Honda has unveiled the NM4 Vultus concept at the Osaka Motorcycle Show. Two exhibition versions of the all-new design were introduced – the base-model NM4-01 and NM4-02 featuring integrated bags. While listed at concept/exhibition models, Honda states the NM4 Vultus is “planned for production.”
The new Vultus appears to share the same 745cc Parallel Twin developed for the NC750 models
– an update of the NC700 platform slated for the European markets. The 8-valve single overhead cam Twin claims peak power of 54 horsepower (6250 rpm) and 50 lb-ft torque (4750 rpm). The powertrain features Honda’s familiar Dual Clutch Transmission, and Honda cites fuel efficiency of 66.8 mpg – equating to a range of 200 miles from the NM4’s 3-gallon tank.
The Vultus specs list a 540-pound curb weight, with the chassis comprised of a steel-tubed frame and aluminum swingarm. The suspension package is a 43mm fork and single rear shock. Braking incorporates ABS with a single 320mm disc/2-piston caliper up front and 240mm disc/single-piston caliper rear.
So that gets the basics out of the way, now let’s discuss the Vultus styling...
The NM4 continues Honda’s fascination with the scootercycle hybrid, which had delivered a number of bike show concepts and the infamous DN-01. The latter, which reached production, was a design albatross perhaps remembered best by its euphemistic “Do Not Order 1” acronym.
We’ll leave the Vultus styling explanation to Honda, which describes it thus in a global press release: “This NM4 was designed to realize two points; the design concept ‘the Front Massive Styling’ and ‘the cockpit position’ focusing on the sense of unity with the rider, that the rider can smoothly get into the vehicle. The low-setup cockpit position and adjustable backrest provide an enjoyable new riding feel. The instrument panel was designed to provide clear readability and the fun riding, as if the rider was experiencing part of a movie scene.”
Honda’s European media site provides a more informative PR on the NM4 project. It confirms the visual cues were inspired by bikes in anime and manga. Honda is also keen to note that Vultus is Latin for “appearance, expression – or face” and says of the new mount's visage “The NM4 Vultus, with its LED lights, future-shock style and stealth bomber silhouette presents a look that will not have been seen in any cityscape this side of an anime movie…”
Honda also states the Vultus creative team were all in their 20s and early 30s, and the kids “were given a completely free hand” and “conceived, designed and put it together”. And Big Red goes on to say of the new model “the NM4 Vultus represents a leap of faith from Honda, one intended to appeal to and attract a new kind of rider.”
So, it’s a big aspirational design – like all good concept bikes should be… But we’re betting the vultus on many an American Honda dealer’s face is one of concern that this beaut stays anchored overseas.
UPDATE: Honda has confirmed its NM4 as a 2015 model for the American Honda lineup.