Honda motorcycles: A History

Honda has been a world-renowned maker of motorcycles. Although the company was established in 1946 by Soichiro Honda (for whom the company was named after), it only began making motorcycles in 1949 to meet the demands for inexpensive transportation as Japan was gradually recovering from the devastation of World War II.

During that time, vehicles were scarce and he bicycle was the only mode of transportation available to many Japanese. Honda challenged himself to come up with something better. They started out putting engines on bicycles but Honda was not satisfied. He was determined to make a complete motorcycle made entirely by his company.

honda drea
The Model D aka Dream, the very first motorcycle made by Honda. Source: Dream Garage

The company hit paydirt when it launched the D-Type (Dream) in 1949, the first true motorcycle designed and built entirely by Honda.

In 1951, this was followed by the Model E in response to the noise and fumes caused by the earlier one. This model featured a 4-stroke engine as opposed to the D-Type’s 2-stroke version.

Here are other motorcycles Honda manufactured and marketed:

1952 – Cub F featured a clip on (auxiliary) motor.

1953 – The Benly J was produced. It was a hit among motor racers.

1958 – The C100 Super Cub was launched. It featured a pressed-steel frame, leading link fork, step-through design and a 4-stroke engine ranging from 50cc to 90cc. This also became a very popular street bike. In 1963, the company went all out when it opened its first overseas factory in Belgium and started an aggressive advertising campaign bannered by the slogan, “You meet the nicest people on a Honda.”

1965 – The CB450 aka the “Black Bomber” was introduced. This was its first large motorcycle commercially produced. This was followed by the CB750 in 1969.

honda goldwing
The Goldwing, one of the latest models for long-distance riders. Source: Wikimedia Commons

1974 – The GL1000 Gold Wing was launched, catering to long-distance riders who like touring on bikes. This model would be improved over the years. Many find it a comfort to ride, thus earning the nickname the “Cadillac of Motorcycles.”

1986 – Another touring bike was launched in the form of the VR750F Interceptor. This was considered the best all-around bike for the next ten years. A year later, Honda introduced the CBR600F Hurricane, its first fully-faired 4-cylinder street bike. This was followed in 1990 by the VFR750R, a street-legal version of its racing bike.

2010 – The VFR1200F was launched. It is the first production motorcycle with a dual-clutch transmission which allows push-button shifting.

2011 – Honda introduces the CBR250R for the entry-level market.

Despite its success, Honda never rests on their laurels. They will keep on improving current models while coming up with new ones to cater to the current generation. This is in keeping with the philosophy of its founder Soichiro Honda.

Featured Image Source: Interlakes Sports Center



Aaron Ronquillo

Quizzer, Practical Shooter, Martial Artist, Movie Buff, Avid Reader, Amateur Foodie and Photographer, Cat Lover; Someone with a wanderlust; got a keen eye for detail, trivia; enthusiastic but cautious; patient, calculating