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GRIFFON - a fusion of motorcycle and scooter.


June 4, 2004

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At the 2001 Tokyo Motor show, Honda showed a 750 scooter-styled motorcycle with a retractable roof which it dubbed the Elysium and went to great pains to point out that the bike was purely a concept machine. Significantly, it was powered by a 750 Liquid-cooled flat-4 with power delivered by a CVT - a constantly variable transmission. The bike which Honda showed at this year's Tokyo show seems directly related to the Elysium in that the 750 engine, CVT and much of the basic layout were used as a base, but the retractable roof was gone and the running gear has been redesigned.At the heart of the Griffon beats a horizontally opposed 4-cylinder 750cc power unit equipped with an automatic transmission and the next generation VTEC. This sophisticated power unit gives a low center of gravity and offers superior space utilisation.

In addition to a full-automatic mode, push-button shifting is also available for sportier riding performance (as per the Suzuki Burgman 650 Scooter).

The combination of a large-diameter, rim-mounted front disc brake and "Combined ABS"(ABS + Front/Rear-wheel-linked Combi Brake) makes it easy for even new riders to brake with confidence. For improved safety, a vehicle-distance warning system is also fitted.

Mono-arm suspension is used at the front, and a Unit Pro-Link is used at the rear. One of the most interesting aspects of the Griffon is the use of a Smart Key which allows you to start the engine without inserting and turning the key or to unlock the seat just by bringing the key near the machine.

Because there is no key slot, tampering is prevented, and its electronic ID function helps prevent theft. The chronograph-style instrument panel shows a wide range of incrementally changing information in an integrated display. Want to know what's going on behind you? The CCD camera with rear-view monitor, which can also be switched to the navigation display, is of help here. Inside the front cowl is a stunning LED headlight.

For improved comfort when riding two-up, the trunk space in the front cowl has room for two full-face helmets. A fold-up backrest is also fitted.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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