During the melee of last month's Japan Mobility Show, where some of the biggest automotive names unleashed a barrage of new vehicles, it was very easy to miss some of the smaller, less shouty gems that nestled in amongst some of those eye-popping concepts.
One such find is Honda's first attempt at an electric mountain bike - or e-MTB concept, as Honda calls it. According to the brand it "combines the fun of motorcycles and the fun of a mountain bike", which is fairly obvious but exciting all the same.
The solid facts remain fairly scarce, despite us reaching out to our friends at Honda Europe for more information. But we do know the frame and swingarm have been built using thin-wall aluminum casting technology, which is typically the reserve of some of Honda’s high-performance motorcycles.
Anyone who knows their bikes can spot the off-the-shelf components the Japanese marque has turned to in order to finish the project, including a SRAM Eagle AXS drivetrain and Shimano disc brakes, as well as front and rear suspension from Fox and a dropper seat post.
Despite a lack of info in the battery and motor set-up, it looks like a reasonably potent off-road machine, if not quite as bombproof as some of the more downhill-orientated eMTBs that are currently on sale. But the thing that caught our eye was the portable charging pack that was plugged into the bike at the JMS 2023 show.
Looking a bit like wheelie suitcase crossed with Wall-E, the portable power bank features wheels for easy maneuvering and a built-in tray of tools at the top for impromptu mechanical tweaks on the trail.
Portable power for extended fun
Portable power is a canny move from Honda, and not something we’ve seen replicated so far by existing eMTB manufacturers.
Granted, riders could either bring a spare battery, purchase a range-extender or rig up their own system by investing in an existing portable power station and topping up the eBike’s batteries that way.
But it's cool that Honda has created its own unique ecosystem. Plus, a power bank of that stature should be able to store enough juice inside to charge multiple eBikes, multiple times.
That said, the portable power station could be on show purely because Honda doesn't currently offer an electric vehicle with bi-directional or vehicle-to-load (V2L) capabilities. If it did, users could charge their eBikes directly from the EV’s batteries and leave the big wheelie suitcase thing at home.
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