Top Speed Buying Guide to the 2019 Honda Lineup
The Honda Motor Company, Ltd is a major producer of powered equipment, motorcycles, outboard motors, automobiles, and aircraft. As one of the “Big Four” in the motorcycle market, Honda faces stiff domestic competition, but since 1959 has maintained its position as the “largest in the world” in both the motorcycle and equipment sectors. Its REPSOL racing team is competitive in both the MotoGP and WSBK circuits, and Honda’s dirt bikes are a common sight in Motocross/Supercross events.
2021 Honda CB1000R Black
Honda goes a bit beyond the cursory “Bold New Graphics” package that frequently heralds a new model-year with new bodywork and a blackout paint package on the Honda CB1000R that sets it well apart from the previous version to make it the “Black Edition.” Improved electronics join with the new looks for some under-the-hood improvements increasing its utility as a commuter, and a fun one at that. The punchy four-banger reprises its role as the beating heart with throttle-by-wire and riding modes on board to help with engine management.
2019 - 2020 Honda CB650R
After a race to the upper displacement range and a subsequent search for the bottom usable cubeage, Honda revisited its midrange and spruced up its CB650R ahead of the 2019 model year. That’s right sports fans; the Neo Sport Café concept has gone to production under this new moniker, and it rolled into MY2019 with a handful of tweaks that brushed up the looks and carved off a little fat. The powerplant also took a beating from the buffhammer to turn out a 5-percent increase in power with changes to improve rideability and safety.
2021 Honda NC750X
Honda’s adventuresome NC750X got a facelift ahead of the 2021 model-year that includes refined front fairings for improved penetration and an enlarged cargo space to contribute to its utility as both an adventure bike and a commuter cycle. The engine also enjoyed a few mechanical tweaks along with an improved electronic-control system, and the lump lost some weight so even more of that power is converted into acceleration. A new slipper-type clutch and re-calibrated transmission completes the MY2021 package with a concurrent gain in safety. Shorter gear-ratios for the first three gears let you come out of the hole like a champ while remaining in the usable powerband.
2022 Honda Grom
Honda rolls out its 2022 Grom 125 with a handful of improvements to go along with a reworked, retro-styled body. It carries a new transmission ahead of a cleaner engine in terms of emissions, and sports a larger fuel tank to extend the good times. In spite of its new look, it’s still readily recognizable as a Grom ’cause the monkey-bike charm still shines through to make that crucial connection to Honda’s own rich history and the 1963 model that started it all.
Four Motorcycle Heavy-Hitters Join Forces in the EV-Battery Industry
A handful of the major movers and shakers within the burgeoning electric-vehicle industry have come together in a move calculated to increase EV viability as a practical form of transportation. I’m talking about industry heavies such as the Honda Motor Co. Ltd., Piaggio & C SpA, KTM AG, and Yamaha Motor Co., plus subsidiaries thereof including, but not limited to, Vespa, Husqvarna, and Moto Guzzi. All four have some sort of complete vehicle such as street scooters and dirt bikes with the exception of Yamaha who has so far stuck to Power Assist Electric Bicycles and general electric motor production for use in other applications. These marques have all come together in the spirit of the Paris Climate Agreement to form the Swappable Batteries Consortium whose purpose is reaching a uniform power-pack design that, ostensibly, will make it easier and less expensive to buy and maintain electric bikes.
2017 - 2021 Honda CBR1000RR
Honda carries its CBR1000RR superbike, a.k.a. ’Fireblade’, into 2021 with little in the way of changes. That’s hardly surprising given the scope and scale of the revisions done prior to MY17 that brought us the newest gen of Honda’s Total Control initiative with a host of electronic goodies to help keep the 189-horsepower engine (10 more ponies than the previous gen) under control. It’s Honda’s first inline four-banger to run a throttle-by-wire induction control, and the factory piled on with Riding Modes, Wheelie Control, and more to make the ’Blade serve as a model flagship for the affordable-supersport sector with plenty of influence from the racing department for the ’everyrider’.
2021 Honda Rebel 1100
Honda swings for the fences with its new-for-2021 Rebel 1100 taking its place at the head of the Rebel family. A prime candidate for both the entry-level riders and ones looking for their first upgrade, the biggest Rebel’s engine comes out of the globetrotting Africa Twin. Ride-control and safety electronics come off the top shelf and it comes in a choice between a standard transmission and Honda’s DCT gearbox that delivers automatic-transmission functionality. This new ride rolls for less than $10k to cement its status as a contender in the U.S. cruiser market.
TopSpeed 2020 Honda Buying Guide
Honda rolls into 2020 with the usual handful of Bold New Graphics items that include additional paint packages and not-so-subtle changes to the liveries across the board. The renowned Africa Twin family sports a new flagship with its Adventure Sports ES and ES DCT models, but for the most part MY20 is more about the improvement of existing models. Toward that end, you’ll find a handful of models which come with improved electronics packages as standard equipment instead of optional this year, but little in the way of newness to be found. (Spoiler alert; all of this changes for MY21.)
2015 - 2020 Honda Shadow Aero / Shadow Phantom
Honda made an honest attempt to capture that look and feel of yesteryear with the Shadow duo, the big brothers to the Rebel range. Maybe just a little too honest – is that a mechanical drum brake I see? Still with a 745 cc engine and a wide-ratio transmission, the Shadow Phantom and the Aero fill the "cruiser" slot quite adequately for Honda.
2015 - 2020 Honda Ruckus
Bare bones — naked bike, anyone? — and gnarly, the Ruckus looks like it’s right out of Mad Max. Even though it does have a 50 cc engine, no one is going to say, “Awww, isn’t that cute?” when you ride by on a Honda Ruckus. Granted, you won’t get going very fast on a Ruckus, so on-lookers will get a good, long look.
2018 - 2020 Honda NC750X
Honda introduced the NC750X to the U.S. market in 2018 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.
2016 - 2020 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 2020 is a scooter that aims to regain the popularity it once enjoyed with a classic look and a revamped engine.
2016 - 2019 Honda Fury / Stateline
The Honda designers targeted the outlaw chopper culture of the ’60s and ’70s, and managed to turn out a fairly faithful interpretation in the Fury, which is carried into 2020 though we lost its stablemate, the Stateline, from the lineup in 2017. The deep saddle and cut-down rear fender combined with the sweep of the fuel tank give it that stretched, custom look. For the American market, the 52-degree V-twin fits right in with a 1,312 cc engine that isn’t so big as to be intimidating.
2019 - 2020 Honda CBR650R
Honda dropped an “F” and added an “R” to its lineup last year with its new CBR650R. The factory gave it a look that’s all its own with new fairings and a trim rear end, and it adds to the R’s race-tastic tendencies with an aggressive rider’s triangle. New Showa stems and powerful brakes add value while the souped-up engine adds compression and power to make the R a thrill to ride, along with new electronic safety features to help you keep it dirty-side down.
2014 - 2020 Honda CBR600RR
Honda’s latest generation of 600 cc, CBR supersports toes the family line with its race-winning blend of power and maneuverability all packed onto a MotoGP-inspired chassis. Much like the original CBR600RR that hit the streets back in ’03 and was built as a racebike replica, the current model features a strong engine along with a front suspension featuring Honda’s 41mm Big Piston Fork for superb handling and snappy action, plus MotoGP-inspired bodywork in a race-tested aerodynamic supersport design.
2019 - 2020 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.
2015 - 2020 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.
2019 - 2021 Honda CB500X
Honda brushed up its CB500X ahead of MY2019 with a number of improvements that came hot on the heels of the buffs it got just the year before. A number of engine tweaks net a small gain in torque, along with a larger front wheel to better tackle road bumps and light terrain. The ’stop’ was boosted right along with the ’go’ in the form of a few refinements in the electronics department, as well as the hardware. Improvements in the suspension and rider’s triangle do their bit to increase rideability and comfort on Honda’s new smallish-displacement adventure bike.
2021 Honda Hunter Cub CT125
Honda teased us last year with a tantalizing glimpse of its CT125 Hunter Cub update as a concept model, and now it looks like the bike is going into production and coming to our side of the pond. Based on the legendary Super Cub that also recently saw a relaunch with an updated, modernized model, the Hunter Cub is built with a bias toward back-road/off-road work. Laced wheels and stealth knobbies join with the already handy little Super Cub platform and a specially-tuned, 8-plus horsepower plant to boost its terrain-tackling capabilities.