By Dennis Chung
It didn’t take long after Honda debuted the CRF1000L Africa Twin in 2015 before we started wondering when Honda would produce a mid-sized version. Fast forward several years including one model update to make it a CRF1100L, and we still don’t have a true mid-sized adventure bike from Honda.
Of course, we do have the CB500X and NC750X, two solid motorcycles in their own right. But they are both more suitable as streetbikes than off-road warriors like the KTM 890 Adventure, Yamaha Ténéré 700, BMW F850GS, Triumph Tiger 900, or Suzuki V-Strom 650XT. Even Aprilia, which doesn’t currently have a “large” adventure bike, is expected to launch a new Tuareg using the same parallel-Twin engine as the Tuono and RS 660.
As the years go by, Honda’s absence in the competitive mid-sized adventure-touring segment becomes increasingly surprising. Naturally, there have been rumors that a smaller Africa Twin is on the way, so let’s examine some of the more common ones floating around.
Rumor: Honda’s middleweight adventure-tourer will be called the Transalp
The original Honda Transalp XL600V was introduced in 1987. The decal under the seat describes its intent as “Rally Touring”.
Like “Africa Twin,” the “Transalp” name has roots in Honda dual sports from the ’80s. The Transalp actually came first, debuting in 1986 as the XL600V with a 583cc 52° liquid-cooled V-Twin, while the Africa Twin XRV650 followed in 1988.
Of the two, the Africa Twin was perceived to be the more hardcore model, thanks in large part to the 1990 model that saw the displacement bumped to 742cc and a close connection to Honda’s Paris-Dakar-winning NXR-750. That lineage continues to the …read more