As humans, we love to connect the dots. Sometimes there’s good reason for this, and sometimes it’s just fun to draw a bunch of lines and see what kinds of pictures we get. Take recent Honda news, for example. We have evidence of three recent new models (as of July, 2022), in various stages of development.
There’s the Honda Hawk 11, which has so far only been released in Japan. Then, there’s the rebirth of the Honda Hornet, which is strongly rumored to be powered by a 750cc parallel twin. Of course, we can’t discount Honda’s Transalp trademark filings in various world markets.
How do you tie these three things together with a neat little bow, though? Honda Africa Twin project designer Kenji Morita previously mentioned a 750cc-sized gap in Honda’s adventure offerings, which it’s believed that the Transalp could very neatly fill. Like the upcoming Hornet, there are strong suggestions that the Transalp will be powered by a 750cc parallel twin—but a newly-developed unit, not the one currently found in the NC750X, X-ADV, and Forza 750.
Now, it’s difficult to say for sure how much of this is wishful thinking and how much is based in fact, but Young Machine seems to think it’s possible that Honda has a plan for not two, not three, but four shiny new 750cc bikes in the not-too-distant future. The two most solid possibilities are the Hornet 750 and the Transalp 750, which both already seem to be in development.
Stepping further into the realm of speculation, there’s the suggestion of a future Hawk 750. It would be a smaller, retro-y middleweight naked bike (as opposed to the Hornet 750’s ultramodern naked take). Finally—and possibly just because why not—there's also the suggestion of a CBR750RR finally becoming something other than a prototype that went on to inspire development of the Fireblade.
How Likely Are The Hawk 750 And CBR750RR To Happen?
As we’ve discussed in our history of the Honda Hawk line, the Hawk name has always been attached to twins of one sort or another. In fact, the majority have been parallel twins—with only the last two prior to the Hawk 11 being sport-tuned V-twins. Hawk 11 marked a return to that engine architecture for that particular bird of prey.
Also, displacements have largely crept up throughout the Hawk’s lineage—but there’s never been a 750. If we’re talking sheer numbers, that displacement would tuck in tidily between the 1988 through 1991 Honda Hawk GT 650 and the 1997 through 2005 Honda VTR1000F Super Hawk.
As of July 11, 2022, it’s still unclear whether Honda has any intention of releasing the Hawk 11 in markets outside Japan. We can all wish as hard as we want, but if every bike fan had every wished-for model available in their market, we know we wouldn’t actually be able to buy them (or store them) all. That said, the idea of Honda turning the Hawk name into a duo, offered in two different displacements, certainly tracks as a possibility. A smaller-displacement version could also come in handy for A2 license purposes, should either or both Hawks make it to Europe.
Regarding the CBR750RR, evidence to support its existence is pretty thin on the ground. However, we do know a few circumstantial things that could lend a little weight to this theory. For one, any OEM—including Honda—that spends time developing an entirely new powerplant in 2022 will be keen to plug it into as many models as possible. Tunings may be different for different applications, but it just doesn’t make any sense to not get as much use out of an engine as possible.
Additionally, that sense of urgency may be stronger right now, as Honda is simultaneously working to fulfill its goal of reaching zero emissions by 2040. Japanese OEMs (and others) are exploring the possibility of biofuels in addition to electrification, but the exact parameters of a zero-emission future must surely be informing its choices.
What Could This Mean for Honda’s Existing 750s?
The existing 750cc parallel twin platform was last updated in 2021, which wasn’t that long ago. Currently, it consists of the NC750X, the X-ADV, and the Forza 750. The latter two models are maxi-scooters, which are more popular as a class in Europe than they are in North America (or anywhere else). The NC750X is an adventure-styled bike that doesn’t have much in the way of true off-roading chops—something it’s believed the Transalp 750 could fix.
Is there room for both a Transalp 750 and an NC750X in Honda’s lineup? Since Honda is a global company, which sells different models in different markets, it’s possible. After all, some riders want ADV styling without actually wanting to go off-road. Meanwhile, some ADV riders definitely want a more off-road-capable middleweight—hence the Aprilia Tuareg 660 and Yamaha Ténéré 700.
As to whether the supposed new 750 parallel twin mill could find its way into the existing 750s as a future update, we certainly wouldn’t count that possibility out. That is, of course, if such an engine exists. Please bear in mind that it is complete speculation at this point—but it’s fun to dream about future bikes, isn’t it?
Sources: Young Machine, Motociclismo.IT