Patent Application Hints at Honda Bringing Back the VTEC

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A patent application spotted by Ben Purvis at Cycle World hints at Honda expanding its variable valve timing technology on its two-wheeled offerings, with designs of a sophisticated VVT system could come to a new CBR model.

Filed in June 2018, the patent application (not yet an actual US patent, mind you) is a restatement of a Japanese patent that dates back to 2017, and in it Honda describes a mechanism where “an internal combustion engine is provided with a variable valve operating apparatus.”

With Honda pioneering its VTEC system on the VFR800 series, the news might sound rather basic, but the patent makes an interesting note that this version of Honda’s variable valve system affects both duration and lift on the camshaft.

Honda’s new VTEC system for motorcycles uses two cam lobes to achieve different duration and lift profiles for the valvetrain, which is a big deal for the space.

This is a new step for Honda, and only BMW’s new ShiftCam technology achieves the same result in the two-wheeled space, despite other less-sophisticated VVT setups from other OEMs.

The abstract for Honda’s VVT patent application reads as follows:

When a switching drive shaft is longitudinally moved under hydraulic pressure switched by a solenoid valve, a cam mechanism advances and retracts a switching pin.

When the switching pin is advanced to engage in a lead groove in a cam carrier, the cam carrier is axially moved while rotating, to switch cam lobes to act on an engine valve.

A solenoid valve is disposed on a left or right end in the leftward and rightward directions across the vehicle width, of a front or rear surface of a cylinder head.

The solenoid valve is placed in an appropriate location in the cylinder head out of interference with other parts of the engine, thereby making the vehicle small in size.

With Honda using drawings of a superbike in its patent application, this just adds more fire to rumors that detail a new CBR1000RR/Fireblade model is in the works. However, we should point out that in patents, the drawings are merely illustrative of a technology’s use, and not binding.

This means that there is nothing in Honda’s patent application that specifically pegs this technology for a particular future model. While we have seen VVT setups already come to the superbike sector, today’s news could just as easily apply to the next generation Gold Wing than it could the next CBR.

Still, one has to wonder how much longer Honda can persist with the current CBR1000RR design, especially as all of its competitors move forward in the sector.

Will the next Honda superbike be an inline-four or a V4? Will Honda take advantage of the WorldSBK homologation rules? What does Euro5 hold for Honda’s superbike future? Only time will tell.

Source: USPTO via Cycle World