Is Honda reviving the 6-cylinder CBX?
Drawings of a neo-retro 6-cylinder Honda mean machine surfaced, we can’t help asking ourselves if Tokyo prepares a new platform or is just playing with our imagination
One of the wildest things we got to see these days is the all-new Honda in some drawings that surfaced recently showing what may be a new version of the mighty 6-cylinder CBX model from the late seventies. There’s absolutely no chance for us to make a mistake, these photos clearly show a liquid-cooled in-line six engine mounted in a retro frame, breathing through a spectacular six-into-six exhaust array.
Is Honda just playing with our minds, or are they indeed planning a new blast from the past? Hard to tell, but regardless of how much we’d love to see this machine come to the market, we’re taking the story with a huge grain of salt. Remakes of retro machines are selling well enough when priced correctly, and to verify this we only need to look at the likes of BMW R nineT or Yamaha’s line of modern classics.
However, Honda has a rather gloomy history of interesting, fairly unique and outstanding bikes with high prices and that were dropped quickly. Only weeks ago we ran a piece on a possible new Mugen MRV1400 machine, under the same precautions. Is this new CBX part of the same story? Maybe, maybe not.
What stands between such dreams and reality is the fact that most motorcycle manufacturers are now channeling their marketing efforts to what can be called the “platform mentality.” That is, developing, testing and building an engine that can power several independent models. Variations would be introduced by the type of frame, suspensions, possibly the transmission. Ultimately, different types of bodies would generate as many models as needed, despite the fact that there would be only one engine for, say, 3 different bikes. Does BMW’s 1200 boxer mill ring any bells?
If they so wanted, we’re positive that Honda could indeed build a 6-cylinder engine that would live up to the rather high standards of modern industry. Euro 5-compliant emissions, decent fuel economy, speed and brawn to compete with the rest of the neo-retro gang, plus the looks, feel and technologies to make it a real modern bike, could be all achieved by Honda with ease. The big question is at what cost?
The new iteration of the CB1100 looks great and packs neat features, and the price is not that far from the affordable side of the bike world, but Honda still hasn’t moved enough bikes to exactly call it a hit. A new similar model may not be the best lucrative solution from a marketing standpoint, despite the alluring tune of its in-line six. Or is Honda preparing a new line-up based on this engine? Looking forward to seeing if House Tokyo brings something new at EICMA this fall…
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