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Introduction - Honda XL600V Transalp 1987 Service And Repair Manual

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Introduction
The Birth of a
by
Julian
Ryder
T
here is no beUer example of the
Japanese post-war Industrial miracle
than Honda. Uke other companies
which
have become household names,
It
started with
one man's vision. In this case the man
was
the
40-year old Soichlro Honda who had sold his
plston-nng manufacturing business to Toyota
In 1945 and was happily spending
the
proceeds on prolonged partJesfor his friends.
However,
the difficulties of getting around in
the chaos of
post-war Japan irked
Honda, so
when
he
came across a
job
lot of generator
engines
he
realised
that
here was a way of
getting people
mobile
again at low cost.
A
12
by 18-foot shack In Hamamatsu
became his firsl bike factory. Iltting the
generator motors Into pushbikes. Before long
he'd used up aU 500 generator motors and
Honda
C70 and C90 OHV-engined models
started manufacturing his own engine, known
as the
'chimney',
either because of the
elongated cylinder head or the smoky
exhaust
or
perhaps both The chimney made
all of half a horsepower from
its
50 cc engine
but
it was a major success and became the
Honda A-type.
Less
than two years after he'd set
lip
in
Hamamatsu,
Soichiro
Honda
founded the
Honda Motor Company In September
1948.
By
then, the A-type had been developed into
the 90 cc B-type engine,
wh ich
Mr Honda
decided deserved its own chassis not a
bicycle frame. Honda was about to become
Japan's first post-war manufacturer of
complete
motorcycles,
In August 1949 the
first prototype
was
ready.
With
an output of
three
horsepower, the
98
cc D-type was stilt a
simple two-stroke but it
had
a two-speed
transmission and most importantly a pressed
steel
frame
with
telescopic
forks and hard tail
rear end, The frame was almost
triangular
In
profile with the top
rail
going
In
a
straight
line
from the massively braced
steering
head to
the rear axle. Legend has
11
that after
the
D-type's fIrst
lests the
entire workforce went
for
a
drink
to celebrate and
try
and
think
of a
name for
the
bike.
One man broke one
of
those silences yo
u gel
when people are
thinking
.
exclaiming
'This
Is
like a dream!'
'That's
it!' shouted
Honda,
and so the Honda
Dream
was
christened.
This
is like
adreaml'
'That's it'
haUled
Honda
M
r
Honda was a brilliant.
Intuitive
engineer and designer but he did not
bother himself
with
the marketing side
of his business. With hindSight, It is possible
to
see that employing Takeo Fujisawa who
would
both
sort out the
home
market and
plan
the eventual expansion into overseas markets
was a masterstroke. He arrived In October
, 949 and in 1950 was made Sales Director.
Another
vital
new
name
was
Kiyoshi
Kawashima, who along With
Honda
himself,
designed the company's first four-stroke after
Kawashima had told them that the four-stroke
opposition to
Honda's
two-strokes
sounded
nicer and therefore sold better. The result of
lhat
statement was the overhead-valVA 148 cc
E- type which first
ran
in July
1951
just
two
months after the
lirst
drawings were made.
Kawashima was made a director of the Honda
Company at 34 years old,
The E-type was a massive
success,
over
32,000
were
made
In 1953
alone, a feat of
mass-production that was astounding by the

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