The Honda Navi is a $650 Grom’esque Bike for India

The little Honda Grom has earned somewhat of a cult following not only because it’s so small and nimble but also because of how cheap it is. But you can always go cheaper and Honda has just released a new bike for the Indian market and for a price equivalent to US $650.

The Honda Navi as it is known definitely bears more than a passing resemblance to the Honda Grom. This is no doubt on purpose as the Navi is actually a scooter – albeit it styled to look like a motorcycle and in fact, Honda has marketed it as an ‘automatic motorcycle’. The Navi uses a 110cc engine, has 12 inch scooter tires on the front and 10 inch ones on the back.

about-bike

According to Honda of India, the Navi is their first bike completely researched and developed in the country and has been specifically designed to attract younger riders who aspire to a motorcycle but cannot afford one. As is all the rage at the moment, there will be a large amount of customisable options for sale, including colours, storage and various bits of bling.

We certainly don’t expect the Navi to make its way to western markets any time soon, but once again it’s good to see that manufacturers are realising that bigger isn’t always better.

Honda Navi 001 NAVI-Green

Honda Announces New Grom and Australian Release

The little bike that could which has received somewhat of a cult following is finally making its way to Australia. It’s been a number of years since the bike first debuted in Thailand (where it’s known as the MSX125) and riders in the USA have also been enjoying it for a while now but Aussies will get to buy the bike through official Honda dealerships by mid-2016.

But also of interest is that Honda in Thailand concurrently announced the release of a ‘premium’ Grom – the MSX125SF. According to Honda Thailand, the MSX125SF comes with new LED headlight and light blue positioning LED line (no, I don’t know what that means either), new full digital meter, new down type muffler, new airplane tank cap, new flip key, and upside down shock absorber.

For Australians, the full press release from Honda is extremely short on detail, only divulging that the Grom will be available in Burning Red, Hyper Yellow and Eclipse Black when it hits Australian shores later this year. The images provided also show the new MSX125SF variant – but we’re not sure if that particular version or the standard Grom will make its way to Australia. Nor do we know of the ‘premium’ Grom will make it to the US or UK either.

No word on pricing yet but given how sharply Honda priced the new Africa Twin, we’re optimistic it will come in at a reasonable price.

Honda GROM02_resize GROM_3 Honda GROM03 (2)

honda msx125 005 honda msx125 004

Honda Wants a Computer to Teach you how to Ride

Computers, they’re everywhere. They’re even in watches now – what an amazing time to be alive. Honda thinks they’re so clever that they’ve lodged patents for a new computer system that is designed to teach motorcycle riders become better at what they do and it’s called the Live Computer Instructor System (we’ll dub it LCIS for short).

The computer and sensors that make up the LCIS aren’t overly revolutionary and in fact are now found in the most recent top of the range bikes. They include gyroscopes, accelerometers and GPS, but also incorporates a camera and and recording device. The recording device is aimed to providing feedback after a rider travels the same route – which could be just as handy on the racetrack as it is on the street.

The feedback is also provided live – if you’re getting on the throttle too late or too early, it will tell you. Same for things like lean angle, braking power and turn in points. How that feedback is provided isn’t really disclosed – there’s emphasis on a touch sensitive screen but providing instructions that necessitate taking your eyes off the road probably isn’t ideal.

Also, the patent seems to be heavily steered towards new riders – again, we haven’t come across any manual/mechanical scenario where feedback from a computer is better than a human when it comes to learning brand new skills, especially something as tricky as riding a motorcycle.

But applications for track racing definitely seem strong. No doubt there’s many a rider – amateur or professional – who yearns for detailed feedback and technical data when practicing on a circuit where tenths of a second become so important.

honda live Computer Instructor System

Is Honda Planning a Production Version of the CRF450 Rally?

The Honda Africa Twin is just making its way into dealerships, but does the biggest of the Japanese manufacturers have another surprise in the offering by way of a production version of the CRF450 Rally? While most were assuming the concept CRF250 Rally would make its way to sale, new patents point to the bigger, Dakar bike reaching showroom floors.

2016 Honda CRF450 Rally 006

This year’s entry into Dakar

Dakar is currently underway for 2016 and at the time of publishing this article, Honda’s Paulo Goncalve is leading on a CRF450 Rally. The bike has been at the pointy end of Dakar since it was entered in 2013, yet Honda doesn’t offer a motorcycle for sale like it – the bike is based on the CRF450X though the new Africa Twin is a closer spiritual companion. But a CRF450 Rally would definitely fill a void in the marketplace where not even KTM currently competes.

Looking at the race version of the bike and the patents, there are signs that this is a production ready machine and not just a patent filing for Honda to protect the design of their race entry. The skid plate and engine guard is much more conservative than the race version, there’s no hand guards and the exhaust can is fairly Honda off road standard. But otherwise it’s very similar in appearance to what’s currently being raced South America.

Honda have given subtle hints that their ‘True Adventure’ series will continue and there’s now an exciting chance that will be in the form of a 2016 CRF450 Rally.

 

 

 

Honda Looks to Get More Retro With New CB1100 Models

Other than the new Africa Twin, last year was a very quiet one for Honda. But 2016 is already looking better with one – and possibly even two new models based on the existing Honda CB1100. The current CB1100 naked is a fine bike, but rather uninspiring to look at. But there’s now a good chance we could see not only a air-cooled machine based on the ‘Concept CB’ from last year, but the return of a previous concept – the CB1100R.

The ‘Concept CB’ was shown at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show and will be making an appearance once again at the Tokyo Auto Salon this month. That would point to the bike going into production. Given that the bike is basically a CB1100 with a visual makeover, that’s not a big leap to make. In fact, given how pedestrian the existing CB1100 looks, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Concept CB replaces it completely.  Using the same frame and engine, the concept version has a modified fuel tank, side panels, headlight and various other aesthetic changes.

Honda's Concept CB looks likely to go into production.

Honda’s Concept CB looks likely to go into production.

But more exciting is the prospect of the CB1100R, or CB Racer. This bike was shown off as a concept way back in 2007 and hasn’t been seen since. New patents filed in Japan show the bike is still on the drawing board at Honda and would actually put them ahead of the pack for a change – an air-cooled retro sportsbike? It would sell extremely well and give Ducati something to worry about with their Monster range.

While the CB1100 range will meet Euro IV standards, those will only last for a few more years so if Honda does intend to make a last foray into the large capacity air-cooled sportsbike market, they’ll hopefully do it soon.

 

Honda CBR250RR set for Production

Reports from Indonesia indicate that Honda’s ‘Super Light Weight Concept’ which has been dubbed the rebirth of the CBR250RR is set for production. Manufacture of the bike is set to commence in March next year at the Astra Honda Motor factory in Karawang, West Java and release of the bike likely to occur in the fourth quarter of 2016.

If the reports are correct, it’s going to be interesting to see what Honda do with their existing lineup. Currently, the Honda CBR300R and CB300F are both produced in Thailand. It would seem strange to continue to sell those machines if Honda is going to bring out a two-cylinder bike to play in the same space.

There is a possibility that only the engine will be produced in Indonesia with the rest of the bike being built in Thailand, though seeing as Thailand also produces the two-cylinder CBR500 range in the land of smiles, retooling the line to produce the new engine wouldn’t seem to be a stretch either.

But that’s just part of the puzzle – we’re still unsure of the specifications of this new bike and how much of the concept will make it into production. Looks wise we don’t expect too much to change save of course for the use of more traditional lights and other finishes. Power wise, we’re hearing it will rival the RC390 – but for that we’d expect it to be at least bored out to 300cc or more.

super light concept dash

 

EICMA Coverage 2015

We’re now just a few days away from the biggest event of the year for the motorcycle industry to show off their new toys. While every year it seems like the manufacturers like to ‘leak’ news and images of their new bikes before the event, there will still be a number of new surprises in store, most notably from BMW, Ducati, Bimota and Yamaha.

Below is a small summary of what new models we’re expecting from various manufacturers. It’s by no means a complete list but we’ll be updating this post when EICMA takes off on November 19.

Aprilia

Sister company to Moto Guzzi, the smallest of the Italian brands isn’t likely to have much new on offer, save for the rumored 230+ horsepower RSV4RF. Which suits us just fine.

Benelli

The Chinese owned Italian manufacturer has at least one new model ready to be shown off – we’re thinking an off-road focused machine around the 600cc mark.

BMW

BMW will have a number of new models on show, including their new scrambler based on the R nine T retro bike. Rumors are now that there may be two versions of this new scrambler as well.

Ducati

The bit Italian is expected to unveil up to eight brand new bikes at EICMA. We’re expecting that some of these eight are variations on existing machines, such as a bigger capacity 899 Panigale, but there should be a few surprises, too.

Expect a new smaller capacity Scrambler and a belt driven Diavel.

Honda

There’s not much to expect from Honda at EICMA this year, save perhaps for the production version of the CRF Rally. We’d love a new Fireblade but unfortunately that’s not going to happen.

Moto Guzzi

Four new models will be ‘officially’ unveiled at EICMA, but we already know what they are. They’ll be a pair of V9 machines – a Bobber and a Roamer, plus a scrambler and a production version of the MGX-21 bagger concept.

Suzuki

A new GSX-R1000? Pretty please?

Yamaha

Yamaha will actually be unveiling it’s next big secret tomorrow which will be another new bike in the MT/FZ lineup. And if that bike shown tomorrow isn’t the new XSR900, then expect that to be unveiled in Milan also.

 

 

KTM Debuts Their 2017 MotoGP Bike, the RC16

KTM is coming to MotoGP in 2017 and today they gave the first glimpse (publicly at least) of their entry into the premier class of motorcycle racing, the KTM RC16. These pictures are courtesy of Heinz Kinigadner, KTM’s sporting director who posted them on his Facebook page.

There are two things of note about the bike – both relating to Honda. First is the appearance which in many respects resembles Honda’s current MotoGP entrant, the RC213V. Of course, there’s not a great deal of differentiation one can have with sportsbikes but the front air intake and the swingarm are eerily similar.

The other interesting thing to note is the prominence of Red Bull sponsorship. Of course, Red Bull is involved in just about any sport with even a hint of risk, but what is interesting is that this season, Red Bull’s sponsorship of the factory Repsol Honda team has become more and more prominent. Perhaps come 2017, we’ll have a KTM backed Red Bull MotoGP team to sit alongside their Formula 1 efforts.

The KTM RC16 will use a V4 engine and is designed around a steel trellis frame. KTM plans to release consumer versions of the RC16 for track use only come 2017 as well.