Test and previews Mon 26 November 2018

Honda Crosstourer VFR1200X Travel Edition DCT “The Intrepida“

The Intrepida vintage cycle tour is an event that takes place in Anghiari (Arezzo – Italy) in October; it counts a growing number of enthusiasts (more than 1000 this year) who, on antique or vintage bikes, ride in one of the most beautiful and characteristic areas of Tuscany, often on dirt roads full of charm and history. “The Battle of Anghiari” is amongst the famous works of Leonardo da Vinci; it’s a painting that depicts a battle that took place here on the 29th June 1440 between the Florentine and the Milanese armies.

After several days on the imposing Crosstourer 1200 Travel Edition DCT, eating up kilometers to define its qualities, we allowed ourselves to take part in the Intrepida, diving in the endless and colorful stream of people wearing historically appropriate clothing, however arising interest and satisfied comments.
After all, it is hard to go unnoticed with this Travel Edition loaded with three large aluminum cases, each wide enough to contain a full-face helmet.

The twin-spar aluminum frame is state-of-the-art and has the right balance to be stable and handleable in any condition. The engine is the proven 1237cc Honda V4 with DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission), that delivers a maximum of 130hp.
Even if equipped with sophisticated electronics as the C-ABS - that distributes the braking action of the rear lever, partially combining it with the front circuit, that ensures safe braking - or the HSTC (Honda Selectable Torque Control), that has two settings or can be completely excluded, it doesn’t compare with the digital instrumentation we found on the Africa Twin.
The system that allows the windshield to be adjusted using only your left hand and a convenient lever, even while riding, is valuable.
The central kickstand, the skid bars and the LED fog lights are also included as standard on the Travel Edition.
The suspensions aren’t electronic, but travel and compression can be easily adjusted by means of the dedicated external regulators.

How’s the bike?
The question posed by most people who approached us for information on the bike was: “Nice, but is it fun to ride even with an automatic transmission?”
We concentrated on this issue while testing the bike, trying to submit the transmission to every and any condition that could enhance or lessen the DCT. In the end, our considerations lead us to think that this system will be widely used in the future, at least on powerful bikes and on the adventure and tourism models.

  • 1st consideration: future riders will not be conditioned by shift and clutch levers as we have been since we grew up with them!
  •  2nd consideration: most people who buy a motorcycle belonging to this segment, do it to feel free, to travel and to explore places that are difficult to reach, and certainly not to achieve performances that belong to the super sporty bikes.

The DCT offers different types of performance and riding customizations; starting from the Drive mode, the bike automatically shifts gear based on engine rpms and terrain slope, ideal option in most situations including off-road where it’s important to concentrate on riding.
The Sport mode offers 3 increasing engine output options, the motorcycle automatically shifts but the rpm rate at which it shifts gets higher, granting more sprint between curves.
In all modes, you still have the possibility of downshifting or adding gears using convenient levers on the handle bar, as well as upshifting before the set number of rpms is reached. We found this possibility to be very interesting especially when downshifting before a curve or sudden overtake to give more power to the engine.
The last option of the DCT is manual shifting; in this case electronics no longer assists us, but we absolutely must use the above-mentioned levers to shift.
You can choose between the D-Sport-M modes even while riding, which is no small matter!
In other words, there is a little something for everybody and for most jockeys, without leaving out the positive features of this system, as preventing over-revving or the possibility of gearing up with a fully open throttle, and finally a thrifty management of gas.

So, getting back to the Intrepida, at the end of the test we found that many aspects connect this Crosstourer 1200 Travel Edition DCT to the vintage cycle tour event. It’s daring, voted to long trips but still able to comfortably face alternative itineraries such as dirt roads, fearless of letting us live out unforgettable days marked by beautiful landscapes and by a sense of leisure, for there are no vibrations and it’s extremely easy to ride.

Text and tester: Pietro Bartolomei
Photos: MBfotopress

For this test we used:
Moto: Honda Crosstourer VFR1200X Travel Edition DCT
Riding gear:
Suit:: Dainese Sandstorm jacket and pants
Boots: Dainese Centauri
Gloves: Dainese Universe
Helmet: Schubert E1

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