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Jumat, 31 Oktober 2008

Motorcycles — A Five Journey

By Staff Writer

has grown to become a top manufacturer of Its history can be considered a journey five decades of forward and technological innovations.

Soichiro success parallels the classic fable — the lone starting in a humble setting, odds and succeeding, through ingenuity, and good fortune. In a noted for reserve, Mr. Honda was and is direct, frequently exuberant, hilarious, and always confident. He getting his hands greasy in the over shuffling papers in the He chose learning on the job over paper chases.

Yet when he that there was a deficiency in his knowledge, he did not hesitate to enroll in a high school — at age 29. The was 1935. The motivation: learn why he was problems manufacturing piston

Before his venture into rings, Honda was employed as a Automobiles, rather than were his first love. He of racing.

After completing years of schooling, he joined an repair shop at age 15. Two years he became a Harley owner and an Indian rider.

He opened his own and motorcycle repair shop in while pursuing his hobby, racing cars. That year, he applied for his first for casting automobile wheel He organized Tokai Seiki Ltd. to experiment with piston rings.

After failures, he sought further which enabled him to successfully piston rings for automobiles, and airplanes.

In 1945, Honda his stock to Toyota and took a off. His sabbatical included and merriment. Refreshed, he launched Technical Research Laboratory in of 1946.

His new venture added war Tohatsu and Mikuni generator to bicycles to provide basic for the war-torn nation.

In November the 1/2 horsepower A-Type Honda was manufactured and sold as a complete Because the motorbike gave off a lot of and a stench of turpentine it was known as the

Soichiro Honda started Motor Company in 1948, at the age of 41. after, he hooked up with whiz Takeo Fujisawa and they built an empire. enlisted 13,000 bicycle in Japan as Honda dealers.

move, combined with a reliable product, catapulted the forward.

In 1948, Honda a 90cc version of the A-Type as the B-Type.

By 1949, Honda out with the D-Type. Mr. Honda was in every step of the two-… Dream’s design and manufacture. was Honda’s first motorcycle. was far from simply slotting a into a pushbike frame.

called his machine ‘The because his dream of building a motorcycle had come true. Honda was an engineer and was always to produce better and more machines.

Honda had another and it turned out to be the 146cc, OHV, E-Type Dream. A powerful producing 5 1/2bhp capable of It had a steel frame and proper front and rear.

By October the new Dream was in production at the rate of 130 per day. Sales success Honda to focus vigorously on two key quality and design.

In 1952, produced the first Cub F-Type, a 1/2 50cc, two-… engine was produced in huge numbers. You get one to fit to your pushbike or buy the complete red and Honda Auto Bai. than a year after its production was 6500 units per at that time it was 70% of Japan’s two-wheeler market.

Sales continued to boom, but the end of War in 1953 triggered an economic in Japan that almost Honda. The company survived, by the sale of Cub clip-on motors were attached to bicycles. again, Honda produced the four-… single, a motorcycle of greater sophistication. This was as the Benly; in Japanese this convenience.

The J-Type Benly had a gearbox, produced 3.8bhp, a steel frame, rear with the engine and swinging arm on a pivot, and telescopic front Before long, they selling at a rate of 1000 a month.

In 1954, a 200cc the Juno, was introduced to capture of the sales from the Vespa copies that were built in Japan. Honda different versions of the Dream and motorcycles over the next few incorporating different size (up to 350cc) and other refinements.

In 1957, Honda introduced first twin-cylinder motorcycle, the 250cc OHC four-… C70 Dream. It was the of Honda’s high-performance 125 and 250cc

In early 1958, Honda an electric starter to the 250cc and named it the C71 and, in 1959, the Benly an incredibly sophisticated OHC four-… twin, capable of was introduced as the C92.

In July Honda introduced in Japan became the world’s most motor cycle, the C100 Cub.

The Super Cub was developed three years to be a cheap and motorcycle that literally could use. It used a four-… OHV motor and centrifugal with three-speed transmission. It was so to operate that even new could ride it as easily as a Its innovative frame without a made it popular with the and set a new trend in commuter motorcycling.

The scooterette was coined to describe step-through style motorbike sold in 50, 70 and 90cc versions.

By Honda was the largest motorcycle in the world, producing 500,000 a year. This success Honda’s focus to another American Dream.

Honda Company wanted to expand They figured there was a market for light, economical, motorcycles. The surveys suggested and Southeast Asia while the United States as a potential

The reasons: annual sales of 60,000 units and a negative image.

Honda management ignored the surveys. One reason: model line of 50cc to models would not compete with the large-displacement models by the U.S. market. Mr.

Fujisawa another reason: the world’s economy focused on the U.S. in the American market would a base for world acceptance.

Kawashima was selected as Executive President and General Manager of Honda Motor Company. by seven employees, he opened a in a small storefront office on Boulevard in Los Angeles. Its operating $250,000.

The date: June 4, The market: consumers wanting light, easy to handle and two-wheeled vehicles.

American first model line the C100 Super Cub, Benly Super Sport CA95 Benly Touring CA71 Dream Touring CE71 Dream Sport and C76 Dream Touring 300.

The Super Cub was the first Honda sold in the U.S. eventually the world’s best-selling vehicle (30 to date). As proof that the concept and design was perfect is the that today’s C50, C70 and have only detail to set them apart from the of 25 years ago.

That same year, Honda introduced the 250cc C72 in Amsterdam. This was the first bike to be officially shown in It surprised the crowd with its pressed steel frame, arm and front leading link sophisticated OHC all aluminum engine, starter and indicators.

In the UK, learners had been restricted to motorcycles of size and wanted the fastest they could legally The Honda’s were the fastest around, and the C72 with its improvements 12-volt electric’s and wet sump successor of the C71, was capable of and could still get 66 miles per

The CB92 retained the pressed-steel and leading link forks the CB72 received a tubular frame and telescopic front

Back in Japan, Honda the world’s largest motorcycle plant in Suzuka. Here, dealerships rose to 74 by the end of 1960.

In two years after Honda selling Super Cubs; stunned the racing world Mike the Bike Hailwood’s victories at the Isle of Man. It was the of an unprecedented string of victories was only the beginning of Honda’s tradition.

From the beginning, Mr. dedicated his company to racing, up over 100 major motorcycle around the world. What was from building high-performance machines later led to the development of production motorcycles.

The classic and CB77 helped fuel in riding, got America on two wheels, and Honda as a serious player. The name has appeared on Honda CB72, CB77, CB400T, VTR1000F, and the 1998 VTR1000F. models, offering surprising for their displacement, helped the dealership count to over 400 by end.

Endurance performance on the helped bury the specter of poor quality assigned to manufacturing in general. In 1962, Honda 50cc motorcycles a week-long 24-hour-per-day Maudes endurance test in England, almost 16,000 miles. received the first manufacturer’s in a decade and held the trophy for 11

By this time, they 65% of the Japanese motorcycle market. But still presented a challenge fighting the poor image of in the U.S. The solution: renew to replace that negative with a new positive image would allow creating a new market.

The new image materialized with an advertising campaign would reshape the perception and of motorcycles in the United States. move would also Honda as the leader of industry The concept: You meet the nicest on a Honda.

The new image was presented in a new way with general interest advertising. The goal: acquaint the with Honda products, motorcycles as socially-acceptable vehicles, and the concept of motorcycling, Honda and fun in the of millions who never previously the subject.

The strategy worked, the door to motorcycling freedom for of Americans. Honda’s small, easy-to-ride and easy-to-live-with machines transportation and excitement.

Several made Honda’s products to the sport’s newcomers and old-timers eager for a product, even a previously not available. Compared to was available at the time:

Hondas clean. They did not leak oil or fling it, because fully drive chains were on many early models. were economical. They durable and dependable. Control lasted years rather weeks.

Electrical systems did not mysteriously They were simple and to maintain.

Though Honda’s new lacked the traditional look of the British motorcycles, their and performance sparked growing of admirers. And the new styling began to on enthusiasts.

With many of the new performance took on a new meaning, one not related to power alone. The displacement step-throughs provided transportation for a young generation for freedom. The trail models fisherman, hunters, campers and an affordable and reliable means of transportation that provided fun and as a bonus.

As the model line so did customer acceptance.

The C77 a 305cc of the Dream and the CB77, a Super motorcycle producing 28.5bhp introduced in 1963. Imports up to 150,000 motorcycles as American moved to its current headquarters in California. In four years, the staff of eight had grown to

In 1964, the C95 a 154cc version of the and a 161cc version of the CB160 also offered. The Hondells Little Honda in 1964. entered the American pop culture as the of this hit song. American decided to spend half its advertising budget in one day.

One really, the 1964 Academy telecast. Two 90-second commercials $350,000 — and triggered in sales — as well as recognition. As its dealers’ showrooms the jump in traffic, America fielded requests from DuPont, RCA, Pepsi-Cola, and others for promotional tie-ins.

through on its commitment to motorcycling in American Honda acted as the in the formation of the Motorcycle Industry American Honda also formation of the Motorcycle Safety providing 50% of the funding. Further efforts included working many state motor departments and distribution of the safety film, The Invisible Circle.

community involvement included motorcycles for youth education A juvenile delinquency-prevention program the YMCA, initiated in Southern escalated into the National Program Using Mini-Bikes that provided mini-bikes for Overall, American Honda has over 15,000 mini-bikes as as thousands of other motorcycles for education.

In 1988, the company a Rider Education Center in California, the first of its kind.

By the end of as a result of its leadership in image marketing and education, American had 62% of the U.S. market, just years after opening its

In 1965, Honda, always for a new market, jumped into the big with their first fast production motorcycle, the 43bhp CB450 twin. was a double overhead-camshaft machine torsion bar valve springs would do a genuine 104mph, a to challenge the 500cc-plus bikes.

its performance, sales of the CB450 were poor. A number of changes were made. In a five-speed gearbox was added.

New development continued, stimulated by international racing. A year in Motorcycle Grand Prix racing, Honda established an first — sweeping all manufacturers’ solo road world titles. That technology in motorcycles would appear in consumer products.

In Honda had their first big win in the first Baja 1000.

But American Honda faced a economic hurdle…its first the early days. A year slump saw sales drop 20,000 to 13,000 units per The company decided to update its Shipments were suspended and was restyled as the factory developed new In 1968, Honda stopped of the CB72 and CB77 and produced a new of high performance SOHC with five-speed gearboxes, the CB250 and CB350, with the able to hit 106mph.

This response saw sales in the spring of 1968 — the year Honda commemorated the sale of 10 million units

Sales were further by the 1968 introduction of the Z50A 50. This model, which lives today as the Z50R, more youngsters to motorcycling any other single model manufactured. Z50 model sales in of 450,000 units rank it as Honda’s all-time best-selling

At the Tokyo Show of 1968, after months of tantalizing unveiled a landmark achievement would change the motorcycling forever. A 750cc bike four cylinders and a disc that was so fast and powerful a new superbike, was coined to describe it. The Four was the biggest bike out of proving that a high-performance could also be very

In April 1969, American introduced two more all-time models. For many, the appearance of the Four signifies the emergence of the motorcycle era. The Four a front disc brake and a 67 engine.

The SOHC model on to sell more than units, making it the second seller to date. CT70 70 sales of more than units rank it third on the list. The SL350 Motosport debuted.

The CT70 was Honda’s seller for a single year, nearly 100,000 CT70s in 1970 alone.

Around the mid Honda produced a two-… known as the Amigo. It was cheaper to than the four-… bikes and a whole new generation of lightweight two-… mopeds.

After of winning in Europe, Honda’s race bike won there big event in the U.S. serving that Honda was going to be a force on tracks all across

A 750 Honda motorcycle won the 1970 200. By year’s end, 58 had generated less than sales.

In April 1971, introduced the 500cc four and in it was replaced by a 550cc version.

In the 250 and 350cc motorcycles were being modified to keep with the other manufacturers and Both were given brakes and the 350s were upgraded to 360cc,

In April the CB350F was introduced, a beautiful SOHC Four. Expanding its to the American market, Honda Honda International Trading This company exports products to Japan.

In 1970, entered the off-road market the two-… motocross bike, the And later in 1973 with versions, known as the MT125 and

Late in 1970, Honda a semi-serious, four-… trail the SL125 four-… single in and followed with the more SL250 in 1972. The SL250 had travel suspension, lots of clearance and performed well on and off road.

Both Mr. Honda and Mr. retired in 1973, 25 years formation of the Honda Motor Mr. Kiyoshi Kawashima was named the new of Honda Motor Company.

was also the year that entered into motocross a revolutionary two-…, winning from the start. Honda’s a dominant force ever winning more than 70

That same year saw the of several significant model the XR75 off-road mini, the mini, and Honda’s first in 20 years, the CR250M Elsinore Motorcycle sales peaked at an high of 700,000 units in

Honda adopted an official year policy with the of the 1974 line. Four XL’s appeared, along the CB200 and three additional the CR125 and MT125 and MT250 models.

Up to now, off-road were just modified bikes. The XR75 was Honda’s XR, a true off-road motorcycle off the production line.

In 1975, again dared to think creating the first long-distance machine, the GL1000 Gold a sophisticated, water-cooled, flat along with their off-road-only enduro model, the In the process, Honda did not just a new motorcycle; they created a new touring culture. Here was a bike that set the standards of and sophistication.

It had a shaft-drive, disc and to keep the weight low, a gas tank under the seat.

the original CB400F introduced the to cafe-bike styling on a modern machine. Its graceful four-into-one made it an instant classic, and it looks mild today, in its it was a radical departure from the models.

In 1976, yet another innovation from Honda, the was the first modern motorcycle an automatic transmission.

In 1977, announced the completely new and re-styled and CR400 twins with per cylinder heads to replace the 250 and 400 twins.

Also that Honda pushed the envelope not in motorcycle design, but also in product concepts, like the scooter and the one-man dune


On October 11th, 1977, publicly signaled its increasing to American enterprise and community The company became the first motorcycle manufacturer to move a of the process to the United States. A new Honda of America Manufacturing, assemble and manufacture products in at a facility to be built in Marysville,

Six months later, on April 3, ground was broken for a 220,000 foot facility costing $35 million. Its capacity: 60,000 per year. The plant became in September of the following year.

New for 1978 included the first two-… moped (PA50), the CR25OR works-type motocross the first motorcycle counterbalancer and head (in the CB400T), the first motorcycle, the CX500, and the first dual-purpose machine, the XL250S, featured a 23-inch front and dual exhaust pipes.

brings in the first full-scale motor-vehicle production facility on soil.

Also that the CBX, powered by an incredible 6-cylinder engine, harks to Hailwood’s RC166 that won the of Man. The new line also the first full-sized four-… the XR185, XR250 and XR500, and first custom model, the Custom Honda’s NR500 bike debuted in 1979. pistons eventually found way into production in Honda’s NR750.

A larger GLl100 Wing headed the 1980 list. The Interstate was the industry’s full dress touring

The Ohio manufacturing plants Honda’s commitment to America serving as a model for blending and western business philosophies. The management style emphasizes of all employees as associates while teamwork rather than a tense management vs. labor

The first Pro-Link, liquid-cooled appeared in 1981. The XR models featured the Pro-Link suspension.

same year, Team gave America a first in team motocross. The Honda Team swept both the and Trophee des Nations events. Honda repeated the sweep the year, initiating a victory that remains unbroken to by multiple-manufacturer teams that included Honda MX star Johnson.

Two industry firsts appeared in the model line. The first V-Four engines appeared in the Sabre and VF750C Magna. The production use of turbocharging with injection specifically designed for a motorcycle appeared in the CX500

Tetsuo Chino became the new of American Honda in 1983. its American manufacturing commitment, established Honda Power Manufacturing, Inc. based in Carolina. Perhaps the biggest leap in the sportbike industry, the instantly elevated the level of technology and performance available in a motorcycle.

Honda’s first V-twin custom motorcycle, the combined modern features liquid cooling and shaft with a classic look and and helped build the modern market for Honda. Unlike customs, this one was built for reigning as the most awesome motorcycle of its day. Together the Interceptor, the Magna showed the of technology from Honda.

made riding scooters creating edgy advertising hip celebrities like Grace This marketing blitz off and scooter sales soared. In riding the wave of demand for created by Honda, the Spree the best-selling scooter of all time.

Research of America was established in 1984. This think was created specifically to develop new for the American market and to keep on the cutting edge.

In 1985, Spencer won Grand Prix Championship titles in both the 250 and classes in the same year. feat had never been before, and has not been done

In 1987, with the introduction of the Honda began an 11-year of the 600 Supersport class, with championships on the track, and dozens of best-bike awards.

Yoshihide became American Honda’s in 1988. Honda’s first six, and largest displacement to date, the GL1500 Gold was included in the 1988 model that also featured the Hawk GT and three NX models to XL dual-sports motorcycles.

In 1989, Honda was inducted into the Hall of Fame (USA) in 1989. The Old Man, as he was affectionately received worldwide recognition for his accomplishments and contributions.

In 1996, by a hot-rod Gold Wing in a custom chassis, Honda defied conventional limitations, and the clearly established itself as the power cruiser.

In 1997, a surprisingly stock GL1500 engine, Kenny Lyon a land-speed class record. He hit miles per hour at the Bonneville Flats aboard his 33-inch-high, bullet-shaped bike.

Then was the first production of aluminum-framed MX Once again, Honda the technological envelope.

Honda’s in the global marketplace relies on its to continued investment in America’s That has been their since they first U.S. operations in 1959. It is they believe in.

It is what the expect, and it is why they will to grow in America.

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