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Honda True Adventure Prototype Points to Future Production Model

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Still in prototype form, the True Adventure displayed by Honda at the Milan show “captures the product direction as Honda seeks to expand its presence in the Adventure segment.”

Honda is saying very little (see below), but the True Adventure Prototype looks all business. A very compact-looking parallel twin engine sits inside a purposeful, minimalist frame that points to a, perhaps, more dirt-worthy large displacement Adventure machine than currently available from most other manufacturers.

Honda may be somewhat late to the Adventure party, but it looks serious. Again, stay tuned. Here is the brief statement issued by Honda:

True Adventure Prototype: The second prototype on display is the True Adventure Prototype. Inspired by both Honda’s fantastic heritage in adventure motorcycling and its recent Dakar program, the True Adventure Prototype captures the product direction as Honda seeks to expand its presence in the Adventure segment. This prototype has been developed to deliver outstanding off-road capability, and could provide the basis of a true round-the-world motorcycle. It’s flanked by the current Team HRC CRF450 Rally and, paying respect to Honda’s competition legacy, the 1989 Paris-Dakar-winning NXR Africa Twin ridden by Gilles Lalay.

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55 Comments

  1. Foo says:

    I am definitely sold. I wish it had a traditional dirt bike front fender though, but I can live with that. The dedicated frame and engine are what are promising, plus Honda reliability. I hope this is an NC750 type engine, not a CBR500 type engine, as the torque curve on the NC is so perfect for a dirt/adventure bike. Please bring it Honda!

  2. Provologna says:

    Ewan and Charley will have to reprise “Long Way ‘Round.”

  3. Dave says:

    Honda has lost it’s way. They are no longer interested in being at the top of the field as evidenced by the lack luster products they have offered in the past 10 – 15 years. I was a big Honda fan growing up but now they don’t make anything of interest to me in fact most of their designs I don’t understand at all. No performance and just plain freakish. This bike is most likely a rehashed XR650…….boring!!! Come on Honda, you can be the best!

  4. Abo says:

    No beak? Sold.

  5. casatomasa says:

    I am so ready for this bike. This is the machine of dreams. This is the missing link, a bridge between true dirt bike and ADV poser a real “dual sport”. A 350#ish, 650/750 or less cc engine, capable suspension, and enuff wind protection freedom machine. Time to start selling my Orange I’m seeing Red!!!

  6. todd says:

    That engine looks more like a single to me. It very well could be an update of their XR650R engine. That has a little more power (even in stock form) than the 500X motor and should be a fair bit lighter. Being a 650 or 700 means it would have more torque than the 500 too. I don’t remember many Honda singles having much of a problem with vibration either. I’m interested.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      That definitely looks like a parallel twin to me – too much separation between the headers to be a single.

      I had an XR, and the 500X makes way more power, has just as much torque (though a little less down low), gets way better fuel economy and won’t need its top end rebuilt every 30K miles. I don’t know what the two engines weigh in comparison to each other, but the 500 P-Twin would be a quantum leap improvement over the XR mill in every other way.

      If that were a single in this bike, then it is a complete redesign, not an update to the XR lump.

  7. Ian says:

    Where are the REAL Hondas from this show in Milan? So far just this and the GP replica both of which are prototypes. What’s that, there’s nothing new? Ahhh that’s a shame. Asleep at the wheel (bars?) over there Mr. Honda?

  8. WNCVstrom says:

    It looks like it will take tubes with those spoked rims. They should take the lead that Yamaha, BMW, and others took with spoked rims that will take tubeless tires.

    Honda, please keep it close to the prototype and don’t “pork it up”!

    • tskyyc says:

      Those tubeless rims with spokes only exist to make big fat adventure bikes look more like dirtbikes. Honda has them on the Crosstourer. They’re heavy and pointless on a dirtbike. The low pressures you run off road aren’t enough to seat a tubeless tire on a rim. Also, I don’t think 21″ tubeless dirtbike tires even exist.

  9. Cyclemotorist says:

    This is based on the current Honda 500 twin? Looks like it.

    I can see where this would be advantageous. It looks like a serious off—roader with a twin instead of a single.

    As soon as Honda came out with that 500 twin I was thinking how it would make a good dual sport because of the engine size/weight.

    Imagine this coming in a bit lighter than a KLR650.

    • zuki says:

      Doesn’t appear to be the 500 mill. I’ve got a 500X and this engine doesn’t look familiar. Rumor is 1000 cc. I’m hoping for a 750 with FZ-07-like power output for a better balance of weight and power, or a high output 500 would be awesome as well, perhaps even better. A 1000 seems like it would be too much for the application and I think I’d have more fun with less displacement and weight. But if it’s a 1000 it’s still very likely to be my next motorcycle. After I got my 500X my SV1000S is sitting. I have more fun on the 500. I’ve been riding it everyday to work even on 20 degree mornings so far without complaining about the cold, arriving to work feeling refreshed!

  10. Lenz says:

    Hope you’ve been listening Honda san – any design team that comes up with a 200+kg “Adventure Bike” should be forced to individually pick it up from a downed position in loose sand and mud – repeatedly until the lesson is learned.

    The terms “Elegant Simplicity” and “Less is More” should have some resonance here

    I’ve listed the features of what would be an outstandingly versatile Adventure motorcycle in recent posts. Please consider ……

  11. Asparagus Joe says:

    Zombie Apocalypse War Machine!!! It needs guns, lots of guns. And RPGs to blow the cagers.

  12. Provologna says:

    Top of my motorcycle wish list right there. I have to ride this if/when it appears. Honda, all is forgiven.

  13. Tommy see says:

    I so wanted the
    Yamaha 660 Super Tenere but no to Canada! This may be the one…… Bring it Honda and Now !

  14. Mark says:

    Looks like honda may beat ktm to the market with the perfect middleweight adventure bike.
    I’ve been waiting for ktm to put the 690 motor which is lovely into an adventure (not Enduro) package.

    I will check this bike out when it’s sold to the public.

    • guu says:

      Only reason that I can think of that we haven’t seen 690 Adventure is the lack of competition (that hasn’t stopped KTM in other categories, thou).

      Basically what many wanted was designed and manufactured in small series almost a decade a go in the 690 Rally -minus street stuff. Hard to believe KTM couldn’t produce something like that in short order.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I test rode a 690 Duke to get a feel for the engine. (The Enduro was what I was interested in, but you can’t get your hands on one around here unless you order one.) I was very disappointed with vibration from that mill. I wouldn’t want to live with it on a bike that I intend to use on highways or interstates (which I would have to do around here.) I don’t think that is the engine for an Adventure mini.

      • zuki says:

        Agreed. Twin cylinder is perfect for Adventure mini.

      • Mark says:

        Really Jeremy? That is quite different to my experience of a few thousand kms.

        I had the 2007 SM with the 690 balanced motor and found it super smooth.
        Tracked it, street rode it. Never once caused vibration issues in my hand.

        Now my VFR800 numbed my hand, my KTM250 numbed it, my GS1200 numbed it, I could go on.

        I’m hoping the Honda parallel twin here is just as smooth if not better.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          That was my experience, Mark, and I am not particularly annoyed by vibration. It also wasn’t particularly friendly below 4000 rpms. I ended up buying a 2014 Husqvarna TR650 Terra instead of the KTM Enduro based on that test ride (which had the added benefit of saving me $5000. 🙂 ).

          That said, I have read many reviews of the new KTM 690 bikes – from both owners on forums and magazine testers – and have heard conflicting opinions concerning the vibrations. I wonder if KTM might have some production tolerance issues around that balance-shaft that makes some bikes seem buzzy and others smooth.

  15. Hellcat68 says:

    Looks like the frame under the engine is bolted to the steering head structure. Easier to remove the engine assembly.

  16. Matt says:

    Interesting exhaust routing.. to the side of the skid plate

    I too hope that it doesn’t come out too big.. Someone said a Euro mag was claiming 180kg, which is just under 400lbs. Its on the internet so it must be true right?

  17. George Catt says:

    As to the mud, my 01 ST1100 ABS looked very similar to that after riding CO-10 last spring in a deluge. Ugh!

  18. Mark L says:

    SOLD!! If they use the 500x motor not a big 1000 and comes out this century. The klr is officially for sale!!!

  19. George Catt says:

    Oh, and no info on engine size? Hope it’s not _too_ big, 500 or so would be good. Anyone? Bueller?

  20. George Catt says:

    Wish it had a shaft drive. 😀

  21. Kai Ju says:

    Anybody else notice the absence of a shift and clutch lever ?

    • zuki says:

      Noticed the shift lever missing, but not the clutch lever. Also noticed what seems to be a remote preload knob for the rear shock…

    • Aussie M says:

      No shift lever and no clutch lever! That is really bad news. It suggests they are working on some sort of stupid auto clutch and auto transmission set-up. Bad enough on a road bike but ridiculous on something suitable for off-road. I don’t care how good the system is, I want total control of clutch engagement and gear shifting. This is how they will stuff up what could be the best adventure bike ever built. When will they learn to give us exactly what we want instead of just trying to show off their latest technology.

      • zuki says:

        Hopefully DCT won’t be standard but optional.

      • casatomasa says:

        Ever riden with a rekluse clutch? You’ll never go back….unless you are a trials rider. I’m all on board!!!

        • zuki says:

          I tend to prefer things simple but I’ve never tried Honda’s DCT so I can’t have an opinion about it… in other words I’m open to the idea but worried about the increased price to get the bike. From what little I’ve read about it, it seems DCT is a pretty nice system but I’d want to try it out first.

  22. Stuki Moi says:

    Who needs to hire some high priced “artist” to paint your bike in squiggly lines to camouflage it prior to release, when you can just cake it in mud…. ?

  23. Jeremy in TX says:

    OK, Honda, you have my attention. Please don’t screw it up.

  24. TwoWheelz says:

    Hell, that is either the “boot” so we can’t ride it … or the bracket for the ski!

    True Adventure .. Winter riding ?????

  25. endoman38 says:

    Hope they don’t get stupid with pricing, like Yamaha did with the Tenere.

  26. Norm G. says:

    no pretensions in that display.

    be advised, i’m saving these pictures just in case, but I think we can safely leave out the routine debate of off-road worthiness should this kit materialize. rest assured someone not paying attention is going to go there.

    timer begins counting down… NOW.

    • zuki says:

      Agreed. This dirt-worthy machine looks awesome. Chomping at the bit for more info! Looks more than just a prototype… are those holes for turn signal stalks that I see on the rear? And the very tip of the rear fender looks like holes for the typical license plate light module… no?

    • Stuki Moi says:

      Stop the counter!

      The exhaust really should be routed up higher, along the side of the engine, lest hard core bad ass real adventurers like me crush it going over a tall curb in front of Starbucks, while bashing my way to a Mongolian BBQ.

      The bike basically looks like a twin cylinder, twin front disc, long wheelbase, heavy, sturdy dirtbike with a real subframe. With an engine small and light enough to not render knobbies a rolling poseur joke. With Honda reliability and dealer/parts network. Who, aside from pathological contrarians or guys who mainline orange Redbull and vye to be the first to go around the world on one (rear) wheel, would not choose this as an RTW off the main drags platform?

    • Without question, it looks the biz. Seems to draw heavily from Honda’s more recent rally experience. Looks like it could have had its way with the KTM 950/990. Oh, wait, it wasn’t around.

      Which brings me to my point: Honda, the mightiest, have shown up with cool new prototypes. While others showed up with cool new actual motorcycles. As a long-time Honda fan, it’s frustrating to watch.

      • jim says:

        “Honda, the mightiest, have shown up with cool new prototypes. While others showed up with cool new actual motorcycles.”
        that has to sting!

        • Lenz says:

          Perhaps Honda is doing a little looking around, taking note of “others” offerings / innovations / committed models with a view to finalising prototypes that are superior to the competition. There’s more than just showcasing products going on at these motorcycle shows.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            The fact that they are looking around while their competitors are moving the bar is a serious problem. Getting to market at the right time is one of the most important tasks in this industry, and Honda is almost never there at the right time. The competition is executing a seek and destroy mission while Honda is still deciding what they should shoot at. Not good.

          • guu says:

            When was the last time Honda came out with a “superior” product? Not saying it couldn’t happed, but it hasn’t happened in at least a decade. Ducati, Kawasaki, Yamaha, KTM and Triumph have come out with true show-stoppers.

  27. ApriliaRST says:

    That’s the biggest wheel weight I’ve ever seen.