New Bikes

Is Honda getting its sense of humour back?

New Navi scooter has hints of 80s frivolity

BACK in the 1980s Honda stood apart from its rivals thanks to a tangible sense of fun that was never more apparent than in some of the oddball scooters it sold.

The pop-up-headlight Elite springs to mind, as does the fold-up Motocompo, but those were just the more mainstream models. For a real glimpse of Honda’s alternative 80s humour, Google the Road Fox, Zook, Motra, or FC50. In fact, you can see them all here.

The same bravado that created bikes like these also led to successes like the RC30 and glorious dead-ends like the NR750.

Now there’s an inkling that some of that character might be returning to Honda. It’s made the RC213V-S. There are rumours of a new V4 superbike for WSB. There’s the MSX125. And yesterday the firm took the covers off the Navi – a cheap-and-determinedly-cheerful twist-n-go launched in India.

Mechanically it’s all conventional cheapo stuff; integrated engine-transmission-swingarm unit, steel frame, small wheels and cable-operated drum brakes. But in terms of styling it’s more like a mini-bike – instead of a step-thru shape it’s got a proper seat and tank, with a big hole where you might have expected to see the engine. Instead you can fill that space with luggage.

It’s not just a concept, but a proper production machine that’s going on sale in India at Rs 39,000. That’s £390 in our money… Wonder if they’ll sell many?

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