Honda In­dia’s un­der-the-radar bike her­alds a new-look mid­dleweight ad­ven­ture model

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

A cou­ple of crack­ing con­cept ma­chines were brought out very much un­der the radar ear­lier this year with very lit­tle to sug­gest they’d ever ac­tu­ally make it onto the road and into shops. But now MCN has dis­cov­ered that a new-look CB500X and stun­ning 300 retro TT racer are on their way.

Honda pre­sented the CX-02 Con­cept in Fe­bru­ary this year at the Auto Expo in Delhi, In­dia, but new pa­tents lodged sug­gest that it will be go­ing into pro­duc­tion as the new CB500X.

If you missed the re­veal of the Honda CX-02 con­cept it doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean you weren’t pay­ing at­ten­tion. While man­u­fac­tur­ers nor­mally shout about every new show-only model to emerge from their de­sign de­part­ments, the CX-02 came and went with barely a men­tion.

There were no stu­dio pic­tures, press re­leases or even tech­ni­cal de­tails for the bike. Cre­ated by Honda’s In­dian R&D sub­sidiary, it was seen as a side project that was only ten­u­ously con­nected to Honda’s main Ja­panese op­er­a­tion.

How­ever, new pa­tents now ap­pear to hint that the bike could be more than just a piece of mo­tor­cy­cle show eye­candy. Filed not by an In­dian sub­sidiary but by Honda in Ja­pan, they show de­tailed de­signs of the CX-02 con­cept and re­veal a ma­chine that’s sur­pris­ingly pro­duc­tion-suit­able, given its con­cept sta­tus.

While there are no sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences be­tween the newly pub­lished pa­tents and the orig­i­nal CX-02 show bike, the de­signs do give a clear view of the pro­duc­tion thoughts that have gone into it. Plus, of course, by patent­ing the de­sign Honda Ja­pan are en­sur­ing that it’s not copied else­where – sug­gest­ing the par­ent com­pany have plans for this bike them­selves.

Stripped of its show paint­work and fin­ishes, it’s clear to see just how much of the bike be­longs to the ex­ist­ing CB500X. When the bike was shown there was no of­fi­cial word on its ca­pac­ity or me­chan­i­cal make-up, but in these im­ages it’s clear that the en­gine, frame and even the front sec­tion of the ex­haust are all com­pletely stock CB500X. While the body­work is a depar­ture from the cur­rent style, it’s de­signed to meet le­gal re­quire­ments for road use. No­tice de­tails like the mir­rors, the num­ber­plate hanger and the swingar­m­mounted spray-guard which serves to make sure the body­work is long enough to meet Euro reg­u­la­tions that de­mand that the tyre isn’t the rear­most part of a bike. While the in­verted fork and ra­dial brakes are a step up from the cur­rent CB500X’S ax­ial calipers and right­way-up sus­pen­sion, they’re still not su­per- per-ex­otic com­po­nents. And the alu­minium swingarm, again an up­grade on the cur­rent box­sec­tion steel unit, isn’t heav­ily braced or com­plex – in fact it ap­pears to be bor­rowed from Honda’s own NM4 Vul­tus.

Over­all, the in­di­ca­tions are that while the CX-02 was shown as a con­cept it was de­signed very much as a pro­duc­tion-fea­si­ble ma­chine, and these pa­tents sug­gest that Honda Ja­pan have, at the very least, taken it to the next stage by en­sur­ing that oth­ers don’t copy key el­e­ments of the style.

It’s worth not­ing that Honda’s de­ci­sion not to re­veal any tech­ni­cal in­for­ma­tion about the CX-02 is a car­bon copy of the way the firm dealt with the City Ad­ven­ture con­cept re­vealed a few months ear­lier at the EICMA show in Mi­lan. That bike has since been con­firmed as be­ing des­tined for pro­duc­tion, with vir­tu­ally no vis­ual changes com­pared to the con­cept – which it­self was a far more out­landish con­cept than the one seen here. The first clue that it was more than a mere show bike was also the reg­is­ter­ing of pa­tents for its de­sign.

Given that Honda’s CB500X was mildly re­vised for 2016, it’s un­likely to get fur­ther changes be­fore the 2018 model year. But when it does, don’t be sur­prised if the up­dated ma­chine looks a lot like this.

‘Pa­tents hint that the bike could be more than just a piece of eye-candy’

waalthoughalthoughthecx-02was de­signed by Honda In­dia, the Ja­panese par­ent com­pany has filed these pa­tents

PATENT IM­AGE Honda re­vealed this CX-02 con­cept at a mo­tor­cy­cle show in In­dia ear­lier this year

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