Honda’s American headquarters have been in Torrance, CA since 1981, but the majority of the motorcycling division is about to move to Georgia. With that in mind, I recently visited their museum in Torrance for what will likely be my last time. They’ve got all kinds of cool cars and motorcycles there, but this time around I saw something in the flesh for the first time – the New American Sports Concept.
The NAS was created back in late 1999 and made its public debut at Laguna Seca – Honda saw that the focus of sportbikes was on race replicas and they wanted something more civilized (just like Aprilia stressed with the recent RS 660). As noted in this piece in Motorcyclist magazine, Tony Schroeder (Honda Research America’s Senior Designer) said “If you look at [today’s] existing machines, you see that the top-tier sportbikes were designed by engineers for racing purposes; replica-racers own the spotlight. We wanted to set a new direction for sportbikes, but back to the street rather than toward the racetrack. The market for racer-style bikes is obviously strong, but we envisioned a different group of riders searching for a new category of sport machine.”
Hindsight has shown that a depressingly small amount of the NAS made it to production Hondas, though it’s still cool to check out now, over two decades after it was created. Some fun features include: