Tag Archives: honda

Honda doubles down on electric minibikes

Honda has doubled down on electric minibikes with a patent filing for their long-promised electric Super Cub and a trademark application for an electric Motocompacto.

The former has been around since Honda trotted out a prototype at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show.

Electric minibikes

Honda said the EV-CUB electric scooter would be available from 2018, but that date has now long gone.

However, Honda has had a growing romance with the idea of electric power and especially electric minibikes.

In 2017, Honda signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Hitachi to develop electric motors.

The following year, Honda said its self-balancing bike would also come in an electric version.

Honda's self-balancing motorcycle - short season damon last
Honda’s self-balancing motorcycle

The same year Honda said they would develop electric scooters and bikes with swappable batteries and even hybrid drivetrains.

Last year they applied for a patent for future electric motorcycles and scooters to feature an alarm to warn pedestrians unaware of the approaching quiet vehicle.

And earlier this year they applied for a patent for an electric Fireblade sports bike.

Yet here we are in 2020 and still the Japanese company has not delivered on its electric plan.

It’s not that we don’t think it will happen; it’s just a case of when.

Honda MotoCompo Honda doubles down on electric minibikes
1980s Motocompo

As for the Motocompacto electric minibike, it may look like the 1980s Motocompo commuter bike designed to fold up and fit in a car boot (trunk).

Honda patents

These latest filings are part of a blitz of trademark and patent applications by Honda over the past couple of years.

Some are quite weird and impractical, but others may actually make it to market.

We suspect Honda is just trying to dominate intellectual property on motorcycle inventions, rather than planning to put them all into production.

The patents include:

Forks Goldwing patent
Goldwing forks patent

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Design museum inducts Honda Fireblade SP

Honda’s CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP superbike has been inducted into the prestigious Red Dot Design Museum in Essen, Germany.

It took centre stage along with their electric car, the Honda e, in a “Milestones in Contemporary Design” exhibition, as one of the 76 best products of 2020 and a current marker in international product design.

The CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP was awarded a Red Dot for outstanding design in the motorcycle category while the Honda e was recently awarded the highest award, the ‘Red Dot: Best of the Best 2020’ for product design.

Red Dot awards

Each year since 1955, the “Red Dot Design Award” has been assigned to the most original and worthy entries in terms of design and innovation.

A jury of 40 international design experts made their selections after evaluating more than 5500 products in a host of categories.

Winners are permitted to display a prestigious Red Dot label on their product.

There are awards in 36 categories including, furniture, watches, electronics, financial services and retail.

Red Dot awards are handed out to many of the entries, but only the cream of the crop receive a Best of the Best.

Companies use the distinction to position their brands and thus highlight their quality and design leadership around the globe.

Earlier this year Ducati Diavel won the company’s third “Best” win in the Red Dot Awards, following the successes of the 1199 Panigale in 2013 and the XDiavel S in 2016.

Fireblade SP judgementFireblade SP

Red Dot CEO Peter Zec says their judges put the superbike through its paces over several days to test its performance, in addition to assessing its functionality and design.

“The Fireblade deserves the Red Dot because the jury liked it very much – and we have really crazy judges that challenged the bike, including a professional racing bike rider,” he says.

“It’s not just good design – it has perfect performance too, which is the main reason why it received the Red Dot.”

In its assessment, the judging panel commended the CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP for its racing-inspired design, well balanced lines and aerodynamic styling.

Judges also praised the fun experience it delivered and outstanding performance when tested.

Its minimalist frontal area, aggressively angled side fairings and extended lower fairings – plus a variety of apertures, slits and air-channelling shapes – combine to create a best-in-class drag coefficient.

Aerodynamic ‘winglets’ as used on Honda’s MotoGP RC213V racing bike combine eye-catching form with uncompromising function, hugely increasing downforce and stability for ultimate control of the most powerful inline four-cylinder engine Honda has ever made.

Honda e

The electric car received the highest honour as well as an award in the meta-category ‘Smart Products’.

The Honda e is a key part of Honda’s commitment to see all its car model ranges in Europe electrified by 2022.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Own a Joey Dunlop tribute TT racer

A tribute motorcycle to Isle of Man TT racing legend Joey Dunlop who died in 2000 is the highlight of an online auction in his Northern Ireland homeland.

The limited-edition Honda SP-1 was commissioned by Honda dealer Tippetts Motors of Surbiton, Surrey, in the early 2000s to commemorate the Northern Irish racing legend’s record number of Isle of Man TT victories.

The bike which will be auctioned online by Mid Ulster Auctions from 27–31 July 2020.

It has only three miles (4.8km) on the clock, is number nine of only 26 produced.Joey Dunlop Honda SP-1

Joey Dunlop’s TT wins

At the Isle of Man TT meeting in 2000, Joey won the Formula 1 TT, the Ultra Lightweight TT (125cc) and the Lightweight TT (250cc), securing his third career hat-trick and setting a record 26 wins – an achievement that remains undefeated over two decades later.

The Joey Dunlop bike is part of an extensive collection being auctioned on behalf of the family of the late George Miller, a renowned Ardstraw-based motorcycle expert and enthusiast.

Accumulated over the past 40 years, the collection of more than 300 lots comes to market directly from the popular biker’s former business, George Miller Motorcycles, which was established in the late 1970s in the Tyrone village.

Royal wedding Bonnie

Triumph Bonneville Royal Wedding
Triumph Bonneville Royal Wedding edition

Another featured lot in the sale is a limited-edition 1981 Triumph Bonneville, one of only 125 UK models produced.

Dubbed the Royal Wedding edition, it was launched to commemorate the wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles. Other Triumph motorcycles include two 500cc Daytona models and a Speed Twin.

The motorcycle which coined the term ‘superbike’, the Honda CB750F, will also go under the hammer.

1951 Matchless G80 500cc

Other models to be auctioned include a BSA A7 500cc twin, an Ariel NH350 Red Hunter, a 1951 Matchless G80 500cc, a Hercules W-2000, and Ehrlich 250 GP.

MUA Director Noel Lennon says, “We’re delighted to be working on behalf of the Miller family to manage the sale of this outstanding collection. George’s passion for all things motorcycles is renowned and that shows in the variety of bikes he acquired that carry with them important historical links, from the origins of the ‘superbike’ to rare and limited edition models.

“George Miller Motorcycles in Ardstraw attracted enthusiasts from the motorcycle community right across Northern Ireland and even further afield. We believe there will be great interest in the collection when it comes to auction.”

As well as motorcycles, a large selection of equipment, gear, parts, and other memorabilia will be auctioned.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Are motorbike winglets just a gimmick?

Winglets have been used on MotoGP bikes for a few years now to improved high-speed handling, but are they just a gimmick on street-registered motorcycles?

It’s not just MotoGP bikes that have them, but also Ducati’s Panigale V4, Aprilia’s RSV4 and their upcoming RS660 (pictured).

These all have fixed winglets, but not it seems there is a move to active winglets that automatically deploy at certain speeds like the rear spoilers on some exotic cars that deploy at certain speeds.

Last year Honda applied for a patent for an active aero system that features winglets with servo motors that deploy the winglet at certain speeds to increase downforce.

Honda patents active aero directActive winglets patent

Last month Honda also applied for a patent for an active rear spoiler.

Piaggio gimmick?

Now Piaggio has applied for a patent for active fairing winglets activated by the rider.

The filing drawing features a Piaggio MP3 three-wheeled leaning scooter!

Now surely that’s got to be a gimmick.

GimmickWinglets on a Piaggio MP3 three-wheeled scooter

Or at least it is designed in a vain attempt to disguise their intent to use it on Aprilia MotoGP bikes or production sportsbikes.

After all, the idea is to improve handling at high — and surely illegal — speeds.

However, motorsport technician Jeromy Moore says aerodynamics can have an effect “at any speed depending on the design”.

“You will already feel the drag effect on your body at 60km/h when upright so you can imagine using some of that energy to produce downforce is possible,” he says.

“It’s a small effect at lower speeds but can be quite powerful.

“By having it active you could have a very aggressive winglet that flakes off at higher speed so you can get a benefit at lower speeds.”

So maybe it’s not a gimmick after all, although we don’t see Piaggio using it on a scooter!

But we’re not sure the extra weight of the servo motors and cabling would cancel out the added efficiency of the winglets.

And then there’s the extra expense …

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Honda follows Harley-Davidson with Android Auto

Honda is adding Android Auto to its Goldwing infotainment system for music, phone calls and messaging with a software update next month

This follows Harley-Davidson which became the first motorcycle company to offer Android Auto in March.

It’s tit for tat really, as Honda Goldwing was the first with Apple CarPlay in 2018 and Harley followed a year later with the software update to its Boom! Box GTS Infotainment Systems on their Touring models.

Android Auto is similar to Apple CarPlay and allows riders to access some phone apps such as access Google Maps for navigation, traffic and weather reports, as well as some other apps such as Spotify.

Honda’s official press release says:

Android Auto is a simple, safe way to use your phone on the motorcycle. With simplified interface, and easy-to-use voice actions, it is designed to minimise distraction so you can stay focused on the road. Android Auto makes it easy to access your favourite music, media, and messaging apps on your motorcycle. With your Google Assistant on Android Auto, you can stay focused, connected, and entertained, keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the handle bar, while using your voice to help you with your day.

But Honda won’t just add it to the Goldwing.

They are planning to add both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration to more models.

Here's why Harley's Street Glide Special is our top tourer androidHarley Street Glide with Apple CarPlay

Android Auto

Harley-Davidson Australia says they are not sure when the Android version will be available here nor the price, but the Apple version is a free software update, anyway.

As with the Apple feature, the phone must be plugged into the bike via its charging cable.

The screen will mirror the phone, allowing riders to access it through the touchscreen, Google Assistant voice control or a handlebar control.

Google Assistant is available in Australia, Canada (English), France, Germany, India (English), South Korea, United Kingdom, and United States.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Patent suggests Honda set to build CB4X

Honda has filed patent designs for a bike that seem to suggest they will build the CB4X concept shown at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan last November.

Honda CB4X concept patent (1)New patent drawing

CB4X patent

Not a lot is known about the concept and the patent filing doesn’t reveal any extra details.

It appears to have a mid-capacity engine, possibly an old 600cc engine from the CBR600RR, but down-tuned to meet Euro5 emissions targets.

That is a good way to use old engines. Ducati has successfully done that with its 03cc and 1100cc Scramblers, using old Monster engines.

At EICMA, Honda described the CB4X as blending sports, naked and touring, although it doesn’t look like much of a touring bike to me.

However, it does have an adjustable windscreen. 

Honda CB4X

The CB4X also features a diamond-shaped headlight, daytime running lights, aluminium subframe, sharp tail and 17-inch front wheel.Honda CB4X

CB4X design

The bike has been designed by Valerio Aiello and his team of young designers at the Japanese company’s Rome centre for design and research.Honda CB4X

Honda’s official EICMA press release said:

The CB4X features flowing, yet compact lines, designed to enhance the contrasting personality of a motorcycle that’s born to use every day on urban routes, and on carving mountain bends or long journeys on the weekend.

The fuel tank hunches forward, like a cobra ready to attack its prey.

The Honda CB4X is an idea dedicated to those riders who live for sports riding – but don’t want to give up the possibility of relaxing, two-up travel experiences whenever or wherever.

Unfortunately, it’s not the six-cylinder CBX that Honda filed patent drawings (below) in 2018 that looks a little like its 1980s six-cylinder CBX with a bubble fairing.

Honda CBX six-cylinderPatent drawings

But don’t get too excited yet about the CB4X or CBX.

As we know, Honda has been busy with a lot of patents for various bikes, engines and innovations in recent years.

They include the recent 850cc parallel twin which could be destined for a smaller Africa Twin.

Obviously not all will go into production. It seems more likely Honda is intent on protecting its intellectual property.

Other recent Honda patents include:

Forks Goldwing patentGoldwing forks patent

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Honda plans 850cc parallel twin

Honda has filed a patent in Japan for a new 850cc parallel-twin engine to replace the current NC750 range and possibly also go into a smaller Africa Twin.

In Australia, there is only the NC750X, but there are several other 70cc models overseas.

The new model will not only have a new engine to meet the more stringent Euro 5 emission regulations but also a new chassis.

Parallel twin

Honda 850cc parallel twin

A bigger parallel twin means they can meet the emissions targets without having to reduce power output.

The patent drawings also show a dual-clutch transmission, so it should have a semi-automatic gearbox.

Just because the patent drawing shows a naked street bike doesn’t mean anything. Honda wouldn’t want to telegraph its true intentions by showing the engine in an adventure bike.

We think it would be an excellent engine for an Africa Twin.

While the Africa Twin has this year gone from 1000cc to 1100cc, there is room for a smaller and lighter model to compete with the mid-sized Triumph Tiger 900 and BMW F 850 adventure models.

Honda patents

This is one of a blitz of patent applications by Honda over the past couple of years.

Some are quite weird and impractical, but others may actually make it to market.

We suspect Honda is just trying to dominate intellectual property on motorcycle inventions, rather than planning to put them all into production.

The patents include:

Forks Goldwing patentGoldwing forks patent

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Honda patents aerodynamic tail

Honda has filed an application for a patent for an aerodynamic tail that looks a little like those spoilers we see on “sully sic” fast fours and 1970s supercars.

Winglets have been added to the front of MotoGP bikes over the past couple of years to address aerodynamic issues.

Now Honda is looking to add some aerodynamic assistance to the rear of the bike.Honda aerodynamic rear end

Aerodynamic tail

Ducati’s Panigale V4 has a similar aerodynamic trail.

Corbin motorcycle seatsDucati Panigale V4

However, Honda’s patent features a removable tail-pack, where you can store small items such as your phone or wallet. That seems to indicate it’s not been designed specifically for race use.

It also appears to have movable wings which could be deployed at high speed for stability and under heavy braking to keep the rear wheel on the ground.

They could be deployed automatically or with a manual switch on the handlebar.

It would match the active aerodynamic winglets Honda has also applied to patent.

Honda patents active aero directActive winglets patent

Aerodynamic issues

Now don’t laugh. Aerodynamic issues are more prevalent in motorcycles than cars.

The most aerodynamically “slippery” motorcycle is the Suzuki Hayabusa which has a drag coefficient (cD) of about 0.55 to 0.60.

Hayabusa GSX1300Hayabusa

Drag coefficient is the ratio of drag on the body moving through the air to the product of the velocity and the surface area of the body.

Even a Mazda6 sedan has a much better cD of 0.26.

Racing engineer Jeromy Moore says it is difficult for motorcycles to match a car’s aerodynamics, because they are too short.

“With aero, it will be hard to get a bike’s cD down as it is quite short so the air has to deflect at larger angles to go around and rejoin,” he says.

Honda patents

This is one of a blitz of patent applications by Honda over the past couple of years.

Some are quite weird and impractical, but others may actually make it to market.

We suspect Honda is just trying to dominate intellectual property on motorcycle inventions, rather than planning to put them all into production.

The patents include:

Forks Goldwing patentGoldwing forks patent

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Honda Goldwing forks extended

Honda has filed a patent that indicates it may be planning to extend its Goldwing double-wishbone forks to other bikes in its range.

Two patent drawings show the suspension being used on a neo retro CB1100 and a C125 Super Cub scooter.

Patent drawing for forks ion a CB1100 Patent drawing for forks ion a CB1100

So anything in between could be suitable for the suspension.

To us, it looks similar to BMW’s duolever suspension which is expensive, heavy and lacks feel. However, the advantages are a lack of dive under brakes and the ability to soak up big hits.

Honda’s Goldwing suspension uses a similar system invented by Scot Norman Hossack.

The suspension system is similar to those on some sportscars, but instead of a hub-carrier and wheel attached to the end of the wishbones, it has a solid front fork attaches to the front wheel.Forks CB1100

While it may provide great traction, comfy ride and precise steering, it doesn’t really suit the retro styling of the CB1100 and we think the weight may defeat the advantages on a Super Cub.

But it could have advantages on some other bikes in their range.

Forks patents

Aprilia anti-dive forksAprilia anti-dive forks

It follows recent patent by Aprilia for anti-dive forks and is one of many patents Honda has lodged in the past 18 months, including one for suspension that works via artificial intelligence to predict and adjust damping.

While some of the other Honda patents are fairly wild ideas, this seems much more sensible and could come to market in the future.

This new patent joins the following recent Honda applications:

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Coronavirus affects Chinese bike manufacturers

The coronavirus scare has forced Honda and CFMoto Chinese factories to extend their lunar new year production closures.

Honda’s factory mainly produces models for the domestic market.

The CFMoto factory in Hangzhou also makes KTM bikes for the domestic market.

Australian CFMoto importer Mojo Motorcycles says the CFMoto factory is scheduled to return to work later this week.

However, with the increasing shutdown over the spread of coronavirus, this could change.

The CFMoto factory is just outside Shanghai and about 750km from Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.

CFMoto and KTM are also building a joint factory in China with an estimated output of more than half a million bikes a year for the world market.

Michael Poynton, director of Australian CFMoto importer Mojo, says the joint factory was progressing well with production planned for the third quarter of this year.

“I believe the first models to be manufactured there will be the new CFMoto 700s (released in Milan) followed by KTM 790s.”

His planned trip to China early this year has been postponed due to the coronavirus situation.

CFMoto future

CFMoto 700CL-X SportCFMoto 7009CL-X

Coronavirus aside, CFMoto has not curtailed its future product development.

We will still be getting the sexy new 700CL-X at the end of this year and it looks like there will be a 250cc race replica as well.

The 700CL-X was unveiled at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan last November, while the 250SR prototype rolled out last year looks more likely to hit production.

CFMoto 300SR patent designCFMoto 250SR race spec prototype

Several spy shots of production have been revealed in the past few months.

And now patent drawings and a few specifications have been revealed that show there will be both 27.5hp 250SR and 29hp 300SR versions.

The 700CL-X, 250SR and 300SR bikes would join their current Aussie line-up of 150NK ($3490 ride away), 250NK ($4290), 300NK ($4990) and 650NK naked bikes, plus 650MT sports/adventure ($7490) and 650GT tourer ($8490).

For 2020, there are new colour schemes for the 150NK, 300NK ABS and 650NK ABS:

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com