Every automotive manufacturer around the world has a lot of history behind it, most of which people tend to be unaware of. It takes huge investment and courage to introduce a new business that’s product needs to attract customers. However, it could involve a couple of complications too. Honda motorcycles is the brainchild of Soichiro Honda, and it took an equal amount of struggle and effort to accomplish what they have as of today. After the founder’s demise, the officials succeeding him have continued to keep the brand alive and successful, racing many milestones over the decades. There are lots of facts and information that will raise your eyebrows about the Japanese company. We highlight 15 facts most of you won’t know about Honda’s bikes.
1) The founder
Soichiro Honda always fancied two wheelers from when he was little. He was born in Japan and was the son of a blacksmith who worked on bicycles. Through his lifetime, Soichiro dipped his fingers in many types of businesses – right from mechanics, motorcycles, piston rings and race cars. It all began with the man bolting on an engine on to a bicycle. This eventually led to Honda’s first bike, the Dream Type D.
2) The logo
You will find a logo pasted on every product produced by its manufacturer. And a majority of brands these days are easily recognizable and can be judged at first sight. The silver wings you see were chosen by Soichiro, and he got his inspiration from a Greek goddess, which further led him to add it to the logo.
3) A manufacturing leader
Honda is in the forefront as far as bike manufacturing is concerned. Production facilities around the world transported more than 20 million units to the market. And to ensure the numbers are at their best, Honda bikes pays close attention to quality and finish. And their products are packed with the latest tech.
4) A milestone number
Honda motorcycles achieved a double milestone towards the end of last year. They celebrated 70 years of manufacturing bikes, and it all started with the Dream Type D in 1949. The other milestone they achieved was touching 400 million motorcycles manufactured around the world during its 70 years of existence. This proved to be a huge feat in the motorcycling sphere.
5) Supermoto racing
This type of racing is enjoyed by many enthusiasts and it combines three different track surfaces. The track surface can vary from being dirt-laden, paved to obstacles and jumps. These are essentially dirt bikes, powered by 450cc engines that include modifications to the suspension and brakes. It gets 17-inch slicks or street tyres. The CRF150R, for example, is an important model used for supermoto mini races. The motorcycle is usually very light and nimble, which helps it corner with ease.
6) No manual gears
It’s only natural to be shifting gears with the clutch working in sync as well. Changing gears usually involves high speeds, a rise in rpm and lots of power. However, there are some bikes that come equipped with automatic gearboxes, which includes no shifting at all. For Honda, it has been the dual-clutch transmission for its motorcycles that come with the option of automatic gearbox. DCT options are found on the African Twin and some other touring models.
7) CBR stands for…
A lot of bikes come with abbreviations in their model names, and CBR is one for Honda. Honda has had many such ones over the years, like CB (City Bike), CBR (City Bike Racing) while RR stands for Race Replica.
8) Airbags on a bike
The advent of airbags had started in 1970s, but it took more than 30 years for it to be included on a motorcycle. Riding gear has had airbag vests for riders, that inflate when tether connecting the rider to the bike is detached. Honda launched its first motorcycle with an airbag in 2007. This is the only bike on the market to feature an airbag.
9) The old Gold Wing
In 1975, the first GL 100 Gold Wing was one of many first models. It was the first bike to come with a liquid-cooled four-stroke motor in Japan. And the fuel tank was positioned under the seat in an attempt to lower its center of gravity.
10) Honda’s first bike
Honda founded its Technical Research Institute in 1946, and their prime focus was on motorized bicycles and motorcycles. It employed a war-surplus two-stroke engine. The institute became Honda Motor Company in 1949, and that’s also when they introduced their first motorcycle. The Dream Type D was powered by a 49cc, two-stroke engine.
11) The most power Honda in the ’80’s
The Honda Hurricane, when launched in 1987, had the most horsepower and was the fastest bike at the time. And since it was a sport-touring model, it was quite easy to ride as well. It sold in the USA between 1987 and 1996 and was available in other overseas markets till 1999.
12) Honda enters North America
After Honda Motor Company came into being, the brand decided to expand its operations outside its motherland, opening up divisions all over the globe. American Honda Motor was the first North American division, and opened its shutters in Los Angeles, California in 1959. The brand continued expanding and growing from thereafter.
13) The Rebel 250
Honda’s Rebel 250 is an iconic bike that was hugely popular for those getting started with biking and also made for a perfect bike for women riders, thanks to its low-seat height cruiser style. This bike is also found used in bike safety schools. The model was made from 1984-2016, and over time, the company updated the bike. The Rebel 250 was replaced by bigger capacity Rebels.
14) Electric dirt bike
At the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show, Honda unveiled its prototype electric dirt bike, and will serve as a rival to a few other electric bikes from other manufacturers. The bike makes the same amount of power as a 250cc, petrol-powered dirt motorcycle. We’re sure there will be a market for such a model.
15) Self-balancing bike
A lot of motorcyclists fear dropping their bikes, but sometimes, it’s inevitable even at slow speeds. The boffins at Honda have introduced Honda Riding Assist. This tech detects a slow speed, disconnects the handlebar, increases the fork angle – and this is when the tech kicks in, balancing the bike well. Riders just learning the art will find this interesting.