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Honda Bulldog takes on Royal Enfield, KTM & BMW

Honda Bulldog
It's not totally unique ... here's the Honda Bulldog

The small-bore adventure market is about to become busy with Honda believed to be planning to produce its Bulldog, competing against the Royal Enfield Himalayan, KTM 200 or 390 Adventure and BMW G 310 GS.

Honda has filed a patent in Japan for an adventure motorcycle that looks very much like the Bulldog Concept revealed in 2015 at the Osaka Motor Show.

Honda Bulldog
Patent drawings

It would be powered by the liquid-cooled, two-cylinder, 400cc engine from the CB400.

That would put it in direct competition with the new Royal Enfield Himalayan with its 410cc engine, the hotly tipped KTM 200 or 390 Adventure and the rumoured 313cc BMW G 310 GS.

It would be a whole new category for novices who want adventure without the height and weight of 650-1200cc bikes.

Honda already has the CBR500X adventure bike, but the Bulldog looks more like a two-wheeled Jeep with its fat 15-inch knobby tyres, low 730mm seat, high exhaust pipe, twin headlights, crash bars, robust styling and massive fuel tank.

In fact, that tank is also being patented for its special storage areas on either side.

Lightweight small-bore adventure bikes like the Bulldog, Himalayan, G 310 GS and 390 Adventure could be the next motorcycle niche.  

They make a whole lot of sense for novices, short people and some females who want highway comfort to ride to the dirt as well as around-town abilities for commuting.

There is no conformation yet about the Honda, KTM or BMW projects, but we suspect they would be initially targeted at the rapidly growing markets of India, China, Africa and South America where scooters struggle with the tough road conditions.Honda Bulldog

Do you think they would also have some worth in developed motorcycle markets like ours?

  1. I suppose “ag” bikes were never sexy enough to sell well beyond the farm gate, much like 4WDs used to be. Land Rovers had a utilitarian appeal but the Range Rover changed the 4WD market.
    Some people may deride the current crop of mega adventure-tourers as the two-wheel equivalent of a Range Rover or Lexus SUV, only likely to get dirty as a result of traversing suburban roadworks, but motorcyclists tend to be a bit more adventurous than the 4-wheel equivalent owner, I hope.
    Are there potential customers waving fistfulls of cash at bike salespeople, baying for small-bore adventure tourers? I doubt it but at least the Honda Bulldog looks more practical than some kind of scrambler styling thought bubble. In the first world, practical bikes seem to be a niche market. In the third world, a practical bike is a way of life.

  2. …”where scooters struggle with the tough road conditions.”…

    Let’s not forget that Honda also recently announced they were building an “adventure” scooter that everyone poo-pooed as something without a market. I’d say that these two show that Honda has a specific market in their sights and is making a serious pitch at it.

  3. I think they have a market in the twenty something, uni hipster types with this
    a lot of them are into the “post-apocalyptic’ style video games and this industrial
    style would sell ,especially in europe, looks a bit like the old MZ

  4. I guess i’m in the minority but i love it. Sign me up if they ever make it to production.

  5. I can’t wait for this bulldog to strut his stuff. I’ll be the first in line to snap one up. It appeals to me for its low seat, rugged looks and adaptability to several terrains. A bike you strap your hunting rifle or fishing rods and gear and head into the wilderness. It looks ready for anything. I am holding off my new bike purchase for this one. Only got a few more years if I am lucky but this would be my ultimate bike.

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