-- RC30 successor on the way?
-- Honda CEO hints at new cutting edge sportsbike
-- By Trevor Hedge
Honda President & CEO, Takanobu Ito, has today (Sept’ 21) in a speech made at Honda’s Aoyama office in Tokyo, hinted at the company’s plans to perhaps finally produce what sportsbike riders have been craving for many years, a new ‘RC’ series machine utilising technology from its MotoGP machines.
Ito san, “Since its market introduction in 1987, the RC30 (VFR750R) super sports bike has been loved by a large number of fans.
“With a goal to create a new history, passionate Honda engineers have gotten together and have begun development of a new super sports bike to which new technologies from MotoGP machines will be applied.”
While that statement does not confirm that this new machine will be the long awaited v-four sportsbike for the road that Honda fans crave, it does confirm that something very new is coming, and in linking it’s DNA with the RC30 Ito san has certainly made fans of Honda’s v-four architecture salivate at the prospect of a new cutting edge sportsbike that growls the evocative throaty roar in the way only a V-four can.
More sporting off-road machinery was also mentioned by Ito san restating Honda’s plans to get back into Dakar Rally competition in 2013, and the competition debut of their new machine next month in Morocco.
“With the best and brightest gathered from Europe, South America, the U.S. and Japan, together as one “works” team, Honda is getting ready for participation in the Dakar Rally in January 2013, for the first time in 24 years.
“The prototype machine, which is being developed based on the CRF450X, has been demonstrating high fighting performance on rough road surfaces such as the desert and rocky hills in various tests on engine performance, endurance and long-distance riding.
“In October 2012, this machine will be put in actual racing in the Morocco Rally to further refine its fighting capability. Honda will strive to win in the Dakar Rally from the first year of returning to the Rally.”
Honda has recently released a new Mid Series of models powered by a 670cc powertrain developed for use across scooters, roadbikes and dual-purpose motorcycles. The focus of this series has been to offer relatively low-cost machines with performance best suited to the primary role of commuting and general purpose use. In today’s speech Ito san pointed to a new larger series of machines following the same concept.
“Honda will introduce a series of large-sized models with a new concept, which enable customers to more easily enjoy daily commuting and weekend touring.
“This stylish new series will be equipped with a “torqueful” engine, low seat height which increases the ease of handling, and a comfortable ride with high stability in manoeuvring.
“The production of the first model in this new series will begin in February 2013 at Kumamoto Factory, Honda’s global motorcycle production operation, and sales will begin from North America.”
Other subjects covered by Ito san was Honda’s plans to increase their market share throughout Asia with a focus on 100cc models for the burgeoning Indian market, and the opening of the company’s third plant in the subcontinent. The company also announced plans to grow Honda market share in Africa and South America to get in on the ground floor of what they see as important emerging markets.
Honda has 29 production plants in 21 countries with more than 15 million motorcycle customers annually. Honda’s automobile arm boasts over three million customers and their power products brands nearly six million consumers.
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