Honda appears ready to finally move forward with its four-cylinder adventure bike design. Maybe.
For years now, Honda has been hauling various inline four-powered adventure bikes to the Euro show circuit, with the NM4 the most notable. They’ve never been presented as official prototypes of any sort, just interesting custom machines that Honda’s European partners have been building in their spare time. There are no plans to build these machines, nosiree!
But Honda appears to have been working on some sort of skunk works project, because it’s filed some paperwork with the European Intellectual Property Office showing a four-cylinder adventure bike, with lines similar to the machines that were on display at EICMA and the rest of the shows.
The four-cylinder adventure bikes that Honda displayed used the Big Red’s 650 powerplant, which is a sensible choice. Honda’s already done the hard development work with this engine; now, it’s just updating it every few years to meet updated emissions regulations. Currently, Honda uses it to power the semi-sensible CBR650R sport bike and CB650R naked bike. It’s rated for 93 horsepower in the EU.
However, it’s still got typical four-cylinder power delivery; it’s made to rev high to make horsepower and torque. That’s not something you want in an offroad bike. But if you look at the design drawings, this thing appears to be more of an asphalt-oriented adventure tourer, along the lines of BMW’s S1000 XR or F900 XR. It’s got cast rims, and that certainly isn’t a 21-inch hoop up front. The bodywork, the chassis, the seat—it’s obviously made for street riding first and foremost.