Watch out, BMW F900XR. Beware, Yamaha Tracer
Honda has a wide range of motorcycles in its portfolio, but the sport-touring class was neglected. The VFR800X is outdated and won't be produced anymore, so Honda should fill in the gap with something new. For the midweight, we had the CB4X Concept at EICMA, but that's not all. It seems that Honda is developing a sport-touring bike based on the CRF1100L platform.
According to some patents unveiled on the Internet by many publications, including BikeSocial, Honda is working on two frames which might be developed for a naked or sport-touring bike, fitted with the 1,084cc parallel-twin engine from the Africa Twin which makes 100hp and 105 Nm.
This solution could be a good choice from Honda as it reduces the costs to develop a completely new platform for a motorcycle. Other brands like Ducati, Aprilia, Yamaha or BMW have used this strategy for their motorcycle range.
For instance, BMW used the same engine for the models, the naked F900R and the sport-touring F900XR. Moreover, Yamaha uses the same technology for the MT-09 and bring it in a different form for the sport-touring Tracer 900 model. The same it's done with the smaller sized MT-07 and the Tracer 700.
Honda has done the same with the CB500 range which was developed for several models like the CB500F naked, the CBR500R sports bike and the CB500X adventure model. Furthermore, Japanese engineers built the NC750 model that was used for other bikes like the NC750X and NC750S.
So, Honda looks like it'll do the same with its future models as these patents show.
The first patent reveals a cradle-style steel frame, with a backbone and a front downtube that splits into two under-engine cradle sections. Looking more at this patent, we can see that the design lacks a vertical rear frame section to connect the backbone to the swingarm pivot. The engine is bolted to the frame at the top, front and bottom so, it's a stressed member to the frame.
We can see that the bike features an upside-down fork fitted with front brake callipers while the ridding position is set up high thanks to the high pegs. The handlebars and rear-set look wide so, Honda isn't neglecting handling and comfort. This design could be developed for a naked bike.
The second frame is focused more on sports use with a steel trellis-style front section bolted to an aluminium swingarm pivot element. It has no under-engine cradle section and is fitted with an aluminium section to add structure around the swingarm pivot. We might be looking at the first steps in building a new sport-touring motorcycle.
Rumour has it that Honda could be also working on a Rebel 1100 model, but for now, we’ll have to wait and see on what models these frames will be used on.