Honda has a great heritage in motorcycling … one of the greatest. Founder Soichiro Honda was a risk taker who frequently followed his passion without apparent concern for cost or outcome. Fortunately, he proved to have great instincts.
Of course, as Honda has matured, it has in many respects become a more conservative company. Sometimes letting other companies blaze a trail into a new niche before producing a competitive model, it might be argued that Honda has become more of a follower than a leader.
Nevertheless, as of late, Honda has produced the occasional bold, even ground-breaking design. The NM4 is an example, but it has not sold well in the United States (we have not heard whether there will be a 2017 model year NM4). The NM4 is too radical of a design, perhaps.
Another area where Honda is trying to lead the way is with automatic, dual clutch transmissions. Found in several of its models now, the latest generation DCT we tested in the Africa Twin works quite well, and potentially gives Honda a leg-up when it comes to attracting new riders intimidated by a manual transmission and clutch. Of course, some of the bikes with DCT feature unusual styling, as well, such as the CTX700.
What Honda lacks is a cohesive design language that ties all of its models together, but given the diversity of its motorcycle line-up this might be the inevitable result. Give us your thoughts below on where you expect Honda to go from here.