Honda had highs and lows at last weeks EICMA show in Milan. High being the CBR600F, a more practical version of the Hornet that sits somewhere between that and the CBR600RR in the Honda range. Low being the V4 Crosstourer, a “concept” based on Shamu that won’t be going off road even if it looks like it wants to. In the middle somewhere is the VFR800X Crossrunner, a reborn VFR800 apparently equipped with a more comfortable upright seating position and better pillion accommodation. Here, the men responsible for each explain themselves.
First up is the CBR600F. Based on a bike that’s popular in Europe, but not available here, this is sort of a fully-faired version of a of Honda SV650/ER-6F competitor. But, this being Honda, there’s four cylinders instead of two, actually a version of the RR motor putting out 100bhp. The idea isn’t just practicality, it’s also reduced cost of ownership — insurance, maintenance and, of course, purchase price — which doesn’t necessarily translate well to the job of selling sexy supersport. We think Honda’s done a good job of elevating the Hornet without threatening the RR, but the trick will be convincing buyers that this bike doesn’t have an image problem.
The VFR800X is growing on us, if only because it uses the exact same engine, frame, swingarm, wheels, brakes and suspension from the VFR800, just with flat bars. Try not to think of this as an uglified sports tourer, but rather a VFR streetfighter and your brain might hurt less.
As a bonus, here’s what happens when you turn the VFR800X loose with a can of paint.
Which brings us to the Crosstourer. Like the VFR800X, this borrows all its running gear from a VFR, just in this case the 1200. A lightly blinged production bike, this “concept” hints at something that’s going to be heavy, complex and, if Shamu is anything to go by, extraordinarily expensive. We just don’t see how technologies like a dual-clutch gearbox have a home in adventure tourer, maybe Honda can explain that to us.