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Honda Motorcycles

About Honda

Honda is the largest motorcycle manufacturer in Japan and has been since it started production in 1955. At its peak in 1982, Honda manufactured almost three million motorcycles annually. By 2006 this figure had reduced to around 550,000 but was still higher than its three domestic competitors.

Soichiro Honda began producing motorcycles in 1946 to satisfy a thirst for cheap transportation in war devastated Japan. Honda began his effort by installing military surplus engines in bicycles. As Honda became more prosperous, he designed his own 50cc engine for the bicycles. The first motorcycle that featured a completely Honda designed motor and frame was produced in 1949. It was called the Model D for Dream. Soon Model J Benly appeared.

Honda wanted to sell a more powerful motorcycle that led to the 146cc over head valve four-stroke E-Type Dream with a top speed of 50mph. The motorcycle featured Honda's own designed frame and suspension on both wheels.

In 1952 Honda began producing the Cub with two-stroke engine. Its big sales became basis for future development.

In 1953 Honda began producing a four-stroke single powered motorcycle featuring more engineering sophistication. This small motorcycle was also called a Benly and featured a three-speed gearbox, pressed steel Frame, rear suspension with the engine and swinging arm on a sprung pivot, and telescopic front suspension and produced 3.8bhp.

A revolution in the motorcycle industry began in 1958 when Honda brought the C100 Super Club to the American market. It was the first Honda motorcycle sold in the U.S. The small step through design was easy to ride reliable bike. It was featured in the famous “you meet the nicest people on a Honda” marketing campaign that eventually made the C100 motorcycle the best selling motorcycle of all times. Eventually more than 30 million would be built.

CB models included the CA72 (250cc) and followed by the CA77 (305cc). The parallel twin engines proved very reliable, however their stamped steel welded frames handled poorly at higher speeds.

Performance and handling improved when the company bolted the little parallel twin engines to a steel tubular frame and added twin carburetors for more power. The motorcycles were known as the CB 72 and 77 super hawk models and gained a reputation of reliability.

The first commercially successful large motorcycle was the CB450, brought out in 1965 and called the black bomber. This innovative engine featured torsion bar valve springs that allowed high rpm and was the first serious effort by Honda to challenge English dominance in the American marketplace.

This was followed in 1969 with the Honda CB750 four. A powerful and reliable motorcycle that dominated the motorcycle market. The success of the CB 750 4 cylinder Honda led to a series of smaller Honda motorcycles with 350, 400, 550 cc motors and ushered in the era of the universal Japanese motorcycle.

This design would reach its fruition when it morphed into the cult classic inline 6 cylinder CBX in 1978.

The reliability and power of the four cylinder Honda 750 soon led to a new kind of motorcyclist, the long distance touring rider. Craig Vetter designed a full fairing for the motorcycle called a Windjammer. Before long thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts were touring the countryside on their motorcycles behind a Windjammer.

In 1974 Honda brought out the GL1000 Gold Wing. The motorcycle featured a flat four cylinder 999cc a water cooled engine with power delivered through a driveshaft. It proved to be as reliable as the cars of the day. Soon thousands of Goldwings were bought up and converted to touring motorcycles by their new owners.

With interest running so high for touring models, Honda brought out the Interstate model in 1980. This was the first Japanese produced motorcycle to roll off the assembly line as a complete touring motorcycle. The motorcycle featured a full fairing, trunk and saddlebags.

In addition to touring motorcycles, Honda began developing a series of V-four engines in the 1970s. This led to the production of the Honda Sabre and Magna in 1980. These two models led to a whole series of VF designated high performance motorcycles ranging between 400cc and 1000cc. But due to mechanical problems the VF line was unable to sustain itself.

Following the VF was the new VFR series of motorcycles. The VFR 750R was a sport touring motorcycle with lots of power, good balance and reliability. In 1996 Honda produced the fastest motorcycle in production with the CBR1100XX Super Blackbird (1137cc). The motorcycle became popular with the long range high speed touring crowd.

Soichiro Honda died on August 5, 1991 of liver failure.

Honda's entry into the U.S. motorcycle market during the 1960s is used as a case study for teaching introductory strategy at business schools worldwide. There are a few theories explaining their great success.

Moto blog

Cal Crutchlow Leaves Ducati for LCR Honda

Tue, 05 Aug 2014 00:00:00 -0700

Cal Crutchlow has signed on to race for the LCR Honda team for the 2015 MotoGP season. To make the jump, Crutchlow secured an early termination to his contract with Ducati. The switch comes as a bit of a surprise after Crutchlow had confirmed he would honor the final year of his contract at World Ducati Week.

Honda Reports Q1 2014-2015 Sales Results

Tue, 29 Jul 2014 00:00:00 -0700

Honda reported sales of 4.137 million motorcycles over its first quarter ended June 30, 2014. That represents a 2.0% increase over the results of the same quarter the previous year, which doesn’t sound like much. But then you remember that 2.0% still represents an additional 83,000 motorcycles (including ATVs), such is the scale involved in a company like Honda.

2015 Honda COTA 4RT260 Trials Bikes Announced

Mon, 28 Jul 2014 00:00:00 -0700

American Honda surprised almost everybody when it announced it would offer a trials bike earlier this year. The Repsol-colored 2014 Montesa Honda COTA 4RT was only offered in limited numbers for the U.S. market, but if you missed out on that initial batch, there’s good news, as Honda will again offer it in 2015, with some new updates.

Built For Speed Art Exhibit To Be Displayed At Sturgis Buffalo Chip

Wed, 23 Jul 2014 00:00:00 -0700

“Built for Speed – Race Inspired Motorcycles and Art” is the title of Michael Lichter’s 14th annual “Motorcycles as Art” exhibition in Sturgis this August, which for the second year in a row, will be jointly curated by Michael and Paul d’Orleans of the Vintagent. ‘Built for Speed’ is sure to impress visitors with a beautiful and thought-provoking display of motorcycles and related art, the race-inspired theme making connections between motorcycle racing and custom bike designs inspired by racers. Each custom bike in ‘Built for Speed’ reflects a branch of racing; Speedway, Flat Track, Drag Racing, Board Track,  Grand Prix, Land Speed Record, and will be displayed beside the racing machines suggesting the origins of each style.

Arrow Exhausts Available For New Honda Interceptor

Thu, 17 Jul 2014 00:00:00 -0700

New fitments from Arrow exhaust are now available for the 2014 Honda VFR 800F. The new exhaust applications include Arrow Race-Tech and Arrow Pro-Racing exhausts, both available from SpeedMob, Arrow’s North American distributor. Race-TechThe Race-Tech silencer was the first Arrow silencer made with a diamond shape, rather than the standard round/elliptical shape.

Brough Superior to Make Moto2 Debut at Silverstone

Thu, 17 Jul 2014 00:00:00 -0700

The Taylormade Brough Superior racebike will make its Moto2 racing debut at the British Grand Prix at the U.K.’s Silverstone circuit. Backed by insurance company Bennetts, the one-off entry will feature British Supersport racer Luke Mossey riding the Taylormade Carbon 2 racebike. Led by California-based but British-bred Paul Taylor and John Keogh, the Taylormade project was started to rethink the spark the impending relaunch of the Brough Superior brand as well as to explore new ways of designing prototype race machines.

Honda Ticket Packages Ramp Up The Red Bull Indianapolis GP Experience

Thu, 17 Jul 2014 00:00:00 -0700

Race fans planning to attend the 2014 Red Bull Indianapolis GP on August 8-10 can enjoy an epic weekend of racing courtesy of Honda. This VIP-level experience comes through two ticket packages that will make your “Brickyard” GP weekend an unforgettable time. Honda Premium Package  - Three-day general admission to Indianapolis Motor Speedway  - Corner 9 select seating  - Corner 9 Club exclusive access with unlimited food and beverages, closed-circuit TV, air conditioning and entertainment  - Paddock Pass  - Special Honda meet-and-greet session with Honda MotoGP racers Friday evening*  - Motorcycle parking  - Track lap of the famed Brickyard  - Special Honda goody bag**  - Cost: $550 per ticket  Honda Reserved Seating Package  - Three-day general admission to Indianapolis Motor Speedway  - Reserved Front Straight grandstand seating  - Motorcycle parking  - Track lap of the famed Brickyard  - Special Honda goody bag**  - Cost: $103 per ticket The Repsol Honda Team is super-hot in 2014: current champ Marc Márquez is on fire, with veteran teammate Dani Pedrosa on his heels.

Repsol Extends Honda MotoGP Sponsorship to 2017

Wed, 16 Jul 2014 00:00:00 -0700

Spanish oil and gas company Repsol has renewed its long-standing partnership with Honda‘s MotoGP program, ensuring we’ll continue to Honda’s factory prototypes in their iconic orange through the 2017 season. Repsol has backed Honda’s team since February 1995, making them the longest-running factory team sponsorship pairing in Grand Prix motorcycle racing history. In their two decades together, Repsol and Honda have claimed 10 rider titles, 133 race wins and 354 podiums.

2014 WSBK – Laguna Seca Results

Mon, 14 Jul 2014 00:00:00 -0700

Marco Melandri rebounded from last week’s disappointing Portimao round to win Race One at Laguna Seca while Tom Sykes extended his championship lead with a win in a red-flagged Race Two. Melandri got taken out of the second Portimao race after his Aprilia teammate Sylvain Guintoli slid into his RSV4. Melandri looked eager to make up for that DNF, leading every lap of Race One on his way to his third win of the season.

2015 Honda CB300F Officially Announced

Thu, 10 Jul 2014 00:00:00 -0700

As we expected from previously released design trademark diagrams and certification from the California Air Resources Board, Honda has revealed a new naked version of the the CBR300R dubbed the CB300F. The 2015 Honda CB300F shares the same chassis and 286cc single-cylinder fuel-injected engine as the CBR300R. The engine itself is similar to the CBR250R’s powerplant, but with the piston stroke increased to 63mm from 55mm.