Thursday, March 1, 2012

2012 Montreal Motorcycle Show: Honda

 

Second stop: Honda

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There were 2 new models I wanted to see at the Honda booth, unfortunately the CrossTourer was not there and hopefully will be available in Canada next year. 

First, the CRF250L.  A small displacement engine does not necessarily means a small bike, that’s what I noticed while looking at the CRF250L.  I could not sit on the bike to see if it was confortable as it was strangely surrounded by a small barrier, perhaps because it is a 2013 model?   I searched for a while to see where the oil filter was located  and I even asked a representative, but it was impossible to find (useful to know for those who like to make some maintenance!)  Meanwhile, I noticed that this bike is pretty well built.  Everything looks nice and tight.  No doubt in my mind, this bike will sell like hot cakes as long as the price is reasonable.

Second, the NC700.  This funny looking bird (one has to get used to its beak, but still not ugly) reminds me of my Versys, not look wise but in its form: a crossover.  Like the Versys, the NC700 most likely hides some off road capabilities that could surprise when dual sport tires are installed (Avon Distantia as an example or even TKC80 now that Continental makes them in 120/70-17 front size). 

Advantages of crossover bikes are:

  • highly competent on the asphalt (and on highways contrary to a dual sport bike),
  • can  take a passenger anytime,
  • usually an interesting autonomy (but in case of the NC700 it seems Honda took some gas tank volume to accommodate a trunk just in front of the seat, enough room for a gas can!Winking smile),
  • generally many accessories are available; and
  • still those bike are fully capable to follow most dual sport motorcycles on a gravel road.

I was able to try the seat this timeSarcastic smile.  The saddle comfort was apparently correct.  Don’t take my words for granted, there is nothing like a 40 miles ride to be 100% sure on this topic, but to me the seat seemed comfier than my own motorcycle.  I don’t know if this bike will sell because of its particular aspects, but I’m convinced that those who will buy it won’t be disappointed.

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As I was in the area, I had a sneak peak at the big bore dual sport from Honda, the XR650L. Once sitting on it, I was barely tiptoeing.  At 5’9” I am not that short!  It seems to me that this bike would be quite interesting for more aggressive off-road dual sport adventure ride if it would be more accessible to “normal” people.  

Next stop, Ducati.
ciao!
dsaventurequebec
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