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Forbidden Fruit: The Honda VFR1200X Crosstourer

It’s quite a puzzler to me why Honda continues to ignore pleas from American riders for a new full size adventure bike. Clearly the market is prime for more big bike sales with BMW, KTM, Yamaha, and Triumph all seeing positive numbers in what is undeniably a booming category. Honda has already invested in the technology, and made it available to other markets around the globe, but why not here in the States? The bike I’m talking about in particular is their 2014 VFR 1200X, otherwise known as the Crosstourer.

Honda spent a considerable amount of time creating their latest entry into the world of big adventure bikes, and it is a finely appointed machine, to be sure. Built around a compact 1,237cc V-four engine, similar to the one used in their highly successful VFR1200F, it produces 127 hp at 7,750 rpm. Tuned for improved mid-range performance and more low rpm torque, the V-four engine is paired to either a standard 6-speed transmission or Honda’s new Dual Clutch Transmission. The DCT system allows the rider to change gears manually without a clutch lever, or to let the bike do the shifting automatically. The popularity of Honda’s DCT transmission is however, not universal. In fact, it’s been met with sizable pushback, but it is fortunately just an option. A shaft drive delivers power to the rear wheel closing in many of the similarities it has with other bikes in its class.

As expected of any modern adventure bike of this size, it has ABS and Traction Control although the ABS cannot be switched off and the Traction Control doesn’t have multiple settings unlike the TC systems offered by BMW and KTM. The brakes are also linked, which again limits off-road performance making a clear declaration that the Crosstourer crosses ever so lightly into the dirt. Picking through the features and specifications, it’s clear Honda stopped short of making the Crosstourer a full-blown adventure bike. It certainly leans more towards the pavement than it does off piste travel. Perhaps that’s why they are reluctant to release it here in the States. One thing is for sure, it has potential. Maybe by the time it arrives here in America, it will be improved for more authentic adventure riding. Until then, we’ll just have to buy something else, and there’s no shortage of excellent options.



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Christophe Noel is a journalist from Prescott, Arizona. Born into a family of backcountry enthusiasts, Christophe grew up backpacking the mountains and deserts of the American West. An avid cyclist and bikepacker, he also has a passion for motorcycles, travel, food and overlanding.