Ross Noble celebrating 500,000th Triumph

Comedian to ride the UK in special stand-up tour

Two things seem certain to appear from the Honda stable for 2012. First is a production version of the Crosstourer V4 concept, giving the firm a rival to BMW's market-topping R1200GS, and second is a new sports bike.

While there's little secret about the V4 – the Crosstourer concept basically showed exactly what we can expect – the sports bike is a much harder machine to anticipate. Both the Fireblade and CBR600RR are overdue for replacement, so it's question of which bike will be updated first.

Some suggest the Fireblade is in line for replacement, as it's a better seller than the CBR600RR – indeed the Blade was the UK's best selling superbike last year, despite being far older than most of its rivals. Others would bet on the CBR600RR being replaced for exactly the same reason – it isn't selling so well, so perhaps a new version will be able to revive that market. Of the two, the CBR600RR is logically the model to replace; it's older, having been launched as a 2007 model (although it was very mildly revamped for 2009).

Either way there should be something for sports bike fans in Honda's list of 2012 models. More exciting still is the suggestion that Honda will revive the RVF brand for a V4 engined sports bike. Certainly, the firm has renewed its trademark on the RVF name, several patents have been filed showing a V4 engine with gear-driven cams (unlike the chain-driven cams of the VFR1200) and such a motor would provide a good basis for WSB success. But similar rumours have turned out to be dead ends in the past...

On the subject of V4s, the firm is also known to have already long-since developed a tourer to replace the Pan European, based around the engine and chassis from the VFR1200F. Originally it was expected as a 2011 model – so maybe it will make it into the 2012 range.

COMEDIAN Ross Noble will take the 500,000th Triumph built at the Hinckley factory on a seven-day tour of Great Britain.

Noble has taken the Speed Triple straight off the production line and as part of his 'Sit Down Tour' will travel across England, Scotland and Wales in seven-days starting on May 24.

Riding the Speed Triple, with the apt VIN number of 500,000 and sporting a one-off red, white and blue paint scheme, Noble will embark on the unique tour guided by his follows on Twitter (@realrossnoble), to uncover some of Britain's best biking routes.

As well as marking the significant milestone of the half-millionth bike to roll off Triumph’s production line since 1990, the tour is also a celebration of Ross Noble’s 20 years on the stand-up comedy circuit and an opportunity for him to recharge his creative batteries while indulging his passion for motorbikes.

After the Sit Down Tour is over, Ross will take the Speed Triple to the Goodwood Festival of Speed on July 1, where it will be auctioned with all monies raised going to the charity, Riders for Health. The charity has been championed previously by Ross Noble and provides vital motorbike transport for medics to reach otherwise inaccessible parts of rural Africa.

The Sit Down Tour leaves Triumph’s Hinckley factory on Tuesday May 24 and finishes in Ross’s home town of Newcastle, at the Triumph North East dealer, on Bank Holiday Monday, May 30. You can follow Ross' progress and suggest routes via his Twitter feed @therealrossnoble.