What is this Honda? New patent images

Answers on a postcard please...

Honda has just filed patents that seem to show a totally new design of bike – or at least, we can't place it.

The patents themselves relate to the design of the front and rear lights, but they're shown attached to a strange-looking creation that may – or may not – give a hint at one of the firm's future production machines.

From the pictures, the bike seems to be a machine that's stripped to the very essence of a motorcycle, with no bodywork as such, just a fuel tank and seat. It also has an unusual layout, with the single-cylinder engine lying almost horizontal in the frame – rather like that of a maxi-scooter.

A second patent shows a very similar bike, albeit with detail differences to the frame design,  in two further forms. Both have under-seat fuel tanks, but one has a storage box where the normal “tank” would be – giving it a bike-style silhouette – while the other has nothing, turning it into a scooter shape.

We'll be honest here; we don't know what this project is, whether it's a forthcoming production machine (or several machines?) or just something that's been patented to protect Honda's ideas.

But it does illustrate that some of the thinking that's been prevalent in car design for years – whereby several totally different models are created using identical underpinnings – is starting to be applied in bikes. Why not create a chassis/engine combination that's the basis of both a scooter and a 'proper' bike depending on the bodywork that's added? It's no stranger really than making a VFR800 into an adventure bike – the Crossrunner – just by changing the plastics and the handlebars.