News: 2014 Honda NM4 Vultus Concept Bike

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2014 Honda NM4 Vultus Concept Bike

2014 NM4 Vultus

2014 HONDA NM4 Vultus

Press release date: 21st March, 2014

New model: A ground-breaking machine inspired by the desire to establish a unique riding experience and an identity not bound by standard motorcycle design, with strong echoes of futuristic bikes seen in Japanese movies. Created by a young design team who remained true to their original concept at every stage through to production, the NM4 Vultus brings radical style to the streets, with function from the future for a new breed of rider.

2014 Honda NM4 Vultus Concept Bike

1. Introduction

Honda is founded on innovation. In keeping with this tradition, in recent years, from deep within the company came the desire to create a new machine that would push boundaries, with an identity, riding feeling and experience that could and would place it in a class of its own.

The visual creative spark was fired by the futuristic bikes seen in the anime and manga* television and film styles. Known collectively as “Japanimation”, in Japan both genres have long been very grown-up entertainment, woven into the fabric of life; now, the philosophy, attitude, fashion and feeling are worldwide and mainstream phenomena.

Another critical factor in the genesis of this new entity was a desire to create a machine capable of crossing traditional two-wheeled lines and reach out to a wider audience. The creative team of engineers who conceived, designed and put it together are in their 20s and early 30s. They were given a completely free hand. In that respect, the NM4 Vultus represents a leap of faith from Honda, one intended to appeal to and attract a new kind of rider.

And those that want it will want it now. They may well be aware of the great engine and chassis it’s built on, but what will really captivate them is the way it looks and how it makes them feel. The NM4 Vultus is real, like nothing else, and it is here.

Mr Keita Mikura, Large Project Leader (LPL) NM4 Vultus:

“Honda is a big company. We make every kind of motorcycle. It’s great that sometimes we make a certain machinesimply because we can and because we want to, not because we “should”.

The NM4 Vultus exists because of a passion from deep within our company. We wanted to create something special, not just in the two-wheeled world, but truly unique in the whole world – a machine that engages a human soul like no other.

Our intention was to make something that makes every moment feel cinematic, and we want riding it to be an event – guaranteed – every single time.”

*anime – Japanese abbreviation of “animation”.

manga – 漫画literally: impromptu drawings, sketches.


2. Model Overview

The young social media-engaged urbanite lives a digital existence in a fast moving world. And they’re totally engaged by the new. Without question, the NM4 Vultus is just that. It is avant-garde in both the way it looks but also, and perhaps more importantly, in the detail work that has gone into creating a unique riding experience. The reactive dashboard – with colours that change depending on driving mode – and flip-up pillion seat that acts as rider backrest are just two examples.

Vultus is Latin for appearance, expression – or face. The NM4 Vultus, with its LED lights, future-shock style and stealth bomber silhouette presents a look that will not have been seen in any cityscape this side of an anime movie…

Underneath the brooding menace is a rock-solid chassis and engine package. Packed with low-friction technology, its 745cc twin-cylinder engine is canted forward, creating space and a low centre of gravity. Delivering strong low and mid-range power and torque for smooth acceleration coupled with excellent fuel economy, it’s also equipped as standard with Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT), giving the rider options between automatic twist-and-go D and S mode – plus trigger-operated computer game-style manual MT mode. Intuitive and easy to use, it adds to the futuristic appeal of the NM4 Vultus and is the perfect complement to the engine’s gutsy, usable performance.

Matching the engine’s strength is a rigid steel frame, 43mm telescopic forks, rear monoshock with Pro-Link, large diameter disc brakes, 18 inch front and 17 inch rear aluminium wheels – with a fat, 200-section rear tyre – for street-bike levels of handling, feedback and stability.


3. Key Features

3.1 Styling & Equipment

It’s wide – 810mm up front, 933mm measured across the mirrors – low, and long; with seat height of 650mm. Drawn from all the overtones and billions of bytes that shaped its creators’ imagination, the manga andanime influences throughout the NM4 Vultus are obvious in every chiseled angle and evocative curve, especially from head on: its broad, angular ‘face’ will never go unnoticed. Behind it, the rider sits enveloped in a cockpit-like surrounding, with the digital instrument panel always in view.

Lighting is full LED with front indicators and mirrors integrated into the bodywork while the shaped headlight is framed with a blue LED definition line. Everything is blacked-out to the max – with carefully-placed glimpses of burnished stainless steel here and there – and only one paint option will be available: matt black.

The obvious question every NM4 Vultus rider will face is “what film was THAT in?”. Its looks are that bold. And as a machine that comes straight from the rapidly beating heart of Japanese manga culture, it was always going to be different. Having absorbed its striking presence, the thought that’s gone into the design becomes more apparent.

Storage spaces abound, concealed in the front bodywork. The lockable left compartment opens with the ignition key and features 1-litre of storage space plus a 12V DC adaptor to recharge what matters while on the move. The right compartment has 3-litres of storage and opens with a push of a recessed, triangulated button. Optional rear panniers integrate fluidly adding even more convenient carrying capacity.

And in one of those “how come this hasn’t been done before…?” moments, the rear pillion seat flips upright when not in use, locking to provide the rider with a secure backrest and almost fighter pilot riding position. Its angle can be adjusted through 3 positions and it slides back/forward 25mm through four settings, to fine-tune cockpit comfort.

The digital dash changes mood depending on the drive mode selected, with subtle colour changes from Neutral (white) through D (blue) to S (pink), ultimately to MT (red). Alternatively, the rider can choose one colour from five other tonal ranges of colour – 25 individual colours altogether – they want to live with on a day-to-day basis


3.2 Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT)

In keeping with its avant-garde appeal, the NM4 Vultus is equipped as standard with Honda’s unique DCT, specially tuned for a smooth acceleration feeling.

DCT delivers consistent, seamless gear changes, and very quickly becomes second nature in use. It uses two clutches: one for start-up and 1st, 3rd and 5th gears: the other for 2nd, 4th and 6th, with the mainshaft for each clutch located inside the other for compact packaging. Each clutch is independently controlled by its own electro-hydraulic circuit. When a gear change occurs, the system pre-selects the target gear using the clutch not currently in use. The first clutch is then electronically disengaged as, simultaneously, the second clutch engages.

The result is a consistent, fast and seamless gear change. Furthermore, as the twin clutches transfer drive from one gear to the next with minimal interruption of the drive to the rear wheel, any gear change shock and pitching of the machine is minimised, making the change feel direct as well as smooth.

With extra benefits such as durability (as the gears cannot be damaged by missing a gear) impossibility of stalling, low stress urban riding and reduced rider fatigue, DCT’s acceptance and popularity is fast expanding.

Three modes of operation are available. MT mode gives full manual control, allowing the rider to shift with the handlebar trigger control buttons. Automatic D mode is ideal for city and highway riding, and achieves optimum fuel efficiency. Automatic S mode is sportier and the ECU lets the engine rev a little higher before shifting up, giving greater performance. It also shifts down sooner when decelerating for extra engine braking.

In either D or S mode, DCT offers immediate manual intervention if required – the rider simply selects the required gear using the up and down shift triggers on the left handlebar. At an appropriate time DCT seamlessly reverts back to automatic mode, depending on throttle angle, vehicle speed and gear position.

Furthermore, in D mode, the DCT system detects variations in rider input typical to certain environments, from busy urban streets to mountain switchbacks, and adapts its gear change schedule accordingly to create an extra level of riding compatibility. “Kickdown” gear changes are natural and intuitive.


3.3 Engine

The compact 745cc liquid-cooled, SOHC 8-valve parallel twin-cylinder engine driving the NM4 Vultus is a usable, fuel-efficient and clean powerplant. The fundamental design ensures a punchy low-to-mid range performance: relatively long-stroke architecture and specially shaped combustion chambers combine with the high-inertial mass crankshaft to produce large amounts of effortless torque from very low down in the rev range. Peak power of 40.3kW arrives at 6,250rpm, with a meaty 68Nm of torque at just 4,750rpm.

Bore is set at 77mm with 80mm stroke, plus compression ratio of 10.7:1. The engine features twin balance shafts, the effect of which counteracts vibration from high rpm inertia. So it manages to feel refined, yet retain the characterful ‘throb’ delivered by its 270° firing order. Where possible, components are made to do more than one job: the camshaft drives the water pump, while one of the balancer shafts drives the oil pump.

There’s a single 36mm throttle body and PGM-FI fuel injection system supplies the optimum amount of fuel/air mixture thanks to an oxygen sensor in the exhaust. Fuel consumption of  28,4km/l (WMTC mode) is particularly impressive, enabling a 300km plus range from the 11.6 litre fuel tank.

A high-absorption catalyser is located close to the engine – as a result the catalyst reaches operating temperature quickly after a cold start, further reducing emissions.

3.4 Chassis

The rugged steel diamond frame at the NM4 Vultus’s core delivers the high levels of rigidity required for agile, responsive handling in a variety of conditions from busy urban to open road. Rake is set at 33° with trail of 110mm, wheelbase of 1,645mm and front/rear weight balance of 49/51. Kerb weight is 245kg.

43mm telescopic forks feature 125mm stroke. The rear monoshock has 100mm  travel and operates through Pro-Link for a soft initial stroke that deals with low-speed bumps. A lightweight aluminium swingarm improves suspension reaction and control.

The front 320mm wavy disc and two-piston brake caliper offer plenty of easy to modulate stopping power, matched by the rear 240mm wavy disc and single-piston caliper. Two-channel ABS helps greatly reduce the chance of wheel lock-ups on slippery or wet road surfaces.

Unique 10-spoke cast aluminium front and rear wheels – sizes 18 x 3.50-inch and 17 x 6.25 inch – and finished in black and wear 120/70 ZR18 and 200/50 ZR17 tyres.

4. Accessories

Accessories available for NM4 Vultus will include high screen, heated grips, panniers and alarm.

5. Technical Specifications

Type Liquid-cooled 4-stroke   8-valve, SOHC parallel 2-cylinder
Displacement 745cc
Bore ´   Stroke 77mm x 80mm
Compression Ratio 10.7 : 1
Max. Power Output 40.3kW @ 6,250rpm (95/1/EC)
Max. Torque 68Nm @ 4,750rpm (95/1/EC)
Oil Capacity 3.9   litres
Carburation PGM-FI electronic fuel   injection
Fuel Tank Capacity 11.6 litres
Fuel Consumption 28.4km/l (WMTC mode-Tested   in D-Mode)
Starter Electric
Battery Capacity 12V/11.2AH
ACG Output 450W/5000rpm
Clutch Type Wet   multiplate hydraulic 2-clutch
Transmission Type 6-speed Dual Clutch   Transmission
Final Drive Chain
Type Diamond; steel pipe
Dimensions (L´W´H) 2380mm   x 933mm x 1170mm
Wheelbase 1645mm
Caster Angle 33°
Trail 110mm
Seat Height 650mm
Ground Clearance 130mm
Kerb Weight 245kg
Type Front 43mm telescopic fork, 125mm stroke
Type Rear Monoshock damper,   Pro-Link swingarm, 100mm travel
Type Front Multi-spoke cast   aluminium
Type Rear Multi-spoke cast   aluminium
Rim Size Front 18M/C x MT3.50
Rim Size Rear 17M/C x MT6.25
Tyre   front 120/70   ZR18
Tyre   rear 200/50   ZR17
ABS System Type 2   channel ABS
Type Front 320mm single wavy hydraulic disc with 2-piston caliper and sintered metal pads
Type Rear 240mm single wavy hydraulic disc with single-piston caliper and resin mold pads
Instruments Digital speedometer, digital bar-type tachometer,   clock, bar-type fuel meter, two trip meters, gear position indicator, outside air temperature gauge and coolant temperature warning light. 
Security System HISS
Headlight LED
Taillight LED


All specifications are provisional and subject to change without notice.

# Please note that the figures provided are results obtained by Honda under standardised testing conditions prescribed by WMTC. Tests are conducted on a rolling road using a standard version of the vehicle with only one rider and no additional optional equipment. Actual fuel consumption may vary depending on how you ride, how you maintain your vehicle, weather, road conditions, tire pressure, installation of accessories, cargo, rider and passenger weight, and other factors.

  • Fava d’Aronne

    I am sure I am not the only one to have thought of Akira…

    • Thomas Whitener

      “The visual creative spark was fired by the futuristic bikes seen in the anime and manga* television and film styles. Known collectively as “Japanimation”, in Japan both genres have long been very grown-up entertainment, woven into the fabric of life; now, the philosophy, attitude, fashion and feeling are worldwide and mainstream phenomena.”

      No, I think that the people at Honda were thinking that too.

      • Heath Collins

        I need to see this thing in red, ASAP.

        • Strafer

          crude ps

        • Strafer


          • Jack Meoph

            nice hahahahaha

            • Heath Collins

              It looks kinda nice… I’m just scared it’ll be lacking similar character and performance that it’s fictional inspiration has.

              • Piglet2010

                Under the skin, it is a NC750X DCT.

          • blackcayman

            it was only a matter of time

          • eddi

            Actually I think it looks better in red. And that’s not my number one color pick normally.

    • Paolo

      No you were not!

  • Archie

    It’s actually starting to grow on me since first seeing it and projectile vomiting on everything within a 45 degree span in front of me.

    Ditch the back rest, make the tail section shorter and cover slightly more of the rear tire on side profile, put a dual-headlamp system on the front cowl where those storage compartments currently are, make the front tire hugger more aggressive to match the rest of the bike, put some more radical wheels on it. Then, put the current Fireblade engine in there and tune it for torque (S1000R style) to justify that 200 rear tire. Add proper brakes/forks and ta-da! You have a motorcycle ACTUAL motorcyclists would be interested in. You can’t introduce such a radical looking bike and expect it to sell using your cheapest, least exciting running gear to move the bloody thing. It could easily compete with the likes of the VMAX and Diavel if they wanted it to.

    • Piglet2010

      “Then, put the current Fireblade engine in there and tune it for torque (S1000R style) to justify that 200 rear tire.”

      If that is your goal, the VFR1200F DCT drive-train would make more sense.

      • Archie

        Yes, because putting one of their most bland and underpowered engines in as a replacement for their MOST bland and underpowered engine is exactly what it needs to spice things up. Not at all what I was getting at, sorry. Like I said at the end, it’s got potential to compete with the already existing “power cruiser” market if they did things right. A yawn-fest DCT V4 isn’t what it needs. Never mind that it’d be impossible to fit any manner of V-configuration engine in that bike.

        • Piglet2010

          “…one of their most bland and underpowered engines…”

          You must not be aware of the 745 and 1312cc Honda V-twin cruiser engines.

          • Archie

            Can’t say I’ve ever ridden one but “one of” saves me there.

  • Justin McClintock

    Honda’s designers used way too much acid in the 70s and are now having some really bad side effects. First, the DN-01, now this. Must have been some strong stuff.

    • Justin McClintock

      And what’s with Honda’s conviction that they need to take the worst parts of a cruiser and a sport-bike and combine them anyway? No. Just no.

      • Piglet2010

        I’m waiting for a hypothetical CRF300M from Honda.

        • Justin McClintock

          That could be pretty cool….which is why they probably won’t do it.

  • Don Fraser

    It’s cool, rear seat flips up to be a back rest, storage inside all that plastic in front, logical progression in design.

  • Slowtire

    Looks like a motorcycle arcade game.

  • Reid


  • Mr. White

    A souped-up, armored scooter for a geriatric Robocop?

  • Khali

    I have read that it is not a prototype, but a production-ready model, that will be ready for sale in Europe in a few months (maybe this summer).

    • Mister X

      I agree, can’t miss the factory sticker on the fuel tank, no concept would have that on it.

    • Charles Quinn

      Well they’ve given it a model year right up front, so I agree, it’s ready to go.

  • Benjamin Reynolds

    It’s rather interesting… but will anyone buy one?

    • Justin McClintock

      See: DN-01.

      • Charles Quinn

        I like it better than the DN-01 though. At least they’ve gone the whole hog here. Side-on it’s a really coherent shape (although it may not be a shape everyone likes). And I love the way that front-on it seems to be saying to the baggers, “Nah, that’s not a batwing. THIS is a batwing”.

      • Piglet2010

        The Vultus will be half the cost of the DN-01.

        • Justin McClintock

          And in the US, the same sales.

          • Piglet2010

            I predict double the sales – 4 instead of 2.

    • Piglet2010

      In the all important South/SW-Asian market yes. In the US and Europe, probably not very many.

  • JP

    8 inches longer than a Ninja 1000 (which has a bigger engine).

    59.6in/1445mm vs 64.7in/1645mm

  • Jack Meoph

    I don’t understand the cruiser/lounge type seating, on this or any other bike. I thought Honda was heading in the right direction with their new 500′s, and then this: back to being weird and ugly.

    • Scott Otte

      It took me a while to figure out where you would put your feet. I kept on thinking to myself there is no way they would have forward controls… apparently I’m wrong.

    • Mr. White

      Nothing says sexy and high performance like a backrest.

      • Michael Howard

        Though, to be fair, if you’re not leaned forward in a “sportbike crouch”, you need SOMETHING to help you deal with the massive acceleration from that powerhouse of an engine.

        • Piglet2010

          Sarcasm aside, that is why Carpenter Racing put a backrest on their 240-HP modded Triumph Rocket III.

    • Michael Howard

      A company CAN make a variety of vastly different bikes, ya know. ;) A company the size of Honda should be making just about everything imaginable.

  • IRS4

    I’,m going to join the “don’t knock it til ya tried it” school on these types of bikes. Could be a lot of fun, if word about the Gurney Gator was any indication.

  • anthony

    A leather clad bishoujo makes it look better

    • Jack Meoph

      I would buy one, now that the accessory has been added.

      • Thomas Whitener

        I’d buy two.

    • Rob M

      Leather makes pretty much everything better.

      • eddi

        Nothing says sexy and sensible like motorcycle leathers on a lady.

  • kevin

    Looks to me like the CTX700 in even more ridiculous space-odyssey bodywork. I’m sure it’s the same engine as the new NC750…

  • Campisi

    The engine can’t drop below 5,000 even when you’re changing gears.

    • chris ordanez

      Twin ceramic rotors.

  • Charles Quinn

    This is only a step further than the pimped out megascoots that already roam the streets of Tokyo. Not sure it will make much sense anywhere else. But it did make the front page of the BBC website …

  • Charles Quinn

    Wait, you can change the background colour on the clocks? I’m getting one.

  • markbvt

    Oh good, it’s a DN-02. Because the DN-01 was so wildly popular…

    • KC

      DN-02! That’s brilliant. Actually it makes the DN-01 look good.

      Overall, I like Honda’s engineering prowess. They’re masters of metal. Plastic? Not so much.

  • Stephen Mears

    Suzuki should just make this. Start things off right:

  • hunkyleepickle

    while i appreciate original design…i really cannot see who would buy this, in any country. A north american sized design, and asian market design lines and features. I’m so utterly confused….

  • John

    It’s hideous. RoboCop screwed Alien and this popped out.

    WTF can’t Honda build something actually cool, like a CB500X off roader or an ST800 or a nake ST1300 boulevard cruiser or something. Sheesh.

  • KC

    This is a Honda Integra scooter dressed for a costume party. I understand that part, but a chain and gears for the final drive? If you want something as easy to ride and own as a scooter then why something messy and high maintenance as a chain? Go with shaft or belt drive.

    I don’t mind a chain on a motorcycle. It’s light and efficient. The trade-off is a little messiness now and then. I’d think a scooter is more about “twist and go” and bring it in for service now and then.

    • Ansuz

      One can also say the Vultus is an NC700X dressed for a costume party => Vultus not a scooter => Chain is fine

      Side note: Scooters are defined as motorcycles with a step through frame. This does not have that.

  • Chris Cope

    3 feet from port to starboard; you won’t be filtering with this. But I still genuinely like the look of it — especially with the panniers on it. If/when it comes out I will definitely give it a test ride. As @ThinkingInImages:disqus pointed out, though, a chain seems like a bad call. Looking at this bike, especially with panniers on, the chain doesn’t look terribly accessible. That factor could change my mind against one of these. I am assuming Honda with this and the CTX range is mostly targeting people who would prefer to pay a mechanic to handle maintenance and such. But do they expect you to visit a garage as often as would be needed to maintain a chain?

  • Speedo007

    The population is getting older, not blind.

  • Scott

    I actually like the way it looks. It’s a bit under powered and heavy but with any luck there will be some improvements.

  • Luke

    Wheelbase looks really long. I’m sure it won’t be fun in twisty roads, but for someone who want the cruiser experience without any comparison to the HD crowd, maybe? If it were just slightly shorter/smaller, I could see it as an entry bike for those who want style over function/history. Sort of like the original Audi TT – it wasn’t the best performing car at it’s price point (or the most luxurious, etc…), but it made a strong style statement and if you didn’t have experience driving other sports cars at it’s price point, it was a lot of fun.

  • Truthbot

    Looks kinda weird. Would look better without the backrest. Nice to see Honda trying something new.