Designers Talk#5
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Bringing the appeal of aggressive super sport bike design and the freedom of riding to as many riders around the world as possible

To become one with the motorcycle, which handles perfectly, seeming to read the rider's mind…. To forget the presence of the bike and become completely absorbed in the forward motion…. Super sport bikes like the CBR1000RR—Honda's flagship sport bike—offer the fundamental performance characteristics that make this experience possible.

A racing motorcycle offers even sharper performance, specializing in beating every other machine in the competition. With its cowl that cuts through the air and low-crouching posture in front, a racing bike is designed in every detail for high stability and controlled behavior on the track.

The CBR1000RR super sport bike offers a classic sporty riding experience, on the track or off

The RC212V competes in MotoGP, the world's ultimate motorcycle road race

The appeal of a well-designed super sport bike

The design of a super sport bike does more than simply help deliver on the fundamental goal of performance. Its shape slices through the wind while concealing power that seems always ready to burst forth. Making a much different impression from that of a scooter or a naked motorcycle, a super sport bike has aggressive appeal, reminiscent of a wild animal lying in wait for its prey.

The posture of the rider only adds to this effect. The rider leans forward with a slightly curved back, lightly gripping the clip-on handlebars that are positioned low and somewhat distant from the rider. In this position, the rider becomes one with the bike while cutting a dashing figure. Even when the rider is waiting for a light to change, his or her posture conveys a distinguished kind of tension. To a rider who resonates with this stance toward the world, a super sport bike is much more than way to experience the joy of riding. It's the ultimate means of self-expression.

Until recently, such enjoyment belonged exclusively to riders of top-performance super sport bikes. Yet many of those who love riding don't go full-throttle on the track all the time, and getting used to a super sport bike's powerful engine and its high-seat, low-handlebars riding position is difficult for many riders.

For these reasons, we came up with the idea of a more approachable motorcycle that still offered the aggressive appeal of the CBR series and the joy of mastering a super sport bike. A bike for both those who had experienced super sport bikes and those who were completely new to the segment.

Super sport bikes typically feature an aluminum frame and multi-cylinder engine that add significantly to their price tag. While offering satisfying performance, our new bike would trade these features for an amply rigid steel frame and a DOHC single-cylinder engine whose potential any rider could explore to the fullest. With this image of the bike in mind, we began the development of the CBR250R.

A design to thrill riders around the world

To kick off the design process, we asked all of our R&D centers around the world to produce a sketch of the future bike. We felt these sketches would provide a hint or two as to what type of design could convey the joy of super sport bike riding to both men and women, to riders of all ages around the world.

Europe, the birthplace of the super sport bike, presented a sketch of a pure super sport bike ready for a spin on the circuit. This design in this picture, however, painted a fairly accurate picture of the future CBR250R's hardware, which makes the bike more nimble than larger-displacement bikes in narrow mountain passes.

On the other hand, the sketch from Asia, where commuter bikes are the norm, showed a novel and somewhat unusual design reminiscent of a premium sport touring motorcycle. This sketch captured the dream of owning and riding a sport bike.

The different countries had different approaches to styling, but all of the sketches conveyed much more than their creators' expectations for performance. In fact, they envisioned the stylish way the rider would look on the bike, the pride the owner would feel and other factors that make a super sport bike so enjoyable. For this reason, the sketches were extremely valuable to us in determining the personality of the motorcycle and moving the design process to the next stage.

Honda's designers around the world submitted images like these, envisioning the future CBR250R

Aiming for a design that makes riders want to enjoy riding every day

An absolute condition of super sport bike design is the ability to communicate to anyone on an intuitive level the enjoyment of sporty riding. In addition to this quality, the design for our bike needed to be multifaceted, expressing different things in different situations, so that the rider could experience pride of ownership over the long term without ever tiring of the bike's appearance.

While having an extremely beneficial effect on cornering performance, the extreme crouching posture of a racing motorcycle requires the rider to ride with his or her back extremely flat and low. In contrast, on the CBR250R, the rider leans forward in a position that's sportier than that of a naked bike. It's a position that brings out the joy of handling a motorcycle while giving the rider a dashing appearance. The rider does not need to strain to lean forward, as if trying to shave off tenths of a second on the track. Rather, the dimensions of the CBR250 help both small and large riders enjoy comfortable, sporty riding at its best, making it an ideal global model.

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