Common Tread

Honda's CB4 Interceptor concept, the motorcycle with a windmill

Dec 12, 2017

Honda’s CB4 Interceptor concept was a hit at EICMA, but details are scarce. Will they ever build it for us?

The CB4 Interceptor concept barely missed the cut for our EICMA coverage, but a recent YouTube upload from Honda Europe put it back on my radar. OK, Honda. I’ll bite.

The video never hints at anything more than a concept, but I don’t think we’ve seen the last of the Tron-da for a few reasons.

Honda’s doubling down on neo-retro/neo-cafe/neo-something with the 2018 CB1000R and its sidekicks, the CB150R and CB300R. That means Honda will be selling bikes featuring their new design language all over the world. Why not add a more aggressive racer to the lineup to further build out this vision? Honda even has a name for it: the “Sport Endurance” side of neo-retro.

Too good to be true? Honda CB4 Interceptor Concept. Honda photo.
Too good to be true? Honda CB4 Interceptor concept. Honda photo.

If you like the CB4 Interceptor, here’s the good news. The underlying design of the concept builds on a variation of the CB1000R platform. Look at the engine and the structural bits behind it. That powerplant looks like the ex-Fireblade engine found in the big CB, doesn’t it? The frame and swingarm look awfully similar, as well. Even the text down the tail reads “1000R”.

See, it says 1000R. How hard could it be? Honda CB4 Interceptor Concept. Honda photo.
"1000R", huh? Honda CB4 Interceptor concept. Honda photo.

Building an Interceptor would take more than a half-assembled CB1000R and all-black MH900-ish bodywork, but there’s no question Honda’s capable of making the CB4. They already built one, right? Just build some more!

Honda CB4 Interceptor concept
Note the swingarm, frame, and engine. More than a passing resemblance to the CB4 Interceptor. 2018 Honda CB1000R. Honda photo.

Not so fast. The CB4 Interceptor has its share of challenges to overcome before it goes anywhere, and even then, it will have to change considerably. Where’s the plate hanger? Euro4-compliant exhaust? Sidestand? Street tires? Turn signals and headlight (unless that halo arrangement is way brighter than it looks)? Little stuff for a big player like Honda, but significant.

And then there’s the concept bike's most unusual feature: the fan. It’s time to talk about the fan. Look inside the headlight and you'll spot... a tiny turbine? Honda claims the CB4 Interceptor can run its instruments on clean power generated by air flowing through the front of the bike.

Honda CB4 Interceptor concept
Honda CB4 Interceptor concept. Honda photo.

Power by pinwheel for the display seems to create more problems than it solves. What powers the display when you stop? What’s wrong with just using the battery? Is there a bug juice catch can to empty after horseflies and mosquitoes go through the blender? I just don’t see that part of the CB4 design making it to production, but if it does, people will smile and nod their heads at classic bike shows in 40 years murmuring “Oh, nice, the Honda with the fan.”

Honda CB4 Interceptor concept
Exploded wind power assembly. Did HondaJet help with this one? Honda CB4 Interceptor Concept. Honda photo.

Just because Honda is basing its design on an existing bike, that doesn’t mean they’ll decide to produce the thing, however. The CB1000R still has to prove itself. Honda will also be closely watching the feedback on their design to gauge interest. If you dig it, let Honda know and maybe they’ll bring out another iteration at EICMA 2019. Until then, anything could change, which is great. It’s not a V4, so can the name be something other than Interceptor?

Honda CB4 Interceptor concept
The closest it might ever get to the street. Honda CB4 Interceptor concept. Honda photo.