The 41st Tokyo Motor Show starts a two-week run on Saturday, and the manufacturers have already started teasing the curious with early press releases of what they plan to exhibit. And if there’s a trend across the four Japanese manufacturers, it’s all about controlling cost.
Honda are claiming six motorcycles are World Premier exhibits, but that number should have an asterisk. The World Premier that will get the most world-wide coverage is the air-cooled CB1100 that Honda have released for production as a 2010 model. The CB1100 was shown in the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show as a concept model, and after two years of spit-and-polish Honda are ready to show the 21st century version of the Universal Japanese Motorcycle.
Next to the production CB1100 Honda will have a custom version that apes the café racer look of the 1970’s. Though it’s heavily based on the production CB1100, Honda counts it as a World Premier.
Honda’s water-cooled CB1300 has been given a product-refresh design turn, and will be available in the traditional naked-style and in the “Super Touring” style with a quarter-fairing and saddle bags. Without the saddle bags Honda calls it the CB1300 Super Bol D’Or.
The other World Premier models couldn’t be any more different. Honda will show a fuel-cell scooter concept model called the EVE-neo and an electric light-weight model called the EV-Cub.
The technically not a motorcycle, the oddest vehicle Honda will show is the U3-X, a one-wheel personal mobility device that leverages balancing technology Honda developed for the ASIMO robots.
Yamaha’s big World Premier model is also air-cooled and based on a multi-decade old design. The venerable SR400 looks about the same as the day it was born in 1978, but now has been fitted with fuel injection.
Like Honda, Yamaha’s other World Premier exhibits are electric scooters.
Let’s hope Yamaha have a surprise up its sleeve.
Suzuki are a bit more ambitious than Yamaha for the 41st Tokyo Motor Show, but much less so than they usually are. The 1250cc Bandit gets fitted with a touring fairing to compete with Honda’s CB1300s. Like the CB1300s, the big Bandit is fitted with an anti-lock braking system. The Bandit is also available in a naked model.
For the domestic market Suzuki have a Boulevard 400 cruiser and a Gladius 400 ABS, the latter which shares a lot of DNA from the SV650 V-twin sport bike.
Suzuki also have the obligatory electric scooter, but it doesn’t look toy-like (which can be said about the Honda and Yamaha electric scoots). Suzuki have fitted a fuel cell to a Burgman scooter, a scooter more in size with the 125cc scooter marker than the 50cc scooter market.
Kawasaki rarely show a concept model or World Premier at the Tokyo Motor Show, and chances are they won’t this year. The same can probably be safely said about the other motorcycle manufacturers, as many of the foreign car manufacturers have elected to stay home this time.