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Honda Patent Shows Single-Shell (Monocoque) Superbike Project In The Works

A side view of the design patent from Honda of a single-shelled, monocoque frame

Amidst the last few years’ demands for increased range in electric motorcycles, bolt-on carbon fiber frames to improve weight, the resurgence of rotary engines in race bikes, and cinched Euro-compliant machines comes another concept: single-piece Monocoque frames, particularly in superbikes. 

Honda has been dabbling in the concept for a while – since 2006, actually, according to a report from AsphaultAndRubber

A side view of Honda's frameless chassis, in monocoque design format.

In 2004, Honda released the CBR1000RR – a monster of a machine that used the engine of the bike as an integral member of the chassis.  At the time, it had been an eye-opener of a beastie – especially since the Suzuki GSX-R750‘s frame had been used by everybody as a precedent for superbike chassis until that point. 

The frame of the Honda CBR1000R

The frame of the CBR1000R.

Continuing along this same thread, Honda now thinks it’s time we had something even more – and that more apparently involves less moving parts (sorry, GSX-R750).

MCN tells us that the patent designs show an inline-four engine braced to the single-shelled front section (the part to hold the headstock), as well as the connected composite tail (another single-pieced, or monocoque, part of the frame). Honda has also placed the electronics packages and battery behind the handlebars to keep the front more evenly balanced. 

A side view of the design patent from Honda of a single-shelled, monocoque frame

What’s unique about this concept is not the engine being a fully integral part of the chassis – as we stated before, the CBR1000R had that covered back in 2004.

What’s new is the multitasking seat/gas tank and how Honda’s trying to create a single-pieced front section that scoops down to the belly of the bike, connecting the whole project in a three-pieced puzzle that has us grumping for the nearest physics textbook.

A side view of the Honda design for a monocoque frame released in patents in Japan

“At the back, two alloy sections clamp around the transmission and hold the swingarm pivot and the rear shock’s top mount,” says the report.

“A remote-reservoir rear shock attaches to the single-sided swingarm via a rising-rate linkage, and both are mounted to a cast alloy rear chassis section bolted to the transmission,” the report continues. 

“[The tail] bolts to the front section and acts as both the fuel tank and a self-supporting seat unit. The airbox is created in a hollow section where the tank-cum-tail bolts to the front chassis.”

A side view of the design patent from Honda of a single-shelled, monocoque frame with focus on where everything bolts to the engine

As if the general aesthetic, ergonomics and inline-four engine weren’t enough hints that Honda’s using this for a superbike, the design also shows a 14,000rpm tachometer and TFT dash.

A view of the single-shelled, monocoque frame that may soon be on showroom floors

With the addition of a number-plate bracket, side stand, and catalytic converter in the designs, rumors are circulating that Honda could be ready to drop this bomb of a chassis in the next year or so. 

Stay tuned for updates; we’ll make sure to let you know what comes our way from Honda – in the meantime, be sure to brush up on what the Honda Motor Company has been up to lately, as well as other neat news popping into the motorcycle community proper.