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The Secrets of the Honda True Adventure Concept? (with videos)

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British rag MCN claims to have the inside scoop on the forthcoming production version of Honda’s True Adventure concept unveiled at the Milan show last Fall. Follow this link to the full MCN story, but here are the highlights.

According to MCN, the bike should feature a 1,000 cc parallel-twin engine making in the neighborhood of 110 hp. Given the off-road emphasis at the Milan show, as well as the two promotional videos issued by Honda thereafter (see below), it is no secret that the production machine should be quite capable off-road. The seat gives a hint, as it creeps up the gas tank somewhat like a motocrosser, and the parallel twin engine will allow the bike to be quite narrow between the rider’s knees. MCN thinks this narrowness will be further enhanced by a unique twin-split airbox design.

The production version is expected for the 2016 model year. Could it be the lightest, open class, street-legal adventure bike yet? The current Ducati Multistrada sets a pretty tough standard at a claimed 461 pounds dry, and the Honda will likely be hampered by a tougher, stronger spoked wheel design that will add considerable weight over the cast wheels used by Ducati.

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72 Comments

  1. T says:

    Nice! Take my money. A powerful bike that will be decent on the road and capable for what I need off road. All the people saying something else is better- buy something else.

  2. halfbaked says:

    “The seat gives a hint, as it creeps up the gas tank somewhat like a motocrosser…” or any other dirt bike produced in the last 30 years. Why would the seat on a 1 liter adv bike remind you of an MX’er. BTW shouldn’t this monster be called a South American or Argentina Chile Bolivia Twin. The Dakar is never going back to Africa.

  3. kjazz says:

    Don’t get it.

    A super enduro (KTM) is already out there. I’ll bet the market for a FRIGGIN HUUUUUGE dirtbike is pretty well saturated already. But the market for large displacement 600cc – 700cc, relatively light weight dirtbikes is probably still reasonable open. Not that the KTM 690 isn’t filling that gap already to some degree. I’m just thinking there’s a lot bigger market for 600 – 700 cc adv bikes (with real dirt capability) than there is for 400+lb 800cc and above bikes that will be used like this is intended.

    C’mon Honda, people are gonna drop them if they are really getting after it. And somebody has to pick it up. Weight matters. Even though they all FEEL light while rolling….one of the inseparable aspects of dirt riding is …. falling. Or simply dropping it in a tight sweaty situation in the woods, in the mud etc. It’s got to be easy to pick it up.

    Big power is nice, but it doesn’t trump athleticism. An Adventure bike of this nature should be athletic first and powerful second. If more power is only achieved through more weight….skip the added power. Hell, the Honda XR650R is plenty powerful. (just too fargin noisy in the engine bay IMHO).

    Honda should target the KTM 690 as direct competition, not the 950 SE. The SE is very cool, but too damn big. Honda’s bike should be less than 325 lbs, single cylinder, e-start with a kickstarter too. Reasonable gas capacity, easy access air filter, rugged as hell, adj suspension, flat wide seat, provisions for adding a rear rack, street legal and it must be red…..not dirt colored. It’s gonna be dirt colored, but what’s the fun if comes that way from the factory…??!!!

    • Lenz says:

      I had a test ride on a 2013 KTM 690 Enduro R recently and although it ticked the boxes in terms of weight, brakes and power I felt it was kinda “chuggy” with the massive widely spaced power pulses of the big single cylinder engine.

      The KTM 690 is as heavy a dirt capable adventure bike as I would consider. If Honda can narrow the power pulse intervals and reduce the engine height (compared to a 690 single) with a parallel twin cylinder engine at around the same cc along with a bike that matches the KTM 690 (weight, suspension, brakes, power) then KTM will have serious competition.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        “If Honda can narrow the power pulse intervals and reduce the engine height (compared to a 690 single) with a parallel twin cylinder engine at around the same cc along with a bike that matches the KTM 690 (weight, suspension, brakes, power) then KTM will have serious competition.”

        The only problem with that dream is that most people would expect the Honda to be 25% cheaper than the KTM even though it would likely be an equal or better bike in every way.

        • Lenz says:

          I’m not sure where you think the dream applies.

          Lower production costs for closely comparable products generally result in reduced retail pricing.

          The 270deg 700cc parallel twin Honda currently run in their mid range bikes achieves narrower power pulse intervals, reduced engine height and lower COG than the upright aligned single cylinder KTM 690.

          Manufacturers are all taking their best guesstimates of what the market wants. The Japanese motorcycle industry has sucessfully produced high quality, competitive products at lower cost compared to European manufacturers for many many years

  4. John says:

    This bike with the 471cc twin would be exceptional. I don’t need a large 1000cc dirt bike, but thanks anyway.

  5. Juan says:

    Great news and good videos. In 2002 I met Liam McCabe when crossed Medellin – Colombia on his Africa Twin and published a short story of their journey in our magazine. Here you can see (in Spanish): http://www.demotos.com.co/media/pdfs/revista37.pdf

    Those were difficult times in Colombia, where the guerrillas kidnapped on the roads. Fortunately, today the reality is different and a motorcycle adventure is perfect for enjoying our country.

  6. Lenz says:

    If Honda has actually opted for the lightweight, “less is more”, “simple means lower cost / less potential failures in the field” concept, then why would they spend more money developing a 1000cc parallel twin when they already have the current 700cc parallel twin.

    With a little massage of the transmission for a very low first gear and very high top gear – 6 speed transmission aren’t they – this engine would appear to offer the attributes required for a more than competent / real world adventure bike : great torque through the low / mid range revs with less emphasis on top end ( look at the bore/stroke ratio) plus exceptional fuel economy for range without extra tank capacity.

    Triumph have just made a few adjustments to their 800cc adventure bikes with a little improvement in fuel efficiency and power but then added to the complexity of the bike with unnecessary electronic suspension and multiple engine mapping alternatives …… FFS just learn some THROTTLE CONTROL ! The added production cost could go into LED lighting or high quality, manually adjusted (and usually left alone once dialled in) suspension.

    “More” in the wrong or unnecessary places for the design brief of the machine is a prime example of the Sales Dept driving the Engineering Dept.

    • casatomasa says:

      Amen to that!!! Sales/Marketing always wins out in the end…..they got it we NEED it, weather it’s any good or not.

      • Trojanhorse says:

        Sorry but as someone who knows how the sausage is made I can tell you that it’s actually almost always the Engineers who are adding unnecessary crap (development for develpment’s sake) and then the Marketing guys have to figure out how to sell it even if it doesn’t make sense. Anyone who really thinks an engineer would let a marketing guy dictate product development doesn’t know motorcycle engineers. Look up the heads of the OEM development departments and tell me whether their backgrounds are in marketing/business (yeah right) or engineering….

    • John says:

      If I were a pro wrestler, I’d get the size, but I’d much rather have a 500cc-700cc twin in the lightest possible arrangement. I’d go even as low as a 300cc twin, I think.

      I think the Triumph Tiger 800 shows that “open class” can start at 800cc.

  7. todder says:

    Great videos to get me fired up for adventures in Spring.

  8. Provologna says:

    Sorry for those many enthusiasts who already know: Soichiro started out making a better piston ring. The black and white image of his children and extended family, men and women, standing in front of the wooden Honda shed, next to their bikes with baskets holding parts to be delivered, is epic, heart wrenching history.

    The business grew fast even before WW2, which leveled all their efforts. He started from scratch, again. Few success stories can match Soichiro’s.

    Their GP automobile legend is shorter than the 2-wheel variety, but still amazing.

    • Curly says:

      The actual story however is that the first batches of his piston rings for Nakajima Aircraft were inferior and rejected. Honda responded by going back to school to learn metallurgy and refined his process successfully. Another interesting part of the Honda story is his ties to Yamaha. During the war Yamaha was contracted to produce aluminum propellers, also for Nakajima. They did a fairly good job but the production rate was slow. The government contracted Honda-san to study Yamaha’s production and he came up with an automated machining operation that supposedly increased output ten fold. The manager of that Yamaha factory gained valuable manufacturing knowledge and understanding of making aluminum parts. That manager was Genichi Kawakami who ten years later would propose that Yamaha branch out for just making musical instruments and get into the motorcycle business.

      • Provologna says:

        Thanks very much! Though unconfirmed, I also like the following story.

        The story goes that Yamaha, in the late 70s, made it their goal to overtake #1 Honda. Toward that goal they ratcheted up production to higher rates than ever before. Then the world recession hit, causing sales to plummet for several years. Seniors and almost seniors likely remember the mid and late 80s, with newspaper classified ads (remember those?) listing Japanese N.O.S. motorcycles all the way back to the early 80s for 30-50% off their original MSRP. Consistent with this story, I specifically remember Yamaha had the largest selection, by good margin. I know because I bought one, a gorgeous and rare silver 81 XV920RH w/enclosed chain (a great bike except for the starter engagement mechanism).

        Around this time Yamaha was just about to go under. Yamaha’s CEO visited Soichiro, bowed low, apologized for his hubris with all humility, and begged for forgiveness. Soichiro accepted the apology, and loaned Yamaha cash to keep them afloat.

        I don’t know if it’s true, but I still love that story!

        The stories about Irimajiri, project Chief Designer for the CBX, are similarly heart warming…

        • Curly says:

          Yeah the part about bowing to Honda is made up though I’m sure there was some deep regret over trying to take the top spot. Toyota was the real savior coming in with increased contracts for their DOHC engine production and buying a stake in Yamaha that they still hold. Ford also did their part by letting Yamaha develope and build the first SHO engine along with some four cylinder powerplants used in several European models.

          • Provologna says:

            Wow, cool info, thanks. Yamaha indeed, IIRC, developed the 4V heads in the V6 of Ford’s original SHO version of the Taurus, estimate mid 90s.

  9. Alex says:

    That’s a very nice looking and nice spec bike. If the final product is anything close, i.e. no added weight or hanging doo dads or funky fairing for final version, it should sell very well. I’d love to own this baby. One problem – where’s the beak? Gotta have the beak!!!

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “it should sell very well…”

      …on the Peninsula, on the Boot.

      re: “I’d love to own this baby.”

      how’s your Deutsch…? Sprechen Sie…?

  10. Aussie M says:

    I’ll buy it if they put a gear lever and clutch lever on it. Not interested in auto clutches and transmissions.

  11. matric says:

    Again, a big adventure bike. For off-road riding, it’s way more fun with a smaller bike. A twin 500 cc real adventure bike that is not a poser would be great.

    • todder says:

      Agreed. That seems to be were the niche should be. Something that can compete with the likes of ktm 690 enduro or at least be somewhat of a contender.

  12. Matt says:

    This would also have been a great look for an FI XR700L thumper at under 350lbs.. oh well

  13. Norm G. says:

    re: “the Honda will likely be hampered by a tougher, stronger spoked wheel design”

    no worries this what I call “a self-solving problem”, as the hundreds of contracted franchisees here in states will surely be HAMPERED (like so much laundry) by a lack of importation.

  14. Norm G. says:

    Q: “Could Honda’s comeback start here?”

    A: no, it would start in Europe.

    Honda already has 800cc and 1200cc Adventure kit and if you’re paying attention (no slate if you aren’t) it should be painfully obvious they’ve imported neither.

    this is bike world so don’t let yourselves be suckered by enduring perceptions of Honda’s brand image. just because they manufacture something…? (as i just illustrated) it doesn’t mean you and yours will have the luxury of access. while it is understandable how the human brain routinely sees us “fast-forwarding” to desirable conclusions, these conclusions aren’t necessarily the truth.

  15. Vrooom says:

    Dang, that looks perfect for adventure touring. Sign me up. The last bike I saw I knew I’d purchase new immediately was the V-Strom, this might be the next.

  16. ststrider says:

    when they make something better than my 950 superenduro then they will have accomplished something.

  17. Ed says:

    They might be implying that the spoked tire PACKAGE is heavier…as the spoked tire needs a heavy tube.

  18. guu says:

    AFAIK the “lightest yet” big adventure bike is the KTM 950 Adventure. Claimed weight was about 440 lbs. Since its also the toughest big adventure bike as far as off-road abilities and has some obvious areas for weight reduction I would hope that Honda could at least match it.

    • Corpus Frisky says:

      Yeah, the KTM 950 is a way better comparison bike than what they picked. A Multistrada? In the dirt? Against this thing? I don’t think so.

  19. azi says:

    I really want a Ct110 now.

  20. John A. Kuzmenko says:

    I’ll be surprised if the production bike is anything like the top pic.
    Add another 50 pounds for EPA and DOT equipment and the required goofy styling.

    Still, my kind of dual-purpose bike (a bike used both on (mostly) paved roads and (less frequently) off-road) is a single-cylindered one (Thumper), like the Honda XL-500R, XL-600R, or Yamaha XT-550 and XT-600.
    Once the bike gets too heavy, I’ll pass.

    • red says:

      With you John. XL, XT, XR-L, DR, KLR. Travel well, hard to break and easy to fix. I’ve owned a number of these an am a big fan. Would like to see some updated versions of these types from the big 4.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I’ll be surprised if the production bike is anything like the top pic.”

      i’ll be surprised if the bike washes up on these shores.

    • Lenz says:

      Totally agree on the “too heavy – no sale” criteria

  21. Provologna says:

    Dirck,
    Can’t thank you enough for posting these videos, and updating us as you do. I know it’s your job, but still, thanks!

    Those were unquestionably the two best mc videos I’ve seen, at least for their intended marketing purpose. I have production experience and Honda hired the best for this job. The headphones I employed cost about $350; there are much more costly phones, but these are superb performers on an absolute scale. I wish everyone could hear these videos in their full aural splendor.

    I was almost moved to tears seeing the video of Soichiro, and his quotes were very moving.

    For readers who might be industry professionals making mc marketing videos, take note. These audio tracks share nothing in common with the usual tripe passing for audio tracks. Beautiful, dynamic, tremendous body and depth of spatial effects. The normal audio track is usually pure noise, completely lacks deep bass, all the dynamics squashed to sound like constant screaming, way too much upper mid/low treble, no spatial effects.

    The bike itself looks like it shall set the adventure market back about ten years. When Honda sets its corporate mind to a monumental goal, they are up to the task as few others.

    It’s funny how long it took and slow was the journey for the adventure genre to reach this apparent level of performance and sophistication. This reminds me of Honda’s CBR600F2 and possibly the first GSXR-1000.

    • Tom K. says:

      After reading your post, I wnet back and re-watched #2, and you are absolutely correct, the whole video, but especially the audio, is very nicely done. I wonder, though, if Ed has forgiven Rachel for the triple-dog dare.

    • Tim says:

      Thanks for the tip. I’m going to go back and watch this with my Audio Technicas on. As for the videos, I agree they are great, especially the second one.

    • Mike says:

      Thank you for the heads up on the videos…..and I appreciate the constructive tone and content of your posts…..something we all should do better.

    • Lupo says:

      Thanks for the tip on the headphones! Excellent videos. These do what all marketing pieces should (IMO). They excite and challenge you while gently promoting the product. Hats off to the makers of these films.

    • MGNorge says:

      Yes, didn’t employ headphones but cranked up the volume on my decent 2.1 speakers and you’re right, crystal clear audio. Really stood out!

  22. Tom K. says:

    How much weight could be cut if the engine were, instead of being a 1000cc, 110 hp parallel twin, a 700cc, 77 hp parallel twin? For its intended bias toward terrain other than paved, it would seem that the engine size creates an unbalanced package. It would be like designing a 12 gauge revolver, or using a train whistle for a doorbell. Either one will work, but may be a little “overkill”. But, I’ve never ridden Dakar, so if that is its intended use (at least according the Honda Marketing Dept.), maybe the engine is appropriate.
    On paper, it sure does sound like a fun package. But, unlike the flea dressing for its romantic date later that evening with the elephant, I don’t have as much confidence in my ability to perform to the required level.

    • Cyclemotorist says:

      You’re right, Tom.

      Sometimes less is more.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      The weight savings between the two engine displacements would be immaterial in a bike this size. I’ll take the power. I’m not racing Dakar, but I do have to ride it on the street. This looks like the Japanese KTM 950 Adventure that I have been waiting for all these years. I like it.

    • Hot Dog says:

      Isn’t displacement limited to 450cc in the Dakar? I keep hearing size matters, maybe so but the video of the two CT110 scooters was pretty cool. I’m sure this will be a nice machine built with Japanese perfection and if it causes more people to get lost somewhere, the better.

    • Matt says:

      I agree, but usually just swapping out motors doesn’t result in much weight savings. The weight savings comes from taking advantage of the smaller motor to begin with and designing around it.

      I personally wish they would have started with a hotted up version of the CB500X motor and built a minimal dirt/adventure bike around it.

  23. todd says:

    I don’t think spiked wheels add weight. I have a number of on and off-road spoke wheels and cast wheels. From what I can remember when doing tires, spoked aluminum wheels are noticeably lighter than my cast wheels. I don’t have any forged wheels but I imagine those might be a little lighter than spokes. Steel rims with spokes are heavy though. Spoked wheels are used off road because of their tolerance to rocks and holes without bending the rims.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I don’t think spiked wheels add weight”

      oh but they do. all those little screws in the tread add up.

  24. DesertFox says:

    I don’t get the point of current adventure bikes which lacks true off-roadability.
    This, on the otherhand, will nicely fill a niche. I seriously want one.

    • Patrick D says:

      Many people regualrly use roads with rutted, pot-hole strewn tarmac. These bikes make great sense in that scenario, and have a great many other vitues too.

      • MGNorge says:

        With the current state of affairs regarding our deteriorating infrastructure, we may all need this type of bike just to commute to work on! 🙂

        It’s the feeling that you can, if you want to, go off-road and explore. Add to that the niceties of an upright seating position with feet placed directly below and the adventure bike is today’s Dual-sport.

  25. Funny how the real Dakar racers ride singles because, according to KTM, they are fast enough and light. We have yet to sell a new 1000 Vstrom at the dealership that I wrench at. We may have sold a couple Tenares since they have been out. Weestroms don’t seem to moving since the price went up. KLR 650s sell pretty well. Just sayin’

    • guu says:

      They raced 100 hp litre-twins until they were banned. KTM won twice with the 950 Rally, that is basically a heavier 950 Adventure (bigger tanks etc). Then they raced the biggest possible single. Now those are banned and they race 450 singles.

  26. fred says:

    Just put it in a straight foreword street bike frame without a lot of junk.

  27. paul246 says:

    2nd video…. pretty cool what you can accomplish on a Honda C90 Cub.

    • todd says:

      Right? The video shows all the great places people go on their 90s and 250s so, here is your 1000cc commuter bike…

      • paul246 says:

        Yes. However, it still is always going to be different strokes for different folks.
        I ride my CBR125R and My VFR800. Not at the same time, of course.

      • MGNorge says:

        Here is a good example, you’ll never reach agreement on what’s important when asking a number of people what’s important on a bike like this. Size one smaller and there will be those that complain that it needs 25 more horsepower. Size them larger and there’ll be people saying there’s too much weight, or even too much power. I believe 1000cc is right seeing the Dakar link here. Maybe if successful Honda may see their way to make one just a little smaller, a little lighter and a little less expensive?

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “Here is a good example, you’ll never reach agreement on what’s important when asking a number of people what’s important on a bike like this. Size one smaller and there will be those that complain that it needs 25 more horsepower. Size them larger and there’ll be people saying there’s too much weight, or even too much power.”

          correct, while everyone’s on about the “colour of the drapes”, nobody’s stopped to ask if they can even buy the friggin’ thing…? that to me would seem to be of PARAMOUNT importance.

          get it… “import”-ance… see what i did there…? 🙂

  28. Tom says:

    Could Honda’s comeback start here?

  29. mickey says:

    The bottom video is awesome and inspiring

  30. Sam says:

    Stop it already!!!!! I have too many bikes now! THEY keep feeding the addiction-Oh the humanity!