The first fully-fledged Honda motorcycle, the Dream D-Type, was launched in August 1949, but the Japanese company’s products didn’t become popular around the world until a breakthrough was achieved in the US with the launch of the American Honda Motor Co. in 1959. Since then, riders on Honda bikes have since claimed 13 world motocross titles in the 500cc class alone.
The company’s current range of off-road models includes the lightweight and powerful CRF250X and the high-spirited CRF450XR. Also popular is the long-running CRF50F, widely recognised as the quintessential mini bike, and the choice of first-time riders the world over, with inverted fork, 49cc four-stroke engine, easy-shifting three-speed gearbox with automatic clutch and low 548mm seat height.
Honda has two works teams in the 2014 FIM World Motocross Championship – in MXGP, Team HRC features the Russian Evgeny Bobryshev and the German Maximilian Nagl, while the MX2 Team Gariboldi features Slovenian Tim Gajser and Japanese star Kei Yamamoto. Riding the CRF450RW, Nagl has had a particularly impressive season, and currently lies in seventh place overall, with one round of the year remaining.
In AMA Supercross and Motocross, Team Honda Muscle Milk is made up of Justin Barcia and Trey CSanard, both riding the CRF450R, designed in conjunction with multi-time champion Jeremy McGrath. Other teams riding Hondas in the US include Geico Honda, featuring star names such as 2013 250 outdoor champion Eli Tomac, and Troy Lee Design Honda, featuring Cole Seely, Jessy Nelson, Malcolm Stewart and hane McElrath.