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U.S. Market Gets Honda VFR1200X Adventure Bike for 2016; Other Honda Adventure Models Get Updates

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2016 Honda VFR1200X

Recognizing the rapid expansion of the Adventure Touring category here in the United States, Honda announced that a model previously available in Europe, but not the U.S., will be coming here for the 2016 model year. The VFR1200X contains a version of the 1,237cc, 76° V4 engine found in the Honda VFR1200F previously tested by MD. The model we will receive here will be updated with unspecified changes from the 2015 model available in Europe.

Honda also announced changes to the 2016 NC700X and CB500X. Honda released teaser photos for each of these models, which will be unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show next month.

Here is the press release from Honda:

TORRANCE, Calif., Oct. 22, 2015 – Reflecting the growing popularity of the adventure-touring segment, American Honda announced today that the innovative VFR1200X is coming to the U.S. for the 2016 model year. Already extremely popular in Europe, the VFR1200X receives important updates for 2016 and will now be available to American customers, joining the previously announced brand-new 2016 CRF1000L Africa Twin in Honda’s comprehensive adventure lineup. Honda also announced that the NC700X and CB500X receive aggressive new styling for 2016, and that the U.S. debut for all four 2016 Honda adventure models will be at the November 20-22 International Motorcycle Shows stop in Long Beach, California.

“We’re very excited to offer such a well-rounded offering of adventure-touring models in the U.S. for 2016,” said Lee Edmunds, Manager of Motorcycle Marketing Communications at American Honda. “The introduction of the VFR1200X to North America follows on the incredible reception of the Africa Twin. With the NC700X and CB500X also set to get important updates for 2016, Honda has a model to suit the needs of any adventure-touring enthusiast.”

VFR1200X

Now the largest-displacement Honda adventure-touring model, the powerful, smooth VFR1200X is brand-new to the U.S. market. Well suited to customers who don’t want to sacrifice comfort during long days of two-wheel exploration, often riding two-up, the VFR1200X is powered by a 1,237cc V4 engine and is available with a standard gearbox or Honda’s revolutionary six-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT); both versions feature Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC), combined ABS brakes and shaft drive. The 19- and 17-inch wheels offer capable road-going performance, while the inverted 43mm fork and single-sided swingarm incorporate modern suspension technologies. Other features include a one-hand-adjustable windscreen, handguards and an accessory socket to charge smart phones or power heated vests. An extensive line of Honda Genuine Accessories is offered, including products for storage, rider comfort and customization.

  • Color: Pearl Black
  • Availability: May 2016
  • Click here to view images
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Honda teases changes to NC700X.

NC700X

Popular with a disparate range of riders, the versatile NC700X gets exciting new styling for 2016, making for an aggressive, adventure-ready look. A 70mm higher windscreen reduces fatigue when riding at high speeds, and the new, smaller muffler has an improved sound and is lighter in weight. Luggage capacity has been increased by over .25 gallons to 5.8, and the taillight is now LED. The NC700X is offered with standard and automatic DCT transmissions, and for 2016, the DCT version now has three different sport-mode settings in addition to the standard mode, enabling riders to select shift points that suit riding style of preference. Ready for everything from urban commuting to carving twisty canyon roads, the 2016 Honda NC700X will make its world debut during the Tokyo Motor Show at month’s end.

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Honda teases changes to CB500X.

CB500X

Light, nimble, affordable and fun, the CB500X is beloved for its ability to inject everyday rides with a spirit of adventure. For 2016, the inspirational CB500X receives a new LED headlight and taillight, as well as a taller windscreen and a hinged fuel cap. The fork now has external preload adjusters, while the front brake lever can be adjusted to fit different hand-sizes. Finally, changes to the transmission make for smoother-feeling gear changes. Like the NC700X, the updated CB500X will be unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show.

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Honda teases changes to CB500X.


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87 Comments

  1. Cage Free says:

    Just replace the title Adventure bike with Sport tourer and these bikes make more sense. I ride a Guzzi Stelvio, a big tall 600lb+ beast of a bike that is about perfect for how and where I ride. I find it superior to my previous FJR, VFR, Sprint St, and Bandit 1250,as far as comfort, range, suspension, and occasional fire roads are concerned.

  2. todd says:

    Did I just read that the VFR-X is 42 pounds heavier than the Tenere? Wasn’t weight the only grip about the Tenere?

  3. bru says:

    Just a quick comment…Honda bringing over 4 great bikes and alot of negative mesages..point being..adventure bike means..going having fun and on an adventure…just enjoy riding and quit with the negative remarks..isn, t there enough of negative things in life..now get out and wenjoy the passion of riding…

  4. carl says:

    I can’t wait for honda to make the goldwing engine into an adventure bike next!!

    • Grover says:

      I’m waiting for the Boss Hoss ADV version powered with a Chevy 350. It may be just a wee bit heavier than some of the current ADV bikes, tho (more power in an adventure bike is good, no?).

  5. moto says:

    After riding the R3 this Summer, I am hoping the Honda gets back to making a fast light bike. It’s a plus if it has great suspension, a high exhaust, and a bigger tank. I am hoping for the sub 500 cc category to make it big in the near future. Boomers are getting older and need lighter bikes.

  6. Grover says:

    I thnk the Africa Twin is a whole lot better for Adventure riders than this VFR1200 ADV bike. A WHOLE lot better.

    • Blackcayman says:

      Well, one is obviously more oriented Street Riding while the other is to Off Road, so you have chosen the one that appeals to you.

      Thank the free market you can choose.

      The rest of us are still hoping one of the manufacturers will build exactly what “we” want…

      I crack myself up…because who else cares enough?

      • Grover says:

        I did say “Adventure” riders, not superbslab cruisers. I’m glad there are a lot of bikes to choose from, but this behemoth is best kept on the highway, especially if that’s where your adventure begins and ends.

    • John says:

      Well, yeah, that’s because adventure bikes aren’t really designed for adventure riders!

    • mg3 says:

      I agree Grover. Africa Twin is the real deal here.

  7. Colors says:

    How adventurous can the interstate be? 1200cc V4 with long travel suspension? Is there some type of contest as to who can come out with the highest center of gravity? Didn’t Honda just release the Africa Twin, what is this bike suppose to do that the AT won’t? If you are more into the touring aspect why not just buy the regular VFR1200 or a Goldwing? And how much suspension travel is necessary to absorb freeway expansion joints? Why use a poorly received platform for a new bike model? What exactly is Honda thinking?

    • todd says:

      They have a lot of money invested in the VFR. They need to find ways to recoup some of it. The Africa Twin is what the engineers wanted to build, the VifferEx is what the bean counters wanted.

    • SeTh says:

      Different bikes in different showrooms; buyers locate by cycletrader, not driving to their Honda dealer. Honda is stuffing the niche.

    • Michael says:

      I was always interested in the VFR1200 but at 6ft tall the ergonomics were unacceptable to me for all-day riding. This new model appeals to me because it will be more refined and better for 2-up than the FJ-09 which I am also interested in.

    • Blackcayman says:

      This is manufacturing 101.

    • mickey says:

      Actually the interstate can be quite adventurous if you are traveling a long way. Sure it’s not the Andes or the Himalayas but going across this country both directions on two wheels, across Canada, maybe up to Alaska certainly qualifies for an adventure in my book, especially if you did it in one trip.

      If I weren’t stubby legged I’d love to have the V4 adv bike, and would take it in a heartbeat over the chain drive parallel twin African bike. At 65 I’m not going to be riding anything any rougher than a fire road anyway. Had a V65 Sabre ( btw it was too tall for me with a 33″ seat height) but good golly what a powerplant. My touring bike now is a V4 only the other direction. v4’s are awesome motors.

      • MGNorge says:

        +1 I still have my Interceptor and there’s just something the V4’s have that’s lacking in the I4’s. It may be all in my head but it’s still there. I might pick the upcoming adventure VFR-X if I found the ergos more to my liking than the standard issue VFR and I wanted that big engine. I’d have little issue with it since I’m 6’8″ can ride most anything except hop on some MX bikes. 🙂

        I had left foot surgery some 5 years ago and the DCT just might be the ticket to bring the enjoyment of adventure back…and yes, I can have great adventure out on the open road, I don’t need to leave pavement to enjoy myself.

      • Tom K. says:

        I think you nailed it, Mickey, I had an ’84 1100 Sabre, and this looks to be an updated version, with even more power, about the same weight, and cushier suspension. I remember the Sabre seat height at 34″, and it was the most comfortable bike I’ve ever owned. I would have hoped for a little less beak, but oh, well, we’ll have to see what she looks like in person. So far, I’m giving it a thumbs-up, it will be interesting to see what the pricing is. I’ve been kicking around the idea of an FJR 1300, this bike will definitely be cross-shopped. Wonder if someone will make detacheable saddlebags eventually?

    • DaveA says:

      What exactly are they thinking? I’m not an industry expert, but I’ll go out on a limb and say that they’re thinking that there is a healthy market for a more street-oriented, more comfortable, more powerful ADV bike. A VFR is way (way) less comfortable than a big ADV bike, and a Gold Wing is, well, a Gold Wing. There is a considerable void between the Africa Twin and a Gold Wing. All of this should be painfully obvious to anyone who is objectively thinking about this subject.

  8. Michael H says:

    That sweet V4 engine and the DCT will be enough for me to take a serious look at the bike. It will be interesting to compare it with the BMW R1200GS with the clutchless shift assist option.

  9. Vasco says:

    Question from a European guy here. Why doesn’t the US get these bikes in the first place? even if a manufacturer predicts that a certain model won’t sell in a significant percentage, it still should sell in reasonable numbers considering the size of the US market. Is a bike registration (or homolgation) so complicated/expensive that it’s not worth it? I know the California bikes have additional equipment that the manufacturer has to develop, but for other states the bikes look the same as EU models.

    • Dave says:

      Re: “considering the size of the US market.”

      In motorcycles, we’re a relatively small market. Jeremy in TX makes a good point below regarding the percentages that Ducati and BMW sell here but these are high dollar, low volume products. I still believe to a company like Honda (and the other Japanese makes), they are being very conservative on model count (maybe less so for Honda) as with our depressed market, there is only so many spots on the floor that a dealer can commit.

    • MGNorge says:

      Bottom line is the US is overwhelmingly comprised of cruisers, most notably Harleys, and for the younger set, sport bikes. There are days when I probably see 10-15 Harleys to anything else.

      I think in many ways we’ve limited our own market.

      • todd says:

        Again, that’s just an indication of where you live. Where I’m at I only see Harleys one in ten. The most popular bike out here seems to be the R6/R1.

  10. Denny says:

    The 1200X with the DCT is what I hoped Honda would do since I rode the original VFR1200 with the DCT years ago. I like the V4 and the auto transmission, but the seating position was too “ricky roadracer” for me. Now I’ll seriously look at this 1200 as a stable mate for my Honda FBC Valkyrie! Can’t wait to see it!

  11. vato_loco_frisco says:

    Not another bike with a beak…

  12. hh says:

    I see more and more “adventure bikes”; some day there will be a name for them like UJM, but more like “ubiquitous adventure bike” or ubad for short . Please I only jest, after all, I have ridden the Cali coast with a fellow who was riding an GS1200 contently staying ahead of me with ease. Thank you Ewan and Charlie, I get that they work, but I kinda think Beckham in the amazon on a bonne said something too and if not, then Lucassen sure did…When you arrive at the coffee shop to talk about your adventures and your ubad, you will be able to pick me out of the crowd. I will be the one not wearing a Tilley hat.

  13. Skybullet says:

    600+ lbs!!! One of the most enjoyable bikes I had was a pre-vtech VFR800 and I would seriously consider this bike, but not when KTM will have a much lighter alternative next year. Too tall can be fixed, too heavy can’t.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “600+ lbs!!!”

      yup, she’s a big bitch.

      that being said, with that weight and her long legs, she’s going to make a great highway bike. there was something noticeably sublime about the ride quality surrounding the older 1150GS vs it’s more modern (read lighter) 12GS. to this day the 11.5 is still the bike I most equate with the term “Cadillac”. who knows, maybe that will change after throwing my leg over this Honda…?

  14. Xootrx says:

    I’m 5′ 6″. My Versys has a seat height of 33+ inches. I’ve had the bike for 3 years now, and I’ve had the chance to tour the southwest, from New Mexico to California several times, as well as Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. It doesn’t take long to get used to it. I’m inclined to think most people who have a problem with 33 inch seat height haven’t really spent much time on one.

  15. Provologna says:

    If your version of “Adventure” is touring the Autobahn a few clicks over the ton, especially if your inseam is >34″ and you’re at least moderately strong.

    Hey, that’s me, except I live in Utah and don’t have the money for a long German vacation…

  16. ToddYo says:

    Still no NC750X. Can anyone explain why they refuse to bring the more powerful and smoother NC750X to the US? Canada and Europe have it – why can’t we?

    • mg3 says:

      Great question – Honda?

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      “Canada and Europe have it – why can’t we?”

      Payback. We didn’t buy enough DN-01s and Runes back in the day.

      I don’t know this, but I suspect the answer is that the NC700X sold poorly here and that they don’t expect the NC750X to sell any better. So why go through the trouble and cost of passing US emissions with it?

      • KenHoward says:

        “…the NC700X sold poorly here and they don’t expect…”

        That could certainly be true (though I can’t understand how selling the already-upgraded model wouldn’t pretty-much guarantee better sales with minimal cost). Living only 20 miles from the Canadian border, I find it especially aggravating.

      • ToddYo says:

        But they’ll keep a second assembly line going in 2016 just to provide the US with a poor selling, inferior model? That sure doesn’t seem cost effective!

  17. xLaYN says:

    Adventure bikes… as in they look like “Adventure” bikes look (Insert rant about how the KLR650 it’s the truly adventure bike here).
    With that said I like all of them, they are on my books everyday-use-bikes and all of them look sweet (with the exception of the panel in the 500 as Zuki mentions below)
    The NC700X with the Automatic DCT is one of those bikes I have to try; it has to be weird the auto, quick shifting and low rev engine all running own its own.
    The VFR1200X is a Honda icon model as the F and I would expect a “geee this is how expensive bikes feel” or as Dirck review on the F says:

    “the rider controls, including clutch, brakes and throttle, all have that smooth, damped feeling one gets when interfacing with an expensive automobile”

    I’m happy more nice bikes everywhere.

  18. North of Missoula says:

    Right at the opposite end of the ADV bike segment from the Africa Twin. At 600lbs I don’t see many people fitting it with TKC80’s.

    Probably a great touring bike which could take you down a dirt road to get to your camp site at the end of a long day on the highway. I

  19. Jim says:

    No skid-plate? May as well run a 17″ on the front too.

  20. John says:

    I would be all over the CrossTourer if they were to lop off two cylinders and 200lbs. And a quite a few $thousand. I would love to have a small shaft drive, SSS sport tourer.

  21. ABQ says:

    Of the NC700X Honda says:
    “Luggage capacity has been increased by over .25 gallons to 5.8”
    This is refering the bike with the luggage space where the gas tank should be. You open up that big tank and there is a big hole there. The actual gas tank is a measly 3 gallon jug beneath the seat…Adventure Bike? Really?
    If Honda was serious about building an adventure bike they would have used that storage space as a real GAS TANK. And maybe connected it to the gas tank under the seat for a full 8 gallons and then some. Imagine the adventures you could have with that sort of milage.
    But Honda doesn’t have that much imagination, or an understanding of what an adventure bike is. Did the engineers at Honda ever ask themselves why all the other adventure bikes have oversized gas tanks? (Pssssst,there isn’t any gas stations out in back of the ranges) They are not serious and they won’t sell.

  22. Sentinel says:

    Sadly I don’t find even one of these bikes remotely desirable.

  23. Garry says:

    Honda doesn’t think a whole lot of this bike …ONE year warranty,figures to be a turd!!!!

  24. Zuki says:

    Too bad the CB-X doesn’t get the smaller muffler like its CBR brother. The transmission on the current 500s can be notchy at times so a smoother transmission is a nice improvement, along with the hinged gas cap. The taller windscreen looks nice too – I installed the optional tall windscreen on mine the day I bought the bike.

    The big, one-piece plastic side panels are one of the things I’ve never really liked about my CB500X and it appears the new side panel/filler pieces will bolt right onto the current X. If I still have my CB next year I think I’ll be ordering those pieces.

  25. Gham says:

    I like the VFR but I’ll be darned if I can figure why they feel the need to build something that is nothing more than a glorified street bike in adventure guise and make it so tall.

    Would love to have one at about 32-32.5 inseam.When it’s just me I can handle a little taller but with the wife it’s a handful.

    • Dave says:

      Re: “a glorified street bike in adventure guise and make it so tall.”

      You just described 1/2 or more of the “adventure” bikes on the market.

    • Benjamin says:

      For tall people of course! At 5’6″ they’re not for me, but I could imagine if I was 6’something” I’d much prefer a road-only adventure bike to a sport tourer.

    • John says:

      No shiite. I have to disqualify any street bike with anything over a 32″ seat height as a PITA. And now even the 650s are surprisingly high for the most part, certainly if it looks anything like an ADV bike. The NC750X, Versys, V-stroms, all too tall to be comfortable for me. The KTM Duke 390 is about the only KTM I can comfortably ride. The CB500X is about the only “ADV” bike that works for me.

      Speaking of which, why are they still make the NC in 700 and 750 versions? That seems awfully stupid unless they ended up with a bunch of 700cc engines they need to put into something.

    • ilikefood says:

      It’s tall so it’s comfortable for tall people. There are already plenty of bikes with low seats that are crazy cramped for anyone near 6′ tall. If the seat on the VFR1200X is too tall for you, go buy pretty much any sport-touring bike out there. I don’t fit on those, so I’m happy that there are finally some reasonably-sized bikes available. For a sizable proportion of the population, a low seat height is a major disadvantage, not a selling point.

      • Gham says:

        look food,I don’t begrudge you the selection of available bikes.My point is there is nothing in the large displacement(1000cc+) adventure market that has low seat height with the possible exception of the MG Stelvio.These are just bolt-upright street bikes with some fire road potential,I’m too old for sport-anything and hate cruisers so I have to dress up a Savage or Zrex or CB!!00.

        • Dave says:

          Re: “My point is there is nothing in the large displacement(1000cc+) adventure market that has low seat height”

          That’s an exceptional challenge. An ADV bike has to have ground clearance. Add that to the height of the engine and the minimum seat height goes up. If somebody figures out how to package that, they’ll have a competitive advantage, for sure.

        • mickey says:

          I think the Moto Guzzi Selvio has a 32″ seat height

    • Tom R says:

      And if it had a low seat height the tall people would be complaining about cramp legs while riding.

  26. Garry says:

    Good ole Honda…They call there bikes this touring and that touring , yet they won’t put an electric cruise control on any of them….ABS is optional on many models…..Good luck with all that,I’ll keep my Beemer!!!!

  27. Norm G. says:

    re: “Recognizing the rapid expansion of the Adventure Touring category here in the United States”

    well be careful Honda, don’t strain yourself with all that “rampant recognition”. you’re only dead last to market, and this by SEVERAL years.

    • Gham says:

      Sad but accurate

    • Dave says:

      “Already extremely popular in Europe, the VFR1200X ”

      Not late to the market, just late to the US market, which is very small on the world scale.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        For bikes of this price point and genre, the US is a large market.

        • Dave says:

          I doubt that. The whole US market is around 1/2 million units per year, with HD commanding a significant portion of that. That includes scooters and smaller displacement bikes as well. Methinks that doesn’t leave enough volume to qualify any other US segment as large.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Looking at a couple of other manufacturers of “big” bikes that are not cruisers, the US makes up about 13% of BMW’s sales which is big. 19.5% of Ducati’s sales, making the US Ducati’s largest market. For bikes like the VFR1200X, the US is a big market.

    • Harry Rasant says:

      How does a company that inept even stay in business.

      • MGNorge says:

        Simply, they must be great in their ineptitude!

      • Mike says:

        Harry Rasant says: How does a company that inept even stay in business.

        >>>>>>>

        My reply:

        1. Cars

        2. Billions of small capacity Hondas made and sold in developing countries that pad Hondas profits without the companies massive and perceived threat/risk of finishing first in tests and sales for the performance and other motorcycle market segments

        3. Too many motorcycle owners will only purchase a Honda…….. same for ….BMW or HD

        4. In 10-15 years some Hondas “unique” motorcycles now that did not into any market segment and were sales failures…..will be sought after at big prices due to low production numbers.

        5. Mr. Honda died in 1991.

        >>>>>>

        I see Honda today as a company that tolerates motorcycles….and managed by car based executives, lawyers and financial managers whose worst fear is a video going viral showing a Honda sport bike gaping a police helicopter at 213.638 mph and this influencing Honda car buyers.

        To ensure this does not happen ….my view is and by intent Honda management demands mid pack placement in most street legal sport bike comparison tests….there is no other explanation ..after all is there anyone that does not think Honda could be the leader in every sport bike market segment today if that was the company management goal?

        • Dave says:

          Hondas continue to sell very well in the US because there’s a significant (for a market the size of ours) group of riders who appreciate bikes with real world quality and streetable performance. Count how many sportbikes are CBR variants. Notice how many cruisers you are that are actually Honda Shadows. When you see the bikes above, it’s easy to forget what Honda really does.

          It’s not a very different formula from their automotive side, where the cars are unique, if somewhat quirky, and outperform their EPA estimates and competitors on reliability.

    • Gary says:

      Very true. And no cruise control … the last to realize the need for that as well.

  28. Sean says:

    More adventure bikes? 🙁 ugly, heavy, awkward looking things. In the car world we have the crossover plague and in the motorcycle world its these things. Oh well, I guess I’m outnumbered someone must be buying these things.

  29. Buckwheat says:

    I’ve always liked the VFR1200X, with its righteously powerful V-4, its God-bless-America shaft drive, its availability of DCT, and its sensible Honda looks and quality. Even though it seems to have gotten lukewarm reviews in the Euro-moto media, I’m glad Honda’s bringing it to the US of A. Let’s hope the 2016 updates are as “important” as Honda claims. This is more likely to be my next bike than anything else out there.

  30. Thud says:

    Looks cool, like a super tenere with a beak.

  31. jim says:

    Que the snarky comments about beaks and centerstands

    • Random says:

      Nah, that’s old school. It’s all about the pillion seat now… (and having to persuade the significant other that I need another bike I wholeheartedly agree about it!)

  32. randy says:

    and no CB1300 again.just a most likely overpriced VFR1200X.