Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

An Ital­ian-built Africa Twin Rally spe­cial-edi­tion caused a stir last week when a cor­po­rate video seemed to show Honda’s new ver­sion of the pop­u­lar ad­ven­ture bike.

The truth is slightly more con­vo­luted. The Rally of­fer­ings seen in a new Spidi pro­mo­tional video – and an­other by an Ital­ian mag­a­zine which tested the bike in both man­ual and DCT forms – was built by Red Moto, Honda’s of­fi­cial im­porter in Italy, aim­ing to cap­ture a slice of Dakar-cool for the mid-mar­ket ad­ven­turer. The ex­pen­sive, num­bered limited-edi­tions wear high-end parts, mod­i­fied body­work, a one-piece seat, and bor­rows heav­ily at the front-end from the firm’s 450 Dakar replica. It’s a thor­ough job, and if you think Honda aren’t in on the ruse, then think again.

MCN spoke to Honda UK, and was told: “The Africa Twin Rally has been cre­ated in part­ner­ship with Honda’s Ital­ian off-road distrib­u­tor (Red Moto) for sale in Italy only in limited num­bers.” The key phrase here is “in part­ner­ship”, sug­gest­ing a level of col­lab­o­ra­tion un­likely to have ex­isted un­less Honda were in­ter­ested in the re­sults, and pub­lic in­ter­est, of the trans­for­ma­tion.

More in­ter­est­ing still, is that our Euro­pean Honda sources sug­gest that we will see a new ‘Ad­ven­ture’ model launched at this year’s Mi­lan show in Novem­ber. While it won’t be as rad­i­cal as the Rally ver­sion built by Red Moto, we do ex­pect it to have more rally-fo­cused sus­pen­sion spec, a larger fuel tank, and a Tourat­ech alu­minium pan­nier sys­tem, as well as styling tweaks. With the model deep into its sec­ond year on the mar­ket, Honda need to rein­vig­o­rate sales, and the ad­di­tion of a new model in the line-up will do that. Our Euro­pean source also sug­gests that there could be an­other ver­sion in the pipe­line – re­sult­ing in a three-bike Africa Twin fam­ily, all shar­ing the same 1000cc par­al­lel-twin engine.

Ital­ian firm cre­ates limited-edi­tion model

Spidi promo video shows a rally-fied Africa Twin

Honda’s stan­dard Africa Twin

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