Americans less than 30 years old seem to have substantially less interest in cars and motorcycles than their elders. I have had this discussion with various representatives of the motorcycle industry before. What is it that will get Gen Y away from high tech toys so that they can focus some attention on the latest two wheelers?
What if Steve Jobs had designed a motorcycle? Unlike most major motorcycle OEMs, Jobs didn’t believe in market research, customer surveys, etc. He believed Apple could figure out what people wanted to buy, even though they had never seen it, or imagined it. Maybe it will take this type of approach to product design to get Gen Y interested in two wheelers.
I am not implying that the new 2014 Honda CTX700 and CTX700N, announced at the end of last week, represent the magic pill that will get young people interested in motorcycles again. Honda is thinking outside the box, however, and combining features that will appeal to new riders, including a very low seat height (28.3″), unintimidating power delivery and available automatic transmission.
These new models are reminiscent of Honda’s poorly received (at least in this marked) DN-01 and, going even further back, Dan Gurney’s motorcycle design, the Alligator. In addition to the low seat height, the CTX700N (naked) pictured above, as well as the CTX700 (faired, below) are powered by a 670cc parallel twin, first introduced by Honda in the NC700 bikes last year. These are not horsepower monsters, rather emphasizing smooth, low-end power delivery.
The brakes and suspension are fairly basic. The suspension is non-adjustable, and there is only a single disc up front (thankfully 320mm in size). The two machines will weigh rough 480 pounds wet.
The CTX700N will be priced at $6,999 or $7,999 with the DCT automatic, and ABS. It will be available in Candy Red or Black. The CTX700 is a bit more expensive at $7,799 or $8,799 with DCT and ABS. The CTX700 comes in Candy Red or Pearl White.
Honda says these models are just the first in a new line of CTX models to be introduced in the future. CTX stands for comfort, technology and experience.