Honda hasn’t made a flat-four powered GoldWing since 1987, so it’s not that odd to call this trike styled like a Transformer more traditional than the current ‘Wings. Then again, with that extra wheel up front and a hybrid drivetrain, it couldn’t be less traditional. The styling is decidedly modern, marrying the unabashed futurism of the NM4 with some sport-touring cues.
Honda says the Neowing is intended to explore whether the company can combine higher-speed engagement (read: leaning) with low-speed stability. A rider can’t fall over at a stoplight on a Neowing, an important consideration when the current GoldWing weighs 904 to 933 pounds. The leaning ability is provided by a proprietary linkage, and even though its method of operation isn’t specified, don’t be surprised if it’s largely the same as a Piaggio MP3 – a pioneer in the leaning three-wheel category.
If you’re wondering if the Neowing can make it to production, or whether it will look anything like this concept, consider the NM4, pictured at right. That motorcycle pairs pure concept styling with unconventional mechanicals, like the six-speed dual-clutch transmission that allows for full automatic operation. Both the styling and the DCT are intentionally disruptive in the segment; Honda wants to bring in nontraditional riders, and perhaps new riders. The DCT will appeal to those intimidated or uninterested in manually shifting, and the Neowing might appeal to riders looking to tour without fear of dropping a half-ton motorcycle.
Honda will have the Neowing in Tokyo, and perhaps the company will shed more light on their plans for the wild-looking concept there.