Another boxed ticked before I die!
I thought you may have to be from a certain era to enjoy the Honda Collection Halls in Motegi but I was wrong. This immaculate museum has hundreds of race and road bikes on display starting with the first ever (wooden) motorcycle built right up to the amazing machines Pedrosa and co are campaigning this year.
Being part of the Honda owned Motegi Twin Ring circuit complex, I was expecting it to be a Honda only zone so was amazed to see lots of iconic bikes from other manufacturers also on display. Three cylinder KH Kawasakis from the seventies, LC Yamahas from the eighties plus 500cc Grand Prix Yamahas and Suzukis are just a few examples. Every bike is also like new, is in perfect working order and has a nice one paragraph plaque explaining it's history.
I spent two years riding for Honda so it was special for me to see the 87’and 88’ NSR 500s I rode in GPs parked next to the Suzuka 8 Hour RVF 750 exotica I shared with Wayne Gardner. Super rare race bikes from every decade are everywhere but my two favourites were Spencer’s 1980 oval piston NR 500 and 1984 ‘upside down’ NSR 500. The exhausts on this one come over the top of the engine and the fuel tank in the belly pan. It won races but was parked up after one year as the the fuel slushing around underneath caused too many weight transfer related handling problems. Another big disadvantage at a time when jetting was monitored by removing spark plugs, was mechanics with scalded hands. The top plugs could only be accessed between the exhausts and this proved painful when a check was needed mid session.
Off road fans are also more than catered for too, with dozens of bikes from an era when the likes of Brits, Graham Noyce and Dave Thorpe ruled the world. Cyril Neveu's 1988/87 beastly NXR 750 Paris Dakar winner has been minted up for the collection as has Bubba Shobert's amazing, Harley beating, RS750 flat tracker. There is also a floor of road cars, saloon and F1 racing cars plus a library and gift shop so if you are ever lucky enough to visit Japan I can't recommend this place enough. And do you remember Asimo, the Honda humanoid robot that appeared at the NEC around four or five years ago? Well I'm happy to report he is alive and well and and in gainful employment, serving coffee on the museum's ground floor.
The Honda Collection Halls at Motegi is around two hours from Tokyo and you’ll need at least four hours to take everything but entry is free!
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