With so many great concept models going into production, we knew Honda had to jump on the bandwagon…But is the Honda Bulldog a sensible production model move for Big Red?
The Honda Bulldog first came on our radar earlier this year and it certainly raised eyebrows. It caused debate. There were lovers and haters. More haters than lovers, actually – purely because concepts are there to provoke reaction, and that was our first feeling too. Now that a Honda source has recently been quoted as saying “They’re actually making it. It should do well for us,” We’ve moved back into “neutral” ground.
It’s bold and brash, it’s definitely an evolution of the Honda Ruckus aesthetic and it promises to be a great little tourer for anyone afraid of something meaner. Based on the CB400F and sharing the same frame and parallel twin engine, there’s definitely a niche in the market for such a thing but is it the right call? I don’t think so.
It’s a “tourer” but only in the sense of the overall shape and the addition of carrier racks and storage compartments. From what we know so far, the Bulldog is lacking in the tech department and nothing, save for its premium baggage allowance and stocky tires, really screams “capable tourer”. Give the bike a dual clutch transmission, something derived from the new Africa Twin maybe, and the Honda Bulldog will be special enough to attract a wider market.
At 400cc, it can hold its head high on the highways and with such a low riding position, it’s ideal for the shorter rider or the nervous nelly and probably has enough grunt to make off-roading an adventure rather than a fear fest, without the additional worry of dropping something precious looking… Say what you want about the design and aesthetic but be honest, you won’t mind putting a few scratches, right? Anyway, we’re going to have to wait for more technical information before making any real judgements. So, I’m still in no man’s land.