There’s no denying the future of motorcycles is electric. The idea seemed like a novelty a few years ago, when small brands such as Zero and Alta Motors (may it rest in peace) debuted as dedicated electric motorcycle manufacturers who thought they could lure riders away from the combustion engine. But in 2019, the writing is on the wall for the industry—electric powertrains are inevitable. Even bigger manufacturers are starting to admit EV bikes are the way forward—and Honda has just become the latest big name in the business to tease its electric intentions, with the CR-E MX concept at the Tokyo Motorcycle Show.
The CR-E MX might only be a concept at this point—and, according to Motorcycle News, Honda isn’t making any promises it will go into production—but it’s hard to believe the Japanese motorcycle giant would pass up this opportunity to be a leader in this future-facing field. (After all, Mugen, Honda’s go-to tuning house, already makes electric vehicle drivetrains and an all-electric motorcycle of its own.) The CR-E MX is based off the very-much-in-production CRF250R dirtbike; everything from the frame, suspension and swing arm to the wheels and brakes are the same, albeit slightly modified to house the electric powerplant. Pretty much everything needed to make the CR-E MX a production reality already exists.
With Alta Motors out of the picture and Harley-Davidson charging an eye-watering $30,000 for the Livewire, Zero is dominating the electric motorcycle scene. But Honda isn’t the sort of brand to get left behind, which is why showing off the CR-E MX concept seems less like an engineering exercise and more like a declaration of intent.