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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Honda and Hero Showcase the Future … and It Isn’t Pretty



Hero Leap

Okay, ugliness is in the eye of the beholder, right? Nevertheless, we think we know our readers well enough that we are about to hear a collective groan over the styling of future models recently unveiled by Hero and Honda.

We figured most MD readers would be interested in Hero MotoCorp’s Hastur concept, the 620cc middleweight naked designed by Erik Buell Racing, so that was the big news from Hero’s booth at the India Auto Expo last month. However, new details have bubbled up about two other important concepts on display as well.

First is the RnT (pictured at top). Yes, it looks like a supermoto got some Ikea bathroom fixtures drunk, creating an illicit and unnatural lovechild, but there’s method behind the madness. The 300-pound motorcycle (despite its step-through design, it has a chain drive and gearbox, so it’s not a scooter) uses diesel fuel, has enhanced cargo capacity thanks to the broad, flat fenders and flip-up side racks and big wheels to make it suitable for bumpy, off-road terrain. It should be useful as an inexpensive, cheap-to-operate utility vehicle in emerging economies. The headlights even unclip to act as a portable lantern! Best camping mount ever.

A 1.6-gallon gas tank should offer prodigious range from the diesel 150cc Single, which promises 13.5 horsepower and an incredible 25 ft.-lbs. of torque at 1600 rpm (and could be the first mass-produced diesel motorcycle sold, at least in this country). The alternator can pump out 1500 watts of electricity, making it useable as a (very) portable generator. There are even plans for an optional hub-mounted electric motor in the front wheel, giving a much-needed boost to the bike’s claimed 0-37 mph time of 5 seconds.

Will it come here? Hero MotoCorp CEO Pawan Munjal said it’s “also going to be targeted at the overseas markets,” and if Erik Buell had a hand in developing it, it wouldn’t surprise me to see it here.  I can see such a ride being popular amongst urban Hipsters—remember how cool Japan was in the 1980s? Look to India being the Japan of the late 20-teens and 2020s.

Hero’s other vehicle of interest is the Leap. Cyclopean headlamp aside, it looks like most any scooter, until you realize what’s inside. The first publicized Hero/EBR collaboration, the Leap made its first debut in 2012 as a concept—this is a pre-production version and promises a hybrid gas/electric powertrain.

Instead of the two power sources working in unison, the Leap is a “range extended” plug-in electric scooter with an onboard gasoline generator. Claimed weight is 312 pounds, and there was no claim for battery-only range (or indication of the lithium-ion battery’s size), but total range with the 124cc gasoline engine draining the .75-gallon tank is a claimed 210 miles—not bad (we don’t know if that’s city or highway—probably city). Top speed is also left unsaid, but I’d guess about 55-60 mph, given the 10-hp electric motor and the weight of the bike.

Necessity is the mother of invention, no? And if the new world demands a high standard of living with a minimal use of resources, Indian manufacturers of motorcycles (and all products) might have an edge, given the high-tech, high-poverty, low-resource reality of modern India. Pass the popcorn and stay tuned.

032514middle Honda NM4-01

Meanwhile, at both the Osaka and Tokyo Motorcycle Shows, Honda is displaying two future production models, including the NM4-01 and the NM4-02 (with integrated “utility boxes”). The unusual design, apparently influenced by anime, incorporates a version of the 745 cc parallel twin used by Honda in existing production models. Both bikes have the rider seated low, and incorporate an adjustable backrest. They will also feature Honda’s latest automatic transmission technology, all as part of an effort to attract a new generation of rider. Here is what Honda has to say about these new models on its Japanese web site:

TOKYO, Japan, March 21, 2014 – Honda held its press conference at the 30th Osaka Motorcycle Show 2014 today and unveiled the world premiere of two types of its new production model “NM4” as an exhibition model (planned for production).

The NM4 was developed under the keywords of “the Neo-futuristic” and “COOL,” pursuing new, unique styling.

This NM4 was designed to realize two points; the design concept “the Front Massive Styling” and “the cockpit position” focusing on the sense of unity with the rider, that the rider can smoothly get into the vehicle. The low-setup cockpit position and adjustable backrest provide an enjoyable new riding feel. The instrument panel was designed to provide clear readability and the fun riding, as if the rider was experiencing part of a movie scene.

LED lamps are used on the headlight of the powerful-looking front fairing, the tail lamp and the turn signals. In addition, the utility boxes are set up on the right and left sides of the front fairing for small articles.

Two NM4 types were unveiled at the motorcycle show; the simply-configured “NM4-01” which emphasizes its wide, dynamic rear tire and attractive low silhouette, and the “NM4-02” which emanates a unique presence and features a prominent rear design (containing utility boxes on each side of the rear body).

The NM4 will also be exhibited at the 41st Tokyo Motorcycle Show from Friday, March 28 to Sunday, March 30 at Tokyo Big Sight.

032514bottom Honda NM4-02


  1. Crim says:

    I can see the photos online now….. an Indian family of ten all crammed on an RnT along with a few chickens and a goat. As others have said, that bike will sell. The Honda will be gone in a few years. Left on the garbage heap with the Rune and Fury, the ugliest of them all.

  2. One day, Honda and maybe even Zero will figure out that Fugly does not normally sell well.

  3. Gurcan says:

    Hero and Honda have broken partnership. What ever you see under the Hero badge will have nothing to do with Honda and lots to do with E.Buell. Hero seems to have very ambitious plans for volume and respectively has very interesting pre-production bikes on the way.

  4. Sal says:

    I have been interested in the idea of a mass produced reliable diesel motorcycle for some time. Liked the idea of the Military KLR or the Track T800CDI concept. Essentially take the utilitarian element in the RnT and apply it to an ADV styled all terrain 800 to 1200cc bike worthy of highway commuting or off-road exploring. Add solid high capacity panniers, premium fit and finish, 5 gal fuel tank. I think Volkswagen (excellent TDI motors in use for decades) needs to partner with KTM. I’d guess upwards of 100 mpg easy. I’d be the first in line.

  5. HM says:

    The diesel job up top looks best of this bunch and sounds to be quite functional.Being as form follows function for me,it wins easily in this case!Beautiful in the same sense that TZ 750s and RG 500s were,simply tools for a task at hand and both were fantastic!

  6. rider33 says:

    If this is the future I think Hero is going to win.

  7. John says:

    More useless concepts from Honda. Is it too much to ask for you to just update the XR650L? You know, the bike you haven’t touched in 20 years?

    • MGNorge says:

      When you start seeing the younger generation put down their Play Stations, Xboxes and iPhones, clamoring for a large trailie then you’ll see them updated. Same reason the large KL and DR have stayed mostly untouched. Besides, it keeps their prices down.

  8. jimjim says:

    Oh my eyes……….I’ll keep my Tiger 800 with the beak.

  9. Vrooom says:

    The RnT has potential. That will sell in the states or anywhere. That Honda is literally the ugliest bike I’ve ever seen. It looks a bit like a Victory Vision, which I never liked, got hit repeatedly and relentlessly with the ugly stick.

  10. garrett says:

    The more i see of the future, the more i yearn for the past

  11. Eric says:

    Hero’s bike makes sense as a full-on utility scoot. Camp ground champion indeed! The Honda looks like Darth Vader’s scooter – a cross between Judge Dredd’s mount and, well, I don’t know what. Maybe it’ll sell in the far east but it Just Looks Stupid.

  12. PatrickD says:

    I think that the RnT is a very useful looking machine which would sell massively anywhere. Just because it isn’t ‘styled’ doesn’t mean that it isn’t cool looking, and it’s the sort of machine that any motorcycling household might buy and have as a family fixture. It’s a very interesting and (shock! – for a concept bike) practical machine.

  13. todd says:

    I like the RnT, especially because it has a diesel. 13.5hp is miraculous for a 150cc diesel without a turbo. That means it can probably keep up with 150cc gas scooters. Don’t underestimate the value of that.

  14. Corey says:

    It looks like Honda just smoothed out the lines of the Victory Vision 800 concept bike.

  15. old Matt says:

    Wow ! a 150 snezzle. Never seen one this small. I lived on a boat for 7 years with a 108 CI Perkins. Loved that engine. Ran like a top and drank about a gallon/hr. And that was a 4 cylinder. Not used to seeing this 150 cc diesel kind of machine. I am an old goat and like the idea of going to high reliability, max mpg bikes. It’s new and the stupid front fender makes sense once you see it is for cargo. Definitely new. Not for the poser or peg scrappers, but as an old duff back road tour guy, I like it. 150 cc on a snezzile, you better really like the back roads. I bet it breaks 100 mpg easy, but to see 50 mph, keep your calendar open. Hey, speedometers are heavy. I hope they bring it here.

  16. Sean says:

    I think Hero hit a home run with the RnT which should be do do very well globally with its true utility and affordability. As for Honda I’m not sure who the target buyer is for these type of bikes, I actually like the look but wouldn’t buy one the auto tranny, likely heft, and lackluster performance parts would take it off my list but I could see it being desirable for the comfort seeking crowd if that usually older demographic will accept the radical design. To be determined.

  17. mechanicuss says:

    Darned if I understand R&D these days… to blow corporate overhead money on doofus lame concepts that have no hope of selling… plus do it without regard to aesthetic aspects as if to purposely offend and punish the eyes… Maybe some that are shocked will walk down and plop $$ down just because of the ugly (e.g. that dog is so damned ugly it’s cute), but most will just stay away in droves. You dont make money by selling what YOU think is rad/smart/avantegard – you make money selling what people want. Sheesh, I’m getting too old for this any more – ya’ll can take over soon. Mechanicuss out.

    • Jason says:

      I agree, you are too old. I suspect that you developed an image in your mind of what a motorcycle should look like many decades ago and any deviations from that image is ugly. Times change.

      I understand the R&D that went into these bikes. What I don’t understand is the new Indian. Why build a bike in 2014 that looks like one from the 50’s? Sure there are a few aging boomers that will buy one but what’s next. Why relaunch a brand to satisfy a demographic that is aging out of motorcycles.

  18. Crug says:

    i need Tabasco sauce for my eyes….

  19. mkv says:

    The Hipsters will love the Hero in SF

  20. Daytona James says:

    Looks like a curvy-road line-painting utility vehicle in a ‘B’ Sci-Fi. Box office won’t support it.

  21. warprints says:

    I hope they sell a ton of these. That way, I can laugh my head off every time I see one when I go our for a ride.

  22. Starmag says:

    The RnT, while less than handsome,( supermoto+IKEA bathroom lovechild, great Gabe), sure is a impressive device. I’m sure many poor Indian families and others would give up a body part to own something this utile. That is, if it’s reliable and priced right. The first motorcycle with a plow and harvester options from the factory? With a generator? 2WD? Diesel? Awesome.

    As far as the light goes, you won’t be carrying a front load at night unless you like to crash into the bushes or you can clip it to your forehead.

    That said, all hail Beak Master! The DR Big has been de-throned. Long live the king. (It could have just been a fold-down metal rack, but Hero apparently decided to throw down the gantlet styling-wise to the ADV manufacturers, God help us).

  23. mickey says:

    For older folks ( and I know cause I am one) a real scooter makes more sense. Easier on the knees and hips to mount, especially for those of us with artificial joints. With the cut thru for the legs. Can’t imagine trying to mount than NM04 thingy, although it looks comfortable if you could get on it. Same problem with the other 700/750 based Integra. Harder to mount than a traditional scooter. Might as well buy a real motorcycle as one of those. ( unless it just appeals to you)

    • jake says:

      Hey Mick, sorry to hear about your artificial body part, but to prevent you from losing any further body parts to modern medical science, let me offer you up some friendly advice. Eat around 2 chicken necks a day, do it regularly, just the bone if you want, they are easy to chew, and much of your arthritic and bone degeneration issues will be greatly alleviated in just a few weeks.

      That way you might just be able to mount this Vultus and look current and cool like the rest of the young Hipsters or us chicken neck eating old farts who were able to avoid body part replacing surgeries and thus can still lean over, raise our legs, and piss like a healthy male canine if we so please.

  24. Norm G. says:

    re: “Will it come here? Hero MotoCorp CEO Pawan Munjal said it’s “also going to be targeted at the overseas markets,” and if Erik Buell had a hand in developing it, it wouldn’t surprise me to see it here.”

    there’s a potential dealbreaker here that laymen/consumers are rarely inclined to see…


    there’s a reason you see so few diesels in the domestic market. it ain’t just culture, or low gas prices. before new oil burners (at least on car side) can be certified for the road, they have to be fit with very expensive sub systems for trapping particulate matter (DPF), urea injection (DEF), platinum catalysts, etc to get what’s coming out the tail pipe down to acceptable levels. granted, these are much larger displacement engines (1L auto to 15L OTR trucks).

    euros aren’t as strict, hence the reason up till the release of the chevy cruze D last year and VW’s pre-existing TDI, most of the new diesels were found on your expensive brands, ie. Mercedes, BMW, Audi, or American trucks (RAM, F150, Silverado). two market segments that can ask a premium for the content, and get ZERO backlash from their target audience. now compare/contrast this with motorcyclists who value “free lunch” versus coming off the dime.

    so basically, if the EPA/DOT doesn’t like what’s coming out the back of this only 150cc single…? the cost of the exhaust system (or the engineering to reduce it) could theoretically DOUBLE or even TRIPLE the price of the bike… and there’s your potential dealbreaker if you’re expecting road use.

  25. Jeremy in TX says:

    But will Hero offer the plow attachment here like they do in India? No plow, no deal!

    • dino says:

      plow? what kind of plow… Snow plow (blade in front) or furrow plow (tilling the dirt behind)?

      aw heck… I’m in either way!

  26. Austin ZZR 1200 says:

    I actually like both designs. Not pretty, for sure but striking, imaginative and functional..I would totally own an RnT if I had the need for a small scoot

  27. motowarrior says:

    Different strokes or just bad jokes? Personally, I like to see this type of form follows function design, even if it may not be for me. Some of the coolest bikes and scoots on display at the Barber Museum (must see) are really weird, and include some significant innovations. When the BMW GS bikes first appeared, I thought they were monstrosities, but after owning a few of them, I got it. So, have at it Hero and Honda. Let the weirdness roll!

  28. Ricardo says:

    Clearly the Hero company is targeting the new generations, thus the ugliness to us older folks…

  29. Michael H says:

    Oy vey. Let’s see. The Hero bikes are designed for the Asian market, and will probably do pretty well in those markets where a durable, thrifty scooter is part of every day life. The RnT especially should be a good fit in the highly congested urban areas where scooters double as the family car and pickup truck. Not sure how it’d play in the U.S., other than in a few urban areas where sorta affluent young people might want one as urban transport in the few years before they get married and grow up. Or maybe this is the next thing after the Ruckus, and will become a do-everything cult scooter.

    Honda says that it is marketing its NM4 thingamajigs as “part of an effort to attract a new generation of rider.” Maybe. But also maybe, they will attract and old generation of riders. People like me, who are probably riding their last heavy bike before dropping down to a scooter or (heaven forbid) a trike. The MN4-02 would work as a geezer scooter. Comfortable, economical, auto transmission, storage, low seat height, etc. I don’t look at it as a weird motorcycle as much as a replacement for the Silverwing. Odd looking, to be sure, but for an older solo rider, it could be just right. Look at how many older gents ride the Yamaha Morpheous, another weird looking scooter that has a cult-like following.

    • motowarrior says:

      Michael, I like your thinking about bikes for older riders. I have tried some of the new, large scooters my friends are riding, and I find them more ponderous than some of the large bikes I have ridden. Maybe one of these “scootercycles” would be a better answer. So far I’ve gone to lighter motorcycles (800cc) instead of scooters and have found them suitable for a wide variety of riding. If I am ever forced to consider a trike, I would definitely go to a sidecar rig first. All of this somehow reminds me of my old Honda Pacific Coast. A big-butted yet highly underrated bike.

  30. todder says:

    Wonder how well those NM4 mirrors work…

  31. Kitty says:

    Everybody wants “something”. Some want scooters, small or large, some tourers, some cruisers, some baggers, some adventure bikes, some crotch rockets, some street bikes, some dirt bikes, and some want starter bikes. It seems to me that manufacturers just follow these trends with their products, instead of creating new trends. So it’s refreshing to me to see Hero and Honda both thinking outside the box here, even if these products will never reach the market or America. And me? What do I want? Well, I’ve been riding for 40+ years and I’ve owned everything from large tourers to small scooters. I’ve enjoyed them all to varying degrees, and right now I own two 250cc scooters and a 1000cc BMW. Has anybody made “my” perfect bike? Not yet. But I’ll keep buying them, riding them, and selling them until someone does. In the meantime, I’ve reserved my ELIO, and once I get it, I might just quit riding two wheels forever, when I switch to ELIO’s three (hopefully) next year.

  32. Lenz says:

    The NM concepts demonstrate Honda’s current fixation on the paneled, cowled, enclosed and oh so covered up and insular thinking for the future. Elegant simplicity in motorcycle design should showcase the functional beauty of the entire package not an exercise in moulded paneling.

    • MG3 says:

      You got it Lenz. The Japanese manufacturers have forgotten all about the simple elegance of designs from the sixties and seventies. It isn’t necessary to ‘copy’ an old design, or build only ‘retro’ machines, but it is necessary to understand and appreciate the concepts of ‘simple’ and ‘functional’, and to value great mechanical craftsmanship on display. Today it’s all ‘plastic’ on display. Get back to your roots Honda, before we all get swallowed up in an ugly, plastic motorcycling world.

      • jake says:

        So long as Honda can still sell 17 mil bikes a year – more bikes that all of Europe, North America, South America, and a large part of Asia put together – Honda could care less what you think of their bikes, or whether their bikes are attractive or not.

        If anything, Honda is doing everything it can to slow its sales down, cause even with the ugly, utterly unattractive, uninspiring bikes it’s blatantly throwing out to the public, its sales keep growing at a healthy rate, possibly better than any other bike manufacturer in the world, in spite of its efforts to slow itself down. Imagine the sales growth if their bikes were better looking? It would be too much grief for Honda to handle.

    • Bud says:

      Yes it seems like the designers on the car side are influencing bike design at Honda.

    • Ax1464 says:

      Might just be that Honda’s “current fixation on the paneled, cowled, enclosed and oh so covered up” designed are intended to get people ready for what electric and “alternate fuel” bikes will no doubt look like in the near future. Of course, some people will bitch because those stylish electric motors aren’t on display.

    • TexinOhio says:

      Look like props from the Judge Dredd movies.

  33. jake says:

    Always thought the DN-1 would end up as a cult classic more sought after than a GB500. I know it is not there just yet, but the Vultus and its direction is a strong indication that the DN-1 is well on its way to becoming such a one of kind classic.

    Stylingwise, the Vultus looks like an over the top modernization of the old Honda Magna which Prince rode. The ordinary front fender and muffler seems to indicate that the bike will not cost as much as most think and, contrary to the outlandish styling cues, the bike looks to be eminently practical as a daily ride.

    Honda has another cult classic on its hand.

    • Tim says:

      Jake, sounds like you need to be on the Honda design team.

      Cult classics? Not a chance. Practical ride? Possibly, but people don’t generally buy ugly, unless it has a beak and can take you off the beaten path.

      I just hope Honda doesn’t bring this bike to the US. Please, Honda, keep this bike in Europe and Asia only.

      • jake says:

        From the way Honda’s are generally styled, I didn’t know Honda had a design team, LOL. But without a doubt, the DN-1 and this bike will definitely be huge cult classics in the near future. Like I said, who could have ever thought Hipsters would be thought of as cool and sexy, and not as overly fashion conscious geeks? Who would have thought The Big Bang Theory would be the number 1 show, that so many out there could relate to such nerdy weirdos? The world is a changing.

        Look, I did not say it would be a huge sales success. Honda just needs to make their styling a bit less generic and boring to sell more, quite an easy task, but when you sell 17 mil bikes a year, who needs more sales? With these bikes, Honda is simply looking into the future and how it will be viewed in a historical light. Honda wants to claim credit 20 years from now for being the first to do this or that, or to start this trend or that one, and that means these bikes will most surely be highly sought after and appreciated not too far off in the distant future.

      • jake says:

        One other thing. Honda ushered in the era of performance bikes with its inline 4’s, which can now be seen, looking back, as the last, final eruption of unabated testosterone and chauvinistic masculinity in modern America. Basically, it’s last dying but glorious gasp. The great volcano of unapologetic, unrestrained testosterone has gone inactive.

        Now Honda is ushering the era of efficient, practical, non-intimidating, socially responsible, no hairy, over sized balls dragging on the ground bikes. The era of the manly man who does anything he wants anytime he wants is dead. The era of Archie Bunker is now prehistory. Now we live in the era of the socially responsible and adept, the politically correct male. The male who does dishes, vacuums, gets out earned by his girl, and has to get her permission before he goes and stays out too late with the boys.

        Just as the CB750 was considered iconic for our dying era of the manly males, so will these new NC variants be hailed as iconic and before their time by the new, domesticated, civilized, well groomed, non-smelly males who are currently in the midst of replacing us old cranky, belligerent, unsophisticated, unrepentant dinosaurs.

        So you see, just by the force of plain logic itself, the Vultus and the DN-1 are sure to be cult classic for this new, coming breed of males.

    • GuyLR says:

      Jake, that was no Magna that Prince rode. It was a Hondamatic CM400A!

      • jake says:

        Are we talking about the same Prince? The little short guy who looks like a girl and proves that midgets can dance cool too? You know Purple Rain Prince with Appolonia with the big boobs who thankfully jumps naked in a cold lake in Minnesota, or was that Michigan? God, what a classic scene that was. Just an unforgettable scene for me.

  34. goose says:

    Sorry Gabe but I don’t see what these have in common. The Heros are solid, practical bikes even if they aren’t conventional looking.

    The Honda seems to be a well meant exploration of possible future bikes combined with weird for the sake of being weird (or to attract attention) styling.

    The only one that I can see ever being in my garage is the RnT, it would be great fun to run errands on a small, light bike while getting 100 MPG or more. I live in a rural area so I wouldn’t be worried about being run over from behind, I’m not sure if the RnT would work in a big city, maybe with the turbo option?

    Am I the only one who sees more than a little Ducati Diavel in the NM4-01?


  35. Bob says:

    In my 50 plus years of motorcycling, I never thought I’d see anything as dis-interesting.

    • Norm G. says:

      bob pretty much sums it up. today’s winner ladies and gentlemen.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I couldn’t disagree with you more. The Hero RnT is probably the most interesting transportation device I’ve seen in a very long time. A diesel, 3rd-world workhorse which maybe you can’t appreciate if you haven’t spent anytime in countries that rely heavily on scooters. Just skimming the features of the Hero, I am amazed at how ingenious the design is and how much though went into it. Just look at some of this stuff:

      2-wheel drive (via an optional, hub-mounted motor)
      Turbo (optional)
      LED headlight is detachable (to be used as a flashlight / worklight)
      Plow and harvester attachments
      It doubles as a 1500 W 230 V generator
      Lots of sturdy, flat surfaces to transport you family of six or deliver pianos

      I mean come on! That’s not interesting?

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “I mean come on! That’s not interesting?”

        scroll to the top and read my post above.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          I don’t ever expect it to be sold here, and certainly not with a diesel engine, but that doesn’t make it any less interesting or ingenious in my book.

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “but that doesn’t make it any less interesting or ingenious…”

            …just inaccessible.

  36. dino says:

    Hero RnT might be the best bike to be called an “Adventure” bike. Looks like the two wheeled version of the Nissan Cube, or Honda Element. But I can picture loads of crap being strapped to this bike, and ridden with the three guys used to load it all.

    Those rear shocks better have a heavy load rating! Shove a couple 2×4’s to add some Preload, and take ten of your closest friends for a spin down to the local pub! (Picture a cheerleader-like pyramid of humans on the rear and side racks)

  37. Brett says:

    I may be on my own here, but these are 2 of the better new designs that I have seen in the last 5 years of watching these pages.

    The Hero looks like a very modern Trail 90 honda, and I give them lots of credit for the front fender rack and fold up rear racks. I have been to Thailand and seen small bikes used as taxies. Those folks need a very practical motorcycle. I also grew up on a farm, and lots of trail 90s were used to check fences and to run out to the fields to check on the irrigation. The bike just needs trail worthy tires.

    The Honda one is a little more challenging to love, but it looks like it was designed, rather than just a collection of parts. I would have to ride it to know if it provides a good seating position for control and comfort. I am hoping that a test review is coming soon. I have owned everything from enduros, crotch rockets, Harley and a BMW……I’d like to ride this thing.

    • Tim says:

      The Hero is clearly designed for third world countries. I can picture a small calf strapped to the back, and a cage full of chickens strapped to the front. While it is ugly, the practical nature of it will be a hit in countries where a scooter or small motorcycle is essentially the family car. As for the Honda, I’m not sure where they could sell those. Law enforcement agencies, perhaps? I don’t see a lot of people throwing their hard earned money down to buy them.

  38. burtgmaximus says:

    KTM Super Duke 1290 please.

  39. johnny ro says:

    The Hero RnT looks really good to me for what it is. Did anyone catch that it says TDi on the side? Optional turbo. Turbocharged direct injected water-cooled single 125cc diesel. Hopefully with seriously low effort maintenance designed in.

    I see seating for 4 with the side panels down, plus two on side panels and two in laps for the determined family. Or seating for one with serious long-distance luggage.

    I might take the Honda over a regular Harley.

  40. skybullet says:

    Honda must be thinking out side the box (or outside the solar system) with this weird approach. Functional; sure, but make them visually appealing. With all the talent at Honda California they can do it.

  41. MGNorge says:

    Remember kids, these are intended to attract the young and new to riding. These are for kids content to plant their faces in their iPhones and tweet their friends who do likewise. Many are followers who want to fit in so they buy what they think others will approve of. Their tastes are miles away from that of their parents and they do like to show it. But that’s like many generations trying to be unique in a more complex world. These don’t set me afire but so what? They’re not aimed at me.

  42. Jason says:

    Heh, you guys are clueless. NM4 is obviously an hommage to “AKIRA”(1988 film).

    It’s a celebration thingy for Tokyo being chosen to host 2020 olympic.
    “AKIRA” takes place in 2019, a year before Tokyo Olympic.
    The 2020 olympic part in “AKIRA” turned out to be a prediction.
    So, yeah it actually is showcasing the future, visioned back in the 80’s.
    Google “Kaneda’s bike” for more info.

    IMO that NM4 should’ve been painted blood-red and have hub center steering instead of that fork.

    • jasinner says:

      What he said. Ironically, many aspects predicted by Caneda’s bike have come to pass such as 200hp bikes, abs, catbon brakes. I think this seating position was also forward thinking of the film. It could extend the ages an individual can ride sporty bikes. Also, discomfort is distracting which undermines the control the torture rack is supposed to offer. It also blurs market segments making the bike more marketable to more people. I love my torture rack but I think there is definitely something good going on here.

  43. Laci Bozo says:

    I don’t understand Honda.
    Another unsellable thing.
    I can come up with five or more of their creations,
    that are destined to collect dust in show rooms.(Scooter for 15 grand)
    It is about time to fire some folks there !!!

  44. John says:

    I can imagine about 20 different Hondas more deserving of production than this thing.

  45. tori zimbalis says:

    Losing sales in a slow market…..combined with an aging demographic and loss of the younger core buyers bent on the World of Warcraft and the like……

    First lets dumb down an advanced sport bike….detune the engine..screw up the roll center by putting on handle bars… put the rider upright and in the wind blast ….and hey lets take off the fairings and wind protection while we are at it…a little badge engineering here and there….well thats not totally working…

    so the nest step is to reinvent the motorcycle with these latest contraptions…they look more like transformers and totally ugly

    The only thing that appears to be working is the sales of the smaller sporting segment….the profit margins are low…but getting the younger buyers in the game is key…..we need more advancement in these areas

    hopefully the upper end market for japan will wake up soon…but its sure putting the European manufacturers on the map….which is no bad thing to be honest

  46. John says:

    Sure looks like it was inspired by dan gurneys bike.

    • joe b says:

      I agree.

    • dino says:

      I was thinking the same thing… Dan Gurney’s “Alligator” with it’s combination of very low seat on an otherwise standard bike. Like an Alligator mounted a Honda DN-01 (probably on the Honda showroom floor where it didn’t sell).

      I like this a little better than previous Honda Rune, DN-01, whatevers… Still not my cup of tes, but maybe for some markets and demographics?

  47. joe says:

    i will not be waiting for this.
    it makes my v-strom look good.

  48. Jeremy in TX says:

    I really do not get Honda. They have the balls to throw something completely off the wall out there like this thing, yet they take almost no risk – to the point of complete consumer apathy – with product lines that have a real shot at sales potential. I am glad that they push the envelope, but I think a game changer in an established segment might bring more return. When is the last time one of these production concept experiments worked out for them – the CB750?

    • Jason says:

      1986 – VFR750
      1992 – CBR900RR

      • mickey says:

        Goldwing 1000,1100,1200, 1500, 1800

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          Yes, the ‘Wing certainly qualifies, though I’d have to disagree that the CX offered anything ground-breaking – it was a Japanese Guzzi. The CBX was certainly cool, but was it a success?

          • Hot Dog says:

            Got a Turbo CX650 you want to give away? Was the CBX 6 cylinder a success? What does a nice one go for these days? It seems like Jap Iron appreciates as time goes by, perhaps we realize the value later?

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            I was genuinely asking – was the CBX a sales success? I don’t know. I don’t think a bike’s collectible value today is any indication that it was a sales success yesterday – I don’t think anyone would give away a Tucker either. In fact, it may be more of an indication that the machine is rare and therefore was rather unsuccessful when it came out.

          • Bud says:

            Re: Jeremy: The CBX was not a sales success. It sold in far fewer numbers than its contemporaries in the 1000cc class.

          • Bud says:

            CBX sold around 26K in 79

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        Those were game changers in established segments. I wouldn’t count those.

  49. cage free says:

    Pretty ugly, but looking at the seating and wind protection I bet all day comfortable. Is it confirmed as going into production or just a styling exercise?

    • Bud says:

      Ugly? I don’t think so. Some of the shapes on the fairing are a bit crude but otherwise I think its not bad for its intended mission. I am really tired of the matte black finish on bodywork, though.

  50. ABQ says:

    The NM4 looks alot like the Suzuki G-Strider, which looked like the Gurney Gator. The big backrest would be good for long rides. If they do produce them they better include a 5+ gallon fuel tank.
    I enjoy maxi-scooters and the NM4 looks like it would fit my needs as an amputee that likes to ride all day. I also enjoy the George Jetson style body work.

  51. takehikes says:

    I was right, on the NM041 that backrest is a seat that flips down. I couldnt find a picture of it down but there is one out there showing the action of the seat becoming a backrest. I think that bike might look sweet with the seat down where it belongs!

  52. Gary says:

    It looks like a poop scooper for horse owners.

  53. takehikes says:

    Looks to me like the backrest is also the passenger seat and flips down. I’d like to see them with the backrest down before I pass judgement.

  54. billy says:

    Hey, whatever else they can sell to make a profit.

  55. VLJ says:

    So, how many times will Honda attempt to answer a question no one ever asked?

  56. Tom says:

    Love the title! Too funny.
    In all seriousness the utility of the hero scooter makes perfect sense after seeing how many people scooters need to fit/carry in India.

    Regarding the Honda… It reminds me of that joke… They’re both fun to ride as long as no one sees you doing it. Yes I would test ride a NM4-#. It could be fun. Heck, I might end up buying one. I bet I’d be the only one around with one too! 🙂

  57. Blackcayman says:

    The NM4 looks like a cartoon version of a Bat-Cycle… The Dark Knight WEPT!!!!

    Where does Robin sit? Ouch!

  58. Craig says:

    Well Naked bikes were different, but not ugly and not even they are doing that well. I see the meaning of the bike and how some may take to it a bit, but do you think the MASSES are going to roll in for this?

    The scooter is practical. For those that ride them it’s all about Practical anyway, so it can be homely or different. Most and I say that loosely, have something in mind when riding a REAL motorcycle and usually it’s less about practicality and at least something to do with style which the bike above seems to lack.

    All said, it may steal some sales from the GoldWing crowd… careful Honda!!!

  59. DB says:


  60. tuskerdu says:

    Oh my God.

  61. Bud says:

    I can’t wait to see a photo of an Indian family of 6 all riding together on that RnT. Maybe along with some livestock.

  62. Bud says:

    The NM4 looks like a mobile La-Z-Boy

  63. Cyclemotorist says:

    The Honda is just awful.

    And trust me when I say this, it is not going to grow on anyone either.

    • Ax1464 says:

      Thank you for speaking for everyone else. By the way, you’re wrong. I, for one, am glad to see variety in the bikes being produced. If you’re happy riding bikes similar to many others, goody for you. But just because YOU don’t like something, it doesn’t mean no one else does. Trust me when I say THAT.

      • Dave says:

        I’m not crazy about the volume of bodywork on the front but I don’t see that much wrong with it (and I’m a sport bike rider). Seems like a more practical, modern version of a cruiser.

        • Jason says:

          I agree. The honda is a modern take on a cruiser like the CTX700. Someone has to do something new if we are going to break out of the current design rut.

          The Hero RnT is just about the perfect urban commuter vehicle. Practicality over style yes, but there is nothing wrong with that. When Vespas first came out they were cheap and reliable transportation after WWII not the current fashion statement. You never know what will catch on.

          I think all the concepts are a breath of fresh air and a sign of hope for the future.

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