Is Honda Planning a Production Version of the CRF450 Rally?

The Honda Africa Twin is just making its way into dealerships, but does the biggest of the Japanese manufacturers have another surprise in the offering by way of a production version of the CRF450 Rally? While most were assuming the concept CRF250 Rally would make its way to sale, new patents point to the bigger, Dakar bike reaching showroom floors.

2016 Honda CRF450 Rally 006

This year’s entry into Dakar

Dakar is currently underway for 2016 and at the time of publishing this article, Honda’s Paulo Goncalve is leading on a CRF450 Rally. The bike has been at the pointy end of Dakar since it was entered in 2013, yet Honda doesn’t offer a motorcycle for sale like it – the bike is based on the CRF450X though the new Africa Twin is a closer spiritual companion. But a CRF450 Rally would definitely fill a void in the marketplace where not even KTM currently competes.

Looking at the race version of the bike and the patents, there are signs that this is a production ready machine and not just a patent filing for Honda to protect the design of their race entry. The skid plate and engine guard is much more conservative than the race version, there’s no hand guards and the exhaust can is fairly Honda off road standard. But otherwise it’s very similar in appearance to what’s currently being raced South America.

Honda have given subtle hints that their ‘True Adventure’ series will continue and there’s now an exciting chance that will be in the form of a 2016 CRF450 Rally.

 

 

 

Honda True Adventure Teasers Continue

Just last week we showed the latest lot of patents relating to Honda’s ‘True Adventure’ concept, now better known as the returning Honda Africa Twin. Today, Honda keeps the slow marketing campaign rolling along with episode three of their True Adventure video series.

The latest episode takes us to the recently run Dakar rally and is titled ‘The Return to Dakar’. There’s no greater giveaway what this is all leading to than quotes from Taichi Honda (real name), the technical director of the HRC rally team. He states that:

We returned after 24 years because Dakar is the toughest off-road race in the world. We develop technologies here that can lead to mass production.

Having begun to yet again dominate in MotoGP, Honda not only wants to do the same off-road but also take a slice of the every growing ‘adventure bike’ pie. Honda are currently noticeably absent from the segment which is heavily led at the moment by BMW Motorrad, KTM and Triumph.

Technologies that will trickle down from Dakar and events like it will mainly focus around bike geometry and durability, as the engine for the new Africa Twin doesn’t actually comply with Dakar regulations.

As previously reported, we know that the new Africa Twin will feature a 1,000cc parallel twin, a unique split airbox design and controversially for some may also come with Honda’s dual-clutch transmission