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.
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.