Forget automobiles for a moment. Honda as we know it began after World War II with an engine meant to be affixed to a bicycle. In 1949, the company began selling a motorcycle of its own design—the Dream—and well, the rest is a rather storied history of innovation and sales success. In America, one of Honda's most important motorcycles was the CB750. Launched in 1969, it, more than any other two-wheeled machine, cemented the concept of the "Universal Japanese Motorcycle," a standard-riding-position bike that, with a bit of modification, could be used for practically any purpose the rider might dream up. Honda's current CB1100 pays homage to the old 750 Four, with its four-cylinder, air-cooled engine and UJM styling.
The CB Concept (pictured at top) takes that and refines it further, with a '70s-gold paint job on its flangeless tank, chrome instrument binnacle and headlamp housing, silver cylinder head, square mirrors, and a general level of detailing left off the current production model.
Super Cub Concept
Honda's Super Cub is one of the most important mobility devices yet conceived. The dirt-simple, ingeniously engineered machine is the bestselling motorcycle of all time, having been in continuous production since 1958. Sold here in America as the 50 and the Passport because Piper already held the "Super Cub" trademark for its PA-18 airplane, the Super Cub was the product being touted in the famed "You meet the nicest people on a Honda" ad campaign. What's more, it's the machine that broke Japanese motorcycles in America—which ultimately led to the collapse of the British bike industry and nearly took out Harley-Davidson in the process. Honda's desire to celebrate it is obvious.
What's not obvious is why it brought a second EV-Cub concept to the Tokyo show, after first showing it in 2010. It is what it sounds like: an electric-powered variant of the Super Cub meant for commuter duty. Alongside it, the company's Super Cub concept features a high-efficiency engine. Given that the Super Cub of 40 or 50 years ago was capable of about 200 mpg, we're anxious to see what Honda's claims for this new concept are.
Light Weight Super Sports Concept
Of most interest to sport-bike aficionados is what Honda's calling the Lightweight Super Sports Concept. Generally, when we think of the "supersport" as it pertains to motorcycles, we're thinking of high-winding, four-cylinder machines that, with a bit of fettling, can take on the Snaefell Mountain Course in a fit of anger. The Lightweight Super Sports doesn't quite tick all those boxes. For one, it appears to be powered by a parallel twin, like Yamaha's fine R3 and Kawasaki's Ninja 300. Honda's entry in the my-first-sportbike segment, the CBR300R, features a single-cylinder engine. You know, like a Moto3 bike, but not really.
Unlike a traditional supersport motorcycle (CBR600RR, Yamaha R6), the Lightweight Super Sports carries a single brake rotor up front, as does Honda's CBR500R. Out back, it wears an Akrapovič pipe, suggesting angry intent. If we were to hazard a guess, we'd suggest that it's meant to fall somewhere south of the 600RR and north of the 500R in terms of sporting intent. As for the displacement, your guess is as good as ours, although somewhere between 300 and 500 cubic centimeters seems a safe bet.