Energica has been working with two other Italian brands on a new way for riders to interact with their motorcycles – using voice-enabled functions on the bike.
According to motorradonline.de, the CTO (Chief Technology Officer or Technical Director) at Energica, Giampiero Testoni:
“Thanks to this innovative communication system, the driver will be able to find information about his vehicle easily and without distraction while driving: Alascom uses artificial intelligence to guide you To create voice assistants that improve the motorcyclist’s driving experience, with intuitive voice commands that aim to manage and control the essential functions of the motorcycle.”
When it comes to voice-controlled interfaces, the technology itself isn’t new. Voice-activated commands have been in plenty of automobiles for years. However, this technology has not been found in motorcycles with the exception of Honda’s RoadSync equipped bikes.
In theory, this technology will be very useful for setting up trips or checking maintenance intervals. I’m not sure how practical it would be while whizzing down the highway at 60mph if compared to changing the song on your voice-activated Bluetooth device.
Voice-activation will certainly be more convenient instead of scrolling through menus while in transit. Actions like “Energica, enable rain mode” would save you from having to pull over and run through complex systems found on brand new motorcycles.
Honda, Yamaha, KTM, and Piaggio have all signed a letter of intent to stage a swappable electric battery consortium for EV motorcycles and lighter EV’s.
Together, they will collaborate on batteries that can be swapped amongst each of their EV lineups. This will make it possible to use a universal battery across all models. This initiative will take some time before coming to the streets however the letter of intent is a huge step in the right direction.
From the press release: ‘The aim of the Consortium will, therefore, be to define the standardized technical specifications of the swappable battery system for vehicles belonging to the L-category; mopeds, motorcycles, tricycles and quadricycles. By working closely with interested stakeholders and national, European and international standardization bodies, the founding members of the Consortium will be involved in the creation of international technical standards.’
Honda Managing Officer of Motorcycle Operations Noriake Abe said:
“The worldwide electrification effort to reduce CO2 on a global scale is accelerating, especially in Europe. For the widespread adoption of electric motorcycles, problems such as travel distance and charging times need to be addressed, and swappable batteries are a promising solution. Considering customer convenience, standardization of swappable batteries and wide adoption of battery systems is vital, which is why the four-member manufacturers agreed to form the Consortium. Honda views improving the customers’ usage environment as an area to explore cooperation with other manufacturers while bringing better products and services to customers through competition. Honda will work hard on both fronts to be the ‘chosen’ manufacturer for customer mobility.”
Activity on the new consortium will begin in May 2021, while invitations have been extended to other manufactures to join in on the initiative. Once this initiative is live and available to the consumer, it will mean huge benefits for all EV owners. It will mean less time charging and more time traveling – since you will be able to simply swap your battery and go. This concept isn’t anything new but with major players in manufacturing stepping up means it will be a matter of time before it becomes reality.
We’ve all heard of the term “barn find”. That treasured vehicle, sitting undiscovered somewhere in a shed that someone heard of and told a friend of a friend’s colleague’s mate’s cousin who can’t quite recall the exact location!
It’s the Holy Grail of the automotive world, always illusive, a bit like following the clues in a detective novel.
But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
If you’ve come across one, we’d love to hear your story … it might just keep us searching for a barn find of our own! Send details to [email protected].
Meanwhile, former Ulysses Club magazine editor and long-time bike tester Ian Parks recently bought a 24-year-old Honda Goldwing Aspencade (pictured above after restoration) that he considers a rare barn find.
The bike was kept in a closed brick garage and hadn’t been registered for seven years, although it had been started and run occasionally.
It belonged to John Stretton, a friend of Ian’s who had sadly succumbed to cancer.
“I was principally looking at the bike to give my friend’s son an estimated value and also attempt to get it running,” Ian says.
“Quite a few problems became evident but we did get the motor to fire and run smoothly albeit for a very short time.”
Even though it had been in an enclosed garage, the Goldwing had a fair amount of damage caused by the Salt Ash, NSW, atmosphere.
“In the end, my assessment of the Wing’s current value was what the family required to ease the burden of funeral costs,” Ian says.
“A sudden rush of blood to my brain and we were shaking hands on a deal.”
Ian works in the mechanical trade and is well aware of the many pitfalls that can accompany a so-called “barn find”, so he had a fair idea of the work required to bring it up to registration standard.
Yet there were still a few items that even he didn’t count on.
Check out this list and you will get a good idea of what a “barn find” in relatively good condition may cost: New battery, tyres, oil, filter, fuel pump, rear brake master cylinder, brake pads, fork seals, timing belts, seal kits for the clutch, gator on rear air shock, windscreen, chrome panel above headlight, reverse lever micro switch and spark plugs.
Ian also replaced all the badly corroded crash bars and both mufflers with second-hand items.
“There was some new paint and a lot of polish also,” he says.
“There was also some extensive work getting all the electrics to function properly.”
Yet Ian says he “got out of it quite lightly”.
While 1996 isn’t old enough to qualify for cheap historic registration, finding replacement parts proved as problematic and time consuming as hunting some vintage components.
“Some prices had skyrocketed too,” he says
For example, a replacement muffler system was priced at $2080. Fortunately, Ian found a good second-hand pair thanks to John Fredericks in Old Bar.
Ian also sourced spares from Taree Honda, Don Corney Automotive Taree, The Tyre Mobb Gloucester, Handcraft Fibreglass Seven Hills NSW, Big Bike Bitz Qld, Mitchum “Big Mick” Neave and Mike Howard.
But there a couple of warnings from Ian before you plunge into a barn fund:
“If you are doing a restoration to sell a bike on and make some money, you don’t want to over-capitalise against the market value of the bike,” he says.
“I have come very close to this, but I’m content with that due to the emotional attachment to the bike and my desire to keep it for many years.
“So just be aware of the hidden costs.
“Oh, and be careful of red back spiders etc. living in certain long undisturbed parts.”
About the owner
John Stretton was a long-time member of the Ulysses Club Lake Macquarie Branch.
Ian describes him as “a great bloke and true gentleman”.
“He had a booming deep voice and when prompted, could employ those vocal cords to belt out a great song or two,” Ian says.
“He was very kind and supportive when I lost my wife and then my daughter. I will think of him fondly whenever I’m riding the Wing.”
Honda released a CB350 H’ness (Highness) in India not long ago. Almost as soon as it was revealed people began discussing scrambler and cafe racer versions of the motorcycle.
The H’ness was envisioned as a challenger to Royal Enfield’s Classic 350, and in order to do that, it does indeed look like Honda will craft some other versions of this bike. According to GaadiWaadi, Honda has plans to introduce a new cafe racer model in India.
An unnamed source told the publication the motorcycle is currently in the works, and will likely come out sooner than many people expect. That’ means it will likely hit the market sometime in 2021.
I’d expect it to have the same 348cc single-cylinder air-cooled engine but sport some minor updates and feature a slightly higher price tag than the standard CB350 H’ness.
At the moment, the new CB350 is an India-only model, but I would love to see this come to other markets, and I think the bike could be a hit in Australia and in North America. If it goes anywhere after India, though, I bet Honda will release it in the UK, and then expand from there.
Concept motorcycles and mock-ups are the life-force that keeps motorcycle enthusiasts tied-over between big releases. If you are suffering from dream withdrawal and are looking for a fix, Honda cooked up this vintage-inspired CB1000F just for you.
This aged roadster concept was based on honda’s current CB1000R naked sportbike with your favorite parts from historic motorcycles tied into a modern-day chassis and form factor. There is no way to tell if this concept bike is ever going to see production, but according to MCN, rumors from japan compounded with the original unveiling of the CB-F Concept last spring could suggest otherwise.
The current CB1000R already a beautiful looking motorcycle, but this F edition takes the best features from the R – such as the single-sided swingarm and light-weight modern rims – and packages it along with Honda’s dangerously smooth 998cc DOHC inline-four to create this pre-modern masterpiece. It’s safe to assume that if this motorcycle came to production, the engine would be slightly detuned much like Kawasaki’s Z900RS.
The same steel spine frame and aluminum swingarm will come right from the CB1000R along with the forks and brakes; so you know this motorcycle will ride its way into a much higher category of performance than what it’s appearance may initially lead you to believe.
The body features a very vintage seat and tank, along with the graphics and headlamp looking they were ripped straight off an 80’s CB. Personally, the CBX1050 is my favorite motorcycle of all time, and I think this bike is a beautiful throwback to honda’s golden age of industry domination.
Let’s see if Honda can turn this dream into a reality.
Honda has filed a patent with the US Patent Office regarding the possible development and production of a brain-machine-interface that allows your brain to completely control the motorcycle.
The patent images are pretty comical actually. They depict a motorcycle rider using his mind to pop a wheelie on what looks like a CBR600RR. In the next photo, he’s doing a full front-brake stoppie.
It’s up to Honda and how they want to develop this hardware/software, but It’s safe to assume that this new BMI (brain-machine-interface) will link you up with the sensors and assists already on the motorcycle to hopefully prevent crashes and have the motorcycle perform more like you hope it would, without the failure of user inputs.
“The control circuitry may determine control information indicative of an intention of the user to perform a specific task using one or more components of the vehicle. The specific task may correspond to one of a vehicle acrobatic maneuver, a vehicle driving maneuver, or a hands-free control of the user assistive device inside the vehicle. Examples of the specific task may include, but are not limited to, a wheelie, a stoppie, a hyper spin, a switchback, a burnout, a left turning maneuver, a right turning maneuver, a braking maneuver, a reversing maneuver, an accelerating maneuver, a decelerating maneuver, a parking maneuver, a traffic circling maneuver, a stopping maneuver, or an overtaking maneuver.”
Riders new to adventure will have another option to consider in 2021 with the arrival of the CRF300L and CRF300 Rally in Australia next March, 2021.
Both shod with proper off-road sized rims, 18-inch at the rear and 21-inch at the front, these bikes will be some of the most confidence inspiring once the going gets rough while the tractable engine is strong enough to propel them up the steepest of hills. Their predecessors certainly tractored up anything I pointed them at without much fuss.
The liquid-cooled DOHC engine of the previous CRF250L has grown to 286cc, gained Euro5 compliance and now produces 27 horsepower at 8,500 rpm (up from 24 hp).
Thanks to a longer stroke it also boasts 18 per cent more torque with a peak twist of 26.6 Nm climaxing slightly earlier at 6500 rpm. New cams along with revised air intake and exhaust systems contribute to the gains which add up to a 13 per cent improvement in the power-to-weight ratio.
Shorter ratios for the first five gears amplify the benefits of the increased grunt, while sixth is taller for more relaxed highway work.
An slip-assist clutch now manages the rear wheel and offers 20 per cent less effort at the lever.
A redesigned steel semi-double cradle frame, aluminium swingarm and bottom yoke are major contributors to a 4 kg overall weight loss and features more lateral flex for increased feedback and feel.
Steering geometry has been adjusted to match alongside longer travel suspension and increased ground clearance, with the CRF300L actually boasting more ground clearance at 285 mm, gaining 30 mm.
The Rally in comparison gained 5 mm to 275 mm total. Both models receive an extra 10 mm of suspension travel at the front, while the CRF300L also gains 20 mm at the rear.
The CRF300L features a slimmer 7.8L fuel tank and seat, and new, easy-to-read positive LCD instrument display. Kerb weight is also down to 142 kg.
The riding position, too, has been improved to encourage light-steering manoeuvrability – the handlebars are pulled back slightly, the foot pegs lowered and moved rearwards. Seat height grows 5 mm to 880 mm.
At 885 mm the CRF300 Rally’s broader, rubber-mounted seat is now 10 mm lower; the fuel tank grows 2.7 L to 12.8 L. Honda claim that offers a range of up to 410 km. Its handlebars feature internal weights to minimise vibration and the foot pegs are topped with rubber inserts, while LED indicators are now flexibly mounted for durability.
As on the previous CRF250 Rally, the larger 296 mm front rotor is retained, as well as the different headlight and screen setup. Weight is down 4 kg as on the CRF300L, but reaches 153 kg at the kerb for the Rally.
2021 Honda CRF300L and CRF300 Rally Specifications
Motorcycle Test by Wayne Vickers – Images Rob Mott
I had another scooter in the shed recently. Totally different proposition to the big Tmax I had a couple of months back which you can read more about here. This lwas Honda’s ADV150 and it wasn’t a bad little jigger. Honda are dubbing it an ‘adventure scooter’ which is probably having a bit of a laugh in comparison to genuine adventure bikes, but it’s certainly a little bit different and worth a look.
What are we looking at? Well, 150cc fuel injected single cylinder, auto gearbox, ABS both ends and even Showa shocks. It tips the scales at 133 kilos and will set you back around 6 grand.
My impression didn’t necessarily start off that well, it has a not-very-intuitive at first key fob and startup system. The key fob (it has no key as such so you can just keep it in your pocket) has three buttons with icons and no text and a start-up process that involves a push-and-turn dial on the bike as well as having to have the side stand upright and brakes on to start it. It took three blokes about five-minutes to get it started for the first time. The alarm had to be turned off and the dial turned to the right position before it would jump to life. A simple key would have certainly been quicker… but once you figure it out and get used to it, it’s ok. The fob comes with a button to make the bike beep if you’ve lost it in a car-park (although I didn’t test the range on that…), an alarm on and off button. I honestly left them all alone and just got on and rode.
On the road it’s quite refined. The auto clutch take-up is seamless, the engine is smooth and quiet while the ABS stoppers both ends feel up to the task. Mechanically its Honda through and through and feels bulletproof and well sorted.
It has quite a nice, nimble lightness to it that I think a lot of folks would find appealing. In traffic it’s able to hold its own against most cars from the front of the lights. Pumping out 14 horsepower and about the same number of Newton Metres of torque, it’s no rocket ship and doesn’t scream away from the lights. But for a nimble low-capacity scooter it goes ok in traffic.
Around town and on shorter jaunts it’s in its element – and certainly the slightly bigger than average sized wheels (for a scooter), help navigate rougher urban roads, potholes and tram tracks etc. But I wouldn’t want to spend extended hours touring on one out in the countryside. In fact, after the first 40 kilometres of mind numbingly boring highway work on the way home from picking it up I was already feeling it in my lower back and hips. I got used to it with some more time aboard, but it’s worth noting that the seat is quite firm and there’s not a lot of soaking up of serious bumps going on for longer trips.
So I’m not sure what sort of ‘Adventure’s’ Honda has in mind. While yes, it will handle good quality gravel roads (just like any other bike), I wouldn’t suggest you to have any plans to tackle anything gnarlier than that on it. I wouldn’t like to ride it through loose gravel.. (I did see a youtube video of someone trying it. And they tucked the front at the first sign of soft gravel and dropped it… so…), and I don’t think the undertray would like you for it either. On the flip side – It does have slightly taller ride height than some of its competitors, so it’s probably less likely to scrape on gutters. Maybe ‘Urban Adventurer’ might be more apt?
An 8 litre fuel tank is going to force you to stop fairly regularly on any longer trips too. I was averaging around 3.5L per hundred kays overall, but was seeing 4.5 – 5L/100ks on the dash while holding it pinned at 110 down the freeway (tucked in behind the adjustable two position front screen), so don’t expect to be getting any more than 200 kilometres per tank. I’d suggest it’d get better mileage than that on full time urban work. Especially with the auto stop-start enabled via the simple switch on the rhs switchgear which worked just as expected. Sit still for a few seconds. It shuts down, twist the throttle and it starts back up again. Nice.
I did note one interesting thing however in that if you turn the engine off fully with the dial while having it on auto stop, then you need to give it a little rev to get it started.. It wont just start by pressing the button. Had me scratching my head again for a bit.
When it comes time to park, the centre-stand is a doddle to use as it’s such a lightweight bike for even the most physically challenged amongst us. Super easy to put on and off the stand.
The dash is a bit unusual. It has a display that shows you the day and month and it also shows you ambient temp. But doesnt show you the engine temp, which I’m starting to see more of on the latest motorcycles and can’t say I like it. And where I was expecting a tacho that space is instead replaced with an ‘insta fuel consumption’ readout. I did pay attention to it every now and again initially for curiosity’s sake, but I’m not sure I’d look at it much after the first couple of weeks if it was mine. I think most folks understand that when you twist the throttle harder it uses more fuel… 🙂
Styling wise it seems nicely executed if a little busy but I don’t mind it. Lots of individual surface details and they’re all quite nicely finished with good quality materials. Plenty to look at while you’re sipping your latte. I did seem to have to keep wiping the bike down in that colour scheme, the footrest areas in particular just kept showing up dirt and scuffs.
And although there’s plenty of useful storage space including a charger equipped 2 Litre pod in the dash, note that the underseat storage didn’t fit either of the two full face helmets I tried which I thought was disappointing. We tried every which way to make it fit, but it was about an inch short of closing. Probably would have got it to shut if I forced it, but I’m not going to do that to a helmet… I’d expect it’s made for open faced helmets even though the blurb says full face… So you’d want to check it before buying a lid.
To top it off – that great price tag for Honda build quality and confidence. And for that, you can ignore some quirks in the dash etc. I actually think it’s a pretty solid offering. Plenty to like, especially for those wanting something a little different to the Vespa look.
Why I like it:
Light, nimble, get on and go once you get used to the fob
Honda build quality – good smooth engine, no shortfalls mechanically
I’d like it more if:
The underseat storage actually fitted my full faced lids
The adjustable screen had some more height to it
The seat could be a little softer for soaking up our rubbish roads
From my first experiences with a DCT equipped Africa Twin I thought right from the off, ‘this powertrain would work great in a cruiser’. With more crank weight and a different state of tune of course, but the fundamentals were there for Honda to capitalise on their well-proven and increasingly well-tuned DCT gear-box. It was always going to happen, but I had expected the first cab off the rank to be a low slung bagger.
Instead Honda have effectively up-sized the successful CMX500 bobber and at a glance, from a distance, you would hardly be able to tell the new CMX1100 and well-established CMX500 apart as they are clearly cut from the same cloth. This also provides riders of the CMX500 a logical pathway to upgrade once they have achieved their full licence. With more than 25,000 CMX500 sold each year across the globe there are plenty of CMX riders that might be keen to upgrade.
The CMX1100 will come in both conventional manual and DCT guises so people will still be given that choice. To my mind though the DCT in this application is a natural fit and would be simply fantastic around town.
Seat height is a very low 700 mm and the 13.6 litre fuel cell narrow between the knees.
While the CMX1100 is very much a stripped back bobber there are a cavalcade of accessories to extend its touring credentials. A bat-wing style front fairing, soft panniers and a luggage rack will all add long-distance amenity to the CMX1100.
Most Japanese manufacturers have pretty given up on trying to gain a significant foot-hold in the Australian big-bore cruiser market. Most of their large capacity models were simply too expensive to compete against comparable Harley-Davidson models and thus they simply stopped importing them, choosing to keep only affordable mid-capacity models in their line-up.
In the modern cruiser world the CMX1100 could not exactly be called a big-bore, but at 1084 cc it does perhaps tread some fertile middle ground between most current offerings, before that huge step up to the real big American iron on offer.
For the Rebel, Honda have added an extra 32 per cent flywheel mass over the Africa Twin while new camshafts are tuned to accentuate the power pulses.
The Honda’s 270-degree firing parallel twin is quite charismatic, especially in the DCT variant where more reciprocating mass adds to that character.
I really look forward to riding the DCT version of the CMX1100. The DCT engine even looks more muscular thanks to its extra width and those chiselled covers. It will boast an even stronger beat thanks to the extra weight of the DCT internals.The DCT can be left completely to its own devices or the rider can select gears manually via paddle shifters on the left bar.
Indian’s Scout is perhaps its most direct competitor.The CMX1100 matches the Indian for torque and delivers that peak 98 Nm of twist 1250 rpm earlier than the Scout, despite a 50 cc deficit. The American bike does claim 14 more ponies than the Honda, but the CMX1100 tips the scales 30 kg lighter.
At 35-degrees Honda claim six more degrees of lean angle than the Indian and also boasts larger forks and piggyback shocks.
Both the Scout and the CMX only run one brake at the front but the Honda’s is a higher spec’ radial mount four-piston monoblock with much larger 330mm rotor.
Cruise control is standard as is traction control, ABS, and selectable riding modes.
If priced right then Honda could have a winner on their hand. Strip off any of the extraneous stuff, add a nice set of pipes along with some bar end mirrors and I reckon it would be a nice thing to buzz around town on.
Australian pricing will not be set until sometime in the new year and the bikes are expected to arrive sometime in the first half of 2021.
2021 Honda CMX1100 Rebel Specifications
1084cc, SOHC liquid-cooled 4-stroke 8-valve parallel twin with 270° crank and Uni-cam, EURO5 compliant
I just covered Honda’s official unveiling of the 2021 Rebel 1100 (CMX1100) that took the legendary engine found in the Africa Twin and brought it to a cruiser style motorcycle. Rumour has it that this engine could also be finding its way to a touring style motorcycle, hinting to a possible CB11000X.
AutoBy.jp, a Japanese motorcycle outlet, wrote that it is rumored that this twin-touring dream may soon become a reality. They state that the rumor originates from Europe, but there’s no way to confirm this to be true.
The site’s resident designers quickly put their heads together to draft up what a CB1100X would potentially look like, and they ended up making the design essentially from scratch. Although there are a few bits and pieces borrowed from the CRF line up as well as the NC750X, everything else looks fresh – just as Honda would do it.
Could honda’s 1084cc parallel twin become their new breadwinning engine? With award-winning reliability paired with a dependable powerband, it would come as no surprise if this specific engine managed to find its way into a few new Honda models along the line now that the Rebel 1100 has been confirmed and in production.
The source that the Japanese news site sourced their rumor from, stated that the CB1100X could potentially become a reality at some point in 2022. I have my doubts – we all know how motorcycle rumors go – but again, with the Rebel 1100 becoming a reality I don’t see why Honda wouldn’t take this engine and integrate it into other bikes now that it’s no longer model specific.