Which motorcycles could Honda develop to launch a new generation V4 range?

The Honda V4 rumour mill has begun churning... but what kind of tasty products could be popping out the other side to whet our appetite?

Honda RC213V-S

For those mourning the newfound lack of V4-engined motorcycle options from Honda, it seems you may not have too long to wait for that pool of models to be replenished if we’re to believe the resurrection of years-old patent filings are to be believed.

Earlier this month, word spread that Honda is revisiting plans to develop a new generation of V4-engined models having seemingly shelved them some years earlier.

The talk stems from patents being registered formally for the European market. However, these are actually files that date right back to 2013, when they were registered in the US and Asia, so while there is a chance it is merely some delayed bookkeeping on Honda’s part, we prefer to notion it is pointing to a revival of the project.

What sets this V4 apart from the engine that has just been phased out is that it comes with V2 functionality, which isn’t new in ethos with various models already on sale using that trick. However, Honda takes it into new territory by developing tech that uses the more economical ‘half’ at higher revs than other motorcycles. 

It achieves this by changing the fuel circulation that allows the cylinders of the rear bank to adapt to the power needed, rather than flood them as would be the case with other motorcycles.

Should Honda get this tech right then it will almost certainly improve efficiency and, crucially, emissions, which will enable it to extract more power from future engines without falling foul of ever-tightening European standards. 

Which Honda V4 motorcycles could be incoming?

It’s been a while since we last clasped eyes on the Honda CB4 X concept revealed during the 2019 EICMA show, a model that would fill the void in the manufacturer’s range for a tourer-cum-off roader similar in ethos to the Yamaha Tracer 7 and Kawasaki Vesys.

However, while that was a mid-capacity model equipped with an inline four-cylinder 650cc engine, there have been rumours since that Honda is also working on a larger variant in the 1000-1100cc range.

There is therefore logic to imagining this - dubbed the CB1000X - is a high volume model that would stand to benefit from such tech given its target towards the higher-mileage GT sector, especially since one of its main rival would be the Ducati Multistrada V4. 

Other models that could stand to benefit from such tech is a high-powered mid-capacity model like the CBR600RR, which is no longer available in Europe in part because it doesn’t quite meet standards, though its position in a dwindling segment also played its role. However, with the mid-capacity class getting fresh ideas with models like the Aprilia RS 660 and Yamaha R7, it could re-engage Honda’s thoughts in this area.

Purists, however, will no doubt long for a honed sportsbike to directly target the Ducati Panigale V4 R and Aprilia RSV 4, one that many will hope is more convincing than the limpid Honda RC213V-S tribute to its MotoGP bike that didn’t quite hit the mark. Even so, with the new, well-received CBR1000RR-R occupying a lot of that market space, would it make sense for Honda to launch a model that could take sales away from itself?

Instead, one can imagine Honda seeing V4 value in eyeing up a bit of the growing ‘hyper naked’ market with a model that would slot above the CB1000R to rival the Ducati Streetfighter V4 and Aprilia Tuono.

Either way, Honda’s V4 engine has brought us some classics over the years and if the rumours are indeed true then we can’t wait to see what the firm has up its sleeve...