As part of their annual celebrations, Honda let journos from across the world have a taste of their best performance machines. Aspi Bhathena shares his ride experience
The primary reason we were in Japan was to ride a wide range of Honda motorcycles and provide feedback regarding which bikes would be most suitable for Indian conditions. The lineup included the Silver Wing scooter, the DN-01, the CBR600RR, the CBF1000, the CBF1000R, the CBR1000RR and the 1800 Gold Wing. Katsuhisa Yoda – Manager Overseas Operation, Asia & Oceania and Hitoshi Akaoka – Chief Engineer, Honda R&D were among the senior management members present to oversee the ride.
Honda were extremely vary of the riding capabilities of Indian journos as the circuit that they had selected was extremely tight. One could not get the CBR1000 out of the second gear and additionally, they had a Honda S2000 car to make sure we did not go crash. I started the day’s ride with the Silver Wing scooter as the overnight rain had left the circuit wet and damp in places. The DN-01 which is quiet futuristic in its design and styling performed reasonably while pottering around the circuit. After riding all the bikes, the motorcycle that really impressed me the most was the GL 1800. Even with all its mass and size, you could really throw her around even on absolutely tight crippling corners without any problem.
I concentrated mainly on the CBF1000, the CB1000R and the CBR1000RR as these are the most likely motorcycles that will make their way into India. The CBR1000 will be launched in India at the end of February 2009. The 1000RR has been shrunk in size and feels like a 400 on steroids. You can throw this bike around like a toy, but at the same time you have to treat it with a lot of respect as you feed the power. If you are cranked over the limit you could slide the rear end or if you whack the throttle open while being upright you’ll see the front wheel getting sky bound. Honda have made the CBR1000 more user friendly so even people with average riding abilities can utilize all the horses available. You don’t have to be a Danny Pedrosa to be able to ride it!
It was quite annoying to follow the pace car. I could not bare it any longer and passed the pace car sending the Japanese into a bit of a tizzy. I had requested Honda if I could have a ride on the RCV212 but was told that it was not possible as it would be very dangerous. But after I finished riding, Hitoshi Akaoka complemented me on my riding technique and said that I have the skills to ride the RCV212. Thanks to the Indian journos who rode the bikes there, Honda’s previous opinion had transformed and they acknowledged that we are also capable of riding the big Superbikes.
The Chief Engineer at Honda’s R&D centre, Hitoshi Akaoka with the CBR1000RR bound for India. The bike will be here by the end of February 2009