Will Honda’s Africa Twin get a bigger engine in the near future? That’s the latest rumor in the moto-world, with Ben Purvis at Bennets saying we’ll see the machine getting a big-bore for 2020.
Citing “reliable sources in Japan,” Bennets is predicting the Africa Twin will see an increase in engine capacity from 998 cc to 1080 cc, which would raise peak output by 5 hp, to just under 100 hp. The updated engine would also meet the Euro5 emissions standard, supposedly.
Other rumored upgrades are improvements to the DCT (dual clutch transmission), larger TFT instrument panel, keyless ignition, and more fuel capacity.
So how accurate are these rumors? Unlike the slow-moving world of dual sport bikes, which rarely sees models upgraded, there’s constant change in the adventure bike scene. The three biggest players in the adventure bike market are BMW, Triumph and KTM, and they tend to upgrade their bikes every two years or so. Not so with the Japanese competition; Yamaha’s Super Tenere is basically the same bike that was unveiled in 2010. The Suzuki V-Strom 1000 saw its last major update in 2014, and hasn’t really changed much since its debut in 2002.
So, Honda’s competition from the Big Four has been doing very little recently, but the Euro manufacturers have all significantly upgraded their big-bore and even middleweight adventure bikes in the past couple of years. If Honda wants to stay relevant at the high end of this market, change is necessary. If nothing else, changing tailpipe pollution standards will force updates.
There’s one other possible factor: Honda pretty much has the 1000 cc adventure bike range to itself now, as Suzuki’s V-Strom is really a street bike, not capable of the same sort of off-roading. Should the rumours of a new Suzuki DR Big prove true, all the more reason for Honda to improve the Africa Twin.