Tokyo Motor Show 2005

Japanese Jewels

When it comes to bike selection, we're pretty spoiled here in the States-over 275 models are on the U.S. market this year. Still, we don't get all the cool stuff, and our staff is reminded of this painful fact every year when we ogle the otherworldly images coming out of the Tokyo Motor Show. This year's affair was held October 22-November 6, and high-concept vehicles and dreamy designs were in abundance. Most notable was the push toward hybridization and a preponderance of automatic transmissions.

Yamaha's Gen-Ryu concept, for example, could well become the bike of the (near) future. Dubbed the Big Blue Bike, this design mates a hybrid engine with two wheels. The 599cc engine, based on Yamaha's lightweight, compact YZF-R6 powerplant, is enhanced with a 45kW electric motor, allowing greater torque while increasing fuel economy. Yamaha says the super-swoopy construction is designed to offer the superior handling characteristics of a motorcycle with the comfort and carrying capacity of a scooter. The company lists features like a lightweight aluminum body with optimized rigidity balance, a noise-cancelling system, a voice-navigation function, large-diameter wheels and long wheelbase, all of which will allegedly give this model the performance and handling of a 1000cc-class machine.

Yamaha also debuted the long-ish Maxam 3000, a monster scooter developed on the platform of the urban tandem cruiser currently popular in Japan. This new "weekend leisure cruiser" builds on styling that includes storage space in its underseat compartment, abundant use of chrome and a genuine leather seat. And Yamaha continued to fuel V-Max redesign rumors with tweaked riffs on the MT-01 twin shown last year. We hear it's still not ready for prime time, but it's said to be close.Honda also looked to the future with its DN-01 concept, a sports cruiser that combines an advanced, hydraulically operated automatic transmission with a two-cylinder 680cc V-twin engine. It's not just a show bike; Honda says a production version will likely hit the pavement within two years.

Lastly, unless you've been living under a rock, you've also probably heard of Honda's latest and greatest hullabaloo by now, its new airbag-equipped Gold Wing-the first production two-wheeler to offer this device. The new system, which hopes to lessen the severity of injuries caused by frontal collisions, will be available as an option on 2006 Gold Wings scheduled for U.S. release in spring. Similar devices will show up on Japanese and European bikes, too. No word on the price yet, but you can get the rest of the scoop on Honda at [www.motorcycle](http://www.motorcycle or [www.hon](http://www.hon, and if you're looking for more details on the Tokyo show, click over to Andrew Cherney