Honda Working on a Scooter/Motorcycle Hybrid for the US

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While the fact that Honda is set to bring a MotoGP-inspired sport bike to market stole the show during Honda CEO Takanobu Ito’s end-of-the-fiscal-year speech, the Honda CEO also let drop the fact that Big Red is working to bring to market a larger and more “torqueful” version of its Mid Series (note the caps) maxi-scooter concept, which will debut first in the American market.

You may remember the Honda Mid Concept, a 700cc maxi-scooter design that debuted at EICMA in 2010. Featuring a smooth and fuel-efficient 700cc twin-cylinder motor, the Mid-Concept gave rise to pragmatic bikes like the Honda NC700S & Honda NC700X, which used the maxi-scooter’s 700cc Integra motor in their design.

With news that Honda is working on an ever larger and more powerful “Mid Series” motorcycle, there has been a great deal of speculation regarding what Ito-san could actually be hinting at with his words — though the idea that the bike will be bigger than the Mid, suitable for commuting and touring, built in Honda’s flagship Kumamoto plant, and debut in the North American market, to us, gives a very clear idea about what is going on within the walls of the brand.

Knowing the context of the situation, it is pretty well defined that the Japanese brand is building a sizable scooter/motorcycle hybrid. There have already been photos circulating of a bike resembling the Honda Mid Concept maxi-scooter testing here in the United States, and Honda has been experimenting a great deal lately with crossover models lately for the American market. Still, this hasn’t stopped some publications from taking some interesting guesses at the bike’s final form & function.

Ranging across the spectrum, there is at least some evidence that Ito-san could be referencing a larger-displacement version of the Honda NC700S or Honda NC700X, both of which use the Mid Concept’s 700cc Integra motor.

However, we tend to stick to the theory that we will see something closer to the original maxi-scooter concept, than something like the NC700 series since he clearly reference the Mid Series concept, and not the two road bike. There is also the small issue of how larger versions of the NC bikes would even fit in Honda’s current line-up.

Our favorite conjecture is the misguided idea that Ito-san is referring to the recently leaked Honda CB500 or Honda CBR500, whose sole-link to this news is its middleweight displacement size. Unlikely to be produced in Honda’s Kumamoto plant (the same plant that builds the Honda VFR1200F), and also unlikely to break cover first in the North American market, we chalk this one up to poor reading comprehension.

Read Takanobu Ito’s statement below, and let us know your interpretation in the comments. We should have our answer in only a few weeks’ time.

“In the area of large-sized motorcycles, following the New Mid Series, 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 maneuvering. 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.”

Source: Honda