Honda does seem to be one of the most inventive companies in the world, but unfortunately we in North America don't get to see even a fraction of some of their most innovative designs. Case in point: The Honda Solo.
Announced in March of 2003, the Solo is or was a moped/motorcycle designed for the commuter and student market. Based on the ultra-reliable Super Cub engine and transmission, it boasted retro styling reminiscent of the classic bikes of the pre-WWII era and the ability to customize the bike to the buyer's individual taste, through selection of different colors and finishes on the frame, tank, bars, grips and other parts. By mixing and matching parts, Honda claimed a total of 285 different combinations were possible. Searching Japanese web sites, it appears that a wide range of accessories, like saddlebags, were available from both Honda and aftermarket suppliers.
The Solo was a product of Honda's "N Project"- a line of bikes designed to appeal to Japan's large youth population- a group that, owing to demographics, has a very large disposable income. So far as I can tell, the Solo was never offered for sale anywhere outside of Japan; in fact, the only N-Project bikes that made it here were the Zoomer, better known as the Ruckus, and for one year, the PS-250, which was sold as the Big Ruckus.
Perhaps the costs of certifying and supporting these bikes overseas didn't make economic sense to Honda. Still, it's a pity that the company that had so many innovations sells such a limited range of bikes here today.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Posted by michael edelman at 11:55 AM