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Honda EICMA Concepts Display Possible Design Directions


Honda R&D Europe trotted out a couple of interesting concepts in Milan last week. Both bikes are based on the engine and chassis found in the CBR650F, a versatile machine already tested by MD.

The street-oriented CB4 Concept shows off the beautiful, flowing exhaust headers from the engine and styles the machine in a street fighter look that we find appealing. Notable are the billet triple clamps holding the upside down fork and the radial-mount front brake calipers. The exhaust treatment on the CB4 provides a very aggressive look, as does the abbreviated rear end.

The other concept is the CB Six50. This is a scrambler-style machine (although the low slung exhaust seems an odd choice) with knobby tires mounted on spoked wheels. The handlebar on the CB Six50 looks like it came straight off a dirt bike, and it holds a thin digital display. The treatment of the headlight assembly is interesting and unique.

As far as we know, both concepts are merely design exercises with no plans for production.




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  1. mickey says:

    Not a design I care for but to each his own.

    Personally, I look at these, then walk out to the garage and look at my CB1100 DLX and I am so happy with the way it looks, all I can do is smile.

  2. bipedal says:

    Good job Honda! Something different and avant-garde.

  3. nickst4 says:

    Is it beyond the capabilities of designers to make a radiator that doesn’t look like a shoe box jammed across the front? The good ol’ Suzuki VX800 of 1990 had a rad that was so neat and fitted the profile of the frame tubes so well that it was virtually invisible and the motor could be mistaken for being air-cooled. It even had coolant running through the frame tubes to minimise the number of visible pipes!

    Every aspect of the Hondas above has been styled to the nth degree but they still have an ugly block of a rad with tacky end-plates. Water-cooling is here to stay, so why don’t the stylists do something to integrate it?

    • MGNorge says:

      Doing as you point out probably is one of the hardest design elements to achieve. Then too, some bikes lend themselves to tucking a radiator in between twin downtubes. These two are rather showcasing the 4 header pipes, leaving little room to extend the radiator downward. I agree that square seems like an afterthought but it just may be intentional?

    • John says:

      Bigger engines with higher horsepower outputs will require more cooling and have to be overbuilt to handle the kind of heat created at very high revs. I would must prefer a lower horsepower engine with less need for “overcooling” so the whole cooling system is lighter, requring less fluid and smaller radiator.

      Seems to me that a good oil cooled design could be enough cooling for a moderate power engine and eliminate the extra liquid and allow the cylinder to be the oil reservoir. Though I don’t really know much about how they do it to be honest. But I notice that that oil radiators are generally quite small.

    • Bob says:

      Designers of the new liquid cooled Triumph T120 Bonneville did a pretty respectable job of hiding the radiator, at least in profile view. There appears to be sufficient fin area on the head and cylinders to actually provide some heat radiation to assist the radiator rather than just be cosmetic.

    • Matt F says:

      The Superhawk 996 had side mounted radiators, I’ve wondered why no one has tried that route. I’m not sure if that is any better though, they would still be right out there. I agree that it looks lazy to just slap it on the front and try and bling it with some shiny metal..

  4. John says:

    Interestingly, the 650s seem to be the best selling multi-cyclinder Honda in Europe. At least in England, despite the mediocre reviews. And of course, the NC750X comes in right there with it. So maybe there are a lot of people not into exciting motorycles and they buy Honda.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      The 650’s have an A2 option. The NC750X is also A2 compliant. That probably explains their popularity there.

    • MGNorge says:

      Define exciting. I’d say that in general terms motorcycles are looked at a bit differently than in the US, not that there aren’t any similarities. Even here, one doesn’t have to have the latest word in engine horsepower in order to go out for a refreshing and satisfying ride. I’ve long found that riding a motorcycles clears my mind, something no car has ever done for me.

      • mickey says:

        I agree. I love riding and ride nearly everyday even in midwest USA.. 251 days so far this year, and sometimes find having a too intense bike with lots of horsepower and razor edge handling, takes a lot of the pleasure out of ” just riding”. When riding becomes work, it’s no longer pleasurable for me. Everyone has to find their own nirvana but mine is usually limited to about 100 horses and about 65 ft lbs of torque. Others are perfectly happy with 30 horsepower, and I understand that.

  5. Bob says:

    I think it’s related to my having been influenced by motorcycle designs of the early 60’s when I started riding, but what’s going on with rear wheels that look like they’re off in a different county than the rest of the bike. Some sort of a disassociated, afterthought of an appendage not integral to the styling. Not picking on these bikes specifically; just a comment on the trend.

  6. Silver says:

    Not ugly enough, will not see production.

  7. Skybullet says:

    Beauty is in the eye of….. Put me down as I REALLY LIKE IT! Great execution of contemporary styling with a little retro twist. I would like it even more with 800 to 900cc twin power, ride modes, quick shift, active ABS, Cruise and LIGHT WEIGHT.

  8. Gary says:

    Another original by Honda… Ducati Diavel tank with MV Agusta overall look. Maybe this one is built in China? We know they never copy anything.

    • Provologna says:

      I don’t really care about cars anymore. But today, while following a later model Camry, I noticed the shape of its tail light lens is almost an exact copy of the BMW 5 Series from about ten years ago. Funny as hell how blatant are Japanese design rip offs.

      And it seems like almost every American and Japanese car, SUV, and truck on the planet copies those tiny white LED “eye liners” under the head lights, a total rip off from Audi about ten years ago.

      It’s funny how original, attractive design themes become a cliche over time. Those LEDs are a joke now.

      • MGNorge says:

        I’m of the belief that the manufacturers wouldn’t bother with look-alike details if the public didn’t react to it favorably. Perhaps something of a sad comment on today’s consumer but BMW holds a sweet spot of having cachet and desirability from the upwardly mobile. Other manufacturers have found that incorporating some of the same type styling themes in their cars catches attention. Those LED’s are great DRL’s and use less juice than standard lamps.

    • Gary says:

      The LEDs, although adopted by just about everyone now, does play a useful service. They are on during at least the daylight hours to take the place of running with your headlights and still being able to help with someone noticing you on the road. But they generally always use less power since they are LEDs. It is a nice design detail, but also practical. JMHO

  9. Mr.Mike says:

    I like the CB4 but scramblers make no sense at all to me, and I grew up in the age of scramblers. They were an imperfect evolutionary step from street bikes to dirt bikes. As we learned from the “Jurassic ____” movies resurrecting extinct genetic dead-ends only results in trouble.

  10. Skuffy says:

    This is the CB1000R…..

  11. Archie says:

    So much negativity on the part of the commenters. I think the Six50 is quite cool.

  12. Motorhead says:

    Lego toys are influencing motorcycle design. I really like these, but still, there are hints of plastic building blocks forming the shapes.

  13. Butch says:

    I dunno but it seems the harder the Japanese try to cash in on the Scrambler/ Tracker/ Retro trend that seems to gaining a large part of the current market, the more bizarre their attempts become. Yamaha comes the closest with the SR500. But much like Triumph, it’s heavy and slow.
    The Honda CB1100 is another fine example, but it also caters to a select few.
    Why not just build a vertical air cooled twin, 270 degree, sub 400 lb UJM.
    Kudos to the new Goose with the flat seat. It’s just plain cool . . . . . . .

  14. John says:

    It seems to me that they need to do something sellable with that engine. If they were smart, I think they would make an entry level sport tourer from it. Not that I’m a fan of 600cc I4s. But I might be swayed if it’s more compact and lighter and more fun than an NC750X.

    OTOH, if they did these bikes with the 500cc twin, they’d potentially have something.

  15. goodlyRun says:

    Re: The CB4
    I liked it better when it was called the Diavel.

  16. motorico says:

    I like the looks of both of them. I have zero confidence Honda will actually bring either of these into production or the USA.

    I lusted after the “New American Sports” concept from Honda. That never made it past the concept stage as far as the world can tell.

    I also was hoping the CB1100 wouldn’t be such a heavy bike. I am sure the CB1100 will probably run forever but it would be so much better if it lost a chunk of the weight.

    • Scott says:

      Man, that NAS concept was cool! I saw it in person at Laguna Seca, and I would have bought one on the spot – had it ever made it to production… 😕

    • Geoff says:

      CB1100 is nice. If they hadn’t limited the power through first 3 gears I would have one. Instead I got a Road Star.

  17. Rudedog4 says:

    love the exhaust, but what are those things on the sides of the tank?

  18. Curly says:

    I don’t know about you guys but I’m past ready for the “no fenders” bobber era to be over. You know a rear fender isn’t just there to keep the dirty rainwater stripe from the back of your riding jacket, it’s also there to keep you from being sucked into the real wheel. Imagine getting bucked off for some reason and finding yourself between that tire and the seat for a moment. You can say, oh that’ll never happen, but yeah, it could happen. Makes a bike look like parts were left off too.

    The pipes do look great though.

    • MGNorge says:

      Keep in mind that these are styling exercises. A testing of the waters. There is an element of liability there sans rear fender and the Japanese seem to be keen on safety. I only have to reminded of the old Honda fuel tank stickers…
      “Preserve nature, always wear a helmet” 🙂

      • Martin B says:

        Mine always also said “Denke Dein Sicherheit” like Hitler won the war or something. This is in New Zealand. Maybe Soichiro knew something we didn’t.

  19. viktor92 says:

    Ugly. Both.

  20. Don says:

    I like the CB4. Nice to see well-styled bikes that aren’t 1000’s.

  21. Mick says:

    Why is it that there always seems to be some ridiculous styling trend? We seem to have finally survived the ugly headlight contest and have gone straight into the inadequate tail section contest. Ride one of these things in the rain for a day and you’ll be soaked and covered with road grime.

    I wonder about the exhaust system on the Six50. I doubt that the production bike will have anything like that on it.

  22. Trent says:

    Meet the Honda Diavel and the Honda xDiavel 🙂

  23. Colors says:

    Yes. Yes. Now, give me a 1000… and not that neutered sewing machine motor you morons put in the CB1000.

  24. Jeremy in TX says:

    A couple of Hondapilens? I love them both, though the 3 inches of ground clearance on the Six50 makes me think they need a new engine for this particular styling exercise. In fact, I think the scrambleresque Six50 would have been better as a “Five-0” built around the the little parallel twin.

    The CB4 is gorgeous in my opinion. I love the timeless waterfall header arrangement used on Honda’s 650.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: A couple of Hondapilens?

      damn you #2 you beat me to it…! LOL

    • Hot Dog says:

      Thanks Jeremy, for telling me the answer to what that arrangement of header pipes is called. I think both of these bikes are beautiful.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        Full disclosure: “Waterfall” is just a descriptor I chose because I don’t know what Honda or the industry actually calls that arrangement. It seemed to fit.

  25. TexinOhio says:

    I’m sure Honda will figure out how to mess these bad boys up into yet another automatic transmission rolling couch…

    Come on Honda live a little. You guys are as bland as food at a retirement home.

  26. ApriliaRST says:

    Lots and lots of nice motorcycle announcements day by day it seems.

    Meanwhile I keep waiting for the release of a ~70 hp, sub 450 pound, dual-sport that is physically large enough to carry two adults. Luggage not required, but a steel gas tank for a magnetic bag would be nice and powered by a low maintenance engine. So, no, I’m not a buyer for either of the featured bikes.

  27. Tommy D says:

    When you read UK publications and see the effect the A2 license has on model ranges you start to understand the importance of these mid sized models being tarted up like top of the line 1000’s but able to make it under their unrestricted 70kW (approx 93bhp) limit.

    Back in the late 80’s the Japanese economy was strong, the tiered licenses there brought out the 400’s we all lusted after here in the States. Of course they cost as much as a full blown 1000cc back then. It works in a tiered license environment. People will pay extra for the hottest bike in their license category.

    Here in the US there is a marginal market for bike like this under 1000cc. The cost dictates how a bike is received. Most dealers will say, “If it cost as much as a 1000cc bike what’s the point?”

  28. Mark says:

    The design smacks of the Roadster from MV Agusta…?

  29. ABQ says:

    YES. They finally chopped off the high passenger seat for a bobbed rear end. This means we don’t have to be a ballerina or chorus line girl to throw our leg over the seat. Somebody is listening.
    Now if we can just make them hear that we need a larger gas tank.
    …also, four cylinders on a scrambler might be too heavy. I’ll take two cylinders.

  30. achesley says:

    Nice ideas on both the bikes. Like the concept of the street version a bit more than the scrambler version. Maybe with less aggressive tires, on the scrambler, would not look so much as something that promises something it really can’t deliver.
    That said, I did ride my ’72 K2 Honda 750 in the sand at times, with street tires, and got stuck lots. But, LOL, I was much younger and stronger then. 😉

  31. Happy to see Honda finally showing some daring design and getting away from the conservative crap they have been doing forever.

  32. cyclemotorist says:

    Looks bad ass to me! Way to go, Honda!

  33. Starmag says:

    The front ends and the exhaust headers are nice… the rest is just silly.

  34. RAD says:

    Damn like that Scrambler version.

  35. Roland says:

    I really like the CB4 Concept. Sweet. Too bad this is just a design exercise.
    The next Hornet series needs to be styled in this direction and away from the weird-edgy-krap.

    As for the CB Six50, Isn’t It more of a tracker than a scrambler?
    I think the styling has potential but, it looks like it needs more refinement. Especially the rear half.
    Although, I bet that the headlight idea would be copied by others.

  36. Provologna says:

    I love both of them. I’d take one of each. Especially like the Six50 graphics on the fuel tank, and the way the headlight matches that graphic. Great HL shape too.

    Can anyone ‘splain the moniker “Six50?”

  37. Provologna says:

    I love both of them. I’d take one of each. Especially like the Six50 graphics. Can anyone ‘splain the moniker “Six50?”

  38. todd says:

    Honda would do much better if they just reintroduced the CB1. They could even bump a version of it up to 650 to compete with the SV650. Keep the round headlight but the gear driven cams would be icing on the cake.

  39. Waitman says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to each and every one of you. I love all motorcycles and all motorcyclists. We need to stick together. Please have a wonderful holiday and ride safely. Watch out for the rolling cage operators.

  40. jabe says:

    I just had an idea. How about a “scrambler” or any bike equipped with knobbies actually have off road ability? The CB4 on the other hand, almost looks good.

  41. burtg says:

    A 650 from Honda? Yawn. The cb4 looks like it’s supposed to fight a 1290 Superduke or something. Instead it’s going to get spanked by fz7’s, street triples and even the resurrected sv650. I have absolutely zero confidence that Honda will put any power into these bikes.

    • Shaunock says:

      Or you could say that it’s an FZ7/SV650 competitor that looks WAY better. But you can always go for the negative if you like.

      Since the article states it was just a design exercise I guess we’ll never know.

      • burtg says:

        Isn’t beauty in the eyes of the beholder? I’m not into it. Do you have a problem with that Shaunock? Or do you like trying to set people straight online? They put out design concepts so they can read consumer feedback. My vote counts, doesn’t it?

      • Blackcayman says:

        The problem is the CBR650 was smooth yet uninspiring.

        The SV650 is just going to be more fun.

        That said – these new designs are interesting and a nice departure for “Conservative” Honda. Well done

  42. Jim says:

    Reminds me of a Nuda 900 only not as cool.

  43. teelee says:

    Cool bikes, pipes look from CB400 four from the seventies. Don’t think there’s much of a market in the USA

  44. Gary says:

    I threw up in my mouth a little …

  45. Butch says:

    Nice and compact for a 4 banger.
    I will never accept the radiator though.
    Ducati Scrambler is still the one in my book.
    Old school rules.
    Old guys drool . . . . . . .

  46. randy says:

    more popgun engines…………… 🙁

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