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Industry News



By Matt Cuddy


Remember Honda? That Motorcycle Company who brought us designs that changed the sport of dirt biking forever? Remember the 1973 Elsinore series? The 1979 Red Rocket? The water-cooled CR500? The XL/XR series? At one time, everything that Honda built in the realm of off-road motorcycles was a superior product. 

Honda was at the forefront of innovative off-road designs, and set a new standard for all things dirt bike. It was at the hands of Honda the European motorcycle companies ultimately failed, by designing bullet-proof leading edge machinery that incorporated the latest technology, along with legendary reliability that the factories in Europe could not compete with. We can look at Honda from around nineteen seventy three to the late nineteen nineties, and see a company dedicated to off-road motorsports, in all venues. From the Baja race series, to motocross, and everything in-between, Honda ruled.

But something happened around the year two thousand that changed the face of Honda, and behind the scenes made it a quasi-enemy of off-road motorsports. What force was able to transform Honda from a friend and supporter of off-road motorcycling, to one that is now trying to change and shrink the sport as we know it? It’s called “The Green Movement”.

Yes, Honda has fallen prey to the pressures of environmental extremists, and has given us a new breed of racing off-road motorcycle that are so expensive to operate it can only damage the sport as we know it. Why? Let’s take a look at what Honda has been doing lately to forward this “green” agenda, into something that resembles sacrificing and denying their heritage. A recent quote from Honda:

 “At Honda, being an environmental leader goes beyond developing products that are safe and environmentally sound. We are committed to cultivating a sense of ownership and respect for the natural world and look forward to hosting a variety of environmental groups from throughout the United States.”

Hmmm, sounds kind of fishy, like something the Sierra Club would spew. Let’s now take a peek at what Honda is supporting on the “Green” front: 

  • California Coastal Cleanup
  • Marsh Habitat Restoration
  • Butterfly Conservatory
  • Hydrogen Home Energy Stations
  • Global Warming
  • Environmental and Energy Conservation Fairs
  • Desert & Sea Turtle Conservation Program
  • “Tread Lightly” Off-Road Vehicle Conservation Council
  •  Living Lands & Water Foundation
  • “Restore the Desert” Student Conservation Association

 And the list goes on. While at first glance these initiatives Honda supports looks to be altruistic and humane to the point of nausea, we all know that groups that support the same things take a vehement anti-off road vehicle stance, like Earth First and the Sierra Club. 

Does this go hand-in-glove with what has Honda plans for the average dirt biker? With the introduction of CRF line of competition four stroke motorcycles that would be a big “YES”.

Some more quotes from a Honda “Environmental” website:

“In addition to reducing the environmental impact of its own operations, Honda is always looking for ways to make positive contributions to the communities where it does business. Many of these efforts focus on community-based environmental education, preservation and restoration efforts, in the form of corporate charitable giving foundation giving, in-kind contributions, and company support of volunteer efforts by Honda associates who want to take an active role in their communities.”

“Global climate change and energy sustainability are the two most serious and difficult environmental challenges that we as a society faces today. Honda’s recognizes its responsibility to help meet these challenges and is committed to continuing efforts aimed at minimizing its environmental footprint, with a particular emphasis on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.”

Oh boy, Al Gore would love that last one. 

So it looks like Honda is perpetrating the biggest scam to face the average dirt rider since the Suzuki Cyclone. As Rick said in the last installment of this series, clean two stroke technology is shunned and given the shit-can at Honda, so they can push their “Green” agenda of outrageously expensive to operate four stroke dirt bikes, on an otherwise unknowing public. This last quote says it all: 

“All Honda motorcycles sold in the U.S. are powered by cleaner, quieter and more-fuel-efficient 4-stroke engine technology.”

Cleaner? Quieter? Fuel Efficient? Based on the latest tests and reports by some major publications, that statement is false. The CRF line is no cleaner, quieter or fuel efficient than the last line of Honda two-stroke MX bikes. And that’s a fact.

So the next time you think of buying a Honda, be it a car, bike or generator, please remember this series, and just say “NO”.