Honda: model history

Table of contents


Honda: model history

Honda: model history
The world masters

Honda’s dominant market position is not just the result of a chain of successes. But from a constantly growing series of principles that are strictly followed.

Fred Siemer


Consistently modernize. The 250 Dream shocked Europeans in 1959 with a compact ohc twin. Of course, the easy-to-turn unit sinks into a stylistically outdated trappings. Then in 1960 the CB 72 with the same 24 hp engine: It finds the line that signals sport – and immediately proves to countless private drivers that there is also sport.
Targeted provoke. The British have long been waiting for Honda to serve their best export market, the USA, with a large twin. In 1965 they have the salad: the CB 450 needs a total of 444 cm³ to mobilize 43 hp and thus to raise itself to the level of performance of the Brit Twins. As a treat, there’s a cylinder head with two camshafts and torsion bar valve springs. Unfortunately, the four-speed gearbox doesn’t hold up particularly well, and there is an occasional oil crisis in your head.
Set monuments. The competition is waiting again. To an even bigger twin. Then it transpires that Honda wants to build a Four based on Hailwood’s Grand Prix machine. Kawasaki then reverently postponed its own four-cylinder projects, and in 1968 the CB 750 made its debut in Tokyo with 67 hp. From now on everything is possible.
Change dimensions. The other Japanese are recovering reasonably from the CB 750 shock and bring large-volume inline four-cylinder engines themselves. Every bet that the world market leader will now go one better. It does, but the Gold Wing distributed its 1000 cc in 1975 to a water-cooled four-cylinder boxer with 82 hp. Obviously, the positioning is not right everywhere, because in Europe the gold swing arm is initially traded as an athlete. Such abuse punishes them under certain load conditions with criminal commuting. From which a highly embarrassing and lasting dispute over manufacturer liability arises. The Americans, however, immediately recognize what the GL 1000 is good for – for endless gliding. In 1988 Honda dedicated the ultimate device for cultivated land grabbing to them, the GL 1500 with a six-cylinder boxer.
Prove a sense of family. The CB 750 goes away like good sake, and that’s when Soichiro Honda, who is just as fond of this drink as he is of beautiful machines, decides to multiply its success. The fleet of four will soon reach down to 350 cm³; Because the 750 series with drilled out engines and later the four-valve RCB 1000 rose to become serial winners of long-distance races, the CB 900 F Bol d’Or was the head of the family from 1978 onwards.
Conquer markets. Europeans like to tour. So that they no longer have to worry about BMW gearboxes and Guzzi electrics, Honda granted them the CX 500 in 1978. Germany, proven not to be a home for aesthetes, becomes the top market for the refined, water-cooled V-two cardan touring. And only because this idiosyncratic half-liter proves to be indestructible does his envious people strike a blow. They call it slurry pump.
Add small. When, in the mid-eighties, big two-stroke engines in a racing style experienced an unexpected renaissance, Honda hesitated only briefly. Then you counter Yamaha’s brutal RD 500 and Suzuki’s ultra-brutal 500 Gamma with a three-cylinder that drives like a moped despite its respectable 72 hp. The NS 400 R, the most successful attempt to date to combine two bars and culture.
Break through monotony. Just when Suzuki and Yamaha started the lively arms race with the FZ 750 and GSX-R 750 in 1985, the most successful builder of inline four-cylinder engines got out and turned to the more dignified clientele of touring athletes. With its subtle paintwork, the VFR 750 tries its hand at being a classic beauty. A four-cylinder V-engine throbbing under its plastic skin, and as a reparation for the rather embarrassing predecessor VF 750 S, whose engine was not exactly stable, this thing lasts practically forever. By the way, her sporty offshoot RC 30 wins a series of Superbike titles, beauty prizes and sound checks.
Make dreams come true. There’s that sound, that inimitable sound that Hailwood had electrified the Isle of Man with on the six-cylinder 250. This sound is an obligation, and in 1978 it was fulfilled: A slight hint of gigantomania wafts around the CBX, but its air-cooled four-valve six-cylinder with 105 hp inspires fantasies. From 7000 revs, the Tourist Trophy is within reach. Finally: on a par with Mike the Bike.
Perfecting perfection. They call them yogurt cups. But everyone who drives the Transalp has to admit that it is superior to the BMW G / S in normal life. Only those who confuse comfort, culture and solidity with boredom will find them bland. Then the Paris-Dakar successes are to be exploited. Africa Twin is the name of the image carrier. In an ultra-secret campaign, MOTORRAD receives the first test motorcycle and, as a precaution, keeps it in the private garage of veteran tester Sigi Guttner. He can’t believe it: he pushes the twin over the two centimeter high ledge of his driveway over and over again. “Just look at how the spring elements respond. You can’t think of anything else. ”Yes. Typically Honda.
Build madness. The oval piston adventure in sport is over. What remains is technology history. But they can’t help it. Build an oval piston four with 125 hp in small series in 1992 – and anyone who has 100,000 marks left can grab it. NR 750 – the definitely incomparable bike.

Model chronicle

Honda has operated a research and development center in Offenbach since 198. The deputy director is Ryo Nashimoto, 57, under whose leadership the first Gold Wing was created. His current responsibilities include developing motorcycles specifically for Europe. The most famous child of the Offenbach developers is the ST 1100 Pan European, which was primarily created according to German ideas. The youngest is the Deauville, which primarily takes into account the interests of Italian and French importers.

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