You’ve seen the bikes of 2002… here’s some for 2003

Published: 01 October 2001

Honda showed off its new bikes for 2002 at a private launch in Paris last month, now the firm is revealing some of its bikes for 2003.

The huge VTX1800 is being joined by two more machines carrying the VTX badge – the VTX1800 Retro and VTX1300 Retro.

Both come with big footboards with heel-and-toe gear levers, as well as long, flowing mudguards.

All the bodywork, including the mudguards, is made of steel – weight clearly isn’t a consideration with this type of bike.

Both bike’s engines are based on the current VTX. The 1800 Retro uses exactly the same fuel-injected, 52° V-twin motor, making 106bhp and a huge 120ftlb of torque. For the 1300, the motor is sleeved-down and uses a shorter stroke to reduce the capacity to 1312cc. No figures have been released yet, but expect around 75bhp and 85ftlb.

Strangely given ever-tightening emissions laws, the new 1312cc motor ditches the 1800’s fuel injection in favour of 38mm CV carbs – presumably to reduce production costs.

Other cost-cutting measures on the smaller bike include slimmer, 41mm forks rather than the 45mm items on the 1800 Retro. Also, the 1300’s forks are right-way-up units, although a sleeve around the top gives the impression of upside-downers. The 1800 Retro has real upside-down forks.

The 1300 also replaces the 1800 Retro’s twin front discs with a single, 336mm disc, and while the 1800 has Honda’s Dual Combined Braking System, the 1300 makes do with a conventional design.

The 1300 weighs a hefty 295kg (650lb) while the 1800 is 335kg (739lb).

The VTX1800 Retro will be available in two forms – the alloy-wheeled " R " version and the more traditional, spoked-wheeled " S " . The 1300 only has the spoked wheel option.

In America, the VTX1800 Retro will go on sale in March, costing around £8500. The 1300 will be available later in the year, and should be significantly cheaper.

At the moment, no decision has been made on whether to import the bikes into the UK.

Right at the opposite end of the biking spectrum comes another pair of new Hondas – the CRF150F and CRF230F four-stroke trail bikes.

The pair will be launched to compete against bikes such as Yamaha’s highly successful TTR fun-bike/kid’s bike range.

The Hondas are expected to have easy-to-use performance despite styling that mimics the firm’s full-on moto cross racers.

Both bikes should go on sale in autumn 2002.

If you haven’t seen the new bikes of 2002, check out LATEST ON NEW BIKES from the menu, top left.