Ah, Honda. The name is synonymous with quality, reliability, and affordability. These automotive traits are expected to be present in any one of the Japanese giant’s samples, and for the most part, they are. That’s why the company remains a top ten manufacturer. While Honda’s popularity today undoubtedly came from it success with recent flagship models such as the Civic and Accord, Honda is just as well-known for manufacturing motorcycles at the same familiar standard of excellence.
Where It All Began
The first Honda bikes were made in Japan in 1955, and by the ’60s, these motorcycles were being exported to the US by the thousands. Since 1959, Honda Motor Company has been the number one manufacturer of motorcycles in the world. During the early ’80s, about three million Honda bikes available at Grantham Honda rolled off the assembly line each year. While that number has definitely shrunken since those “golden days,” Honda continues to push sizable numbers of motorbikes out of its factory doors today.
The Big Three
HONDA GOLD WING
Introduced in 1974, this luxury motorcycle is considered to be the top dog of the Honda line. Being the perfect combination of performance and practicality, Gold Wings were loved from North America to Western Europe and Australia where they saw the highest demand. Current models come with “deluxe” features such as a trunk, seatback, adjustable windshield, GPS, anti-lock brakes, sound system, cruise control, airbags and more. The Honda Gold Wing has what most other bikes didn’t have–real presence. The ride stands tall like a royal soldier, and it’s got a signature look that is very special and unique.
HONDA CBR1100XX SUPER BLACKHAWK
Honda’s contender for the “fastest motorcycle in the world” title was the futuristic, ultra-light, 137 hp at 9750rpm Super Blackhawk. Originally developed in 1996 to compete against the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-11, it was discontinued in 2007. Being a polar opposite to the beginner’s Honda CBF125 available at Grantham Honda, which came a year after the last Super Blackhawks were released, this superbike recorded top speeds of about 178 mph. Sadly, it lost the title to the Suzuki Hayabusa GSX1300R in 1999, which put up a winning top speed of 194 mph. Regardless of the loss, the Super Blackhawk is still known as one of the fastest and most technologically-advanced motorcycles of its time.
This large, cruiser-style motorcycle had the looks of a Harley, but the internals were all Honda. The ride was equipped with the largest V-Twin engine of its time. Powered by the V-Twin 1800, the strong and sturdy VTX was excellent on any road. The bike gained a lot of attention from classic bike guys who weren’t fans of Honda.
Honda’s Top Two-Wheeled Offering
While all of the above deserve to take the title, the Honda Gold Wing is a marvelous classic that will forever live in the minds and hearts of Honda enthusiasts. This bike gave Honda motorcycles an image that was grand and spectacular because it was different from the “everyman’s bike” branding that Honda went with. The Gold Wing has legendary looks and reputation, and that’s why it is Honda’s greatest of all time.