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