Recent patent filings in Japan reveal that Honda is working on what seems to be a high-tech, electric Honda Grom with a slick, single-sided rear swingarm suspension and 3D-printed mesh seat. And, if the guys at Cycle World are to be believed, we may see the bike’s debut as early as next year!
It’s important to realize that the image above is markedly different from the patent filings of a Honda CB-style motorcycle that leaked a few weeks ago. In those, you very clearly see a conventional motorcycle frame with a conventional suspension and conventional bodywork that just so happens to have an electric motor where the ICE would be expected and a stack of batteries where the fuel tank would be expected. Nothing crazy. These drawings, on the other hand, show a bike that’s been built around an electric drivetrain, and that’s given it a number of potential advantages.
For starters, the “frame” seems to double as a carrier for the removable battery packs that Honda is co-developing with Yamaha, KTM, and Vespa. The drive motor has been moved rearward, insinuating a single-speed solution (which is fine), as well as freeing up the space usually occupied by a fuel tank to be used as a suspension mount up front — which is where things start to get a bit more interesting. There, the tiny bike seems to have a double a-arm style suspension similar to what’s seen on the latest Honda Gold Wing. It’s a more car-like suspension that can add weight and cost to a bike, but usually delivers a more comfortable ride with more stable, predictable handling — especially under braking — than conventional forks can offer.
Comfort seems to be on the cards at the rear of the proposed bike, as well. The seat seems to be a semi-flexible, 3D-printed design (Fig.8, below) covered in a thick padding (you can see it’s covered in Fig. 1, above). What that means for the next-generation Honda Grom is a bit of a mystery. The Grom has never really been a “real” bike, it’s been a toy. A hilariously awesome, awesome toy. So, why, then, would it need to be comfortable?
My guess is that Honda is going to show a high-tech, electric sort of “Super Grom” at EICMA with all the bells and whistles, then see if anyone balks at the price (they’re just $3399 now). If/when they do, Honda will follow it up with a less-expensive electric Grom fitted with front forks and a hard-plastic seat underneath all the padding. What do you guys think? Is Honda just doing this to make waves, or is Honda really going to build a $6,000 high-content Grom? Check out the rest of the patent drawings below, then let us know what you think in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Electric Grom Patent Filings
Source: Japan Patent Office, via Jalopnik.