Honda’s 2008 lineup
Where’s the CBR?
Honda underwhelmed us motorcycle nuts with its 2008 model lineup announced at its annual dealer convention held in Anaheim, California. Sure, there’re new flagships in the ATV and PWC segments, but the biggest news in the streetbike market is the non-debut of the company’s expected all-new CBR1000RR.
Well, that’s only partially true. Honda actually released pictures of its wicked new literbike before realizing that the master plan was to debut the CBR at the Paris motorcycle show later this month. We’re doing the good-guy thing and are respecting Honda’s September 28 embargo date for the release of info about the RR. What we can tell you about this new title contender is that Honda promises that it will be as big a leap in performance and weight as the stellar CBR600RR received for 2007.
Anyway, here’s a bit of what Big Red’s offering this year. (Stay tuned for info about the new CBR1000RR that should hit dealers in March.
Yep, Honda’s popular VTX1300 is now available with the traditional cruiser-touring accoutrements, including a full-size “custom” windscreen, a chromed-and-padded backrest and moderately sized leather saddlebags. It’s available in Black, Metallic Silver and Metallic Red for $10,999 to $11,099.
Here’s what appears to be the perfect bike to throw on the back of your motorhome or park out at the family farm. The CRF230L is noteworthy for its dual-sport status, although it’s not really much more than a CRF230F with street-required equipment and less suspension travel. At $4,499, it costs an extra $850, and with it comes a rear disc brake the F doesn’t have. It’s powered by a 223cc air-cooled four-stroke Single and is blessed with an accessible 31.9-inch seat height.
The major change made to these highly rated dirt bikes is the addition of a high-tech steering stabilizer called Honda Progressive Steering Damper (HPSD), standard equipment on the CRF450R motocrosser, CRF450X enduro and CRF250R. The damper is said to reduce rider fatigue, and these three models are also outfitted with new 22mm-offset triple clamps, presumably to sharpen the steering thanks to the calming effect of the HPSD. The motocross R models receive upgrades to their engines, plus some suspension tweaking. The 250X and 450X enduro bikes both have narrower fuel tanks for a slimmer profile. All are available in red, but the motocross R models can instead be had in a black design that is limited to less than 500 units per model – for an extra $200.
After watching Kawasaki, Polaris and then Yamaha sell the crap out of their side-by-side utility vehicles, Honda finally enters the ring with what it calls a Multi Use Vehicle (MUV). Regardless of what you call it, this early-release 2009 model might appeal to you with its 675cc fuel-injected, liquid-cooled powerplant, front and rear independent double-wishbone suspension, rubber-mounted bucket seats and tilting cargo bed. No price as of yet, but since it won’t be available until next summer, it gives you time to steal from your child’s piggybank.
That’s a lot of Xs, but Honda says this new 686cc liquid-cooled monster deserves them. Going head-to-head against the $7,399 Yamaha Raptor, this fuel-injected $7,899 sport quad boasts double-wishbone independent rear suspension and a distinctive centered chain-drive system. Go big or go home!
Okay, so it’s not a motorcycle, but neither were the last two. This new Honda watercraft catches our eyes with its 1470cc of turbo four-cylinder engine pushing a claimed 200 horsepower. A new hull design is said to quick planing and a better ride. Give us 200 ponies in anything that weighs less than 2000 pounds, and we’re interested!
Bold New Graphics, new colors and revised pricing round off Honda’s ’08 lineup. And the new CBR…