Johannesburg - These are the first official pictures of the Honda CFR1000L Africa Twin, the production version of the True Adventure prototype that appeared, without any fanfare, at the 2014 Eicma motorcycle show in Milan.
Although it carries the evocative Africa Twin nameplate, it actually has a lot more in common with current CRF450 off-roader than with the original 1988 XRV650 V-twin or its successor the XRV750, introduced in 1989, which stayed in production until 2003 and became a true cult bike, with good examples fetching prices way above book value.
Rather than a 742cc V-twin, the new version has a litre-class parallel twin. This is not a bad thing in itself; Triumph designer Edward Turner demonstrated as far back as 1938 that a parallel-twin engine can be made lighter and more compact than any other layout of the same capacity, irrespective of the number of cylinders.
Modern fuel-injection, balance shafts and offset crankpin designs also negate the V-twins' torque advantage, which is why the parallel twin is currently enjoying something of a renaissance.
OPTIONAL AUTO TRANSMISSION
The new Africa Twin will also feature the option of a dual-clutch automatic transmission, specifically retuned and programmed for off-road use.
While not giving away any of crucial spaces such as weight, wheelbase, tank capacity or engine outputs, Honda has confirmed that the CRF1000L will be released in Europe in late 2015, which presumably presages a ceremonial debut at this year's Eicma expo.
We're waiting on a reply from Honda SA as to when the CRF1000L will be available in South Africa.