Honda teased us last year with the Honda Crosstourer Concept, but for the 2011 EICMA show, the Japanese manufacturer is making good on its promise to bring the GS-lookalike to market. Based off the VFR1200F, the 2012 Honda Crosstourer comes with traction control, combined anti-lock brakes (C-ABS), and of course an optional dual-clutch transmission. While the Crosstourer shares the VFR’s 1,237cc V4 motor, the adventure bike model puts out a significantly lower 127hp @ 7,750 rpm, while a gluttonous 93 lbs•ft torque @ 6,500 rpm remains on-tap.
Clearly a road-focused adventure-tourer model, the Honda Crosstourer may never have the off-road pedigree as the BMW R1200GS it is meant to emulate, but true to Honda fashion, the Crosstourer has plenty of technical prowess built into it. For instance, the idea of using DCT technology for an adventure bike should prove interesting, as it takes the process of having to manage the clutch/motor over unsteady terrain out of the picture.
Adding traction control and C-ABS to the mix only heightens how the Crosstourer will be an easy bike to ride off-road (we’re ignoring its 600+ lbs riding weight for now). While purists will protest, no one should be surprised by Honda’s “better living through technology” approach. Other features include ride-by-wire throttle control, a shaft-drive that is housed in the single-sided swingarm, and the ability to mount tubeless tires on the Crosstourer’s 19″ front wheel and 17″ rear wheel.
It will be interesting to see how Honda positions the Crosstourer in the market. With everyone wanting a piece of BMW’s pie, some OEMs are going directly after the R1200GS, while others are looking for unexplored real estate in the adventure space. One of the newest market segments in motorcycling, there could be something to the notion that we haven’t quite vetted out what riders are looking for in this space.
Like with the VFR, Honda’s strategy here seems to lean towards creating new class definitions. If the Honda VFR1200F sat at the intersection of sport and sport-tourer, then the 2012 Honda Crosstourer seems ready to straddle the fence at tourer and adventure-tourer. The question remains though, are consumers looking for a more road-oriented machine that can occasionally do off-road duty? Or, are these purchases aspirational, fueled with dreams that go the long way around? Maybe the better question is at what price point do those dreams occur, and how will Honda live up to its dream to take on BMW? Stay tuned.