The Japanese company showed off three significant products and bunch of promising CBUs. First, the Aviator. The Aviator is Honda's latest scooter, unfortunately, based squarely on the Activa platform, so no new powertrain to compete with all the 125s. Er... oops. Yes, the 102cc engine powers the neat looking Aviator, which claims, falsely, to have the first 12-inch wheels in the country. I think the Blaze already did that. Finally, Honda relent and add telescopic forks and offer an optional disc too. The Aviator still does not offer a front-fuelling option. I, for one, am neither amused, nor enthused.
Moving right along, the CBF race and sports concepts looked very nice. Based on the Unicorn, they were styling exercised aimed to see what you guys think of such styling and bits. I loved the braced swingarm, carbon body panels and stuff, but couldn't swallow the twin shocks. Technically, good suspension tuning is far more important that how the suspension is articulated. But Honda (re-)introduced the monoshock to our country, and seeing the next generation of sporty Unicorns with gas-charged twin shocks will not help Honda's cause. Of course, all of the Japanese companies have both mono- and twin-shock bikes in their worldwide ranges, but that isn't the point. You can't sell a bike for four years harping about the monoshock only to revert to twin shocks a few years later. Someone at Honda needs to realise that Unicorn sales are not a reflection of people liking/not liking the monoshock, its a failure on the value front. So the solution lies in a perceived value correction, not the spring.
The CBUs included the CB600F Hornet, the CBR600RR and the Fireblade. The last one is simpler to deal with, so I'll take that on first. The Fireblade displaces more than 800cc so it could be a direct import. On the other hand, the other two will have to be assembled here, and CKDs look like a great idea on that front. Of the two, the CBR600RR has received some excellent, excellent reviews and I for one, can't wait to ride one. I asked one Honda official about the saree guard and the front number plate requirement. He said that the new rule – European homologation is accepted means that the big bikes won't need saree guards anymore. The front numberplate is an RTO requirement, but shouldn't be too hard to handle, since the Singapore market also requires a front plate and so solutions already exist, ready for transplant.
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