Africa Twin engine and frame in a sensible new sporty-tourer beastie
We were pretty surprised when @Honda brought out the CMX1100 Rebel last year, using the Africa Twin parallel twin engine in a retro bobber cruiser type thingy. ‘Hang on’ we thought, ‘wouldn’t that be better in a sort of a sporty-touring faired road bike instead?’
And we were right, of course! Sadly, unlike in our fantasies, Honda hasn’t bumped the motor up to 1200cc, given it massive throttle bodies, naughty cams, sky-high compression, forged pistons and a nasty 150bhp tune, barely held in check by the electronics.
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Rather, it’s stuck with the knitting pretty much, leaving the 100bhp CRF1100 engine mostly untouched, and put it in a soft-ish sporty-touring chassis with the same steel tube main frame as the CRF, Showa road suspension and Nissin brakes.
We love all the kit: official hard panniers, big colour dash, cruise, hot grips and adjustable windscreen are all standard fitment. There’s an optional up/down quickshifter on the manual bike, and a DCT autobox option should you fancy the whole pushbutton shifter or full-auto experience.
It seems a bit too heavy really, at 238kg wet (248kg in DCT form) for the 100bhp power output, and while the brakes look sharp, the suspension is rather basic stuff, with just preload adjustment. As ever with a Honda, though, it will no doubt be a dream to live with – and the real-world performance will probably outshine the rather steady spec-sheet. Think of it as sort of twin-cylinder CBF1000 and you’re not far off we bet.
It comes in grey, white or black, and will be in dealers in February, costing £11,999 for the manual transmission version, or £12,999 for the automatic DCT variant. More info: www.honda.co.uk/motorcycles.html