For every kind of rider, there’s a bike out there on the market that’s perfect. While Harley’s have been around since the turn of the last century, there are new upstarts that have really taken the field of biking by force. Luckily, manufacturers like Honda have still been around long enough to know the ropes. Fortunately, while they do have a solid history to bolster their success, they also have innovation on their side! So far, it’s made them a force in the motorcycling world to contend with.
Whether you’re heading to the Honda shop or are looking for the kind of Honda adventure bike that once blew the market wide open, there’s plenty to choose from. But, it’s great to know a little bit about the history of this storied Japanese manufacturer. While it might not seem pertinent, it can make that motorcycling ride a little bit more meaningful. It may also make you understand why riding a Honda is just a different kind of riding experience.
All about Honda
Founded in Japan in the 1940s, Honda has risen to prominence as one of the premier manufacturers of motorcycles. However, the story of Honda started when Soichiro Honda was born in 1906. As Honda’s dad owned a shop that repaired bicycles, he was drawn into the world of bikes relatively early. He even worked as an apprentice in an automotive shop in Tokyo. In 1928, Honda opened his own repair shop and built a race car. Soon after, he began to manufacture piston rings and he became a supplier to the Toyota car company. Though he sold his business in 1946, he began to attach two-stroke motors to bicycles around this time, providing a new means of transportation.
In 1948, Honda Motor Co. Ltd became official. Soon after, the first motorcycle was produced which consisted of a 98cc two-stroke motor that became known as the Model D, with ‘D’ referring to ‘dream’. In 1951, dismayed by the fumes produced by the two-stroke model, the four-stroke motorcycle called the Dream E was released. Soon after, the Benly hit the market and became a popular bike among many of Japan’s bike racers. It was around 1954 that Honda began to turn his efforts towards motorcycle racing as racing in the Grand Prix had long been an aspiration of his. Using the Italian Mondial bike as an inspiration, Honda worked towards creating a bike that would inspire enthusiasm from the masses.
After creating the Super Cup in 1958, the Honda company entered the Isle of Man TT races. While the company entered five bikes in the competition, they won the manufacturer’s trophy in the class. Luckily, there was more success for Honda in the 1961 races where they won in positions 1 through 5! But, the following years were a little quieter for the company. With Honda’s reliance on the 4-stroke motor, they began to miss out on competitions. However, using a 6-cylinder they produced in response to the changes, they were back to winning in 1966 and 1967! In 1968, as proof of its market appeal, Honda produced its 10 millionth motorcycle.
While Honda continued to innovate through the 1960s and 1970s, the Gold Wing GL1000 is produced which features a fuel pump and is water-cooled. Soon after, the VFR750F Interceptor begins its domination of the market as one of the best road bikes for the next few years. Of course, that doesn’t mean they didn’t have plenty of dirt bikes that had plenty of appeal! The CBR900RR led the pack as an open–class motorcycle while the EXP-2 provided a clean burning powerful 2-stroke engine. While Honda has stayed atop the market with plenty of innovation, it continues to test the bounds of what a bike manufacturer can make possible.
What makes Honda stand apart ?
From Harley Davidson and Yamaha to Husqvarna and Kawasaki, there are plenty of ways that a motorcycle can capture the imagination of their riders. Fortunately for Honda, since it started out with the ‘Dream D’ in 1949, it has worked to create original bikes and adapt to the market to keep itself in contention. Honda’s philosophy as a motorcycle manufacturer tends to focus on the experience of the rider. This means that their bikes can stay the course and retain the interest of their chosen audience long after the trends have died down.
Some motorcycle manufacturers might be interested in the new wave or how things look on a specification sheet. But, Honda has always been more concerned with the creation of the product, which goes back to its creator’s original interest in engineering. As a result, their goal is to provide a seamless ride that can give control to the rider whether it’s in the form of the Honda XR650L or Honda CRF110. Instead of worrying about things like maintenance and service, a streamlined design process ensures that the rider is at the forefront and the simplicity of the machine is the main priority.
Because Honda prioritizes the experience of the rider above all else, it has come up with two innovations that beat the market: a motorcycle airbag and an anti-lock brake system. Located on the Gold Wing bike, the airbag created by Honda is the motorcycle industry’s only airbag. Using sensors that can easily detect changes in acceleration, the airbag will be deployed to protect the rider in the event of non-incremental changes. Fortunately, innovation doesn’t stop there when it comes to Honda. They’ve also designed an anti-lock braking system that will work in all kinds of biking conditions, whether the roads are slick or dirty.
Top Honda Dual-Sport and Motocross Models
2019 Honda Monkey
This bike might be capitalizing on the popularity of retro these days, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t one of 2019’s best riding experiences! While the minibikes of the 1960s and might have been pretty popular back then, this one utilizes a 125cc engine and a four-speed transmission. Coming in at about 231 pounds, this bike makes up its racing game with its sheer lightness. While it’s going to be a pretty fun ride for those who like to get on their bike, it can also bring back memories of a time long past for those who might have had the chance to ride them back in the 70s. Luckily, this new version is built for the roads too so you don’t have to worry about getting out for off-roading to test out the Monkey! And, since it offers up plenty of aesthetic appeal, it can be a great place to begin for the rider who’s thinking of getting out on the road on the back of a Honda.
Honda Gold Wing
Originally introduced at the Cologne Motorcycle Show in 1974, the Goldwing has seen so many variants that it’s no surprise it’s one of Honda’s best bikes. While the Goldwing models have gotten bigger over the years, and been criticized for their size, they can make a lot possible on two wheels that wouldn’t seem do-able. When it comes to a touring motorcycle, this Honda model holds the candle. Back in the day when it first came to the market, Harley Davidson and BMW dominated the touring motorcycle scene. Thus, Honda decided to develop its very own bike that would go the distance and provide the ability for long haul travel. In addition to wind protection and a smooth ride, this machine offers a comfortable seat, luggage storage and plenty of power. In fact, this type of bike has appeared 18 times in Cycle World’s list of the ten best bikes up to 2012, making it among the best of its kind.
This may be one of the smallest off-road motorcycles that Honda offers, but no rider should write it off because it happens to be pint-sized! In fact, the current model of this machine offers plenty of reasons to get on the back of a bike. In addition to an air-cooled single-cylinder engine, this fun bike can offer plenty of long hours on the dirt bike trails all while remaining reliable. Fortunately for the avid dirt bike rider, the CRF series from Honda has won a lot of competitions over the years, and that means you’re on the right bike if you like to get in the mud! In keeping with the philosophy of Honda, this bike too keeps comfort in mind as there’s more seat padding, a durable steel frame, and an automatic clutch so you don’t have to worry about stalling.
It might not be the most memorable name out there, but this model of Honda bike is better known as ‘Fireblade’. While it sounds enticing enough, this model’s release started in 1992 and gave way to a truly epic age for Honda in releasing some of the best bikes around. Revived by the motorcycle engineer Tadao Babo, the Fireblade came to be when it was decided that the stroke of its inline 4-cylinder would be increased. The point of this ferocious machine was to have it be something of a superbike that could really give riders power on the road. Interestingly enough, the name Fireblade might sound pretty enticing to the thrill-loving rider, but it was actually a mistranslation. The name was supposed to be ‘Lightning’ which was a way to characterize the power available in a relatively lightweight bike.
The 1980s and the early 1990s were a period of great inventions for Honda. With so much ambition to create bikes that were powerful and could go the distance, it’s no surprise that another one of their best bikes is from the period. Offered from 1987 to 1990 in its original model, this bike made Honda hit the spotlight once again with a bike that could be all things to all people. Whether you wanted to ride in the city or go on a long-haul adventure, the Honda CBR600F could do just that. Fortunately, it also had the benefit of being a lot more economical than the bikes in its class! As a result of all its adaptability, the bike won a lot of awards around the world against machines that might have looked more impressive on paper. Fortunately, its legacy continues to live on as it’s still one of the most popular bikes on the road today.
How to buy genuine Honda Motorcycle Parts?
Whether you’re looking for Honda motorcycle parts online or in your city or town, the first place you may want to head to your local dealership. If you have a trusted bike expert nearby, reach out as they’ll be happy to offer advice on where you can get original parts. It’s possible they may even have something in stock if they happen to be enthusiastic about Honda dirt bikes. Luckily, in this time where everything can be ordered at the click of a button, the Internet is a great resource for finding all the original parts you desire. It’s just important to make sure that you are dealing with a trusted distributor and really know what you’re looking for. You may even want to talk to your local bike expert about good websites to order from. While Honda motorcycle parts Australia offers might be able to help you out, there’s a good chance you may have to do some hunting online.
Whether you’re cruising on the Honda Africa Twin or the Honda CRF250L, you can bet that your bike ride is going to be every bit as smooth as their rider-centric approach can offer up! Honda may be a company that’s been in the manufacturing business for a long time but they’ve managed to stay alongside the curve. With innovations like motorcycle airbags and the anti-lock brake system, it’s no surprise that they’re still a force to be reckoned with nearly 70 years later! So, whether you’re just getting out on one or are looking for some new Honda accessories for your retro bike, there’s a Honda bike that’s built for you!