Honda CBF designing a V4 superbike, so it's released this CB-F concept
Motorcycle companies have given us some magnificently silly model designations over the years. The Yamaha Empty One and Tedium spring to mind. Then there's the Honda Dullville, the BMW K1200 Arse Port, and the Suzuki Intruder and Gladys, while France chipped in with the MBK DooDoo 125. As far back as 1912, you could go and buy yourself an Abingdon King Dick, so this is by no means a new thing. Indeed, it's a proud tradition at this point, a tradition to which Honda is submitting an entry for the text-message generation.
It's perfectly timed; in these stressful times of global peril, many, if not most of us, CBF. This kind of situation can have us wondering why we'd ever BF to begin with, and when we're going to have any Fs to G in the future. Honda's CB-F concept captures the tone of the moment we're living in.
I'm starting to accept the fact that the glory days of motorcycling are in the past. The manufacturers seem keenly aware of this; retro-styled bikes dominate their sales charts, harking back to the before times, when you could ride fast and free, shirtless, with your moustache trailing in the wind, clutching a cigarette in your bug-filled teeth and stopping only to call people names you're not allowed to any more.
Honda has leaned into the retro thing too; the CB4 cafe racer concept and Monkey Bike remake are examples, and there's a certain stately old fogeyness about the CB1000R nakedbike launched in 2017. Perhaps not enough to tickle the requisite number of Benjamins from the fat wallets of the aging Boomer market, though, so the CB-F is designed to hark back to the CB750F standard bikes Honda was making between 1979 and 1985.
I'm only 43, so I don't have any fond motorcycling memories from that era. By the time I was into bikes, the CB750 was already a tad stale for my tastes. You'd see 'em doing the rounds as courier hacks and commuters. It never seemed to me the kind of bike you'd want to honor with a tribute. But apparently it was quite the icon in its time, one of the original UJMs (Universal Japanese Motorcycles) that revolutionized the biking world. An ancestor, obviously, of the 2002-model CB900F Hornet that became my first real two-wheeled love affair. Quiet little 1997 Honda VT250C Magna, we don't talk about you, and for good reason.
The new CB-F concept pays tribute with a rock solid paint job and tail section taken straight from the '82 model, as well as a much spunkier exhaust than the CB1000R. But otherwise it pretty much is a CB1000R, with that big, proud 1,000cc Fireblade engine in the middle pretending it hasn't been neutered down to a socially acceptable amount of horsepower, like Superman's mum sending him out of the house in kryptonite underwear.
The CB-F was to be launched at the Osaka and Tokyo motorcycle expos this year, but we all know what happened to those. So Honda's holding its own little virtual expo online, complete with an actual expo stand they've built and filmed in 360-degree VR so you can pretend you're somehow the only person at EICMA this year.
Will this become a production model? Sure, you can dream. Stranger things have happened, and if this gets enough older bikers excited then in might just become a thing. Or it might not, particularly if Honda CBF building it.