Honda Motorcycles. A small rural village near the city of Hamamatsu, Japan, was the birthplace in 1906 of Soichiro Honda the founder of the global motor company which bears his name. The Honda Motor Company Limited was incorporated in 1948.
Production of machines in 1950 was 300 a month. In 1960 Honda sold 168,554 machines in over 50 countries worldwide.
The greatest bike riders, world champions, from Mike Hailwood to Valentino Rossi have raced, broken records and won on Honda Motorcycles.
Honda CB400 four 1975
Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) was formed in 1954. The company combines participation in motorcycle races throughout the world with the development of high potential racing machines. Its racing activities are an important source for the creation of leading edge technologies used in the development of Honda motorcycles. HRC also contributes to the advancement of motorcycle sports through a range of activities that include sales of production racing motorcycles, support for satellite teams, and rider education programs.
Honda CB750f2 1978
Soichiro Honda, being a race driver himself, could not stay out of international motorsport. In 1959 , Honda entered five motorcycles into the Isle of Man TT race, at that time the most prestigious motorcycle race in the world. While always having powerful engines, it took until 1961 for Honda to tune their chassis well enough to allow Mike Hailwood to claim their first Grand Prix victories in the 125 and 250 cc classes. Hailwood would later pick up their first senior TT wins in 1966 and 1967. Honda's race bikes were known for their exotic engine configurations, such as the 5 cylinder, 22,000 rpm, 125 cc bike and their 6 cylinder 250 cc and 380 cc bikes.
1979 saw Honda return to Grand Prix motorcycle racing with their exotic, monocoque-framed, four-stroke NR500. The NR500 featured elongated cylinders each with 8 valves and with connecting rods in pairs, in an attempt to comply with the FIM rules which limited engines to four cylinders. Honda engineered the elongated cylinders in an effort to provide the valve area of an 8 cylinder engine, hoping their four-stroke bike would be able to compete against the now dominant two-stroke racers. Unfortunately, it seemed Honda tried to accomplish too much at one time and the experiment failed. For the 1982 season, Honda debuted their first two stroke race bike, the NS500 and in 1983, Honda won their first 500 cc Grand Prix World Championship with Freddie Spencer.
Since then, Honda has become a dominant marque in motorcycle Grand Prix racing and, more recently, won the 2006 MotoGP championship with rider Nicky Hayden on a Honda RC211V.