When Honda Motor Europe finally pulled the covers off the CB750 Hornet, opinions were mixed. The concept drawings, after all, had done what concept drawings are meant to do—they'd gotten people excited, or at the very least, cautiously optimistic. News about an all-new and rather impressive-sounding 755cc engine architecture definitely helped to stoke that anticipation to an outright clamor.
As Intermot 2022 dawned in Cologne after a couple of years away, Honda finally brought its newest two-wheeled child into the sunlight—which left one pressing question. If the CB750 Hornet was debuting at Intermot, what could Honda have up its sleeve for EICMA 2022 in November?
Situational logic would, of course, point to the probability of the XL750 Transalp. There have been rumors, of course—and also spy shots gathered by Swiss publication Actumoto that seemed to show a near-production version. There were also trademark filings protecting the Transalp name back in February, 2021 that made a comfy line on which to hang our various strands of speculation out to dry.
On October 6, 2022, patent offices in the U.S. and Germany both published a patent application from Honda regarding a not terribly exciting swing arm pivot shaft. While the application itself may not make for a particularly scintillating read, it’s the drawings that accompanied it—or, in specific, one drawing—that seem to have gotten the motorcycle internet’s attention.
Why? This drawing appears to show an XL750 Transalp, looking very much as though it’s based on the same platform as the CB750 Hornet that was revealed a mere two days before this patent application’s publication. (Yes, the Africa Twin and the CB500X are clearly this design’s parents, and neither of them will be taking questions at this time.)
The drawing looks very much like the spy photos we’ve so recently seen of the Transalp out testing in the Swiss countryside—as well as the CB750 Hornet we were just introduced to last week (at the time of writing, anyway). The wheels look slightly larger—most likely with a 21-inch unit up front, the better to accommodate true off-road possibilities for the upcoming middleweight ADV.
No spokes of any kind have been drawn on these wheels, but spoked options for off-road purposes clearly make sense. It’s possible that Honda could go the route of also offering a more road-biased version with alloy wheels as well, although it’s not clear if that would overlap too much with the already-existing CB500X. (Possibly not, given the presumed power differences between the two.)
Just because a patent is applied for doesn’t always indicate when—or even if—a company will bring it into the public sphere. While the timing of this patent’s publication may seem fortuitous, given the unveiling of the Hornet, it’s worth noting that Honda weren’t the ones who published it—it was the respective patent offices. Honda applied for this patent in the U.S. on March 16, 2022, and in Germany on March 23, 2022—several months beforehand.
Going just by official signs we’ve seen from Honda over the past couple of years, it’s clear that the Transalp’s resurrection has been in the works for some time. Does this mean we can expect to see it make a formal debut at EICMA 2022? It’s certainly a strong possibility.