The latest publications show, in some detail, a new three-part frame design that differs notably from earlier versions.
Before, the most detailed patent applications illustrated a Ducati Panigale-style monocoque chassis, a cast-alloy seat subframe bolted to the V4’s rear cylinder head, and a third cast section connecting the swingarm pivot point to the engine.
The latest patent, which has even more detail drawings, shows a variation on the same idea that dispenses with the combined frame-and-airbox monocoque section in favor of a different front frame section.
In this iteration, the frame is still in three main sections, but the front is more like a conventional chassis. Instead of bolting only to the cylinder heads, it stretches down to mount to the front of the crankcase, while still bolting to the rear cylinder head as its second mounting point. The airbox on this design is a separate plastic part – much more conventional.
Further back there’s still a separate section acting as the swingarm pivot point, and a third casting as the seat subframe. Again, the drawings are more detailed, hinting this could be closer to a final design.
At the moment, the betting is Honda will reveal the V4 as part of its 70th anniversary celebrations in 2018. Like the legendary RC30 and RC45, it will become Honda’s homologation racer – effectively replacing the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 in that role – while leaving the inline-four CBR1000RR Fireblade as the mainstream superbike.