Suzuki's Recursion concept shown at the Tokyo Motor Show yesterday looks very much like it has taken a leaf from the Erik Buell book of motorcycle design – light weight, mass centralization, broad usable power, and minimalism.
While the underslung muffler is reminiscent, you might be excused in missing other similarities, as the forced induction 600cc parallel-twin engine is at first glance quite different to the big 1200cc V-twin of a Buell.
In actual fact, it's not. Read the figures and you get a very similar powerband to the Buell of yore with its Harley Davidson motor. It is the common philosophy which is most obvious. All the mass centralization hallmarks are there, but motor is the most interesting parallel. The turbo-charged middleweight-sized engine produces 74 kW (99 hp) at 8,000 rpm, but it's the meaty midrange which you might miss if you're not reading carefully – it boasts a hefty 100 Nm (74 ft-lb) of torque at just 4,500 rpm.
Now let's compare that to the 1200cc Buell Lightning I tested back in 2004, which had 100 hp, a dry weight of 175 kg/386 lb (compared to the Suzuki's 174 kg/384 lb), and peak torque of 114 Nm (84 ft-lb) at 6,000 rpm, compared to the Suzuki's 100 Nm (74 ft-lb) at 4,500 rpm.
The Suzuki produces slightly less torque, but it delivers it much earlier. If you were one of those people like myself who got a bit disenchanted with the lag then rush of turbocharged motorcycles in their first coming, (Honda's CX500, Yamaha XJ650, Kawasaki's GPZ750 and Suzuki XN85), things have come a long way in three decades, and the Recursion is likely to have a more refined throttle response and wider powerband than the Lightning.
The Recursion prototype also sports some interesting tech and design ideas in the form of a space-age dash, a newly designed switchgear designed to make it easier to thumb through the bike's functions and a "haptic feedback pad" in the sides of the seat which combine with the front-mounted camera to alert the rider when there is a high risk of collision.
It looks a treat, it won't hunt and splutter on a hot day, and will make for a very sweet ride with none of the Harley's eccentricities ... if it ever sees production.