Everyone’s doing it—building a retro-styled bike, that is. The crazed performance junkies at Kawasaki have revived the W800 line. The penny pinchers at Yamaha desperately want us to think the XSR line is an homage to late, great XS lines. Suzuki’s got the VanVan 200, a clever re-imagining of the DR200. The Euros are pretty much all on board too. So, why isn’t Honda doing the same?
The answer is, they appear to be working on that as we speak.
Admittedly, Honda does have the CB1100, a four-cylinder callback to its days of glory in the ’70s and ’80s, but that bike isn’t even available in all markets, it’s a tad underwhelming when compared to the rockets of old, and … it’s expensive. Considering that millennials are the target market for the majority of these retro machines, that immediately rules out the big CB. So what’s Honda to do?
Build a retro bike around the Rebel platform, that’s what!
The Rebel 500 and Rebel 300 are the closest thing Honda has to an entry-level retro bike at the moment, but Honda appears to be doubling down on that idea, according to patent drawings unearthed by BikeSocial. The patent seems to deal with the implications of re-jigging the Rebel frame slightly (remember, the 300 and 500 share the same frame) in order to fit a straight seat, with footpegs further back underneath the rider (the Rebel has a mild foot-forward riding position).
The bike in the drawing is a sort of upright standard, and if you put knobbies on it, you might even get away with calling it a scrambler.
A scrambler would be cool; Honda’s built these before, based on the CB350 and other small-capacity bikes decades ago. But either way, we’d expect a wait until 2021 at the earliest to see this thing on the streets, if it ever arrives. Big Red doesn’t seem too anxious to take risks these days, and its lineup is the lightest it’s been for a long time.