700cc parallel-twin will power Honda scooter, naked, adventure bikes

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Honda has released details of a 700cc parallel-twin that will power three new bikes debuting for 2012. The first of those is this maxi-scooter, which locates the engine mid ship, like the segment-defining Yamaha TMAX. There, it’ll be equipped with a second generation version of Honda’s Dual Clutch Transmission. Perhaps tellingly, Honda is touting fuel economy numbers rather than horsepower or torque figures, saying it “exceeds 63.5mpg (US).”

The Honda Integra seen here is a production version of last year’s New Mid Concept. It has larger wheels than most scooters which, when combined with that mid-mount engine, should make the riding experience more motorcycle-like. Moving the engine off the swingarm — where scooters traditionally mount theirs — will improve handling and high-speed stability for European and Asian commuters, who will also appreciate the relaxed ergonomics and accessible performance made possible by the feet-forward riding position and that DCT transmission.

Dual Clutch Transmissions, which have been available in performance cars for several years, have a leg up on traditional automated manuals by using a second clutch on alternate gears so the next gear can be engaged before a shift is made. That makes shifts faster and more seamless. DCTs are smaller and contribute less power loss than traditional automatics while behaving much more like conventional manual transmissions than the belts and pulleys of the Continuously Variable Transmissions used on most scooters and the Aprilia Mana.

On the Honda VFR1200 DCT, the 1st gen transmission adds 22lbs of weight and saps an unspecified, but small, amount of power. It works seamlessly and actually makes the heavy VFR easier to control at very low speeds and in heavy traffic, even if its a little less sharp away from the lights than the manual transmission-equipped VFR.

Of performance, Honda only uses the adjective “throbbing” in reference to torque, no numbers have been released. The parallel-twin will be fitted with a 270° crank, which will give it a spaced-out, uneven firing order.

The cylinders on the engine are canted forward at 62°, making it a long, low package. It can be fitted with either that DCT or a conventional 6-speed transmission. Spy photos and patent images suggest that the upcoming naked platform for this engine will share its frame with this scooter. It’s unclear if the much-rumored adventure platform will also share this frame.

The platform-sharing is made possible by the scooter’s unconventional configuration. See all that hard luggage? That’s because the large wheels and mid-mount engine don’t leave much room for a traditional underseat storage space. Despite the bodywork, the Integra’s frame has more in common with motorcycles than it does traditional scooters. The rider straddles the bike rather than placing his feet in a step-through frame.

  • Scott-jay

    Exciting stuff, open modern design/style; Pacific Coast Dos.
    Are photos presenting a crankshaft literally twisted after casting?

    • Andrew

      After looking at it for a minute, it certainly seems to be the case…I can’t see how they could do a two-part cast and end up with that shape.

      Though they can fix most tolerances in post-casting machining I’m impressed that they would be able to keep the basic structure in an allowable range after that.

    • henry

      A crankshaft like that would be a forging. A cast crank would very unreliable. Henry

  • http://twitter.com/metabomber Jesse

    Honda took back the Integra name for this?

    Weak. Gimmie back my 00 ITR, thanks.

    • 2ndderivative

      They’ll call the tall-rounder version of it the NSX700.

      • http://twitter.com/metabomber Jesse


  • greg

    Are any of these bikes going to be available in the US?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      There’s now way of determining that ahead of time.

    • robotribe

      That’s my first question as well upon reading this earlier. It smells of Euro-zone-only fair from the description of it. It sounds far to practically-minded and sensible (that’s “BORING” in ‘Murican, FYI) and likely to be burdened by the Honda “new technology-but-we’re-reliable-in-case-you-haven’t-heard” tax.

      If not Euro-only, than I’d first ask why not bring the current Hornet 600 over here first? Speaking of which, MCN.com has a photo of the naked roadster version that supposedly uses this new engine (don’t know about the transmission).

    • Ryan

      It would be nice if they did. It could be a really nice commuter.

  • Kevin

    “Throbbing” torque, huh? Good choice of copy, Honda. Care to describe the sopping wet clutch, pokey headlights or quivering stress members?



  • Gene

    Now, I’ve always wanted a Suzuki Bergman, which is in the same class, EXCEPT ITS A COUPLE GRAND MORE THAN MY SV-650! I’ve had a couple non-bike friends go “I could get one of those, it looks non-threatening… wait, how much?”

    So is this going to be in a reasonable price bracket, or is it going to be “that’ll look nice next to my MV Agusta”?

    Also, those sidebags look way too small. I assume a helmet only fits in the topbox, so where does the passenger put her helmet? Plus I don’t have a car, so I need to get groceries home.

    • http://www.twowheelsplus.com/ Anders

      I like Suzuki Bergman almost as much as the Suzuki Ullmann.

    • Kevin

      You’re thinking of these bikes as “less than” a SV from a performance perspective when, for the target buyer, they are “more than” with respect to accessability and practicality.

  • Gene

    Interesting. It’s got roller followers & screw adjusters. I’ll bet this is one of those mid-rpm will-last-forever engines that you only need a screwdriver and a pair of pliers to maintain it. I’ll take one!

    • dux

      XR700R? Please, Honda!

  • ike6116

    Could one of these be our generation’s cub?

    probably not but it’s nice to dream.

    • Ryan

      It could be, and probably should be. Maybe have a smaller cc version too.

      Honda really should tap that cash cow. I think the climate is just right for it to come back.

  • Samuel

    It’s 2011 and the Japanese bikes still roll out without inverted forks? BMW, KTM, and their Euro friends have got it figured out, why can’t Japan?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      This is a budget commuter that’ll sell for many Euros less than the European competition, which exist as premium alternatives to much more common Japanese bikes like this. USDs hold no functional benefit at this level of suspension spec.

      • Myles

        You guys should do a big suspension article. I, for example, have no fucking idea why USD forks are better than traditional forks. Your more robust, technical articles have been good reads.

        Plus you could have a really cunning title, like “suspension of disbelief”.

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          USD forks look nice. And the marketing department will tell you they reduce unsprung weight.

        • 2ndderivative

          Kevin Cameron wrote about this recently. Apparently regular forks have to be clamped on the thin-and-slick male slider, which results in more flex. USD forks can be clamped down tighter, hence less flex.

          • Glenngineer

            More a second moment of inertia argument than anything else. Bigger tubes where the bigger moments live. USD is the only thing that makes sense, from a pure SOM view.

          • Beale

            Some flex = feel. A well setup set of traditional forks are a wonderful thing.

  • Thom


    Well on looks alone I’d say Honda’s got a winner on its hands . The question being ;

    Will Joe Public M/C buyer ” Get It ” when it come to this , unlike the Pacific Coast which was the Brilliant M/C nobody wanted for reasons unknown

  • Uncle Fluffy

    My progression was moped – scooter – maxi-scooter – motorcycle… maybe it makes me strange to other motorcyclists, but I kinda miss the ol’ twist-n-go, especially since I primarily ride to work and back. I drool over bikes like the Aprilia Mana and even Shamu with the DCT. I couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger on the Mana because there’s apparently nowhere near me to have it serviced if necessary. If Honda brings a motorcycle with this engine and DCT to the US market I will be first in line at the dealer.

  • Dani Peral

    Looks good, but i dont like the fake aluminium frame, the ultra-thin forks (compared with the big fairing and front end) and the hard bags.

    Those bags make me think it wont have any luggage capacity…even more considering that in the patent drawing the fuel tank is under the seat.

    New engine, new hybrid (motorcicle/scooter) design, DCT, and probably C-ABS as standard (in a couple of years ABS will be mandatory in EU so releasing new bikes without it would make sense economically). I think i would buy it.