New products Yamaha, Honda


New products Yamaha, Honda
Illustration: Guerin

New products Yamaha, Honda

Preview 2009

While BMW is penetrating the heritage of the four major Japanese brands with its new super sports car, Yamaha and Honda are preparing the counterattack. The MOTORCYCLE illustrations show the direction of attack.

During the 29th calendar week she is said to have driven in Nardò. The almost 12.6 kilometer long circular orbit on the Gulf of Taranto is a paradise for full throttle test drives. Testers from all manufacturers are constantly there and test everything imaginable for its high-speed suitability, from the engine to the blue-light roof structure for police cars. Unfortunately, the test site is also a huge high-security wing, so there are no photos of the new Super Tenere and no information about what was tried there. In addition to the full throttle resistance of the new engine, the stability of the machine at high speeds with and without luggage are just as important criteria as, for example, the thermal conditions in the rear axle drive. It gets really hot at high speeds.

There is hardly any doubt that Yamaha’s spearhead will receive a cardan drive and thus a bevel gear for the rear wheel compared to the BMW R 1200 GS. Yamaha took a long time to make this choice; the influence of the Italian, Spanish and French importers, who had long called for a sporty, supermoto-like orientation, kept the question of the drive open. In recent years, the BMW GS has also developed into a bestseller in the countries mentioned, which encouraged the decision in favor of the cardan. After speculations about the engine design, the die was cast in favor of an in-line two-cylinder with 1200 cc displacement, which will produce between 120 and 125 hp. Dry sump lubrication creates sufficient ground clearance and avoids splashing losses. The crank pin offset of the in-line engine is still unclear? Yamaha itself started with the original Super-Tenere with 180 degrees, i.e. counter-rotating pistons, and went over to 90 degrees with the TRX engine. The in-line engine ignites in the same rhythm as a 90-degree V2, a design that has been retained in the TDM 900. Whichever principle the engineers opted for, with the stated values ​​for cubic capacity and power, the necessary smoothness cannot be achieved without two balance shafts. Unless they had come up with a completely new system, such as BMW with the F 800.

New elements

Computer retouching: Guerin

The Honda VFR 1000 will act as the successor to the VFR and CBR 1100 XX in the coming year.

In view of the highly developed casting technology to which the YZF-R1 and R6 as well as the FZ1 and FZ6 owe true works of art of frames, it stands to reason that the Super Tenere also receives a cast aluminum bridge frame. Versatile adjustable spring elements, ideally with electrical assistance, are a prerequisite for a motorcycle that is to cover a wide range of uses. When asked whether the new one will be presented at the Intermot trade fair in Cologne in autumn and will be available in stores next spring, Yamaha employees and dealers are still adamantly silent. Only one said, “We know what’s coming by March. Such a motorcycle is not included. Well, April still follows. Honda drivers have been asking for a successor to the popular CBR 1100 XX for years. The engine output of 150 hp and the handling characteristics of the very handy big bike are not even the decisive reasons. More like the grayed out look and the competition from BMW to Kawasaki, who simply offer more modern concepts. At the same time, the VFR is now leading a wallflower existence. With its 800 cm3, it clearly lacks the thump from below in the round of large four-cylinder units, and the elaborate valve control (Vtec) with a speed-dependent switch from two to four valve technology didn’t really help. It would be a shame if Honda would finally say goodbye to the many years of cultivated V4 technology. But there is hope, as credible sources promise that it will not.

It would make sense to put together a new package from the two concepts CBR 1100 XX and VFR. A VFR of at least 1000 cc. An independent-sounding, around 160 hp motorcycle that combines the virtues of both long-running brands. Is there room for such a machine next to a brilliantly selling Fireblade? Sure, because not everyone wants to go out with 180 hp, but maybe two of them do that. That’s why there are still a few thousand double X’s on Germany’s roads. Of course, some customers have migrated to the competition. Or drive a CBF 1000. Between 100 and 180 hp, between all-round 1000s and high-end super sports cars, there is a gap at Honda that a new VFR 1000 would perfectly close. The animation on the right shows what such a machine could look like. Our computer retoucher was very much based on the current VFR. In addition to a slimmer headlight section, the main changes to the existing VFR are more modern spring elements and brakes. The single-sided swing arm is retained, as is the very chest of drawers and the seating position that is suitable for long journeys. And of course Honda will spare no effort with the V4 engine and continue to equip it with Vtec valve control, which, however, promises a significantly greater effect with 1000 cc than with the 800 engine.

Whispers about the future

Computer retouching: Guerin

The new Yamaha XJ 650 Diversion is planned for 2009 as a very affordable naked bike for the 78 hp class.

In terms of weight, the developers will stick to around 250 kilograms and thus maintain the class standard for sports tourers. An elaborate anti-lock braking system and perfect exhaust gas cleaning are a matter of course at Honda. It is not yet clear whether the new VFR will comply with the upcoming strict Euro 4 emissions standard. Just as little as the presentation date of the great sports tourer. For Intermot and for the 2009 vintage, the VFR 1000 will not be ready yet. It seems almost certain that Yamaha will bring a successor to the very successful Diversion series. After all, the brand with the three crossed tuning forks has watched the competition from Honda CBF 600, Kawasaki ER-6 and Suzuki Bandit 650 long enough, which are somewhat lower in price and performance than the FZ6 Fazer.

With a modern designed four-cylinder machine, similar to the one our computer retoucher imagines, Yamaha will now counteract. The Diversion 650 carries its motor in a nicely designed tubular steel frame, which gives the machine a great deal of independence. The 650 in-line four-cylinder is consistently designed for 78 hp, has injection and modern exhaust gas cleaning, but exudes a lot of flair despite the water cooling. In our retouching, the exhaust system is based on the new Vmax, which will soon see the light of day. Optionally there will also be an ABS with the Yamaha, in terms of price, it is said that the new Diversion is a tough offer. The basic version should cost less than 6000 euros and thus keep the competition in check.

There are also the latest rumors about the new R1 already announced in MOTORRAD. With this machine, Yamaha will make a radical new start in the supersport scene. Technically, the 1000s will go strongly towards MotoGP bikes? with a further significant increase in output to around 190 hp. Yamaha will be the first large-scale manufacturer to present a real big bang engine with a corresponding unusual crank pin offset of the crankshaft. In order to bring the immense performance of this super sports car safely onto the road, electronic driving aids are used, as they already support Valentino Rossi in winning in the MotoGP class. The new R1 should also be a solid basis for further Superbike victories.

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