Here Come The Hondas

Illustration for article titled Here Come The Hondas
Image: Honda

Every few months the Honda Collection Hall—located on the grounds of the Twin Ring Motegi race track—will haul a few of its cars and motorcycles out for an exhibition on the short walkway in a park adjacent to the museum. The museum staff will diligently bring a bike out onto the “track” to demonstrate the start up procedure, warm the engine to operating temp with a series of revs, and then ride emotionless for a few minutes before returning the museum piece to its stand.


Thankfully for all of us, Honda then loads all of these very procedural videos to YouTube so we can see what a brand new NS125R sounds and looks like, for example.

Today the Collection Hall gave us a quartet of entertaining videos focused on a few of Honda’s finest.

Let’s start with my personal favorite of this new batch, the Honda People motor pedal. What is basically a bicycle with a 24cc two-stroke power assist motor, the People makes an awful lot of noise (a bit like a chainsaw) for its limited top speed. It weighs just about 50 pounds and produces about 3/4 of a horsepower. Honestly, this looks like a ripping good time. Basic inexpensive transportation is a cornerstone of the two-wheeled world.

The NS125R is one of those small-engine two-stroke cheap sport bikes that Europe loved in the 1980s and 1990s. This Honda was actually built in Italy. The bike smoked more than the French and Spaniards who rode them, but looked twice as cool. I mean, just look at that 10,500 rpm redline!

On the other end of the small-bore spectrum was the NX125, which was a great entry level dual-sport before dual-sport was really a thing. With electric start and plenty of suspension tricks for the time, it was a competent off roader, but still capable of tackling the mean streets. With a throaty four-stroke watercooled powerplant it wasn’t fast, but it was light and nimble where a lot of bigger off-roaders were chunky. The NX125 was the springbok to the Africa Twin’s greater kudu.

And finally, the fourth of four, is basically a heavyweight motorcycle with four wheels, Honda’s incredible first-gen Fit/Jazz. This is still an incredibly underrated platform. I’m still bummed that we never got an Si version of this thing. It could have been the modern CRX that we continue to beg for.

Jalopnik contributor with a love for everything sketchy and eclectic.


A. Barth

On the other end of the small-bore spectrum was the NX125, which was a great entry level dual-sport before dual-sport was really a thing.


The late 1960s and all of the 1970s were awash in dual-sport bikes, from 80cc tiddlers up to 500cc. They were mostly two-strokes until the late 1970s/about 1980-ish, but they were genuine dual-sport bikes: basically dirt bikes with turn signals. Yamaha had the DT series which begat the XTs. Suzuki has the TSs which begat the DRs. And Honda themselves had their XL series bikes starting in the mid/late 1970s.