Bikes You Should Know appears weekly as part of Two Wheel Tuesdays. Since Hooniverse primarily caters to automotive enthusiasts, this column focuses on historically or culturally significant motorcycles that are likely to interest a non-riding audience.
Throughout the Bikes You Should Know series, I’ve found myself often tossing around superlatives such as “iconic,” “legendary,” and “groundbreaking.” That sort of hyped-up prose can wear thin, leaving the regular reader with the impression that I think every bike I discuss is the greatest thing ever. Today, I will use those words only once, and since they only appear in this opening introduction, you’re past them now.
Today’s topic is Honda’s six-valve 400/450cc twins, known by a variety of designations, including Hawk, SuperHawk and SuperDream. They’re not the greatest thing ever. In fact, it’s become very fashionable for riders to mock them. But such derision isn’t deserved either. The truth is somewhere in between. The six-valve, twin-cylinder motor was sold in a dizzying array of different models and configurations for various markets, and sold by the millions in markets all around the world. The basic architecture anchored Honda’s mid-size lineup for a decade and a half, and was among the most profitable designs ever marketed. That widespread popularity can only be labeled a success, and it’s why it’s a line-up you should know.