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The Honda CRF850L Africa Twin Rumors Heat Up

Honda CRF850L Africa Twin

Get Ready for a Middleweight Africa Twin

There have been previous Honda Africa Twin rumors, but those were about a bigger version of the bike. A new rendering of the possible upcoming CRF850L has surfaced at a Japanese publication, suggesting Honda will go the other way. DriveMag Riders recently showcased the rendering. The Japanese publication seems pretty adamant that the motorcycle will come in 2020 as a 2021 model. Beyond that, though, I don’t have much information.

I did some digging around the Web and all I could find was more of the same. The bike will likely be an 850 and compete with the Yamaha Tenere 700, the BMW F850GS, and the KTM 790 Adventure R. These bikes demand a huge portion of the ADV motorcycle market, and another player from Honda will likely be welcomed. 

According to DriveMag Riders, the motorcycle will be an inline-twin engine and likely be very similar to the engine in the current Africa Twin. That motorcycle has seen success, and the CRF850L would just be a slightly downsized version of it. Downsized in this instance is not a bad thing. The company would be able to tackle a whole other portion of the growing ADV motorcycle segment.

I would expect Honda to put this motorcycle out near the second half of 2020. That means it could show off the bike at one of the bigger shows coming up in the fall. It will be interesting to see how long we have to wait for this bike if Honda chooses to make it.

  1. This is the way ADV bike need to go. Lighter and more capable of doing the fun stuff in the dirt. Triumph, KTM and BMW I think have the right formula offering a ADV option for both markets. My last vacation riding the Trans American Trail on a 17 Africa Twin my only gripe was I wish it would have been a little smaller and lighter to relive some of the unessary fatigue.

  2. I’d like lighter yet. Like around 450-650cc. I’m just not that into bloatocycles after riding a WR250 a lot. But I would like a little more highway power and a decent ADV seat and maybe a lower seat height too). It’s possible that if the KTM 390 Adventure shows up eventually in the US with the right (spoked) option that it would be more to my liking than anything over 650cc.

    1. Honestly, I think about 500 to 600cc would be about right. A 450 could do the trick, but, I think 600cc is a fantastic sweet spot.

  3. I currently ride a 2012 Honda NC700X and love it. I’ve covered everything from South Carolina to South Dakota. The only thing it’s lacking is off road capabilities and if Honda does an Africa Twin in a 850 I’ll be in line for one.

  4. I too ride an NC700X and love it for clocking lots of miles without using much fuel, and nice handling (and the frunk!). But after having taken it off-road it seems like suspension and a 17″ front wheel aren’t the only things holding it back. It just weighs too much.

    I’d really like to see adventure bikes with adventure bike seats and better even than old BMW 650 fuel economy – ones that weigh under 400 pounds – without falling back toward Versys-X 300 power characteristics.

    The Rally Raid CB500X is a fairly close miss, and if it came stock like that it would be closer yet…

    1. Indeed Sir! Although i too like the AT, it is just too big of a bike for my liking. I was so excited to see this article posted, thanks Wader! It would be nearly perfect if Honda made the new AT in 750cc, i guess 850cc will do for now. I’ll consider grabbing one as well, but i’ll most certainly change the sticker on the tank to “Alaskan Twin” haha! :{)

      I too ride a NC700x and love it. It has so far been the perfect bike for me in so many ways, off road trials and FS roads included. :{)

    2. Well, there are 650cc bikes, and then there are 650cc bikes. I want one that’s not way over 400 pounds ; }

  5. I’m 6ft tall and weigh 175 pounds and I’m 64 yrs old and I have a 2017 Africa Twin with the manual transmission. I do not find the weight of the AT intimidating. At first I was cautious of it but the bike handles so well offroad it is something I’ve grown accustomed to. I don’t do mud anymore though, kind of because the bike weighs 500 pounds but more because I’ve grown weary of muddy adventures. But yea, I would prefer less weight and an 850 version seems very interesting. Still I never ceased to be amazed at how well the AT handles itself in the rough. It’s a real dirt bike with real dirt bike manners.

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