Honda have made some of the world’s most iconic motorcycles. The Honda Super Cub is one of the highest-selling vehicles of all time, the CB750 arguably started the superbike category in the ‘70s before the CBR900RR FireBlade reinvented it in the ‘90s.
The Honda Monkey and MSX125 'Grom' are both incredibly fun to ride and fly in the face of the straight-laced image the company sometimes presents.
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If you want a motorbike with exceptional build quality and bomb-proof reliability a Honda could very well be the brand for you. Here are five options to consider.
- Engine: 85cc single
- Year introduced: 1985
- This one: £3500 – 4766 miles – 1999
The C90 fits into a family of motorcycles that includes a whole range of engine sizes all the way back to 1958. The newest member of the family is the 2019 Honda Super Cub C125.
This 1985 version of the iconic step-through made 8bhp from its 85cc engine and boasted a range of 100 miles from its one-gallon tank.
The C90 uses a semi-automatic gear box that combines a centrifugal clutch (no clutch lever) with a left foot shifter, which can take a little getting used to, but once you do it's great fun to zip around on.
- Engine: 125cc single
- Year introduced: 2009
- This one: £1499 – 12,800 miles – 2012
A modest step up in power from the C90 is the Honda CBF125, which boasts 11.3bhp from its 125cc single. You also get a standard gearbox with a clutch lever.
The CBF is a reliable workhorse of a motorbike but isn’t famed for the quality of its finish, which can suffer in bad weather. It will always start though and plod along for mile after mile.
- Engine: 599cc inline four
- Year introduced: 2003
- This one: £2999 – 21,102 miles – 2005
The CBR600RR was Honda’s answer to the track-focused supersport class that includes bikes like the Yamaha R6, Kawasaki ZX-6R and Suzuki GSX-R600.
With 115bhp on tap and a taught, quick-steering chassis, the Honda will show you a good time on a trackday but is perfectly manageable on the road, too.
Due to declining sales in the supersport sector as a whole, Honda decided to retire the CBR600RR and used prices are holding well as a result.
- Engine: 781cc V4 with variable valve timing
- Year introduced: 2001
- This one: £3250 – 27,700 miles – 2007
If Honda have a reputation for making sensible bikes, then the VFR800 VTEC is very ‘Honda’ indeed. Perfect for touring or commuting in comfort with a gentlemanly 107bhp on tap, the VFR’s engine doesn’t actually vary the valve timing, but rather the number of valves in operation at different rev ranges (eight valves below 6800rpm, 16 valves above).
As you would expect from a Honda, the VFR will run and run and 100,000 miles is perfectly achievable with proper servicing. The underseat exhausts mean you’ll need to fit hard luggage if you want to go touring, so factor that into your budget.
- Engine: 998cc in-line four
- Year introduced: 2004
- This one: £3995 – 26,618 miles – 2005
In 1992, the Honda CBR900RR FireBlade stormed onto the superbike scene and blew away the competition. Using creator Tadao Baba’s "light is right" philosophy, Honda created a machine that used low weight and excellent handling to be fast, rather than a bigger engine.
Fast forward to 2004 and the first litre version of the Fireblade moved the story on with a 172bhp 998cc engine and a mass-centralisation project to keep the handling neutral and stable.
The added grunt of the Fireblade actually helps to make it easier to live with on the road than the Honda CBR600RR, with less need to keep the revs up to make progress and the standard stiff suspension can be softened to better suit bumpy UK roads.