The word "adventure" advocated by Sabin, the founder of the Paris-Dakar Rally, contains multiple meanings, and motorcycles are always very close to the word "adventure". And the adventure journey starts from this moment...
"I love adventure. Isn't that the case with every boy? But when I say adventure, I don't mean going to the ends of the earth, or to places you've never been before.In my opinion, entering a wooded trail that intersects with the usual road, and riding a motorcycle over a stepped road, is equally an adventure. "
This passage is from the person in charge of the body design of Africa Twin, YAMAKURA YUTAKA of Honda Motorcycle Research and Development Center. With this dream in mind, Shan Cang has also become the core figure in the development of the new Africa Twin project.
Although Yamakura first joined Honda, Africa Twin was only an online product of Honda, and even faced the dilemma of being discontinued a few years later, but the call for Africa Twin to fight again has never been extinguished. It is also under this opportunity that Yamakura finally ushered in a good opportunity and opened a new road of research and development for the new Africa Twin. In the early stages of development, from conception to early prototyping, he determined the development direction of the entire new Africa Twin project.
The turning of the wheel of passion
To create a truly distinctive Africa Twin, the first step from scratch was to design a light and compact engine. For this reason, Yamakura, who was in charge of the body design, included Iida, who is skilled in engine design, into the project. In the team, afterward, we sincerely recruited elites in charge of the whole vehicle, strength, handling stability and other fields to form a research and development team
Yamakura, driving the Africa Twin, participated in the Honda's internal endurance race with members of the development team. In the case of XR100, CRF250R, XR250 and other small-displacement models participating in the competition, the Africa Twin, as a large car, successfully ran the whole process, which proved its easy-to-ride characteristics and good handling, which laid the foundation for its development.
Who says thin and light can't have a sense of weight
The first step in developing a new model is to determine its general outline. What kind of motorcycle is the aim to make? What is the philosophy? The development concept of the old Africa Twin is derived from the fact that it is a large-displacement road off-road vehicle, and can also achieve long-distance travel. It is a large touring motorcycle that can travel on mountain roads and sandy land. And the brand new Africa Twin?.
To this end, the R&D team has successively purchased 7 sets of Africa Twin, and had the most intimate contact with them, and then sincerely invited designers from Japan, the United States and Europe to hold a design competition to portray the Africa Twin in their hearts. The image of a slender, lightweight, yet heavy-weight, large-displacement on- and off-road vehicle has become the concept behind the creation of the new Africa Twin.
The R&D is also undergoing substantial progress. No, the R&D personnel with full dreams and enthusiasm, starting from the engine, entered the step-by-step selection and design process. As for the engine, after repeated consideration, the former V-twin engine was finally abandoned and a parallel-twin engine was used instead.
Travel and off-road, both are indispensable
Don't look at it as just a small engine. For its detailed consideration and final selection, the entire R&D team has been brought together, and a series of issues such as space, size, weight, and salesability of the body design need to be considered as much as possible.
For example, in order to ensure the landing force of the front wheel, the front wheel must be as close to the driver as possible, and the periphery of the driver's seat must also be smooth and smooth, only the front and rear length of the engine can be short; 1000cc with a good sense of balance is just right; in terms of control, torque at low speed, power at high speed, how to achieve 70kW through adjustment... In order to achieve this series of goals, the team finally chose a parallel twin-cylinder engine .
And the truth is, this choice did not disappoint. After adopting the parallel twin-cylinder engine, the new generation of Africa Twin not only has the comfortable dynamic experience during long-distance travel, but also has the traction and impulse feeling felt on the unpaved road when off-road.
The reform of the engine also brought about the adjustment of the body structure. The team finally kept the body size basically the prototype, but the output power was increased by 1.5 times, and the body weight was kept as light as possible.
At this point, the development work has finally entered the road test stage, and new test members have been added, and the stage of larger-scale tour work and market launch has begun.
In the Honda motorcycle R&D center, there is a person who has to be mentioned, that is Kudo Tetsuya (KUDOU TETSUYA). He was responsible for the development of RC30, NR750, CB1300 series and CB1100. Also love 250cc off-road vehicles and love to travel.
After he learned about the new Africa Twin, he pointedly pointed out that it did not have the off-road performance that people expected. What's interesting is that in the days to come, he also became a part of the R&D team, and in the final stage of development, he was fully responsible for grasping the general direction and making inspections and adjustments.
He took the 250cc class as an imaginary enemy, made more detailed adjustments to the engine and body specifications, and incorporated Honda's proud original technology - DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission) in the new Africa Twin. With it, from the perspective of touring performance, the driving comfort is improved, and at the same time, it is also effective for improving off-road performance. In addition, in order to deepen this function, a G switch is specially added, which can realize the function of clutch capacity tracking engine torque. In off-road driving and other occasions, using this function, the rear wheels can generate torque that instantly grasps the road surface. When the switch is turned off, it also supports the characteristics of stable clutch operation from the low-speed range.
Development of the new Africa Twin is finally drawing to a close.
The debut of a motorcycle that inspires the spirit of adventure
However, the time is short, since we want to turn the invisible into tangible, and bring this to the market, of course, there is still a lot of work to be done.
IIZUKANAOSHI, a veteran who has participated in the development of several Honda cars, is also working hard to keep the entire R&D project on the right track. The new Africa Twin is gradually becoming closer to reality, bringing that exciting joy.
Iizuka said he always wanted to build motorcycles that were full of anticipation and excitement. Of course, there is also excellent passability that can be maintained even for off-road use. The important thing is that it is not actually used for off-road driving, but it makes customers want to try off-road driving, and it is easy to control when they try it, and this is the experience we want to give users.
And they, the R&D team of the new Africa Twin, did it. This is a motorcycle that integrates "everyone's thoughts", and it is finally more perfect than the initial impression.
From the "door of adventure" in Sabine's eyes, to the "door of adventure" expected by Africa Twin. A passionate R&D team, with its professional spirit and passion, is always young and passionate, it is for the new generation of Africa Twin, and it is also for the dream pursued in the heart.