You may have already heard about the 2016 Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin; an advanced dual sport motorcycle for riding from your house to your office to basically anywhere on Earth. Now Honda’s going all-out on that theme bringing another adventure bike to the US and “aggressively restyling” two more.
Meet the VFR1200X. Apparently popular in Europe, the VFR is built for comfortable cruising over long distances with off-road pretenses. I’ve never ridden it, but it looks like it’d be a slog to get this thing over sand dunes. So I asked dog-camping antelope-eater Wes Siler, who’s ridden everything, what he thought about this bike:
He’s of the opinion that the VFR has the comfort of a sportbike, handling of a cruiser and off-road ability of, well, a cruiser or a sportbike. So, maybe not something to get too hyped about if you want to leave the beaten path. But Wes also says you’re a big pansy if you don’t kill your own meals and this big bike sure looks comfortable to me. The thing’s even got an automatic transmission option! (Don’t worry a regular manual is still available too.)
The VFR is clearly built around ease of use with traction control, ABS and a massive 5.68-gallon fuel tank to give you days of riding range. If that’s your jam and your idea of adventure doesn’t involve rough terrain, this might be worth looking at. Or if you believe Wes, avoided entirely.
At the other end of the scale is Honda’s CB500X, a small-displacement twin cylinder bike that offers modern niceties like liquid cooling and fuel injection in an on-and-off-road configuration for a little over $6,000.
Tweaks are minor for 2016; just some styling updates like new LED lights, a higher windscreen, adjustable preload for the front suspension (giving you better control over the ride height) and an adjustable brake lever.
The NC700X, a (you guessed it) slightly bigger dual-sport bike, is getting similar style updates to the 500X plus a smaller muffler to reduce weight and new settings on the optional dual-clutch automatic so riders will have more control over shift schedules.
We’ll see all those bikes without the teaser-photo fog at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show, and Americans will get their first peek at the International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach, California on November 20, 21 and 22.
I love dual-purpose bikes for their versatility, small-displacement bikes for their manageability, and Hondas in general for reliability. So I’m excited to see the CB500X and NC700X get a few updates. More on how they actually ride when we get some time in the saddle.
Images via Honda
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