Meet the Bull­dog

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - MIKE HAN­LON

HONDA dis­played its Bull­dog con­cept at the 42nd Tokyo Mo­tor­cy­cle Show in Ja­pan last week.

The Bull­dog con­cept is sen­si­ble in that it shares the same en­gine, frame and swing-arm as the other top-sell­ing CB500 mod­els; it will go twice as far on a litre of fuel and when it tips over, the rider won’t need help to get it up­right again. If this bike does ap­pear out­side Ja­pan, it will al­most cer­tainly be with the 471 cc liq­uid-cooled par­al­lel-twin mo­tor used in the CB500 range.

It makes a lot of sense as a work­horse for the masses, let alone an adventure tourer ca­pa­ble of go­ing long dis­tances in dealer-sparse en­vi­ron­ments.

Honda’s PGM-F1 fuel in­jec­tion sys­tem is deeply loved in Asia, where its fuel econ­omy is the stuff of not just leg­ends, but word of mouth grass-roots mar­ket­ing. In Ja­pan, mean­while, leg­is­la­tion forces the use of Honda’s 400 cc twin-cylin­der pow­er­plant, and this is the en­gine cur­rently used in the con­cept bike.

Be­cause the Bull­dog is built with lib­eral lash­ings of com­mon sense, it may yet be­come a cult ma­chine for those with a prac­ti­cal, sen­si­ble bent or with a limited bud­get.

The com­mon sense bits

In­stead of a big shiny enamel-painted tank and lots of bits wait­ing to be dam­aged the first time the bike top­ples over in a carpark or an as­phalt road (where the vast ma­jor­ity of adventure bikes spend the vast, vast ma­jor­ity of their time), the Bull­dog has re­place­able pan­els on the tank, and crash bars cov­er­ing the en­gine and head­lights.

The crash bars are stan­dard fare for ad­ven­turer bikes but tank pan­els on a small ca­pac­ity bike are a first. They’re not re­ally tank pan­els on one side, but the lid to a stor­age box in the left side of the tank (see im­age above).

Just the same, re­place­able tank pan­els might make the cost of own­er­ship more af­ford­able, not to men­tion a con­ve­nient an­chor point for a range of in­ge­nious at­tach­ments just wait­ing to be in­vented.

The Bull­dog’s pur­pose is em­bla­zoned in large let­ter­ing on the muf­fler guard which reads “tough dog for your trip” and pre­sum­ably Honda has built the bike with the Asian tour­ing mar­ket­place in mind.

While the Bull­dog was de­vel­oped as a tour­ing bike, I sus­pect its big­gest po­ten­tial mar­ket­place might not be so much in the field of leisure mo­tor­cy­cles, but as a prac­ti­cal work­horse ca­pa­ble of car­ry­ing far more than its maker had ever planned — the rear car­rier, mount­ing points on the sides of the fuel tank and head­light car­rier rack will make it an ideal pinch hit­ter for many tasks across Asia where the scooter is do­ing dou­ble duty as the fam­ily car. — Giz­


Honda’s Bull­dog is a con­cept bike built with lash­ings of com­mon sense that could yet see it be­come the two-wheeled truck of Asia.

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