention.
Indian market is not very familiar with the automatic transmission in bikes and it will be interesting to see how many enthusiasts will be willing to choose an automatic adventure bike over a manual bike. The company has been able to price it sensibly thanks to its local assembly unit which makes it the biggest bike by Honda to be assembled in the country. At its price, it locks horns with Triumph Tiger XCx range, Suzuki V-Strom and the upcoming Ducati Multistrada 950. The Multistrada 950 will be launched in the Rs 12 lakh to Rs 13 lakh price bracket that naturally makes it the biggest competitor to the Africa Twin.