A Heritage Of Greatness - In Two Arenas

Beginning with its debut in 1983, the Honda Interceptor® earned landmark status in dual arenas, notching credentials as a sport bike with the uncanny depth of its street-going capabilities, as well as building its reputation as an all-out race machine. The Interceptor boasts a long list of World Superbike and AMA Superbike race wins and championship titles, plus a host of Best-in-Class and Top 10 awards garnered year after year from a wide assortment of enthusiast publications--glowing testimony to the extraordinary balance and overarching competence of the Interceptor's design.

It's a rare machine that can lay claim to such an enviable record over such a substantial span--now nearly 20 years--but in doing so, the Interceptor has truly become a legend in its own time. Moreover, this platform has also served as a technological showcase for Honda; innovative technology and extraordinary build quality have become the hallmarks of the entire Interceptor lineage.


The down side of such laudable accomplishments hit home with the small group of Honda engineers tasked with creating the next-generation Interceptor. How does one go about replacing an icon, especially one with such stellar abilities and broad-ranging excellence? What's more, how does one go about retaining the Interceptor's endearing character while improving most of the essential components within the whole machine? While the task was difficult, the goals were simple: Increase the Interceptor's overall performance, while also expanding its role as a sport-touring machine.

To create the 2002 Interceptor, the development team recreated the basic machine, incorporating improvements into every facet of the new bike while retaining the essential underpinnings of the Interceptor legend. As a result, the 2002 Interceptor is now a markedly advanced, new-generation sport bike, and arguably the sharpest-edged street-going Interceptor yet. To maintain its legendary all-day-long comfort, Honda's engineers retained the Interceptor's same aggressive yet accommodating seating position. Engineers also reconfigured the Interceptor's chassis to accept Honda-designed saddlebags, adding even greater cross-country capacity.


A common theme pervades all of Honda's recent efforts toward revamping its entire line of motorcycles: Hone all edges to an ever-sharper state to establish class-leading performance levels. In terms of engine performance, adding displacement to the Interceptor's 781cc V-4 engine would have risked the fine balance of size and weight the bike has enjoyed for nearly two decades. Extracting performance would be a more complex endeavor.

The classic hot-rodding approaches, such as hot cams and high compression, would have yielded distinctly narrow-focus results. Instead, Honda chose a more elegant engineering application by incorporating a VTEC™ valve train--a solution gleaned from Honda's extensive bank of high-tech engine developments. In simple terms, the VTEC system allows the 2002 Interceptor to enjoy the high-velocity breathing advantages of a two-valve head at lower engine speeds, while retaining the high-flow characteristics of a four-valve head at high rev levels.

From the saddle, the rider enjoys a noticeably stronger torque curve from 3500 rpm to 6500 rpm compared to the previous Interceptor; the largest increase shows up at 5000 rpm, a whopping 10 percent gain in torque. The seat-of-the pants experience is just as rewarding. When the VTEC system kicks in at 7000 rpm, the engine really begins to howl and the tach needle soars through the heart of the powerband, rushing up to redline. (For more information on the VTEC system, see the VTEC feature in this press kit).

Changes to the Interceptor's gearing add even more emphasis to the new bike's acceleration. Compared to the previous model, the first two internal gear ratios are each 5.9 percent lower, which helps keep the engine on the boil under hard acceleration. Third, fourth and fifth gears are also lower, and the front countershaft sprocket is one tooth smaller to bias the overall gearing toward even stronger acceleration. Sixth gear, in turn, is now a true overdrive with a 0.966 ratio for easy freeway cruising. As a result, the 2002 Interceptor revs quicker and accelerates significantly harder through the gears than the previous model, yet still remains unruffled during day-long freeway jaunts.


A new silent-type cam-chain drive eliminates the noise produced by the previous gear-drive system while reducing weight significantly; the new cam drivetrain is 6.2 pounds lighter than the previous version. Instead of incurring a penalty in added fuel consumption for the boost in power, the VTEC Interceptor yields a significant net gain in the miles-per-gallon department. Furthermore, the 2002 Interceptor is an exceptionally clean-burning bike, thanks largely to its next-generation programmed fuel injection (PGM-FI) that incorporates four laser-drilled 12-hole injectors in place of the previous single-hole injectors; it's the same technology used on the cutting-edge RC51™ and CBR®954RR. Proof of the Interceptor's efficiency comes in its 50-state certification, and the fact that this remarkable engine easily meets the California Air Resources Board (CARB) emissions standards for the year 2008.


In the chassis department, a new, stouter, 43mm Honda Multi-Action System™ (HMAS™) cartridge fork adds noticeably to front-end rigidity, and a strengthened subframe also aids chassis integrity. Net result: an even better platform, one that handles a rapid succession of directional transitions with aplomb while delivering excellent feedback to the rider.

The Interceptor's next-generation triple disc brakes also enhance its sporting intentions, with superb power, feel and feedback. And Honda's proven Linked Braking System™ (LBS™) has been revised for even better stopping power under a wide variety of braking conditions. For those who demand the utmost in technology, Honda can also add an Anti-Lock Brake System as an option.


All of this added emphasis on cutting-edge engine and chassis performance makes the new Interceptor sound like it's a better sport bike than ever before--and it is. However, don't think these additional sporting capabilities have narrowed the bike's focus. Instead, as an integral part of the redesign, Honda's engineers gave the 2002 Interceptor long-distance capabilities that are broader than ever before.

For instance, consider the swoopy new center-up exhaust system. Granted, it increases corner clearance while lending a racier look, but more importantly this new plumbing arrangement opens up the rear quarters for Honda's nicely integrated optional hard saddlebags. Extra space for routing the pipes was gained through the use of a swingarm that is 0.7 inch longer, which also enhances chassis stability while also adding a bit more room for pilot and passenger.

The 2002 Interceptor's new, angular styling treatment carries over the theme found in Honda's dedicated sport bikes, yet the new bodywork provides even better weather protection than the previous Interceptor. And striking styling points such as the quad-headlight nose not only add distinctive looks, but also serve a functional role for nighttime illumination as well.

Look at the 2002 Interceptor, and what do you see? Is it the back road sport bike for a new era? Is it a long-distance partner that specializes in secondary roads? How about this: Just consider the 2002 Honda Interceptor the ultimate street sport--and you pick the street.

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