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Honda pushes automatic transmission

2017 Honda CRF1000L, Africa Twin with automatic DCT

Honda Australia is promoting its automatic Dual-Clutch Transmission on the new Africa Twin adventure bike by offering the upgrade for free.

Apart from scooters, there are few bikes that have a clutchless shift transmission, although many hi-tech sports bikes now have a quick shifter that allows shifts without using the clutch.

The standard transmission Africa Twin costs $16,999 (plus on-road costs), so the upgrade to the auto DCT represents a saving of $1000.

They say the offer is for a “limited time” but do not specify when it ends.

It is understandable that many riders would feel an automatic gearbox would take away from the fun of a ride.

Honda obviously believes they need some convincing with a free upgrade.

Daryl promotes automatic transmission

Honda has also enlisted the help of former GP rider Daryl Beattie who now runs a motorcycle adventure travel company, Daryl Beattie Adventures, taking riders into the Outback on various Hondas.

2017 Honda CRF1000L, Africa Twin with automatic DCT
Daryl with the Africa Twin

“I love the DCT; it’s got everything I need for all of the different types of riding I do; prefect for commute riding and then when I’m in the bush the DCT just does all you need it to do,” the release says.

“You get the best of both worlds from the DCT as you gain the ease of having the auto but you can still switch to manual if you feel like it.”

2017 Honda CRF1000L, Africa Twin with automatic DCT
Daryl gets wet

As Daryl says, DCT can be ridden in manual mode where the rider shifts gears via a handlebar trigger.

There are also two automatic modes where the bike shifts the gears itself. D is an economy and cruising mode while there are three sporty modes – S1, S2 and S3 – with increasing levels of performance.

But wait, there’s more!

There is also a G switch on the right side of the instrument panel that increases traction and machine control by reducing clutch slip.

This system also features incline detection, which adapts the gear shift pattern to match the grade of incline.

The Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC) system offers three levels of control, while the rider is also able to turn off the ABS system for the rear wheel.

Read a Dakar Rally rider’s review

Laura Csortan and Christophe Barriere-Varju in "Riding Morocco: Chasing the Dakar” on TV automatic
ChristopheBarriere-Varju riding the Africa Twin in Africa

With all these electronic rider aids, the Africa Twin makes adventure riders out of just about any rider, no matter what their skill level.

No wonder, it has become the top-selling adventure bike, deposing the austere Kawasaki KLR 650 and the ubiquitous BMW R 1200 GS.

2017 models

The 2017 models are now in showrooms featuring new stainless steel spokes.

The standard comes in the new Matte Ballistic Black Metallic and Candy Prominence Red for $14,499 plus on-road costs. 2017 Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin automatic

ABS comes in Matte Ballistic Black Metallic, Victory Red/Graphite Black and Pearl Glare White/Pearl Spencer Blue for $16,999.2017 Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin automatic

The ABS-DCT model will be available for $17,999 in Victory Red/Graphite Black and Pearl Glare White/Pearl Spencer Blue.2017 Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin automatic

  1. If sales of the R1200GS and R1200GS Adventure are combined, which they should be for statistical purposes, then the BMW is still the top selling bike by quite a margin. I think it’s misleading to state that the Africa Twin outsells the GS. As for the automatic gearbox and all the other rubbish on the Honda, I think I’d rather just stay in bed; that would probably be more exciting than riding such a bike.

    1. I think you are correct in the numbers game they should combine them but then that’s over to BMW. It sounds like you have not tried a DCT bike and neither have I but all reports from off road specialist riders rate the DCT version as the one to get over the manual.

  2. $1000 off the DCT version that’s nice, why can’t Honda build a 650cc DCT motorcycle not maxi or mega class scooter. It would be “L” plate compliant then.

    1. Well, we missed out on the X-ADV, which is more the pity as it seems to be the bright new toy that is taking Europe by storm. Would suit those that need a city commuter and something to have a lot of fun on the weekends with or the odd trip out to less populated areas for camping etc. DCT, storage under the seat but not the financial commitment or height/weight of the Africa Twin.

      Apparently, Honda marketing determined that it was not suited to the Australian Customer.

  3. I didn’t think Honda were too keen on the DCT feature because I spent over a year trying to find a dealer in Sydney with a demo VFR1200XD before I eventually bought a manual model. I now still haven’t found a dealer with a DCT version of the CRF1000 since it came out. Doesn’t look to me like they really want to sell them. If I was trying to sell such a new feature I would ensure the availability of a demo model in all major markets. Maybe even ride days. I’d turn up.

  4. Hello Mark ,
    HONDA Australia is showing a distinct lack of “adventure” in deciding not to bring the X-ADV to Australia !
    I , and no doubt many others , had GREATLY anticipated the arrival of the X-ADV .
    Being disappointed by various models since 2008 is no reason to not keep trying , even with a trial limited number !
    Some of the great ( unusual ) bikes neglected by the masses : TDM900 ; DN-01 ; and CB1100A-not appreciated because they’re ahead of they’re time and/or stupidly priced ! !
    Honda’s Dual Clutch transmission is brilliant by any definition – and the X-ADV would have been a HUGE SUCCESS had it been given a chance , as in Europe !
    I am in my mid 60’s and this was to be my touring motorcycle of choice ( shaft would have been nice ) as the VFR1200 DCT did not quite do it ( looks = yes ) in Australia .
    Relatively narrow bike choices / colour choices is not helping the motorcycle industry in Australia = would love to know which sectors of the BUYERS are canvassed as to what type of motorcycles / scooters are DESIRABLE.?
    I’ve never been asked , but most REAL people that I know agree on the fact that a bike should sell on it’s merits = especially if PROPERLY PROMOTED – assuming real world reliability ! ! 🙂

    Keep up the good work/word Mark,
    John .

  5. Honda Marketing does not seem to include motorcycles. So many good good bikes never get any money spent on advertising then quietly disappear. Look at the all the missing Cruiser’s for example.
    The VFR’s will be next, Goldwings are very scarce on the shop floor too.
    If it not a 1000CC FireBlade or a 500cc, Honda are not really interested.

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