Next generation sport-tourer based around Africa Twin 1100 engine and chassis
If you’ve only been riding bikes for the past ten years or so, then the traditional ‘sports tourer’ might be a bit of a mystery to you. That’s because the role of such machines – be comfy enough to travel long distances with two people and some luggage, yet still good fun on a twisty road – has been usurped by the adventure touring class.
Back in the 1990s, bikes like the Honda VFR800 and Triumph Sprint ST sold in their tens of thousands with just that formula: decent riding position with a bit of room, protective fairings, grunty engines and capable running gear. In the 21st century though, those bikes have been replaced by the likes of the Honda Africa Twin, Kawasaki Versys 1000 and Triumph Tiger 800. All quick, comfy and good handlers – but with longer-travel suspension and varying levels of offroad skills.
The tide might be on the turn though. Suzuki’s brought out an all-new sport-touring version of its GSX-S1000 for 2022. And now we have this – the Honda NT1100. It’s a more conventional road-going interpretation of the firm’s CRF1100 Africa Twin, with the same basic engine and frame layout, but with Tarmac-only running gear, lower profile bodywork, and no trace of any off-road pretentions at all.
The NT model designation has been a bit quiet of late, but dates back to the NT700 and NT650 Deauville middleweight tourers of the 1990s and 2000s. Honda’s broken it out in preference to the likes of the Pan European ST1100/1300 moniker because of the twin-cylinder engine rather than the V-four on the Pan. That parallel twin motor is the 1,084cc 270° SOHC eight-valve unit used in the latest Africa Twin, with the same 100bhp peak power output and 77 ft lb of torque.
It comes with a ride-by-wire fuel injection setup, and the usual Honda big bike option of a DCT automatic transmission (which adds ten kg to the 238kg kerb weight of the manual bike). Honda says it’s tweaked the motor’s intake and exhaust systems for smoother acceleration and a pleasing sound, but as it is, it shouldn’t feel too different in terms of performance to the Africa Twin.
The NT also borrows the steel tube cradle frame used on the adventure machine, but adds its own aluminium bolt-on rear subframe, and has all-new running gear. Up front there’s a preload-adjustable 43mm USD Showa fork, with four-piston radial-mount Nissin calipers and dual 310mm discs, while out back there’s a Showa monoshock with remote hydraulic preload adjuster and a double-sided aluminium swingarm. Wheels are cast aluminium, with 120/70 17 and 180/55 17 tyres.
The bodywork is all-new, and incorporates a bit of the old CBF1000 styling, with a neat half-fairing up front, plus aerodynamic wind-deflecting slats on each side, to smooth airflow over the rider and pillion. The two-into-one exhaust has a low-slung silencer to allow space for the big standard-fit panniers, and the large windscreen has five-way height and angle adjustment, while the fuel tank has a hefty 20 litre capacity – nice.
The NT has a tasty touring equipment package: cruise control and heated grips come as standard, alongside the removable 33/32 litre panniers. There’s a giant 6.5” TFT colour LCD dashboard, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto media and navigation functions via a Bluetooth smartphone connection. USB and 12v accessory sockets, centre stand, LED lighting and self-cancelling indicators round off the practicalities.
Honda’s given the NT its usual current electronics package too: you get five rider power modes, two of which are fully customisable for power and engine braking, traction and wheelie control intervention. There’s also independent three-level traction and wheelie control settings. Finally, there’s an optional factory-supplied up/down quickshifter with auto-blipper available on the manual transmission bike.
On paper then, the new NT1100 looks like it will be capable and comfy enough for high-mileage fans. It’s a little short on outright power at just over 100bhp, considering the slightly chunky all-up mass (248kg wet for the DCT version, 238kg for the manual). And the suspension is fairly vanilla in terms of spec. But the brakes look sharp enough, and with the high equipment levels, it will be a great place to sit.
Plus, it’s always important to remember how much better Honda bikes generally are in reality compared with on a spec sheet. Over the years, it’s had a stack of bikes that look a bit staid on paper, but are a hoot on the road: CBR600F, VFR800, Crossrunner, even the Africa Twin itself. So we’ll reserve overall judgement until we get a leg over one of these new beasties.
The new NT1100 will be in dealers in February, with three colour options: Matte Iridium Gray Metallic, Pearl Glare White or Graphite Black. Price will be £11,999 for the manual transmission version, and £12,999 for the automatic DCT variant. More info: https://www.honda.co.uk/motorcycles.html
2022 Honda NT1100 SPECS
|Type||Liquid-cooled 4-stroke 8-valve Parallel Twin with 270° crank and uni-cam|
|Bore x Stroke||92mm x 81.5mm|
|Max. Power Output||75kW at 7,500rpm|
|Max. Torque||104Nm at 6,250rpm|
|Noise Level||L-urban73.6dB, L-wot78.4dB – MT;
L-urban 73.6dB, L-wot 79.4dB – DCT
|Oil Capacity||4.8 – MT
5.2 – DCT
|Carburation||PGM-FI electronic fuel injection|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||20.4L|
|CO2 Emissions||116g/km MT
|Fuel Consumption||5L/100km (20km/L)|
|Clutch Type||Wet, multiplate clutch|
|Transmission Type||MT: 6-speed Manual Transmission
DCT: 6-speed Dual Clutch Transmission
|Type||Semi double cradle|
|Dimensions (L´W´H)||2240mm x 865mm x 1360mm (low screen position)|
|Kerb Weight||238Kg – MT
248Kg – DCT
|Type Front||Showa 43mm SFF-BP type inverted telescopic fork with dial-style preload adjuster, 150mm stroke.|
|Type Rear||Monoblock aluminium swing arm with Pro-Link with SHOWA gas-charged damper, hydraulic dial-style preload adjuster, 150mm axle travel.|
|Type Front||Multi-spoke cast aluminium|
|Type Rear||Multi-spoke cast aluminium|
|Tyres Front||120/70R17 M/C|
|Tyres Rear||180/55R17 M/C|
|ABS System Type||2-channel ABS|
|Type Front||Radial mounted four-piston brake caliper, 310mm floating double disc|
|Type Rear||Single piston caliper, 256mm single disc|
|INSTRUMENTS & ELECTRICS|
|Instruments||6.5inch TFT Touch Panel Multi information display & secondary LCD meter|
|Headlight||LED with DRL|
|Connectivity||Apple CarPlay & Android Auto|
|Auto Winker cancel||Yes|
|Additional Features||5 Riding Modes|