New Bikes

Could the Honda CRF1100L be about to get a naked sibling?

Patents reveal what could be a new naked motorcycle from Honda using the latest Africa Twin engine at its heart

PATENTS unearthed in the states seem to show the latest version of the Honda CFR1100L engine sat in what could be an incoming naked motorcycle.

The bike is clearly using the parallel-twin from the Africa Twin in two types of frame configuration. One, seen at the top of the page, sees the unit housed in a trellis frame, not dissimilar to that seen in bikes like the CB125 and 300, and another using a more conventional steel cradle set up. Other than the frame type and design, both bikes share the same chassis components including the swingarm.

Other features of the bike that point to a possible sporty naked machine come in the form of USD forks, radially mounted brake calipers and a rear shock with a linkage. The bike’s ergonomics to point to a naked with performance connotations, with low set handlebars and rear-set footpegs.

Using the Africa Twin engine in a new model seems like a sensible option for Honda, as even for them, developing, testing and manufacturing a new powerplant costs millions. Having an engine on the shelf that you can simply tune to the desired spec and bolt into a new frame makes a much more cost-effective option.

Would the Honda Africa Twin engine be sporty enough?

While the idea of slotting the torque-rich parallel twin from the biggest adventure tourer in the Honda range into a naked might sound like a mismatch, it might actually be very good. For a start the bike has been heavily tuned for the Africa Twin to help develop easy to manage and usable torque and power curves off-road and on.

But that doesn’t mean that it can’t be reworked to delivery thrills on a twisty B-road. For a start the standard engine’s compressions ratio, 10.1:1, could be upped as a way to bolt on some extra power. The fuelling could also be tweaked, with revised intake, exhaust and fuel injection could all help it make a more nakedly acceptable amount of grunt. How much could that be? Well, how long is a piece of string!? If one thing is for sure, Honda won’t want this to sit too close to its flagship naked, the CB1000R, so a slight increase, maybe 15-20bhp over stock would be likely.

Will Honda actually build it?

Now, patents don’t automatically mean a new bike is incoming. Quite often manufacturers will patent just ideas just so they have a technical record of the design. Sometimes it is even done to throw other manufacturers or even over-excited bike journos off the scent. Whether or not this is a case of that, remains to be seen!

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