A reliable source has informed DriveSpark that Honda would be launching the 2018 CBR 1000RR Fireblade and 2018 Goldwing globally later this year and in early next year in India. Both models have been the cream layer of all Honda motorcycles sold around the world, with the CBR being Honda's flagship of high-performance motorcycling and the Goldwing being the premiership of ultra-luxurious motorcycle cruisers.
Our source confirmed that the two high-end motorcycles' 2018 models would see their global launch in November 2017, with the India launch slated for January 2018. He refused to mention the exact changes the motorcycle would see. However, he did mention that there would be a host of changes and additions on the new motorcycle, so what could be the changes? Read on to find out.
The Honda Goldwing is an extremely niche motorcycle, competing with the Harley-Davidson CVO Limited and the Indian Roadmaster. The Goldwing has always been ahead of its competition when only the powertrain is considered, as it is powered by one of the largest engine ever to be fitted on a motorcycle.
The Honda Goldwing is currently powered by a 1,832cc flat-six-cylinder engine with a maximum power output of 117bhp and a peak torque output of 167Nm. The rear wheel is shaft-driven via a 5-speed gearbox. Since it is a cruiser, the gearbox has an overdrive ratio as well, and since the motorcycle is a heavy one, weighing in at 362 kgs(kerb weight), Honda has equipped it with an electric reverse system to keep the rider comfortable.
The Powertrain therefore, is already an advanced one and does not really require updation. However, Honda might bump up the power and torque figures by around 2% on the 2018 model. In the same manner, the 2018 Honda Goldwing is likely to retain most of its existing features.
The biggest change the 2018 Honda Goldwing will see is a new design, changing the way the motorcycle looks from all angles. The new design looks sportier, fresher and thankfully less bulkier than the current motorcycle. The design language followed is in line with the current Honda Design language. The image though is not an official image from Honda, but the leaked patent images have confirmed this design.
The large windscreen up front with four-inches of travel and six adjustable settings will be retained. The heating function on the handlebar grips, as well as the front and rear seats with individual settings and navigation system too will be retained.
The Surround Sound System available on the goldwing will see major improvements, and will be tuned up a notch to sound better, with a nicer surround effect. The aluminium chassis underpinning the Goldwing is expected to feature some changes at the front to create a bit more forward-inclined riding position.
The front end is also expected to see an all-new, first of its kind, leading link suspension system. At this point in time, this is just speculation, but the image of the Honda Goldwing shows a new suspension setup, which of course would have been set up to enhance comfort. However, leaked patent images of the Goldwing do not show the new suspension, which is why we would leave the suspension bit at doubt for now.
Honda CBR 1000RR
The Honda CBR 1000RR is one of the best performance motorcycles out there. It is a strong contender and the competition is very well aware of it. Well, Honda has decided to take things up a notch with the launch of the 2018 Honda CBR 1000RR.
The new CBR 1000RR Fireblade is a good-looking motorcycle in its current guise, but is not great-looking when compared to its competition - The Yamaha YZF R1 M and the Kawasaki ZX 10R. This is something Honda will be looking to change on the new motorcycle, but it will not be a completely new design.
The motorcycle will be an evolution of the current design, but just that little bit sharper. Patents show twin LED headlamps set back inside the front fairing, while the rear end remains almost the same.
Competition in the high-performance motorcycling segment has become fierce, with some motorcycles hovering close to the 200bhp mark, and some already above 200bhp. So, if the Honda wants the CBR 1000RR to remain formidable, the 2018 update will need to have a power output of more than 200bhp. However, reports have suggested that the power figures would be around 180bhp.
The 5bhp step up in power compared to the current motorcycle is not a big step up, but Honda seems to have concentrated on other aspects with the 2018 CBR 1000RR - weight, stability and advanced electronics. The 2018 Honda Fireblade will weigh around eight kilograms lesser than the current model, which should make the motorcycle quicker and handle better.
A bigger ram-air system featuring a redesigned airbox and air intake system combined with a revised fuel-injection system help achieve the few extra horsepower. The heavier Honda C-ABS (Combined ABS) system being replaced by the latest Bosch 9.1 MP ABS, has allowed Honda to shave off 6.5 kilograms of weight right there.
Bosch has apparently had a big role to play in the 2018 CBR 1000RR Fireblade, as the motorcycle will feature Bosch's entire electronics package including the Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU). The IMU helps integrate all the electronics running the motorcycle, using sensors to measure the motorcycle's position along six axes.
The IMU then brings together the ABS, Traction Control, anti-wheelie program, and the Ohlins semi-active suspension, to keep the vehicle under control or to help go faster, depending on the requirement at the moment.
Speaking about Ohlins, yes. The 2018 Honda CBR 1000RR Fireblade will be suspended by top-notch semi-active suspension from Ohlins. The latest version of the Smart EC semi-active suspension which first made its debut on the Ducati 1299 Panigale S will be seen on Honda's upcoming motorcycle.
As aforementioned, the IMU works in combination with all the electronics, and also with the Ohlins semi-active suspension, treating the front and rear suspension as separate units, individually adjusting the damping whenever and wherever required.
All this allows the motorcycle to be set up according to the rider's requirement on the road. What that also means is that, the motorcycle which was already very great at the track, will now be at the next level.
Prices should see a slight bump up for the 2018 models, but nothing big enough to bother prospective customers.
The Honda CBR 1000RR Fireblade and the Honda Goldwing are both iconic motorcycles in their own right. They were already successful motorcycles with almost no flaws, but Honda has gone ahead and revamped them, which would help them keep up with competition. If Honda gets their pricing right, there's no stopping these motorcycles from becoming a huge success.