New big-bore Hondas coming...

...But what will they be?

The recently-released 2012 Honda Goldwing doesn't look that dissimilar from its predecessor and certainly doesn't represent the quantum leap in technology that many expected from the bike that's been Honda's flagship for the last 37 years, but it is new enough to merit a different model number to its predecessor.

Yes, peer at the VIN and you'll spot that it starts with the alpha-numeric combination “SC68”. That mightn't mean much on its own, but it does suggest that Honda has plans for at least another couple of big-capacity bikes as part of its 2012 model range.

Why? To understand you need to know a little about how Honda's code numbers work. Familiar with the likes of the RC30 and RC45? Well those names are simply the first figures on the chassis numbers of each machine. “R” means more than 600cc but less than 899cc. “C” means it's a street bike. And while the RC30 and RC45 are famous under those names, every other Honda has a similar one too. The RC46, for instance, is the VFR800, while if you ride a new-style Deauville you can tell your mates you've got an RC59...

The Goldwing's “SC68” code is just the same. “S” refers to its capacity; every Honda over 900cc gets an “S” code, starting with the SC1 (CB900F) and running through to the SC63 (VFR1200F), SC64 (CBF1000F and SC65 (CB1100F).

But there it stops; there's no SC66 or SC67 in the range yet, but with the Goldwing getting the SC68 name it means those two bikes, both street models of more than 900cc, have been designed and got far enough down the road towards production to be assigned specific model codes.

Of course, there are occasional gaps in the history of the firm's numbering where prototypes were dropped before reaching production, but they're surprisingly few and far between. And what's more, we know Honda's got several 900cc-plus bikes in the pipeline. One of the missing “SC” machines is almost certainly the VFR1200X adventure bike, a production version of the Crosstourer concept shown last year. The other could be the touring bike based on the VFR engine, although a new Fireblade or even the much-rumoured V4 sports bike would also get an SC code (presuming it's a 1000, it won't be an “RC” like its predecessors, the engine's just too big). Whichever way it turns out, “SC66” and “SC67” should be some of the more interesting machines to arrive for the 2012 model range.