Forced induction is nothing new to motorcycles. During the '80s, the "Big 4" Japanese motorcycle manufacturers each produced and sold such models like the Suzuki XN85, Honda CX650 Turbo, Kawasaki GPZ750 Turbo, and Yamaha XJ650 Turbo.
Fast-forward to 2014 and they're practically nonexistent. Save for Kawasaki's H2; powered by a 998 cc supercharged engine, capable of producing 207 Bhp, and a top speed well over 320 km/h. The H2, along with its variants, the H2R and Z H2, are currently the only production motorcycle models using forced induction to increase engine power. They might not be the only ones for long.
Honda has just recently updated the patent they filed for possible production of a supercharged Honda motorcycle model.
Based on Honda's patent, the new engine that they are working on is a V-twin, with the supercharging apparatus sitting in the middle of the 2 cylinder heads. The patent document describes it as an “internal combustion engine with a supercharger for a saddle-ride type vehicle wherein the internal combustion engine is a V-type internal combustion engine including a front bank and a rear bank, wherein one of the front bank and the rear bank is provided with the TBW throttle device.”
What is a supercharger anyway?
In layman's terms, a supercharger is a device that forces air into the combustion chamber. Most motorcycles are naturally aspirated, meaning air is sucked in by the normal combustion process. By using a supercharger, which has blades that more force the air into the engine, the air pressure is increased, creating even greater combustion and more power. There's more oxygen inside to burn more fuel and that equals increased engine power output.
Why only now?
Recently, Honda has begun to fit turbos into their cars in order to produce more power while still meeting even tighter emissions standards. With the success this strategy has produced, it should come as no surprise that Honda's motorcycle division is looking into this technology as well. It will allow Honda to meet the demand for more horsepower while still meeting tightening emissions regulations around the world.
What will this model be?
For now, no one outside the Research & Development departments of Honda really know where this new supercharged engine will be equipped. It may just be for research. But, we can speculate that it will likely be fitted in a new Honda sportbike, likely with a displacement of 1000-1,200 cc to go agaisnt Kawasaki's H2. Whatever it is, Kawasaki beware!