Want to appeal to young urban riders and nostalgic old-timers alike? Come out with a scrambler. At least that’s the way the market has trended in recent years. Ducati, Triumph, Yamaha, and Benelli have all delivered their own neo-retro take on the genre, but recent rumors propagated by Japanese media outlet Autoby cast a spotlight on Honda’s potential entry into the scrambler category.

Excited by the prospect of the new model, the media company tapped Shinji Miyakubo to imagine a vintage-inspired CL250 and CL500. Thanks to the beginner-friendly powerplant, reliability, and dual-shock rear suspension, many speculated that Team Red would base the potential scrambler on the Rebel platform. Well, it looks like Autoby and Miyakubo’s premonitions weren’t far off.

Honda CL500 Patent - Drawing

Looking back at a footpeg patent filed by Honda in 2019, the firm clearly plans to leverage the existing Rebel frame should the scrambler ever reach the production floor. While the patent focuses on the MX-style pegs, rubber comfort inserts, a mid-mounted bracket, and a relocated rear brake master cylinder, the design drawings indicate that the CL500 would share the same engine and frame with Honda’s lightweight cruiser family.

To help the model attain appropriate scrambler proportions, though, designers fashioned a different subframe. The bench-style seat depicted in the drawings not only captures the classic scrambler aesthetic but also raises the seat height and adapts the rider triangle to mixed on- and off-road riding. However, we can’t invest too much stock into the scrambler’s styling given the limited detail captured in the patent diagrams.

What we can evaluate is the modified exhaust system, though. Choosing to route the pipes under the chassis, Honda then kinks the two-into-one exhaust to mount above the swingarm. This approach probably serves several purposes. Snaking the header under the frame not only hides the catalytic converter and centralizes the mass, but it also keeps exhaust heat off the rider’s right leg. Of course, high-mounted pipes are a cosmetic hallmark of the scrambler segment, so a slight rise helps Honda achieve the obligatory look.

Outside the patent drawings, we can’t draw too many conclusions about the CL250 and CL500 until Honda formally acknowledges the project. If the rumors are true, though, we’ll have another contender slugging it out in the generation-bridging scrambler category.

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