We thought Honda was asleep at the switch (and so did many of our readers). As others, principally Kawasaki, grabbed U.S. market share with exciting new models introduced during the recession, Honda seemed to be sitting on its hands.
Things seem different now. If the rumored parallel twin CBR500R emerges next month, Honda could be on its way to being positioned with the most diverse line-up of affordable, practical motorcycles in the U.S. market next year. With the state of the U.S. economy (and most enthusiasts’ checkbooks), this is no small accomplishment. Consider this: Honda now offers the CBR250R at $4,099, the PCX150 scooter at $3,449, the CRF250L dual sport at $4,499 and the NC700X adventure bike at $6,999. These bikes are not only inexpensive, in our tests of the first three, we found plenty of value and entertainment. The rumored CBR500R could come in at under $6,000. Of course, Honda is also developing a large displacement modular engine (like the one in the mid-displacement NC700X) likely to be introduced in multiple, value priced models in the near future.
Honda hasn’t been known for value pricing, that’s for sure. Certainly not in connection with newly designed product. Honda is accomplishing this with low cost manufacturing, and engines used in multiple models (such as the CBR250R and CRF250L). They haven’t captured the headlines that the wiz bang, high buck models typically get (such as Ducati’s redesigned Multistrada and Panigale superbike), but Honda likes volume . . . lots of it. These new bikes should deliver.