The Great Honda Tease of 2014 | MEGAPHONE

Commentary on MotoGP and Adventure Prototypes at EICMA

Only a couple of months after our own Aaron Frank ranted and, quite rightly, pointed out Honda's recent ineptitude for building anything other than futuristic commuter-mobiles (in this Megaphone from Motorcyclist's August 2014 issue), Big Red debuted two prototypes at EICMA in Milan, Italy. One is the highly anticipated—but mostly heavily rumored—RC213V-S MotoGP streetbike, and the other is a tall, purposeful dual-sport called the "True Adventure."

Editor-at-Large Frank recalled the days when Honda built not only drool-worthy prototypes but also desirable, even iconic, motorcycles. At first sight of these prototypes his column seems like hogwash; look at how extreme these two bikes are! The True Adventure has a desert-warrior look, standing up high like a proud beast with its chest puffed out; it's even covered in mud (very un-Honda)! It appears to be an upright, parallel twin engine in a slim chassis and a stratospheric seat height, modeled after Honda's Dakar Rally racers of past and present. It looks like it's meant to take riders around the world, provided those riders furrow their brows, grit their teeth, and so on...

The dreamy Honda RC213V-S prototype; ostensibly a road-going version of Honda's back-to-back World Champion RC213V MotoGP racer.

The RCV, on the other hand, seems as though it isn't meant to be anywhere other than a racetrack. Yes, it has lights and blinkers, but it also has a radiator the size of Utah and a wafer-thin seat. But, again, it's extreme and seems to pump much of the same performance-oriented blood of the "old" Honda. Imagine going to bike night or to a trackday with a MotoGP-derived, 16,000 rpm V4 that makes every other bike's exhaust note sound like a kitten purring. THAT, would spread the Honda wings in all of their glory.

Alas, Honda showroom floors are highlighted by 70 mile-per-gallon super-commuters and space-age cruiser-like runabouts. Don't read us wrong: We at Motorcyclist are as happy as any folks that Honda is embracing and providing small, efficient, affordable bikes. But at the end of the day we need to be excited. Motorcycling needs inspiration, motorcyclists need aspirations, and kids need posters to hang on their walls. (Incidentally, if any kid out there has a picture of an NC700X on his or her wall, get them to a ball game or a skate park, STAT.)

These two prototypes from Honda are enticing, yes; genuine poster material. Some of us wondered if Honda even had the will to produce bikes like this, prototype or otherwise. For that matter, though, why not have a poster on the wall of the space shuttle, or a nuclear submarine? We’re as likely to ¼ -mile test one of those as an RC213V.

These bikes show that the fiery passion for creating dream bikes is crawling around in the Honda hive, and we’re ecstatic. But for now that’s all they are; prototypes for Honda, dreams for us. For now we must remember that Mr. Aaron Frank is right. Prove him wrong for real, Honda. Build them!

The dreamy Honda RC213V-S prototype; ostensibly a road-going version of Honda's back-to-back World Champion RC213V MotoGP racer.