Honda (motorcycles): 1st model ever

Honda logo 1947
Honda Motor logo 1947
Name: Honda "A-Type"

Nickname: "Bata Bata"

Category: Motorcycles

Subcategory: Motor-bicycles

Inventor: Soichiro Honda

Producer: Honda Motor Company

Prototype made in: October 1946

Production start: November 1947 - Hamamatsu, Japan

Prototype features: The Honda "A-Type" prototype was a motorized bicycle which used a tubular fuel tank that had been nicknamed the "tea canister"; it was equipped with an auxiliary engine made from a small, remodeled unit that had served as a power generator for an old no. 6 military radio transmitter. This engine marked the origin of Honda Motor.

First model features: The Honda "A-Type" had a cast aluminum fuel tank with a teardrop shape made by sand casting. Engine Air-Cooled 2-st. Single Rotary Valv. 50cc. Maximum power 1PS / 5,000rpm. Maximum speed: 45km/h. Dry weight: 10kg. Cantilever crankshaft, v-belt clutch, variable transmission.

Interesting facts: Throughout his life, Honda's founder, Soichiro Honda had an interest in automobiles. In 1937, Honda founded Tōkai Seiki to produce piston rings for Toyota. During World War II, a US B-29 bomber attack destroyed Tōkai Seiki's Yamashita plant in 1944 and the Itawa plant collapsed in the 1945 Mikawa earthquake. In 1946 Japan is struggling to regain some semblance of normalcy, after having been bombed flat at the end of WWII. Soichiro Honda realizes the need for affordable transportation and begins grafting war-surplus two-stroke motors onto bicycles (the motors had originally been intended for use on portable generators for military radios). In October 1946, he established the Honda Technical Research Institute in Hamamatsu, Japan, to develop and produce small 2-cycle motorbike engines. In November 1947, Soichiro Honda started producing a complete motorized bicycle, the "A-Type" (nicknamed "Bata Bata" for the sound the engine made), which was driven by the first mass-produced engine designed by Honda, and was sold until 1951. The first complete motorcycle was the 1949 D-Type, also known as the Honda Dream.

Quote (Soichiro Honda): «Success represents the 1% of your work which results from the 99% that is called failure».

Property: Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

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Honda Type-A prototype - left
Honda Type-A prototype - front
Honda Type-A prototype - front detail
Honda Type-A prototype - right
Honda Type-A prototype - right detail
Honda A-Type prototype (October 1946). Its engine marked the origin of Honda Motor.

Honda Type-A left
Honda Type-A right
Honda A-Type (November 1947). Honda's first product on the market.

Honda factory in 1948
Honda A-Type, engine assembly at the Noguchi Plant (1948)

Honda Hamamatsu factory 1948
Honda A-Type, employees and their families at the Hamamatsu factory (1948)

Honda Type-D (right)
Honda Type-D
Honda Type-D (engine)
Honda Type-D (left)
Honda D-Type (August 1949). Also known as the Honda Dream, the first complete motorcycle manufactured by Honda featured a two-stroke, 98cc, single-cylinder engine, and 3 horsepower.

Soichiro Honda
Soichiro Honda (Hamamatsu, Nov. 17, 1906 - Tokyo, Aug. 5, 1991), the Japanese engineer and industrialist who invented the Honda A-Type and founded the Honda Motor Company.

Honda 2015
Honda motorcycles, an advanced model (CBR1000RR, 2015)

Honda Motor 75th Anniversary
Honda Motor Company celebrates its 75th Anniversary (1948-2023)