WHEN we wrote about Honda's idea to develop both a bike and a scooter from the same engine and chassis back in March we honestly couldn't be sure whether we were looking at the wild imaginings of the firm's R&D department or a production reality.
Well, it turns out it was the latter, with spy shots revealing both versions of the machine on test. Motorcycle USA has pictures of both the motorcycle version, which it is calling a new CBF, and the scooter which is clearly a production version of the New Mid concept from last year.
Although we've already had pictures of the production New Mid, it's now clear that despite what appears to be a aluminium beam frame the real thing uses a simple tubular steel chassis. Those “alloy” bits are just painted plastic. Knowing that, it's suddenly obvious that under the bodywork it's identical to the patent images of Honda's bike-scooter-hybrid.
Despite different riding positions and completely different styling, one a bike, the other a scooter, it's clear that the two machines are identical when it comes to the engine, chassis, transmission (Honda's dual-clutch semi-auto, it seems) and suspension.
While some have suggested the engine is a twin-cylinder, the patent images show a single and that seems to be backed up by what's visible in the new spy photos. In fact, the engine looks like a derivative of the 686cc SOHC, four-valve single used in the TRX700XX quad bike. Where it's upright in the quad it's been canted forward in the new bike and scooter, something its dry sump design makes easy, but the engine cases seem virtually identical. That's not good news for power junkies; the TRX700XX makes around 45bhp.
What do you reckon? Is Honda onto something by making bikes that are so similar under the skin but so different on the surface?