1958 Honda Super Cub
Every once in a while a machine transcends the constraints of time and taste to become a modern-day legend, and Honda’s Super Cub is just such a machine. From its humble beginnings back in 1958, the Super Cub (aka Honda 50 or Honda C100) has, according to sales numbers, grown into the most popular motorcycle. Ever. Back in 2018, the line passed the 100-million-unit mark, and I am old enough to remember when McDonald’s had served fewer burgers than that according to their sign out front, so that is a lot of units around the world.
2019 - 2020 Honda Super Cub C125
After much speculation and anticipation, Honda finally released the all-new Super Cub C125 ABS to U.S. dealerships in January 2019, and will carry over into 2020. This iconic ride brings the same 124.9 cc powerplant that drives the popular Grom coupled with a semi-automatic, clutchless shifter, and four-speed gearbox delivering the same ease of operation that helped to make the original such a hit. A disc front brake and ABS bring the classic design closer to modern standards, but the looks are straight outta’ the ’50s for a genuinely dated vibe that is impossible to imitate. Entry-level pricing provides the icing for this charming little cake in order to endear itself to that critical market segment, but I’d argue that this ride is good for more than just as a trainer.
1975 - 1979 Honda GL1000 Gold Wing
The D-Type “Dream” of 1949 may have put Honda on the map, but it was the U.S. release of the Gold Wing in 1975 that eventually made the marque a power in the American touring market. Originally built as a power-cruiser, the domestic consumers had a different purpose in mind — long-distance touring — and with that a legend was born. The basic parameters had been established that would go on to create a family of bikes that, to this day, serve as a staunch competitor to American manufacturers Indian and Harley-Davidson, and enjoy a reputation for speed and agility as well as comfort.
1949 Honda Dream D-Type
Every motorcycle builder has that one model that, while it may not be first, is the one that put the factory on the map. For Japanese giant Honda Motor Company, the first motorcycle was the 1949 “Dream” D-Type aka “Type D or Model D,” though nobody living knows for sure who gave it the “Dream” name. The D-Type brought all of the elements of a proper motorcycle together with a 98 cc thumper. It did away with the need for a traditional clutch lever through a clever shifter and cone-clutch arrangement to appeal to a broader rider base through easier operation. Success would follow, though it was short lived, but a legend was born, first in the island nation and then on the world stage.
2018 - 2020 Honda Monkey
Honda puts out a lot of fun products, it’s true, but few machines can match the level of whimsy you get from the Honda Monkey. That’s right folks, the iconic “Monkey Bike” that served as a mini self-Uber in Japanese amusement parks back in the ’60s is back with a new look and powerplant for what the factory surely hopes is a new era of monkey madness. The 2019 update of this little pocket bike bears the genetic markers of the original without being a slave to it with a 9.25-horsepower modern powerplant, larger wheels (thank goodness) and disc brakes.
2020 Honda Gold Wing Tour
Honda shows its commitment to continual improvement with its 2020 array of top-shelf, tour-tastic Gold Wing models. The Gold Wing range received a handful of improvements to include reworked heads and cylinders that reduce the weight of the drivetrain plus stock foglights and revised ergonomics to boost performance, safety, and comfort across the boards. Of course, this comes on top of the speed and handling for which the Gold Wings have long been famous to make it a serious competitor in the U.S. touring market.
2020 Honda Gold Wing
Honda greets the new decade with a buffed-up, base-model Gold Wing range that’s best described as a BNG-Plus treatment with a few extra goodies thrown in. The sheet metal comes shot in a new, monochromatic finish with generous blackout treatment over the rest of the machine to take a deep dive into Honda’s dark side. Updated damping values tune up the suspension system along with improved electronics to complete the package. Of course, this is all accompanied by the performance and handling that has always held the Gold Wing in good stead and keep the line in an excellent competitive position within the U.S. market.
2020 Honda Rebel 300 / 500
Honda rolls into the new decade with the first overhaul to its newest-generation Rebel range. It has only been a few years since the classic Rebel line was replaced by the current iteration, and the added features are largely due to feedback from the new rider base. New suspension components improve the ride along with upgrades to the lighting and clutch pack to increase overall safety and expand its buyer base.
2021 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP
Honda spruced up its CBR1000RR-R SP superbike and plans to release it summer of 2020 as a 2021 model. The long-rumored updates will finally hit the road in the foreseeable future, and the factory even relented in its long-standing practice by actually using the “Fireblade” moniker in the U.S. market. The factory stuffed in its most powerful four-banger with over 200 ponies on tap and followed up with top-shelf electronics to turn out a machine that, in its own words, is “born to race.”
2019 - 2020 Honda PCX150
Honda’s metro-tastic PCX150 scooter was on the receiving end of an upgrade last year. It included a facelift from stem to stern that further polishes its ’luxe metropolitan looks to bring more of the swank and swagger associated with the marque, and it comes paired with a more voluminous underseat storage area to increase its ’commuterability’.
2019 - 2020 Honda CB300R
Honda expanded its Neo-Sports Café lineup with the new-in-2019 CB300R that brings more of the same café-tastic vibe that we got with the CB1000R, just in an entry level-size package. This naked little pocket crotch-rocket — or “Sport Naked” as the factory has dubbed the style — looks to pull in younger riders with a user-friendly, 286 cc powerplant and lightweight design. After a race to the bottom of the usable displacement range for the sport and naked genres, Honda is refining its bottom-tier rides.
2017 - 2020 Honda Grom
Introduced in 2014, the Grom from Honda is a compact bike with sportbike styling, two-up capabilities if you don’t mind having to Fred-Flintstone the take-off, has amazing fuel economy, and offers a little something more for folks who might consider a scooter in this size-range. Marketed in other countries as the MSX125, the Motrac M3, and the Skyteam M3, the Grom is a spunky little — “little” being the operative word here — motorcycle, good for folks new to two wheels or for anyone else who wants a fun ride. It’s not fast, but that’s not the point.
2017 - 2019 Honda Rebel 300 / Rebel 500
Honda brought one of its most recognized model families into the 21st century with a complete overhaul of the much celebrated Rebel range in 2017. Available as the Rebel 300 and 500, this reworked line features water-cooled mills and fuel-injection induction control to meet modern and near-future emissions standards. A sportier look greets the eye this time around, though the Rebel still targets the same small-[cruiser-mot392], entry-level market.
2020 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports ES
Honda expands its 2020 Africa Twin lineup with the addition of the CRF1100L “Adventure Sports ES” model that turns an already capable dual-surface machine into a terrain-gobbling off-road tour de force. A larger, more powerful engine and lower overall weight boosts performance, and handling is improved, as well, through the electronically adjusted suspension system. Also boosted, fuel-tank capacity is increased to extend the range and make the “ES” even more suitable for work as a bona fide globetrotter.
2020 Honda Africa Twin
Honda’s globetrotting Africa Twin line has always represented a lot of bike for your buck, but the factory buffed that reputation ahead of MY2020 with a series of improvements that go far beyond the cursory “Bold New Graphics” that frequently makes up Honda’s upgrades. I’m talking about a new engine and updated transmission that deliver more power and control over a frame that drew from Honda’s not-inconsiderable experience with off-road machines. Top-shelf rider-aid electronics and finely-tuned comfort features round out the package to make the new Africa Twin an all-around winner on the global stage.
2015 - 2020 Honda XR650L
Honda carries its venerable XR650L line into 2020, but to be honest, it’s almost completely unchanged from the original version unleashed on the world back in 1993. Before you scoff, I would point out that sharks haven’t changed in millions of years, having evolved long ago into creatures perfectly suited to their environments, and apparently, so it is with the XR650L. The Red Riders got it right out of the gate with this one, and popular support keeps the bike on Honda’s showroom floors even after nearly a quarter-century.
2019 - 2020 Honda CRF450L
If you’re all about that trail-life, but aren’t necessarily feeling the trailer-life aspect of it, then Honda’s new CRF450L was built with you in mind. The “L” is based on the CRF450R, and was designed as a sister-bike to the 450X of the same family. It’s a street-legal machine with mirrors and lights that’ll let you connect the dots between your favorite trails via blacktop. As for the brown top, a 449 cc plant generates the power with a light-pull clutch and knobbies to keep it under control.
2018 - 2019 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports
Honda’s Africa Twin Adventure Sports makes the jump from concept to production to further expand the CRF1000L lineup. This newest model — dubbed the CRF1000L2 — brings a decidedly more rugged visage to the table along with the same 998 cc powerplant that drives its more street-centric adventure siblings. I submit to you that the importance of this model goes beyond a handful of special features and a clever name; in a way, it fulfills the promise of the capabilities implicit with the “Africa Twin” moniker. The updated engine churns out 94 ponies with street-knobbies to put the power to the pavement and an updated suspension system to keep the rough roads and trails from rattling the fillings out of your head.
2016 - 2019 Honda Metropolitan
Honda revamped its classic-looking Metropolitan – known in other markets as the Giorno – for the 2016 model year. Early models enjoyed a bit of popularity starting back in 2002, but that took a hit with the changes made for the ’13 models up through ’15. The factory proves that it listens to customer feedback and acts on it with a fresh set of changes for the 2016 and 2017 models, tweaks that directly address the concerns coming from the customers. On the top of the list was a new, liquid-cooled engine that ramped up overall performance, as well as relocating the fuel tank for more storage under the seat. What we have for 2019 is a scooter that aims to regain the popularity it once enjoyed with a classic look and a revamped engine.
2018 Honda NC750X
Honda introduced the NC750X to the U.S. market last year in a bid to solidify its position in the adventure-commuter sector. Like its predecessor, the NC700X, the new sled is built for comfortable riding with a capacity for touring. The new engine lends it a sportier attitude with 54 horsepower on tap and a two-level torque control to help you keep it under control.
2015 - 2019 Honda CBR300R
Honda shows us that big isn’t always better with its CBR300R. As the small-displacement sportbike bracket fills in from every quarter, the CBR300R with its 286 cc engine has the aggressive look and feel of the bigger bikes – like a Fireblade you left in the dryer too long — but in a commuter-friendly version that could be a stepping stone on your way up the displacement ladder.
2017 - 2019 Honda CBR1000RR SP
In 2017, Honda put plenty of “super” in its next-generation, 25th anniversary (of the CBR900RR) edition superbike line with the newly redesigned CBR1000RR SP. While the Fireblade name has long been associated with race-capable machines, that connection to the track has never been clearer than with this bike. Less weight, more power and even more electronic wizardry than ever before, Honda’s flagship literbike brings the pain for a lot less cheddar than some of their, shall we say, ambitious rides. (CoughRC213V-Scoughcough.)
2019 Honda CBR500R
Honda spruced up its CBR500R ahead of MY2018, and in an unusual move, buffed it up yet again for MY2019. The new model dips further into race-tastic territory with aerodynamics and ergonomics as the main front-burner considerations for an effort far beyond the BNL treatment, and the factory also tweaked the drivetrain to give it a bit more go to match the sporty new show.