September 27, 2007 Honda will unveil a series of show motorcycles at this year’s Tokyo Motorcycle Show, headed by a radical six cylinder prototype to be known as the EVO6, which will be based on Honda’s six cylinder Gold Wing engine, but in a form far from its long-distance tourer guise. Seemingly aimed squarely at the Suzuki B-King muscle machine which was unveiled at this show four years ago, the 1832cc engine is much lighter and sportier than its touring brethren and is housed in an ultra-modern lightweight frame and is clearly designed for very rapid acceleration.
The bike cuts a dashing figure with its slimmed and sculpted, but clearly muscular horizontally-opposed six cylinder engine, and one of the most significant changes is that it now has one throttle body for each cylinder, compared to it’s tourer sibling’s one on each bank of cylinders. There’s also a five LED headlight, with the lights arranged in a Y-shape, giving it an alien robot façade and with lots of matt-finished alloy, and a medusa-like tangle of three exhausts on each side, it really does look quite distinctive and nothing like anything that has been before it, from any manufacturer.
With Honda’s move to show a six cylinder machine at Tokyo, the trend is beginning to distinctly move towards six cylinder machinery on two-wheels. Suzuki’s six cylinder Stratosphere concept is not yet in production but isn’t far away, Benelli is apparently working on a V6 superbike, and rumours persist that BMW has a six cylinder touring machine in development.
The six cylinder configuration enjoyed a brief period of popularity in the seventies when Kawasaki built the humungously large Z1300 and Honda produced the delightfully balanced CBX, while Benelli added two cylinders to what was basically a Honda CB500 motor to produce the Benelli Sei. All ultimately failed in the market and Honda’s Gold Wing has been the only six cylinder machine on the market for some time.
Several other machines are slated to go on show with the EVO6 in Tokyo, including two variations on an air-cooled CB1100R machine with distinctly retro styling - one harking back to the endurance racers of a quarter century ago, and the other somewhere between the original CB750 of 1969 (the original superbike) and the CB400 which launched a thousand racing careers. There's also an all-new Forza Z scooter, though no details have been released.