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”.
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.
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.
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