Just the other day we were harping on about the return of vibrant '80s colors to motocross, but we didn't expect to see the decade's whacky concept bikes make a return too. The Honda V4 Concept Model looks like it's made from plastic, uses hubless wheels, a faired-in front swingarm, tire covers, styling inspiration that comes from both the CBR1000RR and Goldwing and, yes, a V4 engine. The craziest thing? The company says, "This bike shows exactly what we can do and is the sort of thing that could be reality within a couple of years."
Update: Honda has released a whole bunch of pictures of the V4 Concept Model, they're after the jump.
The official press release reads:
Cologne, Germany, October 7, 2008-- Honda Motor Europe Ltd. exhibited the World Premiere V4 Concept Model at Intermot Cologne. The V4 Concept Model proposes a new, sensual design direction based on Honda's trademark 4-cylinder V- engine.
This year Honda celebrates its 60th anniversary as a company and next year the 50th anniversary of its participation in road racing, as well as the 30th anniversary of racing with an innovative 4-cylinder V-engine with oval pistons. Considering these milestones, Honda chose "The New Beginning" as its exhibition theme leading into 2009 and exhibited the V4 Concept Model which signifies the beginning of a new era.
For Intermot, Honda collected and exhibited successive V4 race machines as well as mass-market motorcycle products which were developed by feeding back the technologies cultivated through participation in challenging race competition, enabling visitors to review the lineage of 30 years of V4 engine technologies and see how Honda will take motorcycling somewhere it has not been before. The exhibition also offers an easy-to-understand introduction to various challenges Honda has undertaken in order to create joy for its customers, by utilizing its technologies that have been continuously advanced through Honda's 60-year history and by its participation in motorsports.
Honda understands the global trend today that motorcycle users see increasing value in more emotional and sensual performance during the real world riding experience rather than absolute performance measured in numeric specifications. On another front, user friendly features that meet with human sensibilities are also becoming important along with safety and environmental features, especially in mature markets.
Honda believes that the challenge to create attractive products with an increased focus on sensual performance will be the key for the future. At the same time, safety and environmental technologies as well as future energy technologies will continue to become an important theme for the development of motorcycle products. Moreover, in order to offer a comfortable life with motorcycles for a larger number of customers, Honda will put increased focus on the human-fitting match of rider and machine. Conceived around the trademark 4-cylinder V-engine, the V4 Concept Model expresses functional beauty as well as a more sensual image to appeal more to the emotions of people. Embodying Honda's passion for motorcycle development, the V4 Concept Model expresses the unique characteristics of Honda for a new era.
The V4 Concept Model mobilizes the driving forces of Honda - dreams, challenges, and creating new value. Honda positions this model as "the new beginning" of Honda's motorcycles.
There's two things we take away from this:
1. Honda's talk of "emotional" and "sensual" experience over out right
performance seems to indicate that it wants to develop new road-going
performance bikes that transcend existing competition-based archetypes
in favor of a more rider-friendly design.
2. There's an awful lot of talk of V4 engines; we don't think they'd
place quite the emphasis on these unless there was some on-going
program within the company to develop new applications of this format,
or maybe even an all-new model waiting in the wings.
Does all this mean that we'll see a big, comfy, extremely
unconventional and high-tech V4 superbike on offer from Honda in the
next couple of years? We don't know, but we sure hope so. But while we're happy to see Honda continuing to look towards the future, we'd also like to see it draw inspiration from the past by bringing models like the Honda CB1100F an CB1100R concepts to production.