Tag Archives: Motorcycles

A profile of Honda motorcycles

More bikers ride Honda motorcycles than any other make in the world, simply because the company manufactures more bikes than any other. With machines ranging from the 60 million selling Cub 50cc moped to the world conquering Fireblade superbike, Honda has a reputation for building motorcycles with rock-solid reliability and class-leading performance.

The company was founded by Japanese engineer, Sōichirō Honda, in 1948 and since then has grown into a massive multinational with revenues of $120 billion in 2009. In the early days, Honda was primarily interested in working on cars, but his plans were sidelined by gas shortages in the second world war, which gave him the idea of attaching a small engine onto his bicycle in order to create a more efficient vehicle.

Honda’s first mass-produced vehicle was the Cub moped, which would go onto become the longest running and most successful motorcycle in history – propelling the company to the enviable position of world’s biggest motorcycle manufacturer by 1964. It would not be long before Honda led the way for the rest of the Japanese motorcycle industry to utterly demolish the long established industry leaders in Britain and America.

Right from the very beginning, Honda used motorsport as a means to achieve commercial success. In 1959 the company entered 5 motorcycles in the Isle of Mann TT race, using this as an opportunity to refine the design of the bikes and to raise the company’s international profile. Honda did not win a TT race until 1961, but this marked the beginning of decades of dominance in motorcycle sport for the company.

Some notable Honda motorcycles include the following models:

GoldWing – one of the most recognisable touring motorcycles on the market, the GoldWing was introduced in 1975 and is still in production, recently becoming the world’s first motorcycle to feature a built in airbag. The GoldWing is available with a variety of engine sizes ranging from 1,000cc to 1,800cc.

Fireblade – in 1992 Honda introduced a new generation of light but powerful supersports motorcycles. Not wanting consumers to focus on the engine size, which was smaller than 1000cc competitors, Honda marketed the new bike as the Fireblade, rather than the CBR-900. The Fireblade was arguably the machine which defined what we think of as modern sports motorcycles.

A Honda motorcycle that changed everything - the 1992 Fireblade
A Honda motorcycle that changed everything - the 1992 Fireblade

CBR600 – a consistently reliable high-performance mid-range sports bike which has been in production since 1987. Throughout numerous updates and redesigns, the CBR600 has remained a firm favourite with riders across the world, serving as a reliable workhorse whilst being sporty enough to provide high-powered thrills.

First all-electric motorcycle launched in America

Zero S road legal electric motorcycle
Zero S road legal electric motorcycle

California based Zero Motorcycles has launched America’s first street legal motorcycle to be powered entirely by electricity, the Zero S. The company claims it will begin shipping the new machine to pre-order customers within a month. The Zero S looks similar to any ordinary off-road motorcycle, but instead of a conventional internal combustion engine the machine is powered by the company’s own Z-Force branded power pack and a high-tech electric motor.

Founder of Zero Motorcycles, Neal Saiki said: “Our goal from the beginning was to engineer a high performance electric urban street motorcycle that would change the face of the industry. The Zero S is a revolutionary motorcycle that is designed to tackle any city street, hill or obstacle. The innovation behind the Zero S is what separates it from the competition. The Zero S is a high performance motorcycle that also happens to be fully electric and green. The fact that it’s electric means not having to get gas and reduced maintenance.”

The manufacturers claim maximum power output of 31bhp, and a top speed of 60mph, as well as a maximum range of 60mph between charges, so it’s really only useful for running around town or some off-road fun. A full recharge takes four hours from a standard 110/220v power outlet. With a dry weight of just 225 lbs, the bike should offer plenty of off-the-line acceleration.

In keeping with the manufacturer’s green ethos, most of the Zero S is fully recyclable and the lithium ion battery is entirely non-toxic. The bike is available to order now for $9,950 in the US and it seems likely that it will be exported to Europe in the future.

More details from: www.zeromotorcycles.com