Patent drawings, aka The Great Blabbermouth Of The Moto World, show Honda is working on new engine technology that should revolutionize its superbike.
In the past, manufacturers were generally able to keep plans for new bikes a top secret, until the big unveil at EICMA or Intermot. Today, thanks to the power of web-crawling software and government databases, you can see plans for new machines leaked months or years before they come into production (Or, maybe they won’t even come into production at all, and we’ll get all excited about nothing …).
Now, Cycle World is running patent drawings that show Honda is working on an updated inline four engine and exciting superbike chassis, drawing much from current Italian sportbike design, with the engine serving as an integral part of the chassis, with various subframes bolted to it (see patent drawings for the chassis here). It’s working for the Ducati Panigale, so why not Honda’s superbike?
As for the engine, the highlight of the new design so far is a variable valve timing arrangement, which Euro manufacturers like Ducati and BMW have turned to, to make more power and meet emissions standards. See Cycle World’s in-depth analysis here.
Officially, Honda’s not started any of the currently-in-vogue interminable YouTube teaser campaigns, but Cycle World’s been updating the public on a continuing series of Honda superbike patents for several months now. While OEM patents, or even concept bikes, don’t guarantee a production model (see also: Suzuki Recursion), the fact that Honda keeps working away on this does indicate what direction its new superbike will take.
Oh yeah then there’s the Endurance World Championship, not too many V4’s. The top teams; Suzuki, BMW, Kawasaki, Yamaha… all inline fours.
Ah…V4 dominating? In WSBK, Yamaha and Kawasaki are doing pretty damn good with inline fours.
Honda has really messed up their sportbike line. The CBR should have been kept an affordable street focused bike and the one used for racing should have remained a V4, like the RC30 RC45 were, but instead Ducati and Aprilia have made dominating bikes in that configuration and Honda’s current CBR1000 is the most expensive bike and also a complete failure on the racetrack.