Honda to bridge the gap between bikes and scooters?

Design patent suggests New Mid concept could become a production reality

Honda has been threatening to launch something that's halfway between a sports bike and a scooter for years, but this new design patent reveals that it might finally be getting ready to actually do it.

The firm's latest stab at the idea was the New Mid concept bike at last year's Milan show. But it has done it before with a selection of concept machines including the 2005 E4-01 (a 900cc three-cylinder sports-scooter), the 2003 Griffon (a flat-four-engined sports-scooter) and the 2001 Elysium (a flat-four-engined, er, sports-scooter.)

The latest design drawings show a machine that's clearly linked to these previous efforts but doesn't quite match any of them. The chassis and engine configuration look similar to those of the latest concept, the New Mid, right down to using the same style of wheels, while the styling is very similar to the far more outlandish Griffon from 2003, complete with a forward-sloped headlight and exaggerated side panels.

After nearly a decade's worth of concepts based around the idea of a large-engined scooter with sportsbike-style running gear, perhaps the firm is finally making a move towards making just such a bike. The question is, who is going to buy one?