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2013 Honda motorcycle lineup: First look at CB500s, Gold Wing F6B

November 12, 2012|By Charles Fleming
  • The Honda Gullwing F6B in basic black, bringing muscle and macho to a time-honored model.
The Honda Gullwing F6B in basic black, bringing muscle and macho to a time-honored…

Mamas, lock up your children. Honda Motor Co. wants the boys and girls of America to start riding.

The company this week has taken the wraps off a batch of 2013 motorcycles, going after new riders with some old-school styling.

Leading the pack are a blacked-out version of the Gold Wing cruiser, a line of low-priced, lightweight CB500 sport bikes, and a timely iteration of the timeless CB1100.

The CB500s represent the company's desire to grow its U.S. market share by attracting new riders -- "beginner bikes that don't look like beginning bikes," one Honda executive said. With entry-level models starting at $5,499, the line includes the "modern, sporty and naked" CB500F, the "middleweight" MotoGP-styled CBR500R, and the affordable "adventure-style" CB500X.

Hoping to entice new riders with a timely twist on a timeless standard, the 1800-cc, six-cylinder Gold Wing F6B is Honda's latest attempt to sell some Harley-Davidson heat to customers who might not be able to afford the pricier American classic. With hot-rod lines, a "gunslinger-style" seat, and a sales pitch that says it's "designed for serious riders," this battleship of a bike is priced at $19,999.

The styling of the CB1100 is also a throwback, marrying 1970s lines and a candy-red color scheme with modern electrics, suspension and braking. The retro feel comes with a "value for money" price of $9,999.

Honda unveiled its new line last week at an invitation-only event at its Torrance home office. The evening included first looks at the CBR600R -- a mid-range version of the MotoGP CBR1000RR -- and an updated version of the CBR1000RR itself. Described in media materials as "fast, fun and easy to ride," the smaller-cc version is clearly designed for the rider who wants a real superbike but can't afford one. Evidence: It's available in the signature white, orange, red and black color scheme of Honda's prize-winning Repsol MotoGP machines, the ones ridden by Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrossi.

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