’15 Honda VFR1200X Cross Tourer
First launched as a concept model in 2010 at the Eicma Show, Honda promised the Crosstourer will deliver all the fun and excitement of a sports tourer with the comfortable upright riding position and manoeuvrability of an adventure machine. This is underpinned by Honda’s V4 expertise and its Dual Clutch Transmission with new functionalities.
The development team, led by Yosuke Hasegawa (Large Project Leader), wanted to create a machine that gave the rider a sense of challenge and adventure. Japanese phrases used during the concept creation and development translate into English as, “I can do this. I can go to a place like that”. “This” could be a long distance journey on fast major roads and motorways, or an adventure to a remote destination in the mountains. The Crosstourer development team wanted to create a motorcycle that was fit for all purposes, a perfect travel companion, while also offering a premium and unique design complemented by cutting edge technologies.
The Crosstourer combines sports touring features, such as the powerful V4 engine configuration also found in the VFR1200F, and with features found on off-road motorcycles such as long travel suspension and an upright riding position for reassuring handling and grip. This crossover between two biking genres makes the Crosstourer a unique and versatile package. The longtravel suspension usually found on off-road bikes to smoothly travel over rough terrain will benefit riders on uneven road surfaces. The rugged long-travel suspension systems also make for superb ride quality and precise control. The upright riding position provides comfort, control and outstanding visibility for the rider.
Like the Crossrunner equipped with an 800cc V4 unveiled at EICMA in 2010, the Crosstourer provides the power of a V4 engine packaged in a crossover motorcycle. Honda’s Dual Clutch Transmission system is a perfect fit with the Crosstourer’s advanced, pioneering spirit. The twin-clutch transmission offers both manual gear shifting, using buttons on the handlebars, and stress-free fully automatic functionality which can be manually overridden whenever the rider chooses. The machine also comes equipped with a TCS (Traction Control System), which increases the rider’s reassurance on low-friction riding surfaces by ensuring the engine never transmits more power than the rear tyre can handle. Refinements such as Honda’s Combined ABS underline the motorcycle’s allweather, all-road capability – this machine really is ready for anything.
The Crosstourer sets a new standard in full size adventure sports touring motorcycles. It offers a unique combination of V4 engine performance with advanced technology (Combined ABS, TCS, and Dual Clutch Transmission) for stability and handling when riding solo or two-up on all types of road and all lengths of journey. The adventure starts here.
Big-capacity V4 power: The 1,237cm3 V4 engine, installed for the first time in a Honda adventure sports touring motorcycle, has been optimised for stronger low and medium rpm drive, delivering smooth power to make the Crosstourer feel effortless on long rides.
Big-capacity V4 performance, Compact engine dimensions, Smooth engine operation, Optimised engine settings, Muscular engine feel, refined control, Dual Clutch Transmission, a mode for every situation, reassuring TCS Traction Control System.
Dual Clutch Transmission: Honda’s Dual Clutch Transmission ensures seamless and even smoother gear changes in any of its three riding modes, making the Crosstourer a supremely versatile motorcycle. Using two electronically controlled clutches, the system offers the choice of manual gear shifting and two fully automatic modes, one for general use (D-mode) and another for high performance riding (Smode). The Crosstourer’s Dual Clutch Transmission also features new software logic with added functionality.
Combined ABS: The Crosstourer is equipped with Combined ABS, offering balanced front and rear braking for more stable deceleration and the extra reassurance of an Antilock Brake System. If either wheel is about to lock up and skid, Combined ABS momentarily reduces the hydraulic pressure being applied to the relevant brake and distributes the force optimally between both brakes, ensuring powerful and secure braking in all conditions.
Honda’s Traction Control System (TCS) and Combined ABS underline the new machine’s any-road, any-weather capability. The two ensure rider peace of mind, even in low-grip conditions.
Versatile chassis: Chosen for its excellent weight/rigidity balance, the Crosstourer’s die-cast aluminium frame mounts long-travel suspension systems front and rear to deliver an engaging riding experience and a comfortable ride, even on rough roads.
Shock-damping tubeless spoked wheels: Developed especially for this model, the Crosstourer spoked wheels have been designed to absorb the shocks generated by rough road surfaces, working with the machine’s suspension systems to deliver a comfortably refined ride quality. Tyre sizes – 110/80-R19 at the front, 150/70-R17 at the rear – have been chosen to balance keen, agile handling with effortless traction.
Long-travel suspension systems: Designed to excel on the hugely varied road surfaces of Europe, the front and rear suspension systems both offer generous amounts of controlled, bump-absorbing travel. The rigid 43mm upside-down telescopic forks offer reassuring control with precise steering and stability, even during hard cornering and heavy braking. Meanwhile, the Pro-Link rear suspension configuration combines strong traction with ride quality. Both the front forks and rear shock are adjustable for both tension (rebound) and preload, allowing riders to alter chassis characteristics to suit their riding style and intended usage.
Maintenance-free shaft final drive: To ensure it is as easy to maintain as it is to ride, the Crosstourer uses a maintenance-free shaft final drive. The design of this fuss-free transmission has been developed to be both durable and very quiet, even during high speed running.
Inspiring, function-led styling: The Crosstourer’s styling suggests great strength allied with a refined sportiness. Recurring design themes like sharp edges accentuate its rugged adventure style; a lack of bulk at the front of the bike gives a feeling of lightness. The headlight configuration consists of a stacked headlight arrangement with the main beam headlight positioned above the high beam unit. The headlights and effective windscreen are positioned towards the middle of the machine to help centralise mass while also offering great wind protection. Channels in the fairing at the front of the bike reduce frontal area while ducting cooling air into the radiators. The rear of the machine is highly functional with an integrated luggage carrier and grab rail to which the optional panniers attach directly. The LED indicators, used for the first time on a large capacity Honda motorcycle, ensure optimum visibility.
Protection from the elements: The Crosstourer features off-road inspired knuckle guards to provide welcome wind and weather protection for the rider’s hands. The adjustable windscreen has been shaped using computational fluid dynamics analysis for an idealised shape and just enough wind protection – the design lets the rider feel the breeze, which is part of the joy of riding a motorcycle, while keeping fatigue to a minimum.
Multi-function digital instruments: The advanced multi-function instrument panel is both attractively styled and easy to read at a glance. Positioned just below the rider’s line of sight to maximise the amount of time spent looking ahead, the display is dominated by a large, clear digital speedometer. This is flanked by gauges showing remaining fuel and engine temperature. Across the top of the display is a bar-type tachometer, which runs left to right as engine rpm increases. Further information includes an odometer, two trip meters, remaining fuel, fuel consumption (both actual and average), range to empty, a gear position indicator, a clock and the currently selected Dual Clutch Transmission mode (if applicable). This instrument panel is also adjustable for brightness.
Comfortable riding position: Key to the appeal of the Crosstourer is the off-road inspired upright riding position, perfect for riding in busy city streets and twisting rural roads alike; the Crosstourer is a confidence-inspiring ally. The Crosstourer’s carefully considered ergonomics package offers both rider and passenger a high degree of freedom. Natural support of the rider’s body weight between footpegs, seat and handlebar make the machine comfortable even on extended rides. The riding position also offers excellent visibility, with clear lines of sight over surrounding vehicles. Finally, the freedom of the riding position, coupled with the machine’s generous steering lock, centralised mass and wide, tapered handlebars, gives great low-speed control.
Rumour has it that this amazing machine will only be imported on special order. This is due to low unit sales on the model. Sad indeed, I truly enjoyed every minute I spent on this machine, short stints or the long haul to Bloemfontein and back to Durban.
To those who currently own one, stick with it, you are riding an amazing machine!
On more than 3 occasions this great motorcycle has been provided by Honda Wing Umhlanga – 031 5807900