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Honda’s Curious Design Choices

Honda NM4

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.

MD testing the 2014 Honda CTX700 DCT


  1. BoxerFanatic says:

    Bold and aesthetically pleasing are not necessarily the same, nor necessarily different. Maybe they need to hire a design house or specific designer… Their Hondaline fairing for the old CBX and Sabre was actually a pretty handsome bullet-style fairing at that time, because it was sleek and fairly simply rendered, and nicely proportioned. VF-series bikes have had some very nice, clean looks at various points, as well, even the VFR1200 has design merit. but all bikes in general have been getting overly busy and complex, aesthetically, rather than graceful or sleek.

    I like the concept of the NM4, with the mass-forward look, and some innovative features… but there is still some awkwardness, as well as the reports that the fixed saddlebags are not big enough to be useful, and can’t be changed for something else that is, or removed altogether.

    The other thing that I REALLY liked was the Honda Neo-Wing concept leaning reverse trike… except for the angry-decepticon aesthetics on the front end. I would LOVE a tilting reverse trike, which is the point that Can-Am Spyder F3 misses by not being able to tilt. I’ve low-sided before… and would like the idea of not repeating that experience.

    Frankly, if they cleaned up the design language a bit, and combined the best of the NM4, and the NeoWing concept, and got the details right, or at least modular… I’d be back on a Honda for the first time since my old NT650 Hawk GT.

  2. Joe Bogie says:

    The NM4 reminds me of what an entry level Victory Vison would be……

  3. Steve K says:

    My best friend works as the assembler at the largest powersports dealer in southeastern Montana. They carry all four Japanese brands and Polaris. He puts together everything they sell, and he says in the last year they have sold over 100 four-wheelers, they have a huge fenced lot full of them, and about three motorcycles, all small dirt bikes. They have only a handful of bikes in the showroom, which has lots of four-wheelers, jet-skis, lawn mowers, etc. etc. He said they are about to drop Suzuki, they haven’t sold one in years, and add Can-am, which they think will sell better. I thought about this and thought, how many are they really selling nationwide? I went to the Honda website and saw a huge model lineup and thought, where are they selling all of these bikes? Then I noticed that only a few of them were listed as current models, all of the rest of the lineup are leftovers from previous years. Now, I’m a reasonable man, I’m willing to believe there are Japanese dealers out there somewhere that are selling bikes, but I’m also guessing that our local store is far from the only one with such a dismal record. How many bikes is Honda really selling here?

  4. joe b says:

    Many here don’t seem to see the Elephant in the Room. Honda makes pretty much some version of every conceivable motorcycle made. How many MX bikes does Ducati make? How many economical scooters does Harley make? Where is Kawasaki’s Moto-GP weapon? (I already used Harley/scooter so I wont mention them here) I laughed out loud when I saw the Chevy ads when the showed Honda generators, really? When was the last time you saw a Honda win the Indy 500. Oops, cant say that, sorry… so, do you see now? The point has already been made about quantities. The investments they spend on Asimo points to advantages in walking assist, possibly helping war veterans who are handicapped, walk again. Take the tube away from your eye, look around. Motorcycling is a huge playground.

    • Dirty Bob says:

      Right! The US isn’t the only place to sell bikes. Example: BMW sells a 600cc scooter but not many are sold in the US.

  5. Martin says:

    Honda is no longer a motorcycle company that also sells cars. Now they are a car company that also sells motorcycles…boats…lawn equipment…aircraft…ect. I’m sure Soichiro Honda would be loving the money that his company makes now but at the same time hating what they have done with his Motorcycles.

  6. Norm G. says:

    re: “Soichiro Honda was a risk taker who frequently followed his passion without apparent concern for cost or outcome.”

    see entry for G.O.A.T.

    re: “NM4 is too radical of a design”

    industry speak for WONKY.

    though to their defence (pun intended) the vehicle in the pic of above looks like it might be able to absorb and deflect RADAR. lol the F22 and F35 are “too radical a design” said nobody ever.

  7. Mr.Mike says:

    This year I’ve seen some good stuff coming from Honda. Maybe it is the start of a new trend.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Maybe”

      no maybe about it. as i think i’ve said previously before the new Blade even debuted, the sleeping giant is AWAKE. pay attention to their offerings across all sectors and you’ll see it. on car side and aviation side, nevermind the NSX and the now shipping HondaJet (which are both incredible) Joe Average can buy a turbocharged Civic painted in Kawasaki Lime Green.

      I see somebody nearby driving one, and it looks damn good (dare I say “drool-worthy”?) if only I were say 40 years younger, that’s the kind of car I would buy in my youth. the last time i had that kind of “emotional response” towards a Honda product was the debut of the original SP1/RC51 in 1999. that’s a loooong time, a VERY long time.

  8. Foster says:

    I expect Honda will continue to ignore the huge fan base it built from 1989 through to 2014 with the ST1100 and ST1300. These bikes, especially the 1100, were also extremely popular with Euro police forces. Now they offer nothing for the sport touring riders that loved the reliability, the comfort, the complete weather protection, the locomotive like power of those V-4 engines and the ease of maintenance for the DIY’er. The move to ADV bike styling does not “fit” the desires of myself and many others on ST forums, of what a sport tourer should be.

  9. PN says:

    There are only two Hondas I thought were beautiful: the CB400F and the XX Blackbird. The VTR wasn’t too bad and the CBF4i was pretty good. I never quite warmed up to any Interceptor no matter what the magazine reviewers said. Honda has a “smooth” design aesthetic that doesn’t quite excite. Think of the Pacific Coast or the GWings with the covered brake discs. It seems Honda’s engineering prowess outruns its designer’ sense of beauty. They should consult the Italians. I still want to ride a bike that looks good.

  10. kpinvt says:

    Honda Design Seminar 2017:

    I can’t make heads nor tails out of it.

  11. Mick says:

    I simply refuse to buy a motorcycle from a company that no longer sells two strokes. Honda, Suzuki and Kawasaki are dead to me.

  12. My2cents says:

    The 1980’s may have well been Honda’s swan song era. As mentioned by a previous poster, after units like the V65 Magna/Sabre, the glorious VF1000R, and CB400F Honda now delivers very tame and publicly responsible motorcycles. I pine for Honda to lose the goody two shoes and introduce another XLV 750 .

  13. Louis says:

    I’ve owned 10 Honda motorcycles and 5 Honda cars in my life but the last Honda motorcycle I owned was about 1992. They don’t build anything i’m interested in anymore. Nothing to compete with the 650 V-Strom, 1200 or 1250 Bandit, or FJ-09. It seemed everything broke on my ’06 Civic too. (not engine or transmission, but many little parts especially the stupid SUN VISOR which I must have replaced 5 times) If they are trying to create a new category for younger riders I suppose that is OK but what I would like them to build is a 1000cc sport-touring bike with a comfortable riding position, shaft drive, and self-adjusting valves. It would be really nice if it were a V-4 or a V-twin, but not an inline four. I don’t expect it; I’m happy there are many other brands to choose from.

    • Lars Jensen says:

      ?? How about the VFR800, VFR1200 and new Africa Twin ??

      • Ryan Craig says:

        The VFR800 is basically just a heavyish sportbike. Nothing wrong with that, but not really comfortable for long-distance touring for most people. Bars too low, pegs too high.

        And the VFR1200 shares some of the same issues. Honda built it into a Euro-style autobahn burner more than something more towards the ST1300 end of the spectrum. The ST goes too far towards the touring end for my taste, but the VFR is too far from it for most, apparently.

    • Grove says:

      I agree that Honda now builds cars that kind of fall apart. The CD player failed just out of warranty and the carpet wore through like it was made a rice paper. There were rattles and grinding noises from the undercarriage well before 100,000 miles. I would not buy another Honda car. They are making them so cheap that they will be losing their customer loyalty…they’ve lost mine.

      • mickey says:

        Wow what year is that? My wife drives an 06 Accord with 244,000 miles on it, never an issue (knock on wood) and I have a 2010 Ridgeline but only 42,000 miles (I drive my bikes most of the time) but no issues with it either (again knock on wood). They are our 8th and 9th Honda cars. They never go less than 200K, sometimes over 300K before we sell them for a new one. Wife is starting to think about a new Accord.

      • MGNorge says:

        I can add that our ’03 Element (120k) and ’14 Accord (20k) are doing well. I’ve had a number of Honda cars, all have been very sturdy. Had an ’84 Civic that was still going strong at 200k.

  14. ABQ says:

    It would be nice if honda were to make some factory made trikes.
    A Goldwing Trike with DCT would be great.

  15. Tommy D says:

    I grew up on Honda’s and had a 83 v65. That was bold and so was the Interceptor I got in 85. Too bad that bold designs today are so ugly. I have a garage full of motorcycles and the only Honda is the lowly Grom. Sorry Honda but I keep waiting for you to win me back. Thankful for companies like KTM, Aprilia, BMW and Yamaha.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Bold designs were ugly back then too. You were just too young to realize it. But any old fart from that time could have told you how ugly your V65 was.

  16. DCE says:

    I think Honda needs to steal a play from Yamaha – donate a dozen or so of a specific platform (like the CB500, the VFR800, or the Africa Twin) to a dozen custom builders – with the caveat that you can’t cut the frame – and let them have at it just like the “Yard Built” series. Maybe even have a conversation with the 12 custom houses first as to what platforms to choose. BMW did it, why not Honda?

  17. Mark says:

    Thinking about this topic – Myself and everyone else I know that rides grew up riding mini bikes, min trails, CT70’s (and everything thing else with a lawn mower engine for that matter). There just doesn’t seem to be the places available to ride that there used to be. That being said, if kids don’t start young, there really is no interest to do it when they grow up. Like my riding buddy said the other day, kids today would rather smoke a bong and do their motorcycling on x-box live…….

  18. Michael Haz says:

    I’d like to see Honda spend more time updating great bikes like the ST1300 and the GL1800 rather than creating goofy bikes that look like something an anime character would ride to a gamer convention.

  19. joe b says:

    “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.” unquote. as mentioned below by others, Honda beats other manufacturers, in sales quantity, by huge margins. Most cant see the forest for the trees. Honda’s cohesive design language, is its quality and user friendly mechanics. Looking at how the rider sits, its foot forward, like so many choppers, but with scooter like styling.

  20. Denny says:

    I see this as abomination, as a sign of crisis in perception of motorcycle should be. On the other hand it is conceivable that someone like Honda will test limits what market takes. I can say that I have seen one of those monsters on the parking – only once. It was by local university; some eccentric student I’d guess.

  21. Ricardo says:

    Bring back the CBX and the RC 166 and 250 six cylinder bikes, just the sound of these machines will sell bikes…

  22. Ronbob says:

    300 and 500 bobber Rebels.

  23. CrazyJoe says:

    Ducati BMW and even moto guzzi have multiple versions of their scrambler, 1200, and v’s not to mention Harley. So w hy not retro versions of honda’s bikes like yesterdays article. By retro I mean round head lights. They do have the 700 which used to come in 3 version but discontinued the street one. Some one mentioned the 750s sold in England, perfect bike for me but people want foot foward or adv style here or do they?

    And a word about hoses and all cables. The shortest distance between points is the cheapest but not always the most attractive. Covering them with plastic panels is not an improvent. Take a look at a chevy bolt. I know it’s a car with an electric motor but look a the routing. I’m in love.

  24. Paul says:

    Perhaps part of the equation for Honda’s lack of sales for certain models, dealers need to have one on the floor for customers to see. I’ve seen the CTX, but didn’t see one in the dealer until almost a year after it was released. I still haven’t seen the NM4 in person. I drop in the local shops at least once a month, and when I travel I tend to “accidentally” stumble into a shop just to see the difference in stocked merchandise. Most people will not purchase a vehicle unseen, and the smart ones won’t purchase one unless they try it.

  25. Cal H says:

    I don’t understand whether it’s corporate arrogance or maybe the guys who designed the Pacific Coast took over the company but Honda has the least interesting lineup of almost any motorcycle company I can think of. Honda doesn’t seem to care about performance any more and people who ride are all about performance. Compare the 1984 500 Interceptor to a 2016 CB500R. The 2016 is marginally lighter but makes 40% less horsepower (50 to 70hp) compared to the 1984. The 1983 1100F made 108hp compared to 85 for the 2014 CB100. Why does Honda do this?

    • Dave says:

      Re: ” Compare the 1984 500 Interceptor to a 2016 CB500R. The 2016 is marginally lighter but makes 40% less horsepower (50 to 70hp) compared to the 1984. The 1983 1100F made 108hp compared to 85 for the 2014 CB100. Why does Honda do this?”

      Emissions standards and A2/license restrictions in the markets that matter. That, and the nature of those models have changed. The VF500 was meant to be a die-hard sport bike. The CB isn’t. The new CB1100 is meant to be a mellow retro-cruiser, the original wasn’t. They have other models occupying those places in the lineup now.

      • Cal H says:

        Yeah, well “mellow retro” aint selling. There is a 2013 CB1100 on my local craigslist for $5900 with less than 10 miles on the clock. Dealers still have 2012s for sale.

        • mickey says:

          not 2012 CB1100’s unless they are not in the US. 2013 was the first year for the CB in the US. 2010 in Japan, Australia and Malaysia I believe.

          The 2014 CB dlx’s were released in March 2014 and sold out in April 2014 but we are not sure how many were released. Under 500 we believe. There are still 2014 CB stds at dealers.

          • Cal H says:

            My mistake. You are correct. There are still some dealers with new 2013 models as well as 2014s though.

  26. Kitty says:

    Call me crazy; but if I had the money (I don’t), I absolutely would buy and ride an NM4. I’ve ridden recumbent bicycles and a Honda Helix for a long time; and they both have a recumbent seating position which is darn near perfect and incredibly comfortable for me personally. I’m sure if I owned an NM4 I’d love it. Perhaps I can get a used one at some point in the future after they depreciate. In the meantime I’m still waiting to see if ELIO ever makes me the one I ordered a few years ago.

  27. Wendy says:

    If I had the money and the garage space, I would adopt a NM4. The position appeal to me, and it looks like a nice tourer. Honda builds a number of really successful bikes, and can afford to build outliers like this machine. Whether it is imported for ’17, each NM-4 is presold.

  28. paul246 says:

    If the NM4 was on the list at a Honda demo ride I would most certainly sign up for a ride, just to see what I might be missing. Until then I will reserve judgement.

  29. VLJ says:

    Over the past decade or so, Honda has been beating their head against a wall, attempting to provide answers to questions no one was asking. In terms of the American market, they’ve produced bike after bike with the odd styling combination of Tupperware-bland functionality that is somehow still too Jetsons-futuristic to appeal to most experienced motorcyclists.

    Along the way, Honda has shifted their focus to dominating small-bike sales in emerging markets, and it’s in those markets where they have found their usual success.

    Like mickey said, it’s the bean counters. Honda is killing it in the third world, and anywhere where affordable, small-displacement vehicles are in high demand. This is where they have shifted their focus, leaving their large-displacement road bikes in the hands of product planners who view those markets as safe havens for technological whiz-bang experimentation and/or utter neglect.

    With Honda’s road bikes of late it seems to be either goofy clown cars like the NM4, or seriously long-in-the-tooth carry-over models such as the Goldwing, CB1000R, and ST1300, which they finally let die on the vine rather than give it any sort of an update.

    Having worked for Honda motorcycles for many years, I’ve noticed one very troubling aspect of their product planning. Namely, when was the last time Honda gave the impression that they were listening to and acting on the oft-stated wishes of their core buyers? In fact, one of the only examples of this that comes to mind in recent years was their belated band-aid fix of the CB1100’s gas tank, and its dreaded seams. Yes, Honda finally addressed that issue; unfortunately, by giving it an uglier tank, albeit sans seams.

    Otherwise, run down the list…

    Goldwing? Still no electric windshield or larger, more powerful motor.

    VFR? All VFR owners ever asked for was a bump to l000 CCs, a return to gear-driven cams, higher bars, and ditch the worthless VTEC. No one asked for DCT, nine thousand more pounds, needless complexity, and an astronomic increase in price. By the time Honda reversed course and went back to a smaller VFR, they had already lost the market…and still didn’t come close to getting the updated version right. In doing so, Honda accomplished the near-impossible. They actually managed to fritter away the motorcycling equivalent of the BMW 3 Series.

    CBR1000RR? Seriously?

    CB1000R? Do they even realize they still offer that thing on their website? More to the point, have they popped open a motorcycle magazine in the last five years? Super Duke R? S1000R? Tuono VR4? Monster 1200S? Z1000? FZ-7/FZ-9/FZ-10? GSX1000S? Ring any bells?

    CB1100? Only Honda could take something that beautiful and kill it off within two years, only to resurrect it two years later with an uglier version that still doesn’t address the complaints which were shouted over and over and over by nearly every non-purchaser of the previous model.

    Sport-Tourers? Zilch, at this point.

    ADV? Huge market these days, right? Where is their Wee-Strom? Where is their R1200GS, and why did it take them at least five years too long to introduce the Africa Twin?

    CRF450L? The bike everyone is dying to buy, which Honda still doesn’t produce?

    Okay, this is ‘Murica, which means big goofy cruisers, so Honda must at least be cleaning up in the one road bike market that always sells here…right?

    I think I did read something recently about some new baby Rebel or another. Yeah, that’s it. Git ‘r done!

    • mickey says:

      Nicely stated VLJ . I think that sums it up succinctly.

    • Dave says:

      “Honda has been beating their head against a wall, attempting to provide answers to questions no one was asking.”

      The question, “Why would I want a motorcycle?” They’re getting a lot wrong in the eyes of the traditional motorcyclist but their actions are saying that they don’t care, that the current American motorcyclist market isn’t large enough to be worth an aggressive pursuit.

      I can see why they’re not interested in the current market segments. Too many competitors vying for too small a customer base. They’ll dominate in the large Asian markets and use the US as a “hobby market” to market test concepts. It’s a little rough on our egos, but we’ll be ok.

      • Tim C says:

        Heh, I’ll technically be OK because I’m not in the market for a new bike for awhile. But the VFR paragraph nails it – part of me can be nothing but slightly depressed over this whole sorry episode.

        Granted, “In doing so, Honda accomplished the near-impossible. They actually managed to fritter away the motorcycling equivalent of the BMW 3 Series.” is so well put that it’s pretty good therapy.

        • Dave says:

          Not Honda’s fault. Most brands had something in that space (Triumph, Ducati ST, Yamaha FZ, etc.) and now nobody plays there. It just died off and there weren’t enough customers buying new “GT” bikes to keep it alive.

          I think the new VFR WAS a home run, in that it was credibly the bike that should’ve succeeded the 5th gen of 98-02. Claiming it didn’t sell because it lacked gear-driven cams or 20more hp is a cop-out. When a category is healthy, imperfect bikes sell well into it. On the upside, you can get 2014-2015 VFR’s new off the lot for under $7k now!

          • VLJ says:

            It lacked gear-driven cams and twenty (or more) hp AND it still employed VTEC while costing too much, being needlessly complex, and offering an overly aggressive seating position for a package that clearly didn’t have the chops to be a dedicated sportbike.

            Read the VFR comments over the years. The hue and cry has been nearly universal for more than a decade.

            -Make it a liter bike. The introduction of the Kawi Ninja 1000 only trebled this desire among the VFR faithful. The Honda was too down on power and, especially, torque, particularly in light of how much Honda was charging for the thing.

            -Lose the VTEC. Everyone hates it. It serves no real purpose. Every other manufacturer manages to get around the noise/sound issues without resorting to annoying power-cutting nonsense right in the middle of the powerband.

            Lay a dynograph of a VTEC motor atop a non-VTEC 2001 motor. Honda’s claim was that the VTEC gave the powerband V-twin-like grunt down low and in the middle of the powerband while retaining the peak power of four cylinders.

            Nope. All VTEC managed was to gut the powerband and make the bike more difficult to ride, and quite annoying, to boot. It provided no useful benefit. It was purely tech for tech’s sake.

            -Lower weight, complexity, and cost. In the face of the challenge presented by the relatively light, powerful, and affordable Ninja 1000, did the introduction of the VFR 1200 address any of these issues? For that matter, did the about-face to the smaller VFR address them?

            -Higher bars. This may quietly be the single most oft-heard complaint of the VFR, the desire for higher bars on a bike that is clearly meant to be a sport-tourer, not a race bike. Even Ducati went to higher (than the VFR’s) bars with the introduction of their new sport-tourer, yet Honda soldiers on with the same low bars that have almost singlehandedly kept Heli-Bars in business.

            Honda owned this segment for nigh on twenty years. As I mentioned above, the VFR was the motorcycling equivalent of the BMW 3 Series, winning Best in Class and Best All-Arounder year after year after year. It wasn’t until the introduction of VTEC with the 2002 model that they began to loosen their grip on the sporty GT stranglehold, which they surrendered unconditionally with the introduction of the barge-like 1200.

          • Dave says:

            If the Ninja 1000, new Suzuki GS1000x sell very well then you’ll be proven right.

            The VFR’s legacy painted them into a corner. It was always a more complex bike (v4, early Fi, linked ABS, SS swing arm) and these were attributes that earned loyalty at it’s peak. I understand that there were people asking for this and that, but were they really buyers?

            Ducati once tried to walk away from some of their legacy features (1098, no SS Swing). They built a bike that was measurably superior to it’s predecessor, and despite that they were punished badly in the market for deviating.

            Honda did make a bike that ticked almost all of those boxes, the CBR XX 1100 Blackbird. I even know a couple of guys who went from VFR’s to it. It sold ok, but was moved aside by the Hyabusa, something VERY far from what a VFR is and should be. Honda moved the VFR to 1200cc and well, It was reportedly an excellent bike but we know how that went…

    • Neil says:

      CB500 series are great bikes. One tooth up in front and you’re good to go.
      VFR: The VTEC VFR addresses noise and economy. Asian roads are quite narrow so noise is an issue and with four valves all the time, the motor is simply not running at peak efficiency. VTEC addresses that.
      Americans are not riding motorcycles. Cars everywhere.
      BMW and Ducati sales are up but still nothing near Honda.
      I like the new Rebel. It’s weird but that’s the point.

      • VLJ says:

        VTEC claims to address it. In point of fact, it achieves no useful gains. The noise issue is a nonstarter. The VFR was never as loud or noisy as many other bikes that continue to be sold in those same noise-sensitive markets.

        VTEC was nothing more than an exercise in corporate pride. It represented one of Honda’s defining technologies in the automotive industry, and Honda sought to differentiate themselves from the unwashed masses of the motorcycling world by flexing their technological might in the showpiece prestige bike of the company, the VFR.

        It never worked. It always detracted from the experience, particularly since it seemed to replace the most beloved aspect of the traditional VFR motor, the high-tech-sound and feel of those delicious gear-driven cams.

        VTEC? In the VFR application, it has always felt and sounded like ass.

    • paul246 says:

      Agree with a lot of the above. However, I pray Honda does NOT bring back gear driven cams… they absolutely ruin the sound of the engine. If I wanted a sewing machine I can shop Pfaff or even Husqvarna. It is the same sound that drove me away from the ST1300, give me the ST1100 anyday.

      Also, I like my V-TEC VFR. No, I actually love it and wouldn’t trade it for anything. It rocks! (for me at least ).

      • VLJ says:

        IIRC, the RC30 and RC45 had gear-driven cams. They sounded glorious, as did my ’94 VFR, and both 2000 model-year VFRs.

        If you are saying you prefer the clattery racket and abrupt feel of the VTEC VFR to the gear-driven cams versions, wow, you may literally be the first person I’ve heard express such a preference.

        • paul246 says:

          My 2003 has no clattery racket, sorry, and I would hardly call the VTEC abrupt. I can actually hear the low powerful sounds emanating from the Staintune pipes, too. A good comparison is to go watch some of the Richy Vida videos where you can hear his 6th gen2003 VFR next to his buddies 5th gen. The gear driven cams are just so irritating. I have my own opinion of course, but I also don’t climb on the gear driven band wagon like a lot of others do because they have been told that is the way to go. Gear driven cams may have their advantages, no doubt, but I absolutely cannot stand that whining sound. The sound has the same effect on me as fingernails across a chalk board. That pitch is always there and always in the way of what would otherwise be a pleasurable experience to me. These things are subjective, there are no hard and fast rules. We buy what we like.

  30. sbashir says:

    Honda needs to hire some Italian designers and KTM engineers.

  31. Aidan says:

    Why Honda has never brought the NC750S to the States is beyond my understanding. That model, especially with the DCT, would be a huge seller with new riders in today’s market. I get leaving the Integra out, because it’s too scooter-like for bikers and too bike-like for scooter riders, but a fuel-efficient middleweight naked with a low seat height and a good automatic transmission should sell like crazy. It harkens back to the “friendly” days of Honda. The X model is good, but it’s tall and has polarizing style, which I can see putting off hesitant buyers.

  32. azi says:

    I think Honda is just being pragmatic and following the money, post-2008 GFC (as MGNorge commented earlier). They have a range that appeals to new riders and regular commuters that value reliability and low running costs. They seem quite popular in Europe, asia, and Oceania – CB500s definitely outnumber the Ducati Scramblers, Triumph Bonnevilles, and general crotch rockets around here. Their designs might seem strange to the oldtimers, but they’re delivering multiple products with different riding experiences using 2-3 basic platforms (NC, CB/CM, ST/CT) and minimal development cost. VFR1200 was an anomaly that probably started development prior to the GFC.

    The ‘peak experience’ glamour machine market is just starting to recover right now, especially in the USA. EBR and Victory were the canaries in the cage demonstrating how marginal the US 2-wheeled leisure market is right now. Africa Twin and CBR1000 are indicators of their returning baby steps into glamour powersports.

    • Tom R says:

      AZI’s second paragraph is spot on the mark, and I think Honda has been a lot smarter during the past 5-7 years than most of us realize. The “peak experience glamour machine” market did indeed shrink significantly during the recession.

      Value-oriented, lower-priced, and less imposing models that can be cross-marketed among many global regions are pretty much the only products able to attract today’s young adults into motorcycling. Some of these riders are beginning to move up the market. If this continues, Honda deserves credit for creating a viable long term strategy for returning growth to the industry.

  33. EZ Mark says:

    Honda is also doing a poor job of capitalizing on their hits when they have one.
    Where is the 150cc Ruckus? The Chinese are making them.
    Where is the 300cc Grom? Perhaps with a DCT transmission? This would make the bike highway capable and a great bike for both beginners and seasoned riders.

  34. EZ Mark says:

    I agree with Honda that the future expansion of the industry will require automatic transmissions. Over 90% of new cars are being sold with automatic transmissions and these people are the future of the industry. What I don’t understand is their choice of bikes to introduce the DCT technology.
    The first DCT bike was a 600 pound 1200cc sport bike. Then a 700cc dual-sport bike. Then a sport-cruiser hybrid rather than a real cruiser. Now a 1000cc dual-sport with 100 horsepower.
    Meanwhile, no DCT on the new Rebel 300 or 500. No DCT on the recent CB500 lineup. No DCT on a real V-twin cruiser. No DCT dirt/play bikes. All bikes that new riders would probably choose.
    I think Honda’s DCT concept is sound, but they are targeting the wrong markets.
    Once they have a bunch of new riders on DCT Hondas, then make the upscale automatics.

    • todd says:

      People buy automatics because that’s what they are sold. The number one selling car of all time, the VW Type 1 (Bug) – with over 21 million sold; no automatics. The last time I went new car shopping, hardly anyone had manuals. Thankfully, VW still sells plenty of manual tranny cars. We got the GTI for my wife’s car.

      • Stratkat says:

        now no, they had a semi automatic Beetle in the 70s.

      • EZ Mark says:

        When I got my license in 1976, we all had to drive the VW beetle, so everyone who got a license knew how to use a clutch. Not the case anymore.

    • sbashir says:

      What is true for cars does not necessarily apply to motorcycles. Driving a car can be a passive experience as seen everyday on the freeway. Riding a motorcycle is much more involved as your life is on the line. Automatic transmissions can help newbies or those who just want transportation but most motorcyclists ride because they enjoy riding. Both on the street and dirt, a manual clutch gives you a lot more options and capability than a automatic transmission. The added weight and complexity also takes away from the premise of a motorcycle which is light weight and easy to work on by the owner. Motorcyclists have not warmed up to automatic transmissions and probably never will.

      • EZ Mark says:

        People who ALREADY ride may not warm up to automatics. Honda wants to bring NEW riders into the sport.
        I hear the same argument about sport cars. “Nobody wants an automatic in a sport car.” And yet 65% of Porche 911’s have dual-clutch transmissions.
        It’s the future, and Honda is leading the way there.

      • EZ Mark says:

        I also question your premise that riders want motorcycles that are light weight. The hottest bikes on the US market right now are bagger cruisers that all weigh over 800 pounds.
        NEW riders benefit from lighter weight, which is why I say Honda should be offering the DCT on smaller, lighter bikes.

  35. todder says:

    Someone already said it…CRF450L. 6speed, fuel injection and honda reliablity to connect trails. Please get on this quickly before Suzuki updates the DRZ or Yamaha comes out with a 6speed Street legal wr450. This could help rejuvinate dual sport riding for folks who just want an updated street legal lightweight dirtbike. Not all states allow you to plate dirtbikes, like mine (Wisconsin).

  36. Rapier says:

    As I like to say Honda seems to design motorcycles that it thinks people should ride as opposed to ones they think they will buy. It’s a arrogant kind of thing really and the continued deflation of their market share doesn’t seem to stop them. Then too when they almost hit the mark they screw up like the small gas capacity of the VFR 1200 or the ultra mush suspension of the CTX 1300.

  37. EGS says:

    Didn’t I read somewhere that Honda hired the guy who designed the Pontiac Aztek?

  38. Sweet Willie says:

    I’ve ridden a lot of Hondas all of them perfectly reliable and terrific. I’m a big Honda fan. But there is nothing in there new model lineup that I remotely want. I’m much more into single cylinder dual sports and the retro styled singles. Bring back a new version of the GB500 of the late 80’s. That was a beaut!

  39. rider33 says:

    Honda still makes things very well. Unfortunately their design and marketing skills have not been nearly as sharp for quite a while now. I like that they still take risks, I just wish the people making those calls had better instincts. Good things can happen when a visionary leader has the judgment and power to get things done. The death by committee that often follows their departure is typically pretty easy to spot as well.

  40. highspeedhamish says:

    Honda’s lineup has been terrible for years. The sub 600cc CBR series is landfill looking for a dump. Like the 80s Honda seems to be using the public for R and D purposes except the exercise is styling this round.

    That all being said.. SOMEONE has to a take a chance and see how the public reacts. The DoNotOwn-One was a flop, the Rune was a flop (they werent really for sale according to Honda HQ), the VFR1200 was a miss and so on…

    However one day… they will hopefully get it right and rise back to the top.

    Its too bad Soichiro died.

    • grumpy farmer says:

      I always thought the VFR 1200 could have worked had it been a little more touring oriented, especially with the disappearance of the ST 1300.

      • Fred says:

        The ‘third’ sister was the VFR1200T, which was still born after the GFC meltdown.
        The VFR1200X is the other variant.
        The T was to replace the ST1300, which was top hat morphed into the bagger CTX1300 as a lower cost option to the VFR1200T.

    • Stuki Moi says:

      The NC series and 500s and 250s have been massive successes. The NCs in Europe, and the smaller bikes in emerging Asia, as well as everywhere else.

      And they have been successes where it counts for Honda: with new riders. Squeezing one more CBR1000 sale out of a dying boomer, or even a VFR1000 sale out of the occasional boomer with $25K still left to spend before he dies off, isn’t going to amount to much for a company built around the vision of building personal mobility for everyone on the planet.

      They’re even selling the CBR 650 in decent quantities in some Asian countries. To young guys wanting to take the step from bike rider to sport bike rider. Enough of those guys being minted, and higher power/spec CBRs will one day start making sense again. Then sport tourers and the like, as those guys grow older and too stiff for sport bikes again……

      A lot of the gnashing in the West, comes from boomers who are used to being the center of the universe, and to have every company base every product decision around them. Simply because they were so many, and so disproportionally wealthy, so that they were where all the bucks were. But now they’re aging out of the biking age brackets, and are hence no more interesting for Honda than the boomers’ grandparents were in the 70s. While young guys in emerging markets have taken their place as the darlings of the industry. And those guys obviously like bikes styled a bit differently……

      • azi says:

        I agree with what Stuki Moi has said. The future’s with the new riders and simpler yet novel designs. I haven’t seen a single new R1 or Tuono on public roads during my daily commute for the last 12 months, but have lost count of the MT09s, CBR500/650s, Ninja 650s and KTM390s that go past in the real world.

        • Stratkat says:

          but there arent any new riders. we, the Boomers, couldnt wait to get our sweaty little hands on a mini bike, then a motorcycle, because the culture promoted them. todays youth arent even buying cars. we a were a motor generation, todays young people are all about tech, they arent even as interested in getting their licenses as we were. when i was a little guy, id see a motorcycle and id try to run up to an touch the thing, Mom would often hold me back. how many kids do you see today do that. it was a wonderful time to be a kid and i wouldnt change a thing from my youth but its a diff world now

          • azi says:

            I disagree. There are plenty of younger riders with A2/learner licences supporting the motorcycle industry right now. All the bestsellers on the Australian sales figures for 2016 were learner legal. HD’s 500, Yamaha’s R3 and Honda’s CB500 top the charts for road bike sales.

            (See link provided above by Mickey)

          • mickey says:

            Without USA numbers for comparison, we don’t know if there are really plenty of ( younger) people coming into the market, or if the numbers are inflated in the Aussie example because lots of older riders coming back in are forced to get the restricted licences

          • azi says:

            Hi Mickey I’m in AU, returning older riders aren’t restricted. There’s a healthy number of young learner riders moving up the motorcycle food chain. The restricted MT07 (FZ07 in the USA) sells so well that they didn’t bother importing the full power version until recently.

          • mickey says:

            Ahhh thanks for the clarification azi

  41. Jeremy in TX says:

    Interesting, Dirck. I just read an article in another motomag written by a designer (Glynn Kerr) that used Honda as a prime example of a manufacturer with a cohesive design language and identity, though he did concede outliers like the Rune. I agree with his assessment. I can recognize a Honda immediately be it a sport bike, adv bike, standard or even a cruiser. Their designs tend to imply a quality, highly competent and and refined machine without screaming “look at me!” Even their more questionable designs like the NM4 here are unmistakenly Honda, exuding the same qualities as their other designs seeming loud only because they are so different.

  42. marloweluke says:

    I’ve ridden Honda’s for 28 years, but since 2011 have been riding Triumphs. I do have a 2000 CBR929RR for trackdays. Every bike in their line up is dull except for the Honda CBR1000RR. The CBR600RR is no longer. The VFR is unnecessarily complicated, under powered and heavy. Where is an exciting naked bike? A light, reasonably powerful sport touring bike? Nothing in their line up makes we want to go back to a Honda. Kinda sad because the Honda’s that I have owned have all been great.

  43. Lonerider says:

    Taking risks and having success. Example like the RC 250 6 cylinders. What happens in the last years?

  44. larlok says:

    I’ve ridden Hondas for 45 years and my take is “we built it because we could”. sometimes you shouldn’t.

  45. Whitesands says:

    Yeah, hondas design choices may be ” bold” or ” breakthrough” but they are bold and breakthrough in the wrong direction…Bold at being bland…Some of these models look like what someone’s vision of the future was in 1950… You know, you watch some of those old movies that have futuristic themes but from today’s perspective it still looks old and cheesy…like ” I get that it supposed to be futuristic but it’s off the mark”….Hondas are made well reliable but even performance wise there hasn’t been anything exciting from them in a long time…Honda, bold at bland styling and performance

  46. Matt says:

    All Honda has ever done is throw something at the wall and see if it sticks. Most of the time it just makes a big ugly mess on the floor. The biggest maker of “one and done” model year flops I’ve ever seen.

  47. Dino says:

    I think you hit it right when you said they make some groundbreaking new features, such as the DCT, but they put them on models with polarizing styling.

    Yamaha put a standard gearbox and an auto gearbox on the FJR1300. Let the consumers decide.

    If Honda’s DCT fails, was it the DCT not working up to expectations, or the package that it came in?

  48. MGNorge says:

    I still believe the downturn of 2008 and the more motorcycle conservative management that Honda has had lead to what we’ve seen more recently. Realize too that Suzuki seemed to hibernate during that same time. There seems to be an awakening as of late too. A new president this last year, even though an admitted car guy, may bring visions of the old Honda?
    I have to say that motorcycling has changed for me too. I just don’t get too worked up about many of the designs, from any manufacturer. That may be my advancing years and advancing interests elsewhere to a large degree? Could it be that this is why retro has seemed to gather followers, that today’s designs just don’t do it for a large part of the riding public? Triumph seems to have carved themselves out a chunk of today’s market. Harley is Harley and will seemingly draw people for just that reason. But to me Harleys are too popular and for that reason I shy away from them. In my mind I would see myself as a follower and not expressing what I like about motorcycles. It’s complex to be sure.
    What is Honda trying to do with some of their more “adventurous” designs? Trying to find the key to new business with today’s and tomorrow’s young? Maybe?
    In my mind one ideal new Honda would be to use their signature V-4 architecture in competitive sporting chassis without going too far with the origami look. Something like advanced VFR’s, something that breaks from the crowd but makes no excuses. They wouldn’t be the cheapest but if done right the extra cost would not block me from buying if I wanted it.

  49. ApriliaRST says:

    Honda should try to make a better KLR.

    • Stuki Moi says:

      I thought they just did…..

      • Tom R says:

        …except that it’s significantly bigger, has twice as many pistons, and costs twice as much.

        • ApriliaRST says:

          That’s right. The KLR is not light, but it is the lightest motorcycle with seating for two full sized adults. It is inexpensive and will do about 90% of what any other motorcycle will do, both on and off road. The Africa Twin is taller and heavier with passenger seating that although better than a lot of bikes is not as good as the KLR. What the KLR lacks or could be improved is fit, finish, quality seat foam and seat width. It could offer better performance, a clock, sun shielded instrument lights, more complete instrumentation, better suspension. Keep the weight where it is or less and the two-up riding capability or the deal is over.

    • Larry Kahn says:


  50. mickey says:

    I have been riding Hondas for 49 years. Would have been 52 if Dad had let me get the C110 I wanted in 1965 but he disliked the Japanese being a WW2 vet and made me buy an Italian Aermachhi badged Harley M50 instead (He rode Indians until 52 then Harleys…although as he got age now lol…finally he switching to smaller Hondas and Yamahas.)I switched to a CB 160 a couple years later followed by a bunch of increasingly larger Hondas. I worked for Honda motorcycle shops for 19 years. Always been a believer in Hondas, they have never failed to bring me home from anywhere in the country I rode.

    After Soichiro died the company changed from innovators to bean counters. Instead of leading they played it safe. They didn’t build the most innovative, or the fastest, or the trickest, or the lightest or the most reasonable priced anymore. They still built the best IMO, they just plodded along making the same great bike for long past the time when it was no longer great. Model runs of 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years with only minor updating. Hondas never win the shootouts in magazines but always get the caveat at the end of the article that says the Honda was the most comfortable to live with on a day in day out basis.

    I’m not sure about Honda anymore. Not that I won’t still be riding one or two like the two I currently have (and love), but they don’t make anything that would entice me to replace what I currently have.

    Honda (and everyone else) is in a pickle. Millennials don’t want to ride motorcycles in great numbers, and boomers are getting old and dying off, so they have to rely on Gen Xers to buy their product and there aren’t enough of them that want to ride either…not enough to sustain the industry.

    Not sure what the answer is. Oh and the NM4 will be available for 2017 as will the Fury. Like anybody cares.

    • sbashir says:

      Just because Honda is not coming out with exciting motorcycles doesn’t mean nobody else is. All European companies are coming out with great models and are having record breaking sales. It has nothing to do with boomers or millennials. It has to do with making something someone wants to buy.

      • mickey says:

        As pointed out many times, claiming record breaking sales only means selling more than they did previously …. which wasn’t very many. In the US, Ducati’s sales are exploding, but still less than 12,000 units a year, and numbers are even less for companies like KTM and Moto Guzzi who are also claiming record sales, while Harley’s sales are considered languishing with only 168,000 units sold a year.

        For Honda, a single model that sells less than 12,000 units a year in the US is considered a poor seller.

      • downgoesfraser says:

        What Mikey said, numbers, why doesn’t Daily join the MIC and publish sales numbers? Honda kills it in sales numbers worldwide, Suzuki is the number 2 car company in some markets. America? Suzuki pulled out of the car market and probably came real close to not selling motorcycles either. When a company says their sales are up 20%, 20% of what?

    • jim says:

      “…so they have to rely on Gen Xers to buy their product and there aren’t enough of them that want to ride either…not enough to sustain the industry.”

      Gen Xer here. I quit riding because of mobile phone use among the cagers. Seeing older friends have life-altering, devastating accidents that youngsters can simply limp away from also stopped me in my tracks. Green sticks bend, dry ones snap and so it goes with your middle aged ass.

    • MGNorge says:

      Got you beat Mickey, I’ve been riding Hondas for 52 years! 🙂 Started with a CT200(Trail 90), then a 125SS twin, then a CB350, XL250, CX500C..

      Would be nice to see a spark of the old Honda but maybe not in the US? Back in the day there were so many looking for cheap transportation and young boys(usually) who couldn’t get enough and went to bed with thoughts of engines, oil and grease! Those conditions may not exist any longer? Still, you never know?

      From my reading Honda and others were hit hard during the downturn. Cars are their bread & butter and the Honda Jet needed lengthy time to be certified for flight. Very time consuming and costly. I think motorcycles took a back seat. Should the day come that the company is feeling confident in its resources and the future, along with the right person at the helm, we may see shades of the old Honda? Rather a nice thought.

      • mickey says:

        Cool MG! A lot of people forget about the 125 SS being a twin and think all small Hondas were singles.

        Honda was so cool when I was in my teens and started riding. Inspired me to become a dedicated life long motorcyclist. A Honda could take you anywhere and bring you back home again, and be ready for another adventure the next day.

        I hope they find their way again, while I am still young enough to buy another bike or two.

  51. Stuki Moi says:

    The traditional, non curious if you wish, market segments, have never really recovered from the “bike crash.” Leaving them more than amply served by others. Many of whom don’t have the resources to fish around for untapped potential markets the way Honda can. So, Honda is assuming the position of “leader of the industry” and, in essence, “taking one for the team.” Almost all their focus over the past decade, have been on growing new markets, whether non-riders in the traditional geographic markets or in emerging countries, rather than serving “us.”

    It’s a really good thing, too. As unless the focus in motorcycling broadens beyond the “rank order every bike and rider by how it/he stacks up to some ex racer journalist’s ideal of handling and power/riding skills”, or by “does my bike match my Willie Nelson costume”, the whole industry will disappear once the boomers die off. Or see their home equity lines dry up, whichever comes first.

  52. Neil says:

    It’s a nice design but it needs some real paint. I thought the seat could be higher as well and I am not a huge fan of feet forward. I rode the CTX700. It was good. But my back would not take it for long. They also lowered the power on the big CTX much to the dismay of a friend who had an ST1300.

  53. LordBeal says:

    CRF450L!!! The whole world is waiting for this bike! The DRZ coulda been the “it” dualsport for all these years, but nooooo, Suzuki could not put a 6 speed in it for love nor money (especially money!). So we keep buying 250’s and putting kits in them. Where’s the 450L???

  54. Tank says:

    I guess Honda hasn’t learned that most Americans buy bikes based on looks over function. Just ask HD.

  55. Craig says:

    Ugly… might be functional and you can’t fault their quality and how everything works, but just not for me… No buttons pushed!!

  56. Kent says:

    After being Honda loyal for many years I have switched to companies that dedicate themselves to only building motorcycles. Too many car guys trying to design bikes.

  57. daveh says:

    I’d like a naked roadster built around the vfr1200 base, in update for my gsx1400 which is now sixteen years old.
    It should continue to have shaft drive and seat a pillion in comfort.
    It can have mounts for panniers, some would want them, a main stand, heated grips and cruise control.
    I’ve not ridden the dct but the idea intrigues me.
    And it will be red, or black.

  58. Martin B says:

    Maybe the words “Vanilla” or “Bland” are most evoked when examining Honda’s designs over the past few years. Lack of boldness and timidity are also characteristics. Honda seems bent on widening the field of motorcycle riders, by seeking to include people with no interest in motorcycles at all. We don’t want those people. They don’t want to be us. An unintimidating two wheeler is still a two wheeler. In an age where modern cars are so reliable and long lasting, motorcycles no longer fulfill the function of cheap transportation. And low petrol costs don’t tip the scales either. A poor person can get a commuter car at very low cost, especially when low-cost financing is taken into account. On the other hand, there is a completely different motivation for those bold souls who seek to travel on two wheels. Each ride is an adventure, and should be filled with thrills and excitement. Honda management seem to think we’re still in the halcyon days of the 1960s, where cheap and cheerful is enough. Not anymore, it’s not. Even skunk broke cheapskates want a little zip in their day, a little style to show off their taste and discernment. Retro design successes by Harley and Triumph show which way the wind is blowing. Weird freaky deeky cartoon manga rip offs are not what two wheel consumers want. Even early Hondas were cool, hence their current popularity with hipsters. That’s where Honda needs to go to find customers.

    • redbirds says:

      So true about the cost of inexpensive cars. I recently purchased a two year old Mazda 3 with 25K miles for $14.5K with an extended warranty good for 100K miles. That’s a lot less than many new motorcycles. The Mazda even gets fuel mileage to match and even better some bikes. Americans don’t want motorcycles because they’re cheap transportation; we want them to be exciting and stylish.

      • todd says:

        I picked up a low mileage, 20 year old BMW for three grand and have since added 50,000 trouble free miles to it. I get 45 mpg and tires are cheap and last a long time. If I were to expect the same thing out of a car… I couldn’t.

  59. ellis tomago says:

    I might actually buy a CTX 700, though maybe not the automatic.

    • Martin B says:

      I hear they work a lot better than they look, and the auto box model is probably the closest thing to a “magic carpet” that you’ll find.

    • John says:

      The CTX700 is a fantastic bike, AFTER, you change the seat, add floorboards to bring your feet back where they belong. Also, the DCT is a must have on this bike IMO. I rode the crap out of one and sold and am going to buy a brand new one. You won’t be sorry.

  60. Don says:

    Funny, Gham! Are Honda trying to present themselves as the thinking man’s/woman’s bike of the future? They certainly have moved away from any pretense of “Performance above all”. Bring back the 1100XX!!

    • Stuki Moi says:

      The “performance above all” market, is dying out, as those who grew up in an era where motorcycles where meaningfully performance limited, get too old to continue pursuing that branch ever further into absurdity. It’s currently a market kept on life support by a few advertising dependent journalists, and a bunch of old guys with enough home equity to field a team in the spec sheet racing series. For the rest, the FZ-09 is too fast already.

      And it doesn’t exactly help that speed enforcement is getting ever more draconian, and the consequences of “BREAKING THE LAW” is becoming ever more severe for young guys. Heck, pinning a liter bike for a few seconds, may shut you out of your college of choice, destroy any career you could have had, and possibly end up on enough permanent records to ensure you’ll never be gainfully employed again……

      While the “trackday revolution” of the past two decades, have largely petered out amidst ever higher costs shutting out more and more potential participants. Until all you have left, are the same old home equity, stock option and retirement fund flush guys riding (or, increasingly being chauffeured by ever more comprehensive electronic automation) around in circles, trying to oneup eachother. While “getting more skilled” at having a midlife crisis… (How would I know…. 🙂 )

      • sbashir says:

        You have quite a pessimistic view of the motorcycling landscape. Nothing is dying off. There are more new kinds of motorcycles than ever before. And more new kinds of riders, both on and off road. The advancements in motorcycle power and electronics have been spectacular making them safer and as controllable as you want. There are probably more motorcycle riders now than ever before. And I am not even talking about Harley riders which are growing too as people get older and realize their comfort and power, as well as young people and women especially. Harley opened 40 new dealerships worldwide and sold 262,000 motorcycles in 2016. The new Milwaukee Eight is selling like hotcakes. The European manufacturers are breaking sales records. KTM is the “performance above all” READY TO RACE company and has the most exciting motorcycles, both on and off road. The motorcycle market in India is the world’s largest. Motorcycling is very much alive and well and growing.

        • Dave says:

          Re: “Harley opened 40 new dealerships worldwide and sold 262,000 motorcycles in 2016.”

          Hero motorcorp in India makes 300,000 bikes a *month*. Honda, Bajaj and plenty of others are right up there too. This is why you’re seeing the neglect of the US market.

        • Tank says:

          Harley sold 266,382 bikes in 2015, 270,726 in 2014. Today Harley sales stand almost exactly where they were in 2012. No growth. Indian is hurting sales. Hopefully Milwaukee Eight will help.

        • downgoesfraser says:

          Have been riding since 1971 and working in the metric side since 1974 and this business is dying. Rarely see other bikes on my 40 mile commute. Yearly inspection often show 200 miles ridden in the last year. Have done lots of GSXr recalls in the last few years and most had very low mileage. Goldwing recall brought many to the shop that were ridden less than 1000 miles per year and still had the original tires. Plenty of bikes out there decorating a garage.

  61. Podman says:

    Honda give me a vfr800 or vfr1000 st like bike with cruise, heated grip, gps.

  62. Jabe says:

    Honda has been doing some weird things the last decade or so. I wish I understood what goes on in the corporate offices and how decisions are made. I personally get the impression that the models presented to the consumer are what some office monkeys with little to no riding experience have decided what we want rather that listen to us. It’s like they have try to distance themselves from other bike makers by giving us odd transmissions, unusual styles, and just plain weird machines that don’t sell while they try to distinguish themselves as superior. I have 5 Honda’s parked in my garage right now, not because I am brand loyal or any of that crap, they are simply very good machines. But the last machine I bought is a Ducati, which is my first, and I can honestly say that no Honda never put a smile on my face like this Ducati does.

  63. paul246 says:

    The thing that stops me is the forward foot position, I wouldn’t even bother with a test ride, otherwise I would be willing to give it a fair chance underneath me before leveling criticism at it.

  64. Gham says:

    Victory styling,Dan Gurney ergonomics,what could go wrong?

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