The ink has barely dried on the last 2014 Honda model announcement, and we’re already looking at the official kick-off of 2015 new-model Hondas. Over the past couple years Honda has introduced more than 20 new powersports products, and this first wave for the 2015 season includes a real eye opener, a dramatically updated model and returning favorites.
Since the inception of the company, the very foundation of Honda has been rooted in innovation. Honda’s most recent quest to push past the status quo is a creation of pure imagination—a machine so new it embodies a radical identity, riding feel and experience. That machine is the NM4, a genuinely futuristic motorcycle.
NM4 Large Project Leader Keita Mikura summarized the bike by saying, “Honda is a big company. We make every kind of motorcycle. It’s great that sometimes we make a certain machine simply because we can and because we want to, not because we ‘should’. The NM4 exists because of a passion from deep within our company. We wanted to create something special, not just in the two-wheeled world, but truly new and unique in the whole world—a machine that engages a human soul like no other. Our intention was to make something that makes every moment feel cinematic, and we want riding it to be an event—guaranteed—every single time.”
With its stealth-fighter aura, the NM4 does indeed explode past conventional designs. Its purpose is to capture the imaginations of a whole new segment of forward-thinking riders and draw them into the world of motorcycling. Elements of Japanese anime culture can be seen here, as well as angled shapes and forms reminiscent of future-think hardware seen in sci-fi films; its looks are that bold, and its intentions that radically different.
Beneath its futuristic bodywork there’s a 670cc, liquid-cooled, parallel-twin engine with four valves per cylinder, automatic dual-clutch transmission, electronic fuel injection and ABS. This combination delivers easily accessible performance thanks to the advanced Dual Clutch Traction (DCT) technology that simplifies operation for new riders. The rider can freely choose between automatic twist-and-go D and S mode, plus a handlebar shifter manual MT mode. A 270-degree firing order produces a satisfying power pulse for a rewarding engine feel, while twin balance shafts counteract unwanted engine vibration to produce a distinctly refined experience.
The rider settles easily onto a comfy seat that’s perched a low 25.6 inches off the ground; it’s reassuringly easy to flat-foot the NM4 at stop lights and in parking lots. The roomy ergonomics define a ride made for comfort, be it around town or out on the open road. And there’s also a cool and very practical backrest feature—an ingenious design that makes you stop and wonder, “Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?” When you ride solo, you can simply flip up the passenger seat, which then performs amazingly well as a backrest. It can be set at three different angles and slides fore and aft to one of four positions to help you get that just-right fit.
Standard saddlebags plus storage pockets in the upper cowl add real-world utility. The rear turn signals integrate slickly within the chiseled shape of the rear bags. Full LED lighting lets the NM4 stand out whether it’s coming or going. The headlight is rimmed with a blue line of light, and the front turn signals and mirrors are integrated neatly into the bodywork.
A beefy 43mm fork raked out at 33 degrees lends a substantial look and provides 3.9 inches of well-damped travel. In back you’ll find Honda’s Pro-Link® single-shock rear suspension system mated to a strong yet lightweight aluminum swingarm for 3.9 inches of comfy travel. The NM4 incorporates an 18-inch wheel up front, and there’s a 17-incher in the rear with a fat 200mm tire that imparts a very cool image. For stopping chores, the single 320mm front disc and 240mm wave-style disc brakes incorporate ABS.
The meter display really follows a sci-fi theme: it can be illuminated in any of 25 different color choices—nearly one for every day of the month! The standard lighting settings change automatically according to drive mode: white when the transmission is in neutral, blue in D mode, pink while operating in S mode, and red while manually punching the handlebar shifter in MT mode. All in all, pretty cool stuff!
It all adds up to one of the most futuristic bikes on the planet. The futuristic NM4 comes only in Matte Black Metallic color, and will be priced at $10,999 when it becomes available in June.
The PCX150 stands out as a best-seller worldwide thanks to its modern design and remarkable value for money in terms of initial purchase price, low operating costs and thrifty fuel efficiency. Now the next generation arrives with a whole new look: its motorcycle-inspired lines are even more sport-oriented than before.
And it goes as well as it looks. Its low-friction Enhanced Smart Power [eSP™] 153cc, liquid-cooled engine pumps out good power and it’s even more fuel efficient than before, thanks to additional friction-reducing measures applied to engine internals. As before, efficiency is part of its basic design; its offset cylinder layout helps reduce engine friction. A larger, 2.1-gallon fuel tank helps give it greater range between fill-ups too. The Honda V-Matic automatic transmission provides twist-and-go simplicity, along with seamless acceleration.
The 31mm telescopic fork offers a comfy ride through its 3.9 inches of travel, while a twin-shock setup in the rear gives 3.0 inches of travel. In the braking department, Honda’s Combined Braking System (CBS) links the 220mm front disc brake to the 130mm rear drum for smooth, progressive braking action.
The PCX150 also gets increased comfort and convenience features, including new seating for rider and passenger comfort. All lighting is now LED: the dual headlights, taillight and turn signals for a trendsetting touch that also reduces electrical drain. And a handy 12-volt accessory socket serves as a convenient charging station for personal electronics. With a light curb weight of 295 pounds, a nimble, 51.8-inch wheelbase and a low, 29.9-inch seat height, the PCX150 serves as an easygoing ride that adds a big element of fun to the day’s travels.
Returning for 2015, the CRF110F fills an important role as an entry-level bike for beginning riders because it has all the right stuff: electric starter, modest size, low seat height, automatic clutch to go with the four-speed transmission and a broad power spread from the 109cc, four-stroke engine. Its chassis is also designed to meet the needs of those new to riding with great ergonomics, comfortable and confidence-inspiring rider triangle. And there’s also a throttle-limiter for further adjustability. It also features race-inspired looks from the pro-level CRF450R and CRF250R.
Every rider has to start somewhere, and for thousands of riders that somewhere has been the Honda CRF50F. For decades, Honda’s off-road 50s have proven to have the right stuff for beginners to get a great start in off-road riding. There’s the strong and tough 49cc four-stroke engine that’s famous for its durability and friendly power characteristics. The automatic clutch and three-speed gearbox make it easy to build up a strong riding foundation, as do the telescopic fork and single-shock rear suspension. For more than 40 years, Honda 50s have stood tall as the bike of choice for beginners, and that tradition continues today with the 2015 CRF50F.
Led by innovative new product, the 2015 model season launches with an exciting start. As we have seen for the past two years, Honda has reinforced its leadership position in the marketplace with new models that break new ground, and it looks like 2015 will be more of the same. With new machines joining a solid lineup of favorites, the expanding Honda family of motorcycles, scooters, ATVs and side-by-sides continues to offer excitement for just about every kind of rider.