Honda motorbikes established the Japanese market and revolutionized the industry

Soichiro Honda was a visionary and manufacturing genius who established the Japanese motorbike market and helped revolutionize the international motorbike industry to the point Honda now is the world’s best-selling brand.

The Super Cub was Honda’s first success with Honda Motorcycles available at Grantham Honda. The motorbike first was available in 1956 and used a four-stroke, single-cylinder engine that ranged from 50ccs to 100ccs and became a popular commuter bike. Early models initially sold for about £200 for the 50cc model.

“You meet the nicest people on a Honda” was the marketing line used in 1963 to sell the Super Cub, which resembles a modern scooter, sold more than 60 million units worldwide and remains in production. Its sales volume makes it the world’s most successful motorbike. The bike opened up markets in Europe and the United States to Honda and established the Japanese manufacturer as an industry force.

The CB500 twin was another great success for Honda. An older brother to the four-cylinder CB500 built from 1972 to 1974, the CB500 twin was built from 1993 to 2003 and had a 499cc parallel twin-cylinder engine with a solid reputation for reliability and long life. Production resumed in 2013 after meeting Euro 2 emissions standards and sells for about £3,800.

Introduced in 1969 for less than £1,100, the Honda CB750 is the best motorbike the manufacturer ever produced. It revolutionized the motorbike industry in Europe as well as the United States and was the first truly “universal Japanese motorbike.” For the first time, a rider and could top off the petrol tank and ride for days with only refills needed while using it as a touring bike.

Considered by many to be the world’s first “superbike,” owners also could ride it to the racetrack, remove lights and mirrors and compete with the best bikes of the day. It also worked very well as an everyday commuter. Its 736cc transverse straight-four engine was powerful and reliable, and it had electronics that would not fail. It also was one of the first production bikes to use a hydraulic disc brake up front.

The motorbike proved much more durable than many of its competitors, including the Harley-Davidson Sportster, the Triumph Bonneville, Norton Commando and the BSA Lightning. Riders didn’t have to be expert mechanics to ensure it would travel across Great Britain, Europe or the United States. And with aftermarket fairings and panniers, it was a very capable long-distance touring machine.

The CB750 Honda Bike available at Grantham Honda Bikes is one of the most revered motorbikes ever built in Japan and was produced from 1969 through 2003 and again in 2007. The bike is featured in the UK National Motor Museum.

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