Those were the pillars of the success of Soichiro Honda when founded Honda Motor Company in 1948, two years after he launched his technological research institute.
Seven decades later, the motorcycle division has a track record of innovative and sophisticated elements in which it has pioneered, such as oval pistons, the variable distribution, ¡the turbo!, The injection … and other elements in which Honda has pioneered (the electronic management) or, directly, who developed them (brake systems Electronic ABS, CBS, D-CBS, its exclusive transmission DCT…).
And more recently, it launched the Honda Riding Assist, that, with the robotics inherited from the electric personal mobility device UNI-CUB and the humanoid ASIMO -instead of gyroscopes-, it allows to keep the motorcycle in static balance without effort from the rider.
However, from where all this technological deployment begins in the world of careers…
From racing to 4-cylinder in-line
After taking control of a wide world-wide market, Honda decides to face in 1959 with the European manufacturers in the World Championship of Motorcycling.
So. in 1960 Honda smashes copper with models RC146 (125 cc), RC160 to RC164 (250 cc), RC170 to RC173 (350 cc), and RC181 (500 cc), whose configuration four cylinder in line it is just incorporated for the first time into a street model, the Honda CB750 Four 1968 (which will replace its models with parallel cylinders): 8-valve SOHC engine, 733 cc, 68 hp at 8,500 rpm and a top speed of over 200 km / h.
All four cylinders were incorporated into the CB500, CB550, CB350, and CB400, which followed the first CB750 throughout the seventies, culminating in 1979 with the CB900F, which with its 901 cc DOHC four-cylinder engine reached 95 hp, and a renewed CB750F.
Honda has maintained this configuration for more than fifty years, with all kinds of models, tourist or sports, of any displacement, from 350 to 1,300 cc, always starting from the initials CB, from the primitive sports of the seventies, to today’s powerful supercars, like the Honda CBR1000RR R SP Fireblade, which with its 214 CV of power represents the maximum exponent of the brand’s sports models.
In 1974 the Monster appeared Honda Gold Wing GL 1000, created its own segment and today remains a benchmark. It had a flat-4 engine, two-to-two opposite cylinder (boxer) cylinders.
Inline 6-cylinder engines
Three years later, in 1977, the CBX1000 inspired by the engine of the 250cc RC166 and 297cc RC174, with which Mike Hailwood and Jim Redman won 6 world titles.
Two V-cylinders … and turbo!
In 1981 Honda was the first brand to put on the market a motorcycle with turbo, the CX500 Turbo, with V-Twin engine at 80º transverse SOHC. “With the help of the turbo, it reached 60 hp at 8,000 rpm, rivaling in acceleration with many ‘thousand’ of the time. The engine, which turned out to be large, heavy and complex, was a statement of intent of the brand by the display of technology it offered.The turbo fashion of the early 1980s led several brands to develop models of this type, and in 1983 Honda renewed its model with the CX650 Turbo, which reached 64 CV “, remember the Japanese.
In 1979 Honda released its first V4 engine, the Honda NR500, a motorcycle that marked his return to the World Speed Championship. From that experience, the first standard Honda with a V4 engine was born in 1982, the Honda VF750F (V4 engine at 90º DOHC with 4-valve cylinder heads, 90 hp, torque limiter, antidive system …) that would give rise to a wide saga, up to the VF1000R, of 122 hp.
In 1986 Honda further developed this block and the Sling VFR750F, VFR400F and the emblematic one: the Honda VFR750R RC30, which marked an era in the field of sports bikes (748 cc 90º V4 engine that provided 112 hp at 9,500 rpm), with a competition kit that allowed simple adaptation for use on circuits. With this bike Honda burst into the SBK World Championship winning the first two titles.
The NR750 It became the first street bike with oval pistons, manufacturing a short series of just 700 units. Although it was not competition oriented, in 1993 Honda attacked several speed records with the NR750 and the young world champion of 125, Loris Capirossi.
The attempt was developed in the ring of Nardó, and the NR750 broke the records of 750 cc of the kilometer (299,825 km / h) and the ten kilometers (283,551 km / h). One more milestone to add to the best Honda motorcycles in history, based on its technology.
Honda continued to delve further into the development of its sporty V4 engine and in 1994 the RVF750R RC45. Circuit racing helped John Kocinski win the Superbike title in 1997.
The second generation V4
The Honda VFR800 it would end up transforming itself into one of the most technologically advanced motorcycles by incorporating in 2002 the VTEC variable distribution, along with a more aggressive and avant-garde aesthetic, and later evolved towards a trail orientation with the model VFR800X Crossrunner, which appeared in 2011 (782 cc and 109 hp) and, in 2015, with a second generation that incorporated the HSTC (Honda Selectable Torque Control) system, which, acting as a torque regulator, intervened as an efficient traction control.
In 2010 and 2012, the Honda VFR1200F, (1,273 cc V4, 173 bhp clutch with torque limiter and cardan secondary transmission) and the VFR1200X Crosstourer (1,237 cc V4 and 129 hp) incorporate the DCT sequential automatic shift (Dual Clutch Transmission), for a much more comfortable and efficient sporty tourist driving.
The most radical V4
In 2015, the Honda RC213V-S It was the homologated version for the street of the motorcycle with which Marc Márquez had proclaimed himself World Champion for the second time in 2014, “but without equipping the“ seamless ”gearbox, due to the complex and costly maintenance, and hydraulic distribution for identical reason, nor carbon brake discs “, they count from the brand when reviewing for us the best Honda motorcycles in history.
“Logically, this street version was sweetened. First the geometry dimensions changed and then the response of the engine was modified, which had a power of 159 hp for only 170 kilos of weight, although you could buy an enhancement kit that increased the power up to 215 hp. He went on to use electric start, oil clutch and catalysts, had headlights, mirrors and mirrors, like any motorcycle even if it was a motorcycle without equal. His RRP was 190,000 euros, to which we would have to add another 13,000 more of the enhancement kit and the registration tax, “they recall.
V2 engines: beginning and end
Already in the 90s, before the dominance of large twin cylinders, the Honda VTR1000, a V2 that in successive versions will enter the field of the V-Twin, which in 2001 gave way to the SP-1 version equipped with PGM-FI electronic injection and a robust double-girder aluminum chassis and a marked sports line, It yielded 136 hp at 9,300 rpm.
In 2002, Colin Edwards He would achieve the SBK World Championship with this bike, Honda closing the stage of its V engines in SBK, going on to use the tetracylinders online from 2004 with the Honda CBR1000RR.
End of Q2: New 4T Single Cylinder Scooters
In 2001, for the sake of energy efficiency and the increasingly demanding anti-emission regulations, Honda abandons production of two-stroke engines, is limited to four times, generalizes the electronic injection PGM-FI.
In addition, it uses the single-cylinder Smart Power (eSP) motor in its 125cc scooters like the Honda PCX125i or the Honda SH125i ‘Scoopy’ and the system start-stop (Idle Stop).
For the Asian market, in 2010 it launched the Honda EV-neo, with a lithium-ion battery and a brushless motor with benefits equivalent to a moped, although it was present in Spain, in some companies and public administrations on loan.
In 2017 the Honda PCX Electric and the Honda PCX Hybrid: surprise at the Tokyo Motor Show, for Japan.
Twin cylinders for new segments
After the economic crisis of 2008 and the new needs in mobility, in 2012 the scooter arrived Honda Integra and motorcycles NC700S and NC700X (670 cc twin cylinder engine, SOHC and four valves per cylinder, with a power of 51 hp at 6,250 rpm.
Finally, Honda gives a further twist to the advantages of maxiscooters and the fun and versatility of the trail and combines both concepts, to create the revolutionary Honda X-ADV from 2017.
Its motor? n two cylinders in line 745 cc SOHC, power of 55 CV at 6,250 rpm, DCT as standard, “off road” manager (control G) that introduces speeds at a higher speed, and two-level HSTC system.