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Honda About to Unveil New Family of V-4 Powered Motorcycles?

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Rumors are circulating that Honda will present at Milan in early November at least one new motorcycle powered by the 782cc V-4 engine currently found in the European Crossrunner (pictured below). This engine was first featured in the 2002 Honda Interceptor, known for its VTEC feature that operates only two valves at low and mid-range rpm levels, and all four valves at higher rpm levels. In the Crossrunner, this transition occurs at approximately 6,500 rpm.

Both the Crossrunner and Interceptor feature twin spar aluminum frames, but the new models are expected to have steel trellis frames (illustration below). At least a naked bike is expected, but a family of models could be in the cards, similar to what Honda has recently done with the CB500 series, for instance.

Despite the complexity, and cost, associated with manufacturing a V-4, it is anticipated that these new models will be reasonably priced given the long amortization of the tooling associated with this engine. Expect crank horsepower to be somewhere between 100 and 110bhp. Milan will reveal all.

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114 Comments

  1. Mike says:

    After Mr. Honda died ….. Honda management came up with two 10 point plans for the future of motorcycles.

    One plan was….. what not to do

    The remaining plan was….. what must be done

    >>>>>>

    Honda has been following the wrong plan ever since.

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  2. Les says:

    Looks like Honda is putting wheels on their jetskis now.

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    • Keyser Soze says:

      Or, it might be that styling has evolved in a similar direction for both motorcycles and personal watercraft. Seems a little less cynical to look at it that way, don’t you agree?

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  3. Keyser Soze says:

    Honda’s philosophy with respect to engine architecture runs in cycles that get increasing difficult to comprehend, as time progresses.

    Honda fired up a V-4 era right about three decades ago. Then in the late ’90s, Honda came out with the CBR1100XX, which was an in-line four using dual counter-rotating balance shafts, correctly implemented such that true secondary balance was achieved (secondary balance is better than primary balance and implies primary balance). It was a phenomenally good engine, and it remains a mystery as to why Honda abandoned this excellent engine architecture.

    (I will go a bit onto a tangent now and mention that the cylinder configuration influences only balance and ignition intervals, i.e., engine smoothness in total, and does not have any direct, appreciable influence on the overall shape of the torque and power curves, or any aspect of engine performance in the ordinary sense, except to the extent that the configuration may have some influence on the bore/stroke ratio.)

    Then Honda developed the VFR1200F. I haven’t ridden it, but it is probably a smooth engine, in relative terms. It cannot possibly be as smooth as the XX, although it avoids the use of the dual counter-rotating balance shafts.

    Honda did want to develop a new engine-transmission package using a dual-clutch arrangement. But, they could have applied that just as easily to an in-line XX, starting from the XX engine. The two clutches are stacked end-to-end at one end of the transmission. There just isn’t any technical reason why they could not have done this as easily with a derivation of the XX engine.

    Any in-line four that uses the conventional sort of 180-degree crank will be inherently devoid of end-over-end rocking motion. Rectilinear vibration cancels at the 1st order, i.e., the same frequency as the crankshaft’s rotational frequency. Rectilinear vibration remains at higher order, owing to the fact that piston motion is inherently asymmetrical over the stroke, and does not fully cancel between the inner pair of pistons and the outer pair moving the opposite direction. But the effect of the dual counter-rotating balance shafts is cancellation of rectilinear vibration at the 2nd order, i.e., at frequency twice the crankshaft’s rotational frequency. The vibration that remains is rectilinear vibration at order higher than 2nd-order, i.e., frequency more than twice greater than the crankshaft’s rotational frequency, where the strength of the vibration is very weak. And the firing intervals are perfectly uniform, one cylinder firing every 180 degrees.

    I never understood why they abandoned that engine, which was phenomenally good. But given that they did, and developed the new V4, why haven’t they done more with it? The advantage it has, over their other V4 engines, is that end-over-end vibration is avoided, due to the end-to-end symmetry that does not exist with the other V4s, where the cylinders are staggered. The firing intervals in this engine are also very slightly more uniform than they are in the other V4s. Regardless, given that they developed this engine, why haven’t we seen more use of it? Is it possibly true that the engineering process of scaling down an engine to smaller size, and tooling to manufacture it in a smaller size, is no appreciable advantage as compared to starting from scratch? Perhaps so. I just don’t know.

    Instead of seeing this same architecture in a smaller package, Honda now is planning to develop more bikes around the earlier V4 design, which, except for the variable valve business that hardly anyone seems to like, is basically the same mid-sized V4 engine that they developed about years ago. There’s nothing wrong with that engine, as long as you don’t object to the VVT. But it still begs questions about the new V4 architecture. If that architecture is better in any significant way, why wasn’t a mid-sized version of it developed? And does this mean that they have changed their minds about the mid-size parallel twin that they came out with just a few years ago? That engine uses a simple, effective balancing method, and makes good, practical sense. What is the future for this engine?

    When I think about all the engineering and tooling effort that has gone into all this, I cannot help but ask this: would we not have better bikes if instead of most of this work, Honda instead had pursued development of the XX engine in different sizes? I cannot help but conclude that all of this is driven by “marketing concepts”, and that engineering is not given the go-ahead and resources to do anything until after marketing has worked up a concept and turned it over to engineering to bring to reality. I can barely avoid the conclusion that this is what is going on. And if so, I think that this is truly unfortunate.

    • todd says:

      Step two, in the product planning process, is, “what type of engine?”

      The inline-four, regardless that it has proven to make the most sense, is not the most popular engine. Some people like fours, some people live V-twins. A V-four is a half baked attempt to hopefully accommodate a broader market. I would hope that they would then see the value of the development in half the motor and offer a vertical twin based on the same components but I don’t know if that’s the case. Singles can be derived from anything and people don’t care all that much about performance from those…

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    • Dave says:

      HOnda has produced V-4, 4-stroke engines in 400, 500, 700, 750, 800, 1000, and 1200cc. A balance issue that they address (as does a cross-plane I-4) is back torque at the crankshaft, caused by all 4 pistons stopping and starting twice every revolution of the crank. Another advantage of the V-4 is that it can be just more than 1/2 the width. Worth having two separate valve trains? That’s up to the consumer..

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    • soi cowboy says:

      The v4′s were lukewarm in the 80s. Honda did well with the vfr in superbike, but only by spending truckloads of money. No privateers even tried to race the vfr. Modern engines are going to variable cam timing to meet emission controls. Comparing a v4 to an inline 4, there must be two separate cam drives along with the mechanism for variable timing. This is idiotic. What possible benefit does the v4 offer to compensate for the cost of adding a second complex mechanism to the engine?

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  4. billy says:

    Well, I was expecting (hoping) Honda to produce a 900ish V4 VFR bike based on the engine design for the VFR1200. With say a 5.5 gal tank. For me a compact engine (no half-hearted VTEC) with less weight, less engine heat and better mileage would be perfect. I do not need more thn 100 – 115 hp. I have lots of Honda products and they work really well, but I am disappointed AGAIN with the types of bikes Honda is deciding to build. If some buyers want those bikes that’s fine, but so far they are completely missing it for me.

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  5. Klaus says:

    I have a question for the tech-guys: if it is possible to build a parallel twin with a 270* crank that has the sound and characteristics of a 90* v-twin, is it possible to build an inline four with a 270* crank to achieve the same results, and would that make sense?

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    • Jeremy in TX says:

      That lumpy sound is one of the reasons 270′s are used in several parallel twins. Yamaha and Triumph both currently employ these crank phases / firing orders. What Yamaha markets as the “crossplane” I4 used in the R1 is essentially what you describe, however, it has more combustion events per cycle and sounds nothing like a 90-degree twin to me. They would have to phase and fire off the cylinders in pairs to get that sound I would imagine. However, the “characteristics” provided by a big-bang firing order are supposedly (I haven’t ridden one) there.

      Disclaimer: I am tech junky, not a tech expert.

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      • Dave says:

        It makes sense in both twins and 4′s but the twin is tougher from a balance standpoint because the two heavy parts are no longer in phase making it harder to cancel out vibration with a counter balance shaft/s. In the case of the I-4 it is done to smooth the crank shaft’s output. When a cylinder is stopped, there is another moving at full speed to cancel out the inertia of the stopped piston. In a conventional I-4, all 4 pistons stop twice per crank revolution and the crank’s momentum is used to carry them over the top/bottom.

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    • joe b says:

      the Yamaha moto-GP bike has the crankshaft as you say, and effectively makes a V4 out of an inline 4. not by twisting the cylinders, but by twisting the crank. the NC700 is a Vtwin because of its 270° crank, but has vertical cylinder placement.

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  6. Lenz says:

    Lot of complexity and manufacturing cost included in a V4 engine. Perhaps Honda is looking to significantly decrease the unit cost by lifting production numbers.

    Whatever – if Honda or any other motorcycle manufacturer really wanted to go to a highly cost effective / performance engine platform they would use an in line triple laid down as in the BMW K1200/K1300S etc. This BMW series also uses a dry sump / separate oil tank that further lowers the centre of gravity of the engine.

    Please Mr Honda San, an inline triple with bore / stroke ~ 1.1, laid down ~ 60+degrees, dry sump, clutch oil volume separated from engine / transmission oil. Triumph are halfway there with their triples but have still got the engines centre of gravity too high with near upright cylinders and bulky wet sumps. Separating the clutch and engine friction requirements (separate oil volumes) allows low friction / anti wear additives in the engine oil ie increased performance with less wear

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    • Dave says:

      Motorcycle design is not benefited by lowest possible C/G. Honda figures that out years ago. Notice that BMW did not choose the same design as the “K” bikes when they decided to go fast on a track.

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      • Lenz says:

        I know where I’d rather have the centre of gravity when changing direction from side to side and it’s not up high. “Falling” into corners at real world and slower speeds is all too common on adventure bikes / “tall rounders”.

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        • iliketoeat says:

          Yes, you DO want the CoG up high. If you don’t believe me, grab a pool cue and balance it standing vertically on your hand, with the thick end up (high CoG). Make the pool cue lean in one direction or the other by moving your hand to the side. Easy, no? Small movement of your hand results in a pretty big lean for the pool cue. Now do the same thing with the thick end down (low CoG). The pool cue is difficult to balance and it takes a lot more effort to make it lean by moving your hand. Motorcycles leaning and turning work in much the same way. If you had a motorcycle with a very low CoG, it would be very difficult to make it turn.

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          • Guy says:

            Poole cue analogies aside, the handling difference between my Valkyrie (low COG boxer engine) and my Victory TC, (High COG V-Twin) would belay that argument. While I don’t have an engineering degree, it seems to me that getting the COG close to the center of rotation reduces the moment of inertia, and allows for a faster lean and turn. And of course on motorcycle, the center of rotation is literally where the rubber meets the road. The pool cue analogy fails because in that system, you’re moving the bottom of the cue under the center of gravity. The actual center of rotation in that system is well above the bottom of the cue.

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          • iliketoeat says:

            @Guy – Actually, the center of rotation for a bike leaning is NOT “where the rubber meets the road”. It’s significantly higher than that. You can easily see this yourself – ride straight on a line in the road, and then swerve to lean the bike over. You’ll see that when you lean the bike left, you actually steer the front wheel to the right, out from under the bike. You don’t see the wheels staying on the line and the bike leaning left, correct? That’s why you push the left bar to turn left. The bike leans left because the wheels move right. The center of rotation is pretty high, and it has to still be lower than the center of gravity. If you get the CoG too low, you couldn’t get the bike to lean in turns

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          • soi cowboy says:

            You apply pressure to the handlebar to steer out, but the fork and wheel does not actually steer away from the corner. See my explanation on you t ube: “Theory of motorcycle Handling.”

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        • Dave says:

          Chances are, you have not ridden a bike with a truly low c/g. Sure, it can be too high, but having too much mass below axle height is a bad thing. It’s been tried in high performance bikes, they could not make it work.

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      • Norm G. says:

        re: “Motorcycle design is not benefited by lowest possible C/G.”

        correct. that’s car world dynamics. single track dynamics actually reward some mass being placed up high. it’s more akin to calculating weight and balance in aviation.

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        • Lenz says:

          The BMW K1300S I test rode recently has the laid down engine layout I mentioned. The rider input required to pilot this bike can only be described as “minimal yet highly stable”. As a comparison, the rider input and stability of the 1050 Triumph Tiger (“tall rounder”) was vastly inferior to the K1300S.

          These bikes are certainly different in design but perhaps illustrate my initial statement.

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          • Dave says:

            There numerous variables that contribute to how much input must be applied to steer a motorcycle, tires being a bigger one. I assume the two bikes had different tires..

            Compare the K1300s to a GSXR or Yamaha R6, then get back to us.

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          • Norm G. says:

            gotta surprise for ya lenny. next time you get near one of those K-bikes, take a notice of that plastic cover between the gas cap and the handlebars. ya know what’s under there…? it’s a 10 lb exide etx14 amp-hour battery. see, like trimming out a Beechcraft, hanz and franz placed 10 lbs of lead ballast ABOVE the CG to “balance” out the moment of that low slung engine.

            i’ll try to explain without going all “Bill Nye Science Guy” on ya. the “moment” of an object (in this case a battery) is calculated by multiplying the object’s weight by the distance the object is from the balance point or fulcrum. the greater the distance, the greater the moment. the fulcrum here would be the contact patch mentioned above. now picture yourself standing in front the bike facing it. next, draw an imaginary vertical line where the tire meets the ground, up through the center of the bike stopping at say, the handlebars.

            okay, the line from the bars to the tyres, and all the mass objects in between (ie. engine, frame, battery, etc) form a system known as a “second class lever”. now if you accept that bikes don’t turn unless you get them to roll onto the sides of their tyres (camber thrust), the weight of the engine (relative to everything else) being placed that low in the chassis, ie. close to the fulcrum, begins to cancel out the camber thrust that actually TURNS a motorcycle.

            now with 10 lbs placed at a distance from the fulcrum, newton and his 1st law of motion also get involved (inertia). once you initiate a turn to get the bike leaned over, it’s going to YES want to keep leaning over (ie. objects in motion tend to remain in uniform motion unless acted upon by an outside force). however, this principle of inertia also works in your FAVOR when you go to pick the bike up off the edge of the tyre. this, and not the low slung engine is that sensation of “agility” you’re feeling.

            as we all know, due to the aforementioned camber thrust, motorcycles actually turn left to initiate a right turn and vice versa. cars otoh (kinematics of the suspension notwithstanding), if you want to turn right you actually TURN RIGHT to go in that direction.

            well that’s EXACTLY what happens the lower you shift the CG in a motorcycle, it basically starts to steer LIKE A CAR. if you want further proof, think of how a sidehack rig turns like a car, ie. left for left, right for right vs. that of a standard motorcycle.

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    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Clearly, none of us know what the hell we are talking about.

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      • Keyser Soze says:

        That is probably the most true statement among the various statements here. The fact of the matter is that these sorts of seat-of-the-pants analyses belie the enormous complexity of motorcycle dynamics. One of the common mistakes in these sorts of analyses is arbitrary assignment of cause vs. effect. This almost always occurs, albeit in a subtle that is not apparent unless you look for it. It is almost always there, and that is why these sorts of analyses are almost always contrived.

        The best model for the overall dynamics of a motorcycle is the model of an inverted pendulum. As you may recall, the time period for a pendulum depends on length but not on mass. (This assumes that entire mass of the pendulum is concentrated at a single point, i.e., that the string or chain has no mass.) By the way, you can make a very accurate 1-second timer, or 2-second timer, or whatever, simply by cutting a piece of very light string to just the right length and hanging a heavy weight from it. Anyway, as concerns the dynamics of a motorcycle, it is essentially an inverted pendulum, in the sense that the height of the c.o.g, not the actual mass, determines how quickly it transitions from side to side. The lower the c.o.g., the quicker the transition. As such, the question of whether a lower c.o.g. is always better boils down to whether it is or is not always better to have a quicker transition. But you cannot answer this question in isolation of a handful of other factors that interact, such as the steering geometry, and distribution of mass about each axis, and the distance from the wheel contact patches to the center of mass. And the angular momentum of the wheels plays a strong role, notwithstanding that it is popular nowadays to assert that gyroscopic effect has nothing to do with the dynamics of steering. By the way, if you want to calculate the moment of a mass such as a battery, you have to multiply by the square of the distance from the it to the axis of rotation, and not by the distance itself, and you multiply by mass not by weight per se. You can correctly take the center of mass as the axis of rotation if you treat the forces at the tire contact patches in like manner.

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      • Lenz says:

        Well shit-O-dear, the theoretical complexities of them thar motorized bicycles has just overwhelmed me.

        I like bikes that handle “lightly” but not nervously. If there was no benefit to the laid-down layout of the K1300S / K1600 why would BMW continue to produce it for real world applications. In the most simple of motorcycles, the 500cc speedway bike, the upright cylinder layout has been completely abandoned for a laid-down engine format. Among other outcomes, rider input is significantly reduced over upright engines.

        Reduced rider input within the intended design application range should be design priority. A laid-down, in-line triple with a dry sump offers a low production cost platform for a myriad of light handling applications.

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        • Keyser Soze says:

          There is potential benefit to placing the center of mass low, but the irony is that you can’t infer much at all just based on what a manufacturer does. What a manufacturer does is driven mainly by what they think people will buy. You could as easily argue that if what BMW does with the K1300S / K1600, why all of their bikes don’t use that configuration, and for that matter, why all manufacturers don’t use it for all their bikes. A lower center of gravity is generally good. It is potentially possible for it to be low enough that the roll rate would be too quick and too responsive, although the reality is probably that this would not happen, owing to the additional stability that occurs due to the angular momentum of the wheels. However, stability and quickness of handling are effectively opposites, and for any given rider, there is an ideal balance between stability and quickness of handling. This is something that has been studied extensively, and there are two summary points: one, the optimal balance between stability and handling quickness varies considerably from one rider to the next, and two, no matter the quickness of the reflexes of the best rider with the quickest reflexes, it is possible in theory to make a bike with handling so quick that it cannot be ridden.

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          • Lenz says:

            I’ve enjoyed your comments – your analogy of an inverted pendulum reduced the focus mechanics very clearly.

            A very low centre of gravity provided by an engine/transmission as I’ve suggested coupled with longer suspension etc for a rider-friendly adventure bike would be a well balanced, versatile outfit.

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  7. John says:

    What I would actually prefer is a mini ST1300, with an 800cc transverse V4 and shaft drive. But a Moto Guzzi V7 might do it for me too.

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    • Mike Simmons says:

      I agree! I have a Honda NT700v which I love, but sadly it has been discontinued. The V4 engine, with shaft drive in a sport touring chassis would be ideal, IMHO. Are you listening, Honda?

      Mike

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      • Norm G. says:

        re: “The V4 engine, with shaft drive in a sport touring chassis would be ideal”

        a bridge too far, or should I say a bridge too costly. that’d require a new engine. of course you could always just buy a VFR12…? and there ya go.

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    • Norm G. says:

      re: “What I would actually prefer is a mini ST1300, with an 800cc transverse V4 and shaft drive.”

      well what you want is an ST1300 with a REALLY shitty power to weight ratio. ’cause in practice unfortunately that’s what you’d end up getting. reduced displacements don’t necessarily make bikes smaller or lighter if that’s what you’re hoping for. its just makes them GROSSLY underpowered. think ducati 1098/848 or bmw 1150GS/850GS.

      even though Honda’s jewel-like RVF400 used a physically different V4 than the RC30/RC45, the bike still weighed as much as any modern 600. even if we look to ultra-modern day for an example, the “brandy new” CB500R weighs like 425lbs. see, REAL easy to lose power… shedding a proportional amount of weight…? yeah that’s the hard part.

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      • Dirck Edge says:

        Have you ever ridden an 848? Hardly under-powered, much less GROSSLY under-powered. Barry wrote the article, but that’s me riding: http://www.motorcycledaily.com/2008/02/27february08_2008ducati848/. I still remember that wheelie coming out of the right sweeper.

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      • Jeremy in TX says:

        An 848 may be “under-powered” compared to a 1098, but that doesn’t make it incompetent. The V7 he mentioned is a pretty light bike, and it is shaft driven. That 100hp V4 feels pretty good in the VFR which is not exactly a lightweight. What John proposes is attainable, and it can weight a LOT less than an ST1300.

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      • Norm G. says:

        re: “Have you ever ridden an 848?”

        yes. quite a few.

        re: “An 848 may be “under-powered” compared to a 1098, but that doesn’t make it incompetent.”

        we have to compare “like to like” and that’s NOT what either of you guys are doing. it’s important to stay within the boundaries of the analogy. my reference was to simply illustrate the manufacturing approach of taking the SAME EXACT BIKE and simply sleeving down the engine to save costs. the extent of the engineering stops right there.

        now with the 848, keep in mind what you’re referencing…? you’re talking about an RVT (racing V-twin) infused with technology from grandprix. LOL you’re also talking about the context of a supersport. ie. light wheels, light chassis, light ancillary components, etc.

        in contrast, john isn’t talking about any of that, he’s talking about an 800cc TOURER. if you notice, there are no provision for panniers and arm rests for a pillion on a 848 or an 1198…? doesn’t exist, not even in the catalog.

        nobody incurs the cost of a superbike to then laden it with the ADDITIONAL weight of a pillion, or the ADDITIONAL weight of a top case, or dare I say the ADDITIONAL weight of BOTH. but that’s EXACTLY the mission of the ST who’s V4 engine (and other components) are decidedly low tech and NOT derived from anything seen on a race track…? there’s a reason it’s displacement was increased to the current model on offer.

        re: “What John proposes is attainable”.

        sure, everything’s attainable. world peace, a cure for cancer, yup, it’s all on the table. but don’t confuse “attainable” for REALISTIC. like the wrench said to Gibson… “Speed’s just a question of money, How fast can YOU go…?”

        http://s62.photobucket.com/user/shamarone/media/thespeedquestion_zpsfd938020.jpg.html

        btw, i actually have a custom made 8ft banner with this statement hanging up in my garage/shop area. :) it’s pretty sweet. it keeps me from forgetting there’s no free lunch.

        re: “it can weight a LOT less than an ST1300″

        you’re probably right. the ST’s gross tonnage scales in at over 725 lbs. so what then… 625…? 525…? that’s equal with the old gen BMW K1200 and lemme tell you, that’s a BIG bitch. now throw the typical 200lbs of just a solo rider on top of that and whaddaya got…? well, you have a recipe for a really shitty power to weight ratio just like i said. :)

        better off just sticking with the crossrunner or a late model VFR that’s already an 800cc V4, but isn’t being burdened with additional weight. ie. integrated bags, a driveshaft, final drive bevel gears, etc. the kit’s already borderline as it is.

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        • Jeremy in TX says:

          ” my reference was to simply illustrate the manufacturing approach of taking the SAME EXACT BIKE and simply sleeving down the engine to save costs.”

          I can tell you from my manufacturing experience that simply sleeving down an engine saves virtually no cost, but I get your point. “Underpowered” is a subjective term. But still, if the proposed wish bike weighed 600 lbs + your 200 lb rider, the power:weight would be the same as an ST1300.

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    • foster says:

      +1 on that. I own an 18 year old ST1100 and it is still an outstanding performer with over 170,000 km on the speedo. I’d like a lighter sport tourer just like my 1100, with an easy to work on engine, (forget the complicated valve train) and the same superb weather protection.

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  8. Scorpio says:

    I’ve been keeping an ear to the V-4 rumor mill ever since I sold my 2002 VF750C Magna in 2008. What a great machine, especially with the V&H slipons! I sold it to my brother who rode it a few years then gave it to his wife, and it’s still going strong w/ well over 100k on the clock, teasing me every time I see it. Imagine a modern VF800C Magna; VTEC would not be out of place in a “power-cruiser” at all. Honda, a family of V-4′s will not be complete without a new Magna (or two, should you choose to go after the new V-Max with the big V-4)…

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  9. VFR750 says:

    Love it! Lots of new toys from all the manufacturers lately. The Yamaha triple has my interest but now looking forward to what Honda brings to the table. Have a VFR750 and love how it sounds and rides. Something a long this line, lighter all rounder…nice! Want to like the CrossRunner, but it’s sound, look, and weight…no thanks.

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  10. VifferNut says:

    I’ve owned 3 VF/VFR models, VF700, 99 VFR and a 2003 VTEC. I guess you could say I love V4′s but given my preferences among the three, the 1999 engine was the best. Excellent manners and that gear driven valve train whine were music for the soul. New V4 models? VFR fans lived through the continuous cycle of expectations every November of a real world beater replacement only to be treated to a new color (if any changes at all).

    Every motorized conveyance I own is a Honda but I’ve long since given up on seeing a compelling V4 bike that would cause me to bull rush the dealer. These days, I’m considering the dual-sport or “adventure” path. Luckily for my wallet, Honda doesn’t import the XRE 300 into the US.

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  11. Chris says:

    Why Honda? Why wouldn’t you give us another ground breaking bike the V65 Magna? Being in the business, I have ridden almost everything, and yet the V65 Magna with it’s ergonomics, crazy motor, wheelie induced nature, and mesmerizing sound & feel, why would you not try come in and give us something familiar, something crazy, and something new? I don’t know what you guys are thinking.

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    • MGNorge says:

      First you must get the embers hot and build a large flame from that. If Honda and others can hook the younger generation into a motorcycle frenzy then you just might see more of what you want. These are different times than the 80′s.

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    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Groundbreaking bikes are expensive. I am personally elated that Honda seems to have decided to start building bikes for the masses again. And they aren’t just testing the idea on watered-down machines like the 599; they are throwing all of their muscle behind this. The 250′s, the 500′s and now these 800′s. That V4 is a powerful and reliable engine and will make a great centerpiece for an affordable line of mid-displacement bikes if the rumor bears out to be true. Plenty of other manufacturers are producing groundbreaking bikes if you are willing to pay groundbreaking prices.

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    • Norm G. says:

      not sure, but I think he’s being sarcastic.

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  12. richard says:

    Honda have got the hots for V4s. I don’t. It’s too big, and looks really awkward to fit in the frame. Chuck it in the bin, and let’s have some nice inline 4s. The CB1100 is a good start, build on that.

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  13. Colors says:

    Naked V4 yes please! But no VTec. Use the 98-01 lump. its an expensive engine anyway lets have the gear driven cams. Can’t be more expensive than all that tomfoolery its got now. Seems to me most people complain about flat spots and power hits anyway, and Honda goes and purposefully engineers one in. I know, their Honda and they do hard engineering things for the sake of doing them. But the essence of a bike in the nude is simplicity. PLEASE NO VTEC!

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  14. John says:

    I miss my Sabre. Too bad the Crossrunner is hideous. Shaft pIease.

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  15. Gronde says:

    The Crossrunner looks more like a Crossdresser as it’s hard to tell what market the bike is aiming for. Too sporty for the cruiser guys, too upright for the racers, too futuristic for the UJM riders and too much beak already for the rest of us. Maybe HONDA will change the name to Crossdresser as it’s floudering in it’s identity, that’s for sure.

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  16. Cinderbob says:

    To all the ‘Experts’ on this post who are dissing the VTEC Interceptor, click on ’2002 Honda Interceptor’ at the top of this page and read MCD’s glowing reviews. As the owner of an ’03 Interceptor, I heartily endorse those reviews. Approaching 50 years of riding on bikes too numerous to mention, it is one of the most entertaining and enjoyable street bikes I have ever experienced.

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  17. Motogrin says:

    That Cross-Runner is fugly. It looks like a multicolored fat bird. Or a suppository with wheels. I hope they bring new, less visually noisy, designs with the new motor. Their new 500′s are a bit more appealing in design. That’s a good sign. I hope whoever designed the visuals on the Cross-runner and the VFR1200 was sent to the lawn mower division.

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  18. SmokinRZ says:

    I loved the motors in my VFR700 (thanks president Regan) and my Magna V65.

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  19. Gary says:

    It’s about time. It seems a bit crazy to invest massive R&D costs to develop the new v-four drivetrain … and then only use it in one bike (the VFR). It’ll make a great powerplant for a sport tourer … maybe even for a new Gold Wing.

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  20. kjazz says:

    I like motorcycles…..

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  21. MadMax says:

    VFR gear drive noise: maybe they could fit an electronic speaker that makes it sound like it has gear drive, similar to the EV cars that have speakers to make it sound like a real car.

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  22. Norm G. says:

    I’ve gone on record before stating that the crossrunner is a brilliant piece of kit. peel off the Tupperware and you’ll see basically the old VFR800 chassis in it’s entirety ‘cept with increased ride height. the engine, wheels, frame, swinger, rotors, etc. that’s all the same parts that were sitting on a shelf taking up space and collecting dust 5 years ago. now they sport an updated mission and bodywork.

    that being said, all is not well. in typical “bizarre-world” fashion Honda still has yet to bring this (or the Cross-tourer) stateside…? how long has it been since we commented on this…? one would think it would’ve been here by now…? now that in itself isn’t bad, but it’s now glaring and conspicuous that Honda has NO FULL SIZE ADVENTURE BIKE offering on any sales floor in America…? and this helps the dealers how…?

    do I really have to mention the filthy riches here in America and that competitors like BMW have the GS, Triumph the Expo, Yamaha the Ten, Ducati the Multi, and Aprilia the Capo. hell even Suzuki is about to have the “Woodpecker”…! it’s the hottest market and by the time their offerings arrive in say 2014…? 2015…? it could very well be sales saturated… if it isn’t already…?

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  23. Africord says:

    I’ve put 20,000 miles on a VTEC over the past 3 years and can say all of the complaints about VTEC are more about expectations. The transition is there in much the same way that some engines have a high-rpm horsepower peak. I notice a bigger change in noise than anything else. I look forward to seeing what Honda reveals for the future of this motor.

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    • TimC says:

      ” in much the same way” – hrmmm. Most road testers have remarked that it’s noticably too abrupt. I tend to trust them since I had a Civic with VTEC which was far from overpowered – and the step was noticable, not smooth like a power peak due to revs….

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    • storm_monkey says:

      I’m not a road-tester – I was an owner of a 2006 (the model where they ‘fixed’ the VTEC)VFR800 VTEC for 6 years. I used to love my VFR. Never thought to replace it… until I crashed it and got it replaced by a Ninja 1000 ABS. Then I realised just how crap (by modern bike standards) the VFR800 actually was. Am I being too harsh? You judge for yourself.

      The flaws with VFR800 (which I didn’t actually notice until I owned the Ninja 1000):
      (1) The fuel injection was on/off like a light switch – I fixed this (to a degree) with a PC-III but it was still poor compared to a modern bike like the Ninja 1000;
      (2) The VTEC was very annoying – true the power transition is actually very smooth, but the milli-second it takes your brain to process the fact that the jump in audible engine sound didn’t translate to an equivalent jump in power, was frankly a pain the arse and not conducive to smooth and fast riding
      (3) It’s so heavy – true also that with the design you’d be hard put to notice it on the go… until that is you’re having to break heavily coming into a corner – that’s when you’re reminded that Honda clever engineering can’t actually change the laws of physics and that a fat pig is still a fat pig.
      (4) It’s under-powered – and the VTEC doesn’t seem to make any difference either at low revs or upper revs. Don’t believe me? Ride your VTEC VFR then jump on your mates’ ’98 VFR800 and see if you can notice any difference in power.

      So given all the above my main point of criticism was “what was the point of the VTEC??”.

      Now they’re going to roll it out on other models? I feel sorry for the buyers of those new models.

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      • thmisawa says:

        I made the same change from a 2003 ABS VFR to a 2011 Ninja 1000. WORLDS apart in performance. You exactly right on the fueling precision of the Kawi, but I must say that the fueling on the VFR was still quite good. I experienced no glaring issues nor the “on/off” problems you describe, more of a millisecond delay in comparison to the Kawi. Also, the VFR was heavy and steered like it (again in comparison to the Ninja). I am flat amazed at the torque delivered by the 1043 in-line four and have come to like the short gearing in gears 1-4 with its street application. Excellent response, rocket acceleration when asked with ample engine breaking. The Ninja is everything I wanted the VFR to be when I finally sold it. My only real complaint is it still sounds like an in-line four. I miss the V4 muted growl!!

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        • Norm G. says:

          re: “Never thought to replace it… until I crashed it and got it replaced by a Ninja 1000 ABS. Then I realised just how crap (by modern bike standards) the VFR800 actually was”

          re: “I made the same change from a 2003 ABS VFR to a 2011 Ninja 1000. WORLDS apart in performance.”

          there’s a concept you two are victim of (maybe victim’s a bit harsh). it comes from suspension world and i forget now who coined it…? ’twas either SO-CAL’s paul thede or ATL’s max mccallister…? but it goes, “the best you know, is the best you’ve ridden”.

          otoh my father would call this, “ignorance is bliss…!” LOL :)

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          • storm_monkey says:

            Re: “ignorance is bliss…!” – Too right!

            Re: “The Ninja is everything I wanted the VFR to be when I finally sold it.”

            Yeah I used to always wonder why Honda couldn’t simply keep the chasis of the ’02-’10 VFR + lose 10-15kgs + put in a 1,000 V4 + lose the VTEC + lose the link brakes + keep the ABS.

            Then they’d have a fantastic road bike!

            It seems so simple and obvious that when Triumph wanted to reboot their brand – that’s exactly what they did with the Sprint ST.

            But I guess that’s Honda for you…

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  24. Ed Chambers says:

    Wow 4 different colors of plastic and a beak.

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    • Daytona James says:

      Actually 5… Red, Grey, Silver, Flat Black and Gloss Black. Wanna’ throw some Z28 racing stripes in there too Big Red?
      Vote – Less pieces, less colors, more visual on what makes the bike go. It’s like putting the biggest diamond on your wife’s hand and making her wear work gloves.
      I’ve long thought that Honda overthinks things waaay too much. Advancements in technology will be appreciated by motorcyclists who are passionate about their sport / hobby and newbs listen to veterans so the message will get across.
      You don’t put lipstick on a sow to get a boar’s interest.

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  25. RobbieAG says:

    I hope they dump the VTEC for the sake of simplicity and easier maintenance like they did on the 1200.

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  26. Jeremy in TX says:

    Man, this is really shaping up to be a great year for motorcycles.

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  27. Starmag says:

    A friend has a ’97 VFR750, what a great engine. Isn’t the VTEC on the later ones almost universally disliked? Does it really raise MPG that much? The Crossrunner seems like a great idea ergonomically, but it’s a “naked” that you can’t see the engine on. Also not a plus is the pseudo ADV “styling” with loads of plastic and the hated in America “beak”. How about a frameless design like Britten/Vincent/Panigale that shows off the engine and also allows for a beautiful gas tank instead of the common “wedge and a hump”?

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  28. ApriliaRST says:

    They should have used push rods to move the valves. It makes for a more compact, less top-heavy engine.

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  29. radicalwillie says:

    Lets just hope they have come up with a better way to tension the cam chain, the older V4s sound like a diesel Jetta at idle.

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  30. skybullet says:

    One of the most satisfying and entertaining bikes I ever owned was a 1998 VFR-800. The small block Chevy sound made me want to hear it at every opportunity. However, Yamaha’s FZ-09 has more of what I am looking for…. Unless Honda hung this engine on a light, old school standard frame and made it pleasing to my eye. I just can’t get excited over plastic panels.

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  31. Wendy says:

    I don’t see how this is going to be a relatively cheap bike. There area lot of parts in a V-4, and the packaging isn’t the most straight forward. I love my 1999 VFR, but it never was bleeding edge sporting, nor terribly light. I believe in this price/displacement range the as yet really unseen Yamaha F series clone will be a winner.

    • Lynchenstein says:

      My ’98 was never bleeding edge or light either, but it’s still about as perfect a bike as you can find for the pavement. I’ve yet to find a bike I like more…

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      • Azi says:

        Agreed. I’ve ridden lighter, faster and more exotic bikes than my 5th gen VFR800 but the Honda is just plain nice. It succeeds in hitting the spot regardless of my mood. Everything Gabe Ets-Hokin wrote in a previous MD post is spot on.

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  32. PatrickD says:

    VTEC on a bike is a gimick, and owners of the pre-VTEC generation VFR will back me up on that.
    Also, Honda bikes have major weight problems due to lazy design. We’ll see what these ones comes in at. You can check out the recent 500cc range as reference points.

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    • Dave says:

      *Real* V-tec (variable cam timing) would be great on a bike. Today’s engine’s rev ranges are so broad that it’s a minor miracle that they can idle and run at low RPM while running cleanly up into 5-digit rpm’s as well. They’re doing it with spark timing and lots of fuel waste at lower rpm. With true variable cam timing we’d be able to get a great deal more efficiency out of the engines without neutering them up top.

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  33. Azi says:

    I really like the Crossrunner. If I didn’t already have a VFR800 I’d seriously consider buying one. It’s what a lot of VFR800 owners try to build by fitting Heli-Bars and other touring accoutrements.

    I’m glad that Honda may keep the venerable 781cc V4 in its lineup as it’s a wonderful motor, especially with its unique firing order acoustics (the VFR1200 and Crosstourer run a different sequence). The on/off VTEC and current camchain will always be controversial with the diehard fans, but I’m not reading about many (if any) reliability issues with the current models on the VFR forums.

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  34. Halfbaked says:

    I just hope this means Honda will bring another Bike with a Beak to North America.

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  35. Satoru says:

    It’s too bad. No uni-cam like VFR1200. No 360-degree crank. No gear driven cams. Thus it’s a V4 in name only.

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  36. Donald says:

    When I listen to the Honda MotoGP v4, and all the other MotoGP they sound boring, like a bmw twin. There’s just no music there.

    When I listen to an older Interceptor and VMax V4′s, I think that is the music of the heavens. For just about everyone, street motorcycle riding is a fantasy of sorts. It’s not all visual. With respect to what is offered, I’d be happy with a lot less visual commotion, less hip hop jewelry, and a lot more primal sounds that put my spine in harmonic resonance with my brain.

    So my vote is for less big bang and more “oh my God.”

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    • KevinJ says:

      Wow! I never heard anyone describe the sound of a MotoGP bike as “boring” before.

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    • Norm G. says:

      re: “When I listen to the Honda MotoGP v4, and all the other MotoGP they sound boring, like a bmw twin. There’s just no music there.”

      there’s some merit to what you’re saying. most grandprix V4′s run a 360 screamer (RC45/RC30). that combined with the open pipe loses some of the harmonics. it’s just different, but certainly not boring.

      however, listen to this vid from my personal collection. I shot this from the “amphitheater” of Indy in ’09 (laguna seca kids don’t try this at home). you can hear a distinction between a Suzuki, a Ducati, and a crossplane Yamaha. the M1 clearly has a deeper note during the overrun which would be akin to the vfr you’re used to. albeit an insanely LOUD vfr. LOL

      not sure who the first 2 guys are, I forget. I think it’s capi on the GSVR…? and stoner on the Desmo…? but the last guy is definitely Lorenzo. listen to the slipper clutch smooth out the back torque as he drops 2 gears, whereas stoner(?) has his set for a little more engine braking dirt track style. awesome when it’s looping on my local machine, but I don’t think there’s a setting for that in Flash so you may wanna keep hitting the replay button. go full screen and turn up the volume…

      http://s62.photobucket.com/user/shamarone/media/indygp09123_zps4513df6c.mp4.html

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  37. Nookiaz says:

    Remember the VFR with its gear-driven cam train? And the sound that engine made ?

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  38. Rocky V says:

    If the V4 was a good idea the first time – why go back to the inline-4

    I would rather see everyone at this point go to a 675 triple- and let the best bike win

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    • sl says:

      I say let them run different configurations. Make it more interesting. The in line four wars have produced exceptional products that are extreme overkill, and boring. Now that overkill is achieved I say pick a configuration that you like and develope it. Aprilia has done it, sonds like Yamaha is going to do it, now Honda. Manufacturers need to figure out how to stand out in a crowd.

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    • John M says:

      Honda are trying to offer products that reflect the Brand history. The V4 design is linked to Honda’s Brand, and they are playing on the Brand identity to distinguish themselves in a crowed market. It one of the reasons Yamaha is producing triples again. It bolsters Yamaha’s Brand identity because they have a three cylinder history. Plus three cylinders are in vogue now, and they weren’t in the seventies. Additionally, these engine configurations are interesting in their character and sound, which makes bikes more exciting again, thus sparking sales. Bravo! I want an FZ-09, or maybe another V4. can’t wait for the reviews.

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  39. RSVR says:

    Let’s see: my 86 VFR 750 makes something in the 100 HP range; aluminum frame; and turns in around 45 mpg. Not much has changed in the last 25 plus years. VTEC – not so impressive. Hopefully the new bikes are significantly lighter at least. FI is the only feature I wish my VFR possessed.

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  40. Provologna says:

    Sold my 83 Honda VF700 Sabre with about 100k miles. Ran like a champ. Once she spooled up it would bury BMW’s K750…would give the K100 a run for its money. Handled and braked OK. Motor smooth as glass throughout the range from idle to red line (smoother at higher RPM). Loved that bike. Commuted on it like no tomorrow. Finish was even good when I sold it. Practically trouble free, decent fuel consumption.

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  41. Provologna says:

    If these reports accurate, I’m back on the Honda bandwagon, big time (big red, get it?)! Soichiro would be proud!

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  42. allworld says:

    V4′s seem to be in the news lately. Aprilia, Motus, and now Honda. Perhaps VW will supply Ducati with one.

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    • v4racer says:

      Allworld, Honda has been building and selling V4 motorcycles continuously since 1982, and Honda V4-powered bikes have won countless F1, IoM and national series races and titles, not to mention three World Superbike titles.

      VW (Audi) don’t need to supply Ducati with a V4 – they have been building V4s to power their MotoGP bikes since 2003, and a V4 Ducati actually won the 2007 MotoGP title in 2007.

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  43. DorsoDoug says:

    Honda invented the consumer motorcycle market in the 60s & 70s. They are leading the charge to re-invent it today. The philosophy appears fundamentally unchanged; build affordable consumer oriented motorcycles for the masses. My 1995 VFR is an awesome and functional motorcycle even by today’s standards. And a Mini Trail 70 ignited a fire that has lasted almost 50 years. Go Big Red

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    • sl says:

      I agree, except don’t count Yamaha out.

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      • Mike says:

        Honda has lost it way……yet continues to get support from those that are sustained by the past, their past with Honda and will be happy and promote anything Honda provides like you and MGNorge do with every new model marketing failure.

        Plenty of DN-01s and many other new bike market failures still available big red supporters and no long lines at dealerships.

        Why do we never hear you ask …where is the Honda V5 sport bike, yet are first in line to congratulate Honda on yet another V4.

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    • MGNorge says:

      You said it! Nobody does it like Honda who brought a whole generation into the wonderful world of motorcycling without the pretentiousness that comes with so many bikes/brands today. It’s time we all got back to just enjoying riding and passing that joy to the next generation. Go Honda, go Honda!

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