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ADV NewsHonda To Develop A Twin-Powered NX500 Adventure Bike?

Honda To Develop A Twin-Powered NX500 Adventure Bike?

Big Red is one step closer to resurrecting the NX badge.

Published on 05.09.2022

According to new trademark filings, Honda’s NX-badged dual-sport bikes might be making a comeback. 

Veterans of the dual-sport scene will recall Honda introducing an NX line back in the late 80s, which included 125cc, 250cc and 650cc versions. While many riders at the time dismissed these dual sport-intended bikes with electric starters, larger fuel tanks and comfy seats as clumsy dirt bikes, they were actually early comers to the adventure bike era, though apparently too early for broad acceptance in the U.S. 

After just a couple years of lackluster sales the NX models vanished from U.S. showrooms, even as the rest of the world embraced their versatility, where the bikes were branded as NX Dominators and NX Falcons. 

Honda NX500 adventure bike planned
The Honda NX650 Dominator was produced from 1988 to 2003.

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Now a new report in Cycle World reveals Honda is one step closer to resurrecting the line, having applied for exclusive usage of the designations “NX” and “NX500” in the European Union, and a day later, for the same rights in New Zealand. 

While Honda had a few street-biased ADV bikes on the market as the modern adventure trend was building steam, it really got its hooks in when it finally dusted off another of its late 80s legacy dual sport models, the Africa Twin, back in 2016, and brought it to the U.S. for the first time. Before it was the CRF1100L we know today, the Africa Twin’s story began when it was first released in 1988 as the XRV650, a dual sport replica of Honda’s prototype NXR750 and later NXR800V, which won Paris-Dakar four years in a row, beginning with the 1986 event. 

1986-1989 Honda NXR750 Dakar
The Honda NXR750 took the win in its 1986 Paris-Dakar debut with Cyril Neveu in the saddle.

Yup, those early Honda NXR Dakar bikes were powered by v-twins, yet the NX models utilized singles. They were awesome little dual sports though, especially the water-cooled 250, one of which lives in my own garage to this day, having served as the perfect machine to ease many friends and my own daughter into dirt riding, thanks to its approachable seat height, light weight and electric starter. 

Little did we know back in the late 80s and 90s how universally popular large adventure bikes and explorative riding would become. Nor could we have imagined that smaller dual sports like the NXs would one day be in high demand. Yet here we are, pining for those light- and mid-displacement adventure bikes of yore.

While the NX line has been powered with singles in the past, utilizing the parallel-twin drivetrain from the existing CB500 line would make for a smart and quick fix. And if its chassis is tuned for off-road riding, it will add more diversity to Honda’s middleweight ADV offerings, where currently the CB500X and CRF300L Rally are the closest thing to tourable, lightweight ADV bikes.

White Honda NX250 dual sport
Honda’s NX line included smaller 125cc and 250cc dual sport machines.

Another blast from the past which could emerge soon from the Honda camp to help fill in the one-step-up middleweight adventure bike void is a resurrected Transalp. Unlike the NX line, America did somewhat embrace the dual sport Transalp, also born in the late 80’s, and finally disappearing from Honda’s stable as a 700cc model in 2011. But as Cycle World reported last year, Honda also reapplied for the Transalp trademark for the U.S. and many other countries, spawning rumors it will use Honda’s new 745cc parallel twin engine and be positioned alongside the street-slanted NC750X as a more off-road oriented option, poised to compete with Yamaha’s Tenere 700.

Add the possibility of an NX150 and/or NX200 (Honda has filed trademark applications for these as well), in the style of the cool prototype CB125X Honda showed off back at the EICMA 2018 and went on to file at least one patent for, and the world would also have a new mini-ADV bike option to consider. 

All of these patent and trademark puzzle pieces promise one exciting thing: A shift toward the more practical options the ADV community has long been pining for. People! They are listening!   

Author: Jamie Elvidge

Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.

Author: Jamie Elvidge
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Joe John
Joe John
May 9, 2022 11:18 am

Honda has been one of the few corporations that has made a concerted effort to reduce weight so I’ll stay positive and hope that this could be a light weight and affordable adv bike that is a bit more “hardened” than the cb500x. Assuming it even makes the shores of the US.

trackback
Honda To Develop A Twin-Powered NX500 Adventure Bike? - News Tinger | Latest News Updates
May 9, 2022 3:03 pm

[…] Supply hyperlink […]

Patriot159
Patriot159
May 9, 2022 10:21 pm

Yes please Honda, more off road oriented 5-800 cc ADV bikes!

Bryan Graham
Bryan Graham
May 10, 2022 8:09 am
Reply to  Patriot159

Use the XR 650l chassis, drop in a 500 cc twin parallel engine, fuel injected, 4 gallon tank, Rally windshield and electronic guages. Weight no more than 350-365 lbs. I will place an order Today if Honda is listening!!

Rod C
Rod C
May 11, 2022 6:52 am
Reply to  Bryan Graham

I’ll place order number 2, are you listening Honda?

OldMotoGuy
OldMotoGuy
August 5, 2022 1:11 am
Reply to  Bryan Graham

Make that order number 3. HELLO Honda the US is ready to spend money on these.

trackback
Honda To Develop A Twin-Powered NX500 Adventure Bike? – ADV Pulse – xxp5 grooves
May 10, 2022 5:58 am

[…] source […]

Bob Opeka
Bob Opeka
May 10, 2022 7:12 am

Please build these again.all you need to do is add FI and boom ! Instant hit.. Make Scrambler as well

Joe
Joe
May 11, 2022 4:10 am

They just need to put the CB500X engine in the CRF300L & Rally chassis and upgrade the shocks/springs

Joc
Joc
May 11, 2022 11:01 pm
Reply to  Joe

And better brakes. The one on 300L / Rally are a joke.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz
May 15, 2022 7:10 am

If Honda can keep the weight at 400.bs or less, I’d buy this instead of a T700. Please charge enough to put excellent suspension so don’t have to go to aftermarket!

J D Cooper
J D Cooper
May 17, 2022 6:12 am

Will this be released before or after the Africa Twin 800 we heard about last year? Sarcasm aside….let’s not hold our breath.

Ray Harris
Ray Harris
May 17, 2022 10:14 am

Thanks Jamie! Great article and I hope this happens!

Kimberly Foley
Kimberly Foley
June 30, 2022 9:50 pm
Reply to  Ray Harris

Yes ty Jamie! My Father owned a Honda dealership & I am finally just now getting my license @ 58. This article came @ great time/-please Honda!!

John Curran
John Curran
May 17, 2022 10:23 am

Great to see one of my favorite authors at work AND you can tell Honda, I HAVE CASH IN HAND for the NX500.

Willy mammoth
Willy mammoth
May 17, 2022 11:13 am

Maybe Honda will get it to market inside of 10 years?

Dale Thornburgh
Dale Thornburgh
May 17, 2022 12:27 pm

Sign me up Honda

George Edwin Erasmus
George Edwin Erasmus
May 17, 2022 1:30 pm

It will certainly be an instant hit however if there is one thing that I do like about the CRF300L is the gearbox, therefore the final drive must be able to cruise comfortably down the highway without the engine screaming.1-5 off the beaten track gearing and 6th gear gives you cruising highway speeds

Stewart Ian
Stewart Ian
May 17, 2022 9:48 pm

Might be a few years away (remember how long the T700 took Yamaha from hype to actual launch?), and coud really cannibalise the sales of current CB500X and even the AfricaTwin. I won’t be holding my breath.

Rod Carlile
Rod Carlile
May 18, 2022 10:05 am

Honda as well as Kawasaki have a perfect opportunity to corner the market in this 500/650cc range. That is if they don’t just replicate a 500 lbs. KLR, make it a 500 to 650cc twin, 400 lbs, 21′ front with 18″ rear, 6 speed transmission with minimal electronics. Sign me up, when can I put my deposit down?

Robert
Robert
May 23, 2022 11:20 am

The internet is a giant echo chamber where one echo feeds off of another echo until all that is heard is the same echo bouncing around everywhere. Quoting Cycle World just adds to the echo effect.

Don F
Don F
May 24, 2022 4:02 pm
Reply to  Robert

I guess it’s an echo chamber when you spend all day on it. I’m too busy riding. This is the first place I read about this bike. Not everyone sees Cycle World bro.

John Curran
John Curran
May 24, 2022 4:36 pm
Reply to  Robert

If others, like myself, don’t read every bike magazine out there every article that is interesting to me is welcome. While this is mostly facts and figures and history, Jamie’s experiential writing is always a great read.

CM Cullum
CM Cullum
June 1, 2022 12:27 pm

Where do I placental order?

Jose
Jose
August 9, 2022 1:50 pm

Just bought a NX650 Dominator from 1992 for my son.
152kg, and a quite good dual-sport performer.

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