( I am being a little lazy, this is a rehash of a story I wrote a couple of years ago, but with the latest Honda Dakar announcement, the topic has been brought to life once more)
Now that we have word of the 2013 Honda Dakar rally bike, I thought I would take the chance to pose this question again. Where is our great Honda rally adventure bike?
Is the 2013 Honda rally bike going to be something all new? Is Honda going to get back to it’s roots of making the most technologically advanced motorcycles in the world? Will they do it just to show the world that it can be done? Isn’t that what Mr Honda and HRC were really all about? Or are we just going to see a rehashed CRF450x?
My magic cube is telling me that it is going to be a 450x. The reasons are practical and economically compelling. JCR Honda has just spent two years working on the Dakar challenge. With a minimal budget and mash up of parts they put together a reasonably competitive package. More importantly, it was a very reliable bike.
Honda just needs to just expand on those ideas, using the might of HRC to bring it together as a complete concept. For the job at hand, the X motor is probably still competitive. Although, now that we have gotten a better look at the KTM Rally motor in the 2012 Baja bikes, we know that they are making far more horsepower. Honda, is that a challenge I hear knocking at the door?
All of the current Dakar front runners are shying away from fuel injection. Old fashioned carburetors are still the most reliable system when the conditions get their worst. One would have to imagine that Honda would not set out to build a new motor without EFI. So score one more point in favor of using the current motor.
Honda has a basic frame design for the rally bike also. Quinn Cody’s Dakar bike simply used the factory Baja spec frame. It uses the old 2007 spec geometry that is a bit more stable than the current production 450x. It also has all the light and fairing mounts built into it. The subframe needs some work to handle all the extra fuel load, but that is an easy enough task. There are at least two aftermarket companies building complete rally kits for the X, so there is plenty of existing R&D to draw from in making a full factory spec rally bike.
Alas, if I am on target, that means there will never be a production version of such a bike. No rally racer refugee with a license plate for the street. Let’s face it, that is what we all really want. A road going version of a Dakar bike. How can it possibly be that not a single bike manufacturer in the entire world can produce such a thing for the flocks of dedicated enthusiasts?
Hear my call – Honda, please get back to your roots of technical prowess and give us something to be shocked and astounded by.
If you want to hear more such sob stories, go visit your local Honda dealer and ask about what exciting new products they have to offer for 2013.