Honda is taking a page out of just about every other major automotive manufacturer’s playbook by debuting its first electric bicycle, the Honda e-MTB Concept.
The bike was just shown off at the Japan Mobility Show in Tokyo, where it joined several other futuristic and/or brand-widening debuts from other leading Japanese motorcycle companies and automakers.
The Honda e-MTB Concept looks more like a downhill electric bike and maintains a fairly realistic design. Unlike some e-bike concepts that are fairly far-fetched,Honda’s actually looks like something that could reach production. It’s a promising trend in e-bike concepts lately, showing that some of these designs could one day see a path toward production.
The e-bike reportedly uses an existing Brose mid-drive motor, meaning Honda didn’t have to reinvent the wheel (sorry, I stand by it). By using existing e-bike components, Honda could focus more on the bike’s overall appearance and structural design, leaving the bike parts to the companies that have already been producing them for decades.
The full-suspension e-bike uses a SRAM Eagle AXS drivetrain, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, Fox suspension in the front and rear, a RockShox Reverb dropper seat post, DT Swiss XM 1700 wheels, and Maxxis Minion DHF tires.
For Honda, the goal was to combine motorcycle and bicycle experiences in a single product that could handle mountainous terrain.
As the company explained:
“The Honda e-MTB Concept expands the field of mobility in nature. Easily going uphill with electric assistance, this bike offers a new riding experience that combines the fun of motorcycles and fun of a mountain bike. It is being developed to enable anyone to enjoy riding mountainous trails more freely.”
Honda is far from the first automaker or motorcycle manufacturer to explore electric bicycles as a potential avenue for brand expansion.
Some of the most famous includes Harley-Davidson’s e-bike foray with Serial 1, Porsche’s major expansion into e-bikes with the purchase of companies like Greyp and Fazua as well as its own Porsche e-bikes, and Peugeot’s wide line of electric bikes.
GM also developed an electric bike in-house, though the company killed it off before it reached commercialization.
HUMMER has tried to expand its brand into e-bikes lately, as has Jeep.
As the e-bike market continues to grow, more automakers are seeing it as a lucrative way to expand their market and bring more people into their transportation ecosystem.