‘Sports tourers’ were a bit of a thing a few years ago. People seemed to love them, and there were plenty to choose from. Nowadays though, a lot of the folk that were into their ‘sports tourers’ yesteryear, are bombing around on adventure bikes. Everywhere you look, there are adventure bikes. Big ones, small ones and everything in between. I don’t know whether the market’s led the industry there, or it’s the other way round, but I’m fairly sure there’ll still be people out there that would like a good old fashioned sports tourer. And Honda obviously know it too, because that’s exactly what the all-new NT1100 is all about.
If you’re looking at the pictures and getting shades of Africa Twin, you’d be right to. The steel semi-double cradle frame is the same as that of the Africa Twin, as is the 1084cc SOHC parallel twin engine. You could argue it really is very Africa Twinny.
And with it being so very Africa Twinny, as you’d expect, there’s the option to have it with DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission).
But it’s not a Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin, it’s a Honda NT1100. And you can see just by looking at the images that the NT1100 has a very different focus. It’s not an adventure bike. Honda are calling the NT1100 ‘a straightforward touring machine, but one with a rich specification and a sporty edge’.
So let’s dive into that rich specification, shall we? Electronics-wise, they‘ve been reasonably generous. You get cruise control, five riding modes (Urban, Rain, Tour, User1, User2) and three levels of both traction and wheelie control. It comes with heated grips, LED lights, and a charging socket as standard, as well as some decent sized paniers. The 6.5 inch dash is touch screen and has Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Bluetooth connectivity, so all your media and nav stuff is taken care of.
With 100bhp and 104 Nm of torque, the Honda NT1100 might not be the sportiest sports tourer you’ve ever thrown your leg over, but what’s the rush? I already know the Africa Twin’s a great bike to go touring on, and this ought to be even better, so if you like touring, and you can’t see yourself getting lost in the woods and having to go off-road the new Honda NT1100 might be just the ticket.
And the best bit? The price! The standard NT1100 (without DCT, that’s an extra £1000) is £11,999. Alright, I know that’s still a lot of dough, but it’s over a grand cheaper than the cheapest Africa Twin (£13,049). It’s not going to float everyone’s boat, and if you prefer the aggressive looks of the Africa Twin (I think I do, to be honest), the NT1100 might not be your cup of tea. But if you want a comfortable, practical tourer, with a 20 litre fuel tank (good for 400km/250mi) a bit of snazzy tech and a nice low (820mm) seat, why don’t you see if you can book a test ride. They’ll be in dealerships in the new year.