The Tokyo Motor Show may be better known as the stage for new car models, yet there’s much to see for the motorcycle enthusiast as well. After all, it serves as the launch pad for new and upcoming models particularly from the Japanese Big Four: Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Suzuki.
While our friends at AutoIndustriya.com recap some of the more notable cars, we go over some of the interesting motorcycles on display: from outrageous concepts to world premieres of new models.
Easily one of the largest booths at the show was that of Honda. Granted, it’s a combination of both the 4-wheeled and 2-wheeled products. Yet the sheer size ensured fans of either were satisfied.
Before the Motor Show, Honda announced a few of the motorcycle models to be unveiled at the event, two of which were electric: the Benly e and Gyro e. The reason behind this new naming scheme is to align with Honda’s new electric division: Honda e:TECHNOLOGY. This new sub-brand will encompass all of Honda’s electric products, using “e” as a common element of technology and product names and energizing people by inspiring them and putting a smile on their faces by using electricity as the energy.
Closer to the present, the Honda booth had an exhibit which commemorated the 60th anniversary of sales of CB Series motorcycles. As you can imagine, there were a large number of CB motorcycles, including the Benly CB92 Super Sport (1959), Dream CB750 Four (1969), CB750F (1979), and CB1000 SUPER (1992).
Naturally, Honda’s present day offerings were also there, with a CB1000R custom concept easily drawing crowds, along with the new CRF1100 Africa Twin Dual Clutch and Gold Wing Dual Clutch.
Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd., best known for their motorcycles, had a large exhibit at the Motor Show. Within its booth, some 12 models were on display, including the three world-premiere models: the Z H2, Ninja ZX-25R, and W800. We’ve talked in detail about the ZX25R as well as the Z H2.
Perhaps having its thunder stolen by the two more modern models was the all-new W800 classic. The new W800 is inspired by the original 1966 650-W1, the first model of the W brand, and the model that first gained Kawasaki recognition as a manufacturer of large-displacement motorcycles.
Like the W800 Street and Café released last year, the W800 offers easy handling and a high level of craftsmanship. But of the three models, it is the truest to the looks and feel of the original W. Its silver engine design and numerous chromed steel parts strengthen its resemblance to the 650-W1, while contributing to its classic, high-quality looks. And in case you aren’t familiar with the W1, a W Heritage Zone was on display with the aforementioned models.
Yamaha showed off its commitment to Leaning Multi-Wheel technology with its broad lineup of three-wheeled offerings. We’ve talked in detail about the MW-Vision Concept and Tricity 300. Current models like the Niken and upcoming ones like the Tritown were also present.
Fans of Yamaha off-road machines were also delighted with the presence of Tenere 700, YZ450FX and TY-E trials bike. Yamaha also had a number of electrically assisted mountain bikes.
We’ve talked about electric concepts like the E01 and E02, yet these are just a small part of Yamaha’s upcoming electric lineup. On display was also the E-Vino, an electrified version of its retro-style scooter.
Perhaps most intriguing is Yamaha’s breakthroughs in autonomous and unmanned vehicles. At the booth were quite a variety headlined by the Fazer R helicopter, YMR-08 drone, aand fully autonomous Land Link Concept.
Like Honda, Suzuki also had a range of automotive and 2-wheeled offerings. We have a more comprehensive story on its two new models: the Gixxer 250 and SF 250.
Also on display was its MotoGP-inspired sport bike, the GSX-RR.
Perhaps one brand we didn’t expect to see motorcycle and mobility models from was Toyota. Nonetheless, they certainly delivered. Though already revealed at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, this time, Toyota’s i-Road was made available for public test drives. The short-distance mobility solution combines the size, maneuverability and fun factor of a motorcycle with improved stability to support last-mile urban commuting or tourism. While the front wheels don’t steer, they lean into the turn, while the rear wheel steers the vehicle. The rear caster wheel can also rotate 360-degrees, allowing the vehicle to turn on a dime and navigate tight spaces. It’s all controlled by a steering wheel and pedals, just like a car, and is powered by an electric motor. The Toyota i-Road won’t be offered for public consumption, instead offered to resort and property developers as leisure and tourism options.
Finally, for individuals that have difficulty walking, or have disabilities, Toyota has the Walking Area BEVs. These are low-speed personal mobility vehicles specifically designed to traverse walking areas like sidewalks, hallways, pedestrian paths. They are fully electric and already roll on Bridgestone’s new airless tires, returning the same feeling as conventional tires without the risk of punctures.
Easily the most eye-catching bike at the Tokyo Motor Show didn’t have wheels at all. The XTurismo (pictured above), built by startup drone maker, ALI, is a hover bike. It’s not meant to fly, but rather hover just a few centimeters above the ground. The hoverbike boasts of futuristic styling, concealing large propellers underneath that bike that keep it afloat.
ALI says its prototype has already undergone test flights, successfully maintaining constant altitude and attitude control. Further tests are needed to ensure safety and practicality. Nonetheless the company is confident it can offer a production version next year.
The XTurismo is intended to serve as a leisure vehicle, as well as rescue vehicle in times of disaster or for transportation is difficult terrain like wetlands, deserts, or even across short distances over water to islands.
In line with its theme, “Open Future,” the 46th Tokyo Motor Show certainly delivered, serving up a whole buffet of exciting mobility possibilities with electric propulsion, autonomous operation, and to some extent, even flying.