Lets put a little perspective on what Honda did for motorcycling:
I don't think there is a mass produced bike on the planet that doesn't have parts made by Honda or a Honda partner. Look at your bike, see parts with Showa or Keihin writen on them?
If it wasn't for people like Mr. Kawashima and Mr. Honda motorcycles would be as common now as are sidecars and would all be leaky, vibrating junk heaps just like they were before Honda showed up. People make fun of modern Harleys, ride a '60s Electra Glide or an un-restored Norton Atlas and realize how much Honda (and to a lesser degree Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki) forced motorcycles to improve. You can make fun of the new Harleys but you can't miss the fact that, until they started to look to the Japanese for quality standards and some parts (E.G. carburetors, forks, shocks and electronics) HD was a failure. People who ride Harley may have different ways of rating what makes a good bike but they aren't stupid.
I'm pretty typical of the "baby boom biker", my first bike was a Honda trail 90. I haven't owned a Honda in more then twenty years but I still owe AHMC a debt for giving the bike that started a life long love of motorcycling. Honda also raised my standards, after owning a couple of Hondas I realized what piece of junk my first British bike was, poor electrical systems, oil leaks, junk carburetor, etc.
Thank you Mr. Kawashima, Mr. Honda and all the rest, American, European and Japanese, who created modern motorcycling.
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