HONDA has probably made more models over a wider range of configurations than any other motorcycle manufacturer in history. Which means picking a top 10 of the best bike’s it has ever made is a tough task.
Even if we made this a top 100 we’d still probably end up leaving out machines that some of you would justifiably say qualified. Choosing only 10? Well, we can be sure that you probably won’t agree with all our picks.
Should the first ever Honda be included? It’s among the most important without doubt, but one of the firm’s best? Surely not.
What about the latest Fireblade? It’s objectively the best machine to carry that famous name, but it doesn’t move the goalposts like the first generation model – no doubt a far inferior bike in every measurable way – did. Decisions, decisions…
Here’s our pick for the top 10. Let the arguments begin...
Let’s start with a controversial one. By most measures the NR750 was a failure. Horrifically expensive, Honda struggled to sell them. For all its carbon fibre it looked overweight and while the engine was a technological marvel its actual performance was underwhelming. So does it deserve to be in the list at all? We say yes, simply because even a quarter of a century from its launch it’s so gloriously over-engineered and overcomplicated. Honda’s creation of the oval-piston engine was an example of the firm’s uncompromising thinking in its most glorious period. Originally developed as a 500cc GP four-stroke, Honda wanted two-stroke performance but was banned from using its favoured solution, a V8. The answer? Create an engine that was a V8 in all but its cylinder count by dispensing with a century’s practice of making cylinders circular. The oval pistons, each with two con-rods and fed by eight valves, were a nightmare to develop and never quite managed to achieve their two-stroke-rivalling goal. The NR750 road bike was an afterthought for the technology, but no other bike ever offered to the public has used such far-out thinking.