AUTOS

Honda headed for "Adventure" class with CRF1000L Africa Twin

The Africa Twin will be in dealerships early next year, Honda said

Honda is ready for an adventure. The company has confirmed it will offer an "adventure" class, liter-sized dual sport motorcycle as part of its 2016 line-up.

The CRF1000L Africa Twin, a production version of the True Adventure machine Honda teased at last year's EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, Italy, will be in U.S. dealerships early next year, the company said.

The new bike is an update on Honda's XRV650 Africa Twin, which was offered to consumers in 1989 after its race version won four successive wins by the company's NXR750V in the Dakar Rally -- the off-road endurance race that has set the standard for dual sport requirements.

Honda withdrew from Dakar racing that same year, and after a 24-year absence returned to the competition in 2013 with an all-new CRF450 Rally. The company scored multiple stage wins that year, and in two subsquent Dakar races.

The Japanese motorcycle giant enters a field already crowded with popular dual sport and adventure bikes.but it's a key segment -- the fastest-growing niche in the U.S. motorcycle market, analysts have said.

The category is dominated by BMW's R 1200 GS and KTM's 1190 and 1290 Adventure and Super Adventure motorcycles. But those two venerable machines are now competing for attention with dual sport and sport touring bikes like Yamaha's Super Tenere and new FJ-09, Suzuki's V-Strom, Kawasaki's KLR650 and Versys, Triumph's Tiger and Ducati's Multistrada -- and, in a way, its own veteran XR650L.

But this Honda does have something unique to the category -- an automatic transmission. The Africa Twin will be available with the company's DCT technology, specially tuned, the company said, for use in the dirt.

Twitter: @misterfleming.

 

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