Soichiro Honda started the Honda Technical Research Institute in 1946, to experiment with machinery and find more efficient travel methods for ravaged postwar Japan. That same year, he marketed a small engine that could be attached to a bicycle. The next year, Honda released a half horsepower motorbike, the 'A-Type,' and then in 1948 a 90cc version called the 'B-Type.'

Honda kept pushing for more powerful engines, and in 1949 released the 2-stroke 'D-Type,' Honda's first true motorcycle. This was followed by the 4-stroke 'Benly' in 1953 and the 'Juno' scooter in 1954. The company's big breakthrough came in 1958, with its 'Super Cub,' an easy-to ride 'scooterette' in 50cc, 70cc, and 90cc models.

Over the next 10 years, Honda's bikes got bigger and bigger, culminating in the 4-cylinder CB 750, which could easily reach 120 mph. Honda entered off-roading in 1973, and has dominated the sport ever since. Another 1970s Honda innovation was the Gold Wing, a touring bike that launched an entirely new style of riding.


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