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The association of the words Honda and motorcycle was a conscious choice, as the factory was primarily a motorcycle manufacturer. Later, they also became successful in the car industry. Honda’s heavy engineering company began to produce pressed piston rings. The castings were brittle and broke regularly, so Honda started to study metallurgy in evening classes until he finally succeeded. This is another example of the Japanese businessman’s tenacity and stubbornness.  His small business survived the economic collapse that followed the war. They appeared as a prosperous company in Japan’s post-war success story. Honda’s motorcycle line proved itself on the world’s racetracks and then on the public roads. 

Far more advanced than the two-stroke engines of the time was the sophisticated four-stroke engine that gave the Dream E model a top speed of 72 km/h. A Tokyo plant produced 130 motorcycles a day. Competitors were impressed by the new engine, and all but four factories closed their doors. Honda’s engine was a technical marvel: the single-cylinder, 146 cc, overhead-valve power unit had two intake valves and one exhaust valve operated by lifting rods. Honda became convinced that modern technology could solve everything.

The market has become choosy. Demand for the 6,500 bicycle-mounted engines produced each month has fallen. Honda’s 90cc J-type Benly was too noisy, and the Huno scooter overheated under its plastic casing. Management and workers agreed that production should be reduced to stabilise the situation. This agreement laid the foundation for the culture of cooperation that characterises Honda to this day.

 The Honda GL 400 Shadow is one of the rarest motorcycles the brand has ever produced, with only a very small number of units made due to its short production run. The first hose-less and four-stroke motorcycle with water cooling. The Honda touring motorcycle range was first shown at the Cologne Motorcycle Show.

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