Supercharged Hondas | COMING SOON?

Honda is the Latest OEM to Explore Forced Induction

Suzuki Recursion Concept

Suzuki has already revealed its turbocharged Recursion concept bike, powered by a boosted, 588cc parallel twin ( Up To Speed, March, MC ), and Kawasaki has shown a supercharged four-cylinder engine (Up To Speed, April, MC). Now we've discovered several patents suggesting a supercharged engine is coming soon from Honda, too, making Big Red the third of the Big Four Japanese manufacturers to research forced-induction in anticipation of tough new motorcycle exhaust emissions restrictions.

Honda appears to be working on at least two designs. One is a parallel twin—effectively the front half of the VFR1200F’s SOHC V-4 engine—with a supercharger located where you’d normally find the rear cylinder bank and an intercooler mounted above it, where the airbox usually resides (see image). That should be enough hardware to boost performance back up toward something like the 160 crankshaft horsepower produced by the current VFR1200F, with just half the displacement.

The second design is something more intriguing—an inline-four with a small supercharger mounted down low and in front of the crankshaft. The engine uses reversed cylinder architecture, with the intake at the front and the exhaust at the rear and the cylinder bank is tilted slightly backward relative to the bike’s frame, much like the layout used on Honda’s NSF250R Moto3 racebike.

The impetus behind these designs—and those of Honda’s above-mentioned rivals—is forthcoming legislation in Europe, expected around 2017, that will force bike makers to quote CO2 levels their machines produce. Many European states already tax automobiles according to CO2 emissions, and once figures for bikes become available it’s expected they’ll be taxed as well, adding further pressure to reduce CO2 emissions and fuel consumption. Forced induction is becoming virtually required on cars as a result of CO2 and fuel consumption pressures, and the same is predicted to happen to bikes over the next few years, too. Normally aspirated high-performance cars are a dying breed; we may well soon be looking at the last generation of fast, large-displacement, normally aspirated motorcycles, too.

Supercharging will allow Honda to reduce displacement, improving economy and cutting emissions on a test cycle, while still delivering the sort of performance riders expect from “proper” sportbikes.