Honda’s build up for their new Adventure bike has started. First it was about giving away specs about a rumored bike here and there – journalists claiming they received the information from “Honda insiders.” Maybe the information circulating was not intentionally given away, but it happened. And the information circulated across all corners of the world and helped feed the frenzy. Great marketing so far.
Second was the presentation of a prototype on the EICMA 2014 show in Milan, under a “True Adventure” title. No details were given whatsoever but the bike shared the stage with a 1980’s Dakar winner that became the Africa Twin and a current single 450cc Dakar bike. It’s just there for everyone to see and photograph and speculate about it. Great marketing again.
Now they are releasing what appears to be a series of videos titled True Adventure. Here is episode 1, The Dream.
EICMA’s “True Adventure” and the message on this first video could be all surrounding the launch of one motorcycle, the new Africa Twin (which could be renamed). Since the time Honda stopped producing the Africa Twin in the 90’s I believe, Honda has effectively left the adventure segment and has been mostly selling watered-down road version bikes with adventure styling, what is now the X line (CB500X, VFR800X – Crossrunner and VFR1200X – Crosstourer) or small and mid-size dual-sport single cylinder motorcycles.
With the “True Adventure” strategy Honda could be mounting a come back to this market with something more than the Africa Twin. They could be working, for example, on a team of serious enduro bikes under the “True Adventure” moniker, bikes that would run parallel to their current “X” line of adventure-styled motorcycles. What if they would have an Elsinore as a smaller adventure bike (could be a single cylinder), and a new Transalp, which would be a touring oriented adventure bike with a 19 inch front wheel, and finally the true enduro bike, the Africa Twin, the top of the line, the one with the rumored 1,000cc parallel twin, 270 degree crankshaft. That’s just speculation from our part, of course. At the end of the day we will be happy if all this build up and marketing campaign is only for the new Africa Twin. That’s the bike we want to see. And ride!
The Episode 1 video talks about Honda’s commitment for racing and for building competitive motorcycles, and the dream for making things happen. To highlight this message they go so far as using a quote by Soichiro Honda. It is a good build up for a new direction, or a renewed dream.
The video also includes actual footage of Dakar races won by Honda motorcycles. You will also see at least two strategically placed close-up shots of modern Brembo calipers – a hint for things to come, a motorcycle with a good set of high end components. The video also shows video footage and photos of present day, round-the-world riders traveling on Honda motorcycles, which is what we used to think about a possible range of motorcycles to come under Honda’s new “True Adventure” brand.
In summary, this video series seems like another great marketing strategy from Honda. They are building momentum which is something to be expected and commensurate for, at a minimum, bringing the legendary Africa Twin back to life. In other words, we interpret the presentation at EICMA and this video as a sign that real and serious things are to come from Honda on the adventure side of the spectrum.
Fasten your seat belts! We will be following this soap opera up closely as the “True Adventure” story unfolds.
I hope that this video is a true indicator of things to come from Honda. They certainly need to do something as they are currently the most boring motorcycle manufacture in the industry today, especially in the US!