Honda’s beginnings as a motorbike manufacturer may be traced to the immediate post-war era, when Japan, like so many other war-torn nations, had a dire need for affordable transportation.
The business was able to expand into more powerful motorcycles thanks to the Super Cub’s success, and they also started a racing program that helped them become well-known. Honda popularized the inline four-cylinder motorcycle engine in the 1970s, and the motorcycle industry has never been the same since.
1; Honda Goldwing
The Honda Goldwing, the company’s flagship model, has long been regarded as the ideal touring motorbike for riders seeking comfort, a ton of amenities, and security. Currently, in its sixth iteration, the Goldwing has advanced significantly from the four-cylinder naked cruiser of 1974. In essence, this bike established the standard for tourers, and numerous brands have since attempted to outperform it without success.
Modern Goldwings are pricey, but it’s not hard to locate a well-kept, dependable version for under $3,000 in the classifieds; this illustrates the influence these bikes have had on the motorcycling world by being the go-to, dependable option for lengthy trips.
2; 1983 Honda VF750F Interceptor
Did you know that Honda was producing huge V4 engines in the early 1980s before the Ducati Panigale V4 and Aprilia Tuono V4 attained legendary status? Along with the 1985 Suzuki GSX-R750, the 1983 Honda Interceptor established the brand’s reputation for V4 engines in its heyday.
This motorcycle is also recognized as one of the original sports bikes. The sports bike market became so well-liked in the US because of a motorcycle that let American bikers fall in love with turns rather than straight-line performance or leisurely cruising.
3; Honda Shadow
The Honda Shadow has a similarly enduring design to the Honda Goldwing. The Shadow was one of the first Japanese cruisers, debuting in 1983 to compete directly with Harley-Davidson in America. It didn’t get off to a smooth start; it was introduced with a 750cc engine but had that reduced to 700cc the next year due to tariffs. Eventually, though, the Shadow acquired a larger 1,100cc model.
The Honda Shadow may not be the quickest or sexiest motorbike on this list, but it certainly gave Harley-Davidson a run for its money and showed to the world that Japanese cruisers can be just as excellent, if not better, than American cruisers.
4; 1992 Honda NR750
Many motorcycles by Ducati were inspired by Honda, but one of the most stunning Ducati models ever was. Legendary designer Massimo Tamburini acknowledged using NR750 design elements when creating the Ducati 916, one of the most beautiful motorcycles ever.
With its 747cc oval-piston V4 engine, USD forks, electronic fuel injection, and under-seat exhaust, the NR750 was a fantastic motorcycle. However, as soon as you see this bike, all of that is forgotten. You won’t be able to take your eyes off the Honda NR750 since it is so gorgeous.
5; Honda XRV750 Africa Twin
In a variety of markets and events, Honda has consistently outperformed competitors, including the Paris Dakar Rally with its NXR-750. Honda introduced the XRV750 Africa Twin as a tribute to this illustrious rally motorcycle. The Dakar Rally had already proven the viability of the 750cc V-twin engine, and this bike’s rally-inspired ergonomics, chassis characteristics, and suspension made it an appropriate ADV bike.
The adventure bike market was just getting started at the time, and the majority of adventure bikes were designed for the road, but the Africa Twin was a capable off-road vehicle. Even now, the current-generation Africa Twin outperforms rivals like the BMW R 1250 GS and Triumph Tiger thanks to its agility, off-road capability, and size. The Africa Twin demonstrated to the world that large ADV bikes are capable of being agile.
6; Honda RC166 (1964)
If we had to choose one motorcycle that contributed to Honda’s dominance in the racing scene, it would be the RC166. This stunning motorcycle helped Honda transform from a little Japanese company to the racing powerhouse it is today by winning two world championships for the company. It had a 150 mph peak speed and a 250cc inline-six (wow!) engine, but the spec sheet only gives a limited amount of information.
The RC166 was groundbreaking in the real world because it established Honda as a racing superpower and served as a test bed for innovations that Honda would later utilize in its road-going cars.
7; Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird
In the middle of the 1990s, the Kawasaki Ninja ZX11 was the fastest motorcycle until Honda created the CB1100XX Super Blackbird. This motorbike marketing stunt was named after the storied Lockheed SR-71 jet, which at the time was the fastest aircraft in the world. It reached a speed of 178.5 mph, which is 3 mph faster than the Ninja ZX11.
The Super Blackbird did more than just question the current status quo; Suzuki was so offended by it that he produced the Hayabusa, which was inspired by the peregrine falcon that hunts blackbirds. The Super Blackbird marked the start of the Gentlemen’s Agreement, which put an end to the speed wars. And we doubt we would have the Hayabusa or the Ninja H2 without this beast.
8; 1969 Honda CB750
The Honda CB750 is frequently cited as the original superbike. The Honda CB750 was a breath of fresh air in a market full of singles and twins at the time that it was released. Honda was celebrating several victories in Grand Prix racing at the time.
The CB750 may have fallen victim to the current cafe racer fad, but it was the beginning of a new age that propelled the industry to new heights at the time. The CB750 popularized four-cylinder engines and prompted every other manufacturer to enter the competition. In developed areas where superbikes are popular, it is one of the most influential motorcycles ever.
9; 1993 Honda CBR900RR Fireblade
The Honda CBR900RR Fireblade served as the inspiration for the current-generation Fireblade, one of the best motorcycles money can buy. It is a practical, easy-to-use sportbike with incredible power in the liter class. In reality, the CBR900RR is responsible for all liter-class sportbikes because it was a key factor in igniting the liter-class battles in the 1990s.
The CBR900RR altered the game by being a light, agile sportbike that behaved like a much smaller supersport. Before this bike, liter-class bikes prioritized speed above track talents. Since then, the CBR900RR has served as the model for all liter-class sportbikes.
10; Honda Cub
The Honda Cub is unquestionably the most significant Honda motorcycle ever. When it was first introduced, it achieved for motorcyclists what the Ford Model T did for cars—brought two wheels to the public. It may be a statement item today in the United States. It has been manufactured since 1958 and has sold more than 100 million units through several versions, making it the most popular automobile in history.
The Cub (or Super Cub in its latest incarnation) continues to be a workhorse that epitomizes utility and affordability in developing countries. On Honda Cubs, you meet the kindest and most sensible individuals since it’s practical, wonderfully efficient, and vintage. Not to mention that Honda Cubs make great unmodified canvasses.