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The most famous of Japanese motorcycle manufacturers was founded in 1948 by Soichiro Honda, who at the time was 41 years old. Having already created the A-type bicycle engine a year before Honda Motor Co Ltd was established, the first motorcycle was the two-stroke Honda Dream D. It was followed by a four-stroke Dream E in response to the noise and fumes of crowded Japanese streets and the Benly J which were popular with Japanese amateur racers. And in 1958, the Honda Super Cub launches, which will become the largest-selling motor vehicle of all time.

The 1950s also saw Honda become the first Japanese manufacturer to export to the United States, the first to build their own race circuit for development, and in 1959 they entered the Isle of Man TT races for the first time, in addition to opening American Honda Motor Co in Los Angeles.

In 1969 the Honda CB750 was launched as the first modern mass-market four stroke bike, which was also the first with a disc brake. 1974 saw the launch of the first GoldWing, with water-cooling and shaft drive. And in 1986 and 1987 the Honda VFR750F and Honda CBR600F are introduced, setting standards for sports-touring and sportsbikes for a long time to come. In 1993, the Tadao Baba-designed CBR900RR FireBlade arrives.

Soichiro Honda had raced cars, and had talked about success in Grand Prix motorcycle racing back in 1955. Since then, Honda has won their first Grand Prix victories with Mike Hailwood in the 125cc and 250cc class, won the 500cc title with Freddie Spencer, Wayne Gardner and Eddie Lawson, had four consecutive Grand Prix titles with Mick Doohan. In addition to numerous smaller capacity wins, they also win the final ever two-stroke 500cc championship with Valentino Rossi, who then retained the title for the first two years of MotoGP on the Honda RC211V. Nick Hayden also won the MotoGP title in 2007 for Honda.

And if that wasn’t enough, they’ve also claimed 6 WSB championships, with two for Colin Edwards, and four BSB titles (three of which went to Ryuichi Kiyonari).

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