Honda True Adventure: More details, photos

Photos: Rob Harris/Canada Moto Guide

We don’t know much about Honda’s True Adventure concept unveiled yesterday at EICMA, but here’s what we can tell you (there’s no standard clutch!), plus a little bit of speculation.

All year long now, there have been rumours of an upcoming Honda adventure bike. There was debate over whether it would be a 450-500 cc single or a 750-1000 cc twin, but most bets were on a replacement for the Africa Twin. Since we’re big fans of adventure bikes here at CMG, Editor ‘Arris got up early and planted himself at Honda’s press unveiling at EICMA yesterday morning. They ripped the cover off a new adventure bike, showing it in all its dirt-spattered glory, and then … nothing.

That’s right. After months of anticipation, Honda put their new adventure bike on display, and didn’t tell us anything about it, except for the name. They call the concept the “True Adventure”, which is a far cry from “Africa Twin”.

What's this - no gear shifter? That's right, and there's no clutch lever either. What trickery is Honda up to?
What’s this – no gear shifter? That’s right, and there’s no clutch lever either. What trickery is Honda up to?

To be fair to Honda, the anticipation was mostly due to fans scouring patent applications and trademark filings for hints about the future – Big Red didn’t subject us to months of hype about the upcoming model. In fact, the paint job screams “prototype.” It’s wearing camouflage livery that’s typically used to thwart spy photography.

So, here are a few details we did figure out. First off, the biggest news is that there’s no clutch lever. Check out the photos of the left-hand side of the handlebars – there’s nothing there. And, there’s no gearshift lever. Sure, there’s what appears to be a clutch housing on the right-hand side of the motor, but whatever sort of drivetrain this bike will have, it isn’t going to be your standard clutch and gearbox.

Given Honda’s years of building dual clutch transmissions, most people would bet that’s what the bike uses, but Honda isn’t saying.

What about engine displacement? It’s a twin cylinder, and it’s hard to imagine Honda building a twin cylinder smaller than 750 cc. Wes Siler (formerly of Hell for Leather) says a source told him the engine was 1000 cc, but that’s not proven either.

The machine has dual disc brakes up front, which also indicates it’s probably at least 750 cc. Adventure bikes in this class (Triumph Tiger, BMW F800 GS) typically have dual discs, while 650-class bikes usually do with a single disc. The brake calipers are radially mounted.

Thankfully, Honda didn't give us a 17-inch or 19-inch front rim. That's a 21-inch rim, with 18-inch rim in back, which should make tire selection much better.
Thankfully, Honda didn’t give us a 17-inch or 19-inch front rim. That’s a 21-inch rim, with 18-inch rim in back, which should make tire selection much better.

The bike has proper off-road rims fitted – a 21-inch unit in front, and an 18-inch rim in back. This machine won’t follow the trend of designing adventure bikes for street use, like the Multistrada or BMW’s new S1000 XR. Those wheels appear to use standard spokes, meaning the tires will need tubes, instead of the increasingly popular tubeless spoked wheels that many manufacturers are moving towards. This should keep price down a bit.

What about ergonomics? The seat looks comfy, ‘Arris reports, but he wasn’t able to sneak in and sit on the bike himself. The saddle is wide at the back for long distance travel, but narrows at the front, enabling riders to easily stand on the pegs and control their machine off-road.

From his vantage point as an awkwardly tall onlooker held eight feet away by the security fence, Rob thought the front suspension had screw-type adjustments, but couldn’t be sure. The rear suspension has a remote preload adjuster, which should make it easier for riders to switch their settings on the fly. That’s especially handy when you’ve got panniers and/or a pillion on board. Speaking of panniers, Rob thought the rear subframe looked substantial enough to handle the weight of luggage, but it also appeared to be welded on. That means damage to the subframe can be expensive and tricky to fix.

There’s no word on creature comforts like heated grips or auxiliary plug-ins; the windshield appears to be non-adjustable.


Check out all the pics that go with this story! Click on the main sized pic to transition to the next or just press play to show in a slideshow.


    • I think the NC750X needs more than the 19-inch wheel. Spoked wheels would be necessary as well, as well as a more robust design without low-hanging plastic bellypans.

  1. From the other comments I’m guessing many folks here don’t realize the significance and long term hype of this bike.
    It is the long awaited replacement of the Africa Twin.
    I think we should expect the engine to be a variation of the NC700/750 with an optional DCT.
    Less likely will be offroad useable ABS, but I’ll be happy with it either as an option or a disable switch.
    We may actually see it in showrooms next September, which in this case means the same as my garage.

    I’m already planning extended riding vacations with this bike.

    • All I have to say is … we will see.

      Big Red has given no indication this bike will be out anytime soon, or in our market.

      • I find your lack of faith…disturbing.

        To be fair, I’m not one to buy into anticipatory sales hype.
        We have so many options when it comes to most genres that it’s really not necessary – you can buy just about any variation of motorcycle type you care to enjoy.

        For this particular item, I am quite willing to waste some time and brain cells and post my thoughts in this and other forums while nursing a spark of hope that this, finally, is going to be an Africa Twin I can purchase and ride in Canada.

  2. Interesting bike, shame Honda don’t give any more details. I agree it looks like a twin, but there are a lot of very confusing engine details. You can see the DCT switches on the handlebar controls, so this model shown is a DCT (who knows if they’ll produce a manual version).

    Still no definitive proof this is a twin. Many singles have twin exhaust headers, one each side of the frame like this bike and some even have twin discs up front (XT660 Tenere for one). Still probably a twin. The exhaust and radiators look a bit small for a 1000cc/100hp machine, but only time will tell.

  3. This bike looks more and more interesting. Photo 11 show what looks like a spark plug or prob, where one shouldn’t be. Some folks think this is a big single with two exhaust ports. Cam chain tensioner is clearly on the right side. I would like to hear Costa’s opinion.

  4. I think Honda has finally come up with a real adventure bike here. I like the frame, skid plate and exhaust routing. Looks like a decent log hopper to me. I’m not sure the dual clutch automatic is the answer. I hope they have a six speed clutched model for us old guys. I’m too old to learn how to ride an automatic.
    The big questions are, does it engine brake? Does it wheelie? And can you disable the ABS for serious off-road riding?

    Cheers and thanks

  5. It certainly looks the business. I do wonder how big the market really is for 500 lb-ish 1000cc dirt bikes, even if they do have real off-road ability. Not huge, I would tend to say.

    KTM has certainly shifted a few Adventures?

  6. It certainly looks the business. I do wonder how big the market really is for 500 lb-ish 1000cc dirt bikes, even if they do have real off-road ability. Not huge, I would tend to say.

  7. It would have been nice if it wasn’t camoed in dirt. If it is the 500 twin under the filth its too small. 750 is the number where the bar sits. Bring back the XRV750 make it an RD05

  8. I missed out investing in ‘Black Out” flat black paint. After seeing this bike, I’m calling my financial advisor to lock down some money on the newest colour trend. Yup ..”Faux Mud” !!! Imagine that would be popular with all those adventure bikes. Like Silly String, only browner.!!

    Catch a glimpse of those serious knobbies ? Hopefully the suspension can control those vibes and squirms. Although with the advancing age of many bikers, maybe that’s the trend to assist circulation in the lower extremities.

    Come on Honda. You can do better than this.

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