Honda True Adventure – Episode 3 – The Return to Dakar

Several weeks ago Honda released its third video of its media campaign for its Honda True Adventure.  If you haven’t seen the previous episodes or have not heard of the “True Adventure” words yet, this concept, “True Adventure” was unveiled at the 2014 EICMA show in Milan. We interpret it to be the general name being used by Honda to describe the development of the successor to its very successful Africa Twin motorcycle.  Episode 1 (the dream) and Episode 2 (live unlike the others) are available on this site.

Original Honda twin from 80's Dakar races, the new Africa Twin, and on the right the current Honda Dakar bike (450 CRF)

Original Honda twin from 80’s Dakar races, the new Africa Twin, and on the right the current Honda Dakar bike (450 CRF)

Episode 3 describes Honda’s return to Dakar.  In the past several years Honda has mounted a concerted effort to challenge KTM’s domination on this race. Since 2001 KTM has obliterated the competition, KTM owns the Dakar races, with a total of 14 wins in 14 races (there were no races in 2008).  It was earlier on the history of this race, the pinnacle of enduro races and the basis for the development of what we today know as Adventure Motorcycles, that Honda was successful.  Honda had a win on the fourth Dakar race, in 1982, and four consecutive wins from 1986 to 1989.  Those four consecutive wins were run on the Honda motorcycle that originated the famous Africa Twin, a V-twin (NXR750V).

  • KTM – 14 wins
  • Yamaha –  9 wins
  • BMW – 6 wins
  • Honda – 5 wins
  • Cagiva – 2 wins

On the 2015 edition of the Dakar race I believe it was the first time a motorcycle other than a KTM held temporary overall first place positions for several consecutive stages.  In the end, KTM won again. Overall, KTM held seven of the 10 first positions.

Dakar 2015 Rider (country) Motorcycle
1 Coma (ESP) KTM
2 Goncalves (PRT) Honda
3 Price (AUS) KTM
4 Quintanilla (CHL) KTM
5 Svitko (SVK) KTM
6 Faria (PRT) KTM
7 Castaeu (FRA) KTM
8 Jakes (SVK) KTM
9 Sanz Pla-Giribert (ESP) Honda
10 Pain (FRA) Yamaha

However, now it seems we do have a race, and we hope, for the sake of having a true motorcycle Dakar race in the coming years, that Honda continues to challenge KTM and who knows, Honda may win the 2016 edition of the Dakar or have more bikes in the first 10 positions!  The Episode 3 video highlights Honda’s participation on the 2015 Dakar race.

What is the relevance of this video for the Honda True Adventure motorcycle campaign? Well, we are not sure, to be honest, considering the Dakar bikes are 450cc singles.  It could be that Honda is using “True Adventure” as an umbrella for several products, including a 450 enduro motorcycle, similar to the one on the Dakar races, tuned down so it can be accessible by the general public, along side a couple of versions of the 1,000cc Adventure bike, the successor of the Africa Twin (a version with a 21-inch front wheel, for true off pavement adventures and a version with a 19-inch front wheel for more on road adventures).

It could simply be part of the campaign for the only product that could be developing, the much anticipated 1,000cc Adventure motorcycle.  The return to Dakar video would simply be there to frame this new motorcycle under the context of Honda’s successful participation on the Dakar race, similar to when, in the 1980’s, Honda dominated this race and the Africa Twin was born.

The Episode 4 has already been released.  We will post it soon with a description of what are Dual Clutch Transmissions, as we believe this is a key technological piece on this new Honda adventure motorcycle.

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